1. “Do you wear anything underneath your skirt?”
No darling, I am all wool habit and no knickers
Felicity and I were meant to be together. I first met her on the side of a road when I collected her and another saddle off her owner to bring her to be used on a horse at a side saddle camp a friend had organised. I knew sweet FA about side saddles at the time but loved the look of her as she was a dark leather in contrast to the other doe skin saddles.
When the ladies side saddle class returned to the show ring in the 2014 RDS Dublin Horseshow it was not filled with professional riders on professional show horses. Instead the ring was filled with a variety of horses and riders that served as a beautiful demonstration of versatility. The majority of these riders were not professionals and each one had earned their right to be there by competing successfully at one of the four qualifiers held earlier in the year. The class included show horses, hunters, ex race horses and all-rounders. Likewise the riders themselves hailed from different backgrounds and disciplines from hunting to point to pointing.
When some of the side saddle ladies including Ciara my side saddle friend and mentor recently declared that lipstick for side saddle showing should not be red, I was relieved. I have nothing against red lipstick but it simply doesn’t suit me. I either end up looking like a child in their parents make up or a lady that should be on a street corner somewhere. I won’t profess to know a whole lot about side saddle but thanks to being a complete makeup junkie I know a bit more about make up. After a chat with Ciara on what make up we should be wearing while riding aside I was able to pick out what exactly I need from my makeup stash.
Neutral shades, matte textures, weatherproof and smudge proof make up.
Frost/shimmery eye shadows, bright red lipstick, orange foundation or bronzer, clown blusher
Bright shades of eye shadow, glitter (let’s be clear, no one 100 years ago had glitter on their face while on a horse), tide lines, panda eyes.
To the tune of ‘I will Survive’ by Gloria Gaynor
At first I was excited, slightly terrified
Heading down to Co. Meath for my first sidesaddle ride
I spent oh so many hours thinking how it could go wrong
I might fall off, the horse might be way too strong
The first step is to prepare to ride side saddle in general and you can find a guide to this here. Once you have mastered the bar stool and ridden side saddle on an actual horse without face planting it is time to start preparation for hunting side saddle in Ireland. Once Autumn hits everyone will start talking about hounds, meets and hip flasks so if you plan to participate, get some practice in. Read the rest of this entry
So about a week and a half ago the orange train and I headed off on another side saddle adventure, one I had been looking forward to for weeks. Ciara O’Connell (this lady: http://sidesaddleciara.wordpress.com/) had organised for a group of us to travel back to Ballyduff House near Thomastown in Kilkenny to avail of lessons with side saddle instructor Jennifer Torrance before staying over and heading to Mount Juliet the following day to hack out.
I was asked earlier today by a rider if there were any exercises she could to prepare for riding in a side saddle lesson. Having only recently converted to the sideways side I thought it was only fair to share my experience and what I learned in those valuable first few weeks.
“Feel the fear and do it anyway” isn’t that what they say? Well I can safely say I managed to accomplish that this week. My arms might be two inches longer than they were before (unfortunately not my legs!) but I am still in one piece and haven’t sprained my Jennifer muscle too badly.
Has anyone else ever watched the movie ‘Minis First Time’ it’s a rather odd but awesome film about a rebellious teenager who decided to embark on a series of ‘firsts’. While the main characters ‘firsts’ included getting high and joining an escort agency my own were slightly less exotic or illegal. Still the concepts of ‘firsts’ is not bad one all the same and once I started to embrace with a side saddle theme last week.
Very recently I asked the ladies on a very helpful Facebook page how long it would take before side saddle would feel ‘normal’. There was a reason behind this question as my first side saddle showing class was just over a week away and I was at the time trotting like a drunk on a bouncy castle.