1. “Do you wear anything underneath your skirt?”
No darling, I am all wool habit and no knickers
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.
“Luck is when preparation meets opportunity” is one of my favourite phrases. So often in competition, especially when things go wrong, we talk about what you can buy – the best horse with the most potential, the expensive clothing, the sessions with the best coach / instructor / sports psychologist. However it is the existence of luck that levels any playing field. You cannot buy it, sell it, create it, harness it or control it. Luck can be at your back propelling you to victory or pushing against you to defeat. Luck will defy all odds and laugh in the face of assumption. Luck is the unlucky pole down that your horse barely touched, it is the lost button, the bad weather or the little spook or buck that the showing judge was looking away for.
“What’s the difference between a horse and a pony”
I’m serious, two colleagues in my office job conference called me one day to ask me to answer this in order to settle an argument between them. Turns out they were both wrong, go figure.
“Aren’t they dangerous?”
To riding alongside new friends
To making new memories with old ones
To the horses we lost and the memories we keep
To the days where we won and the days where we learned
To riding sideways and moving forwards
To the days with the sun on your back
and the days with the rain in your face
~ To 2013 and to many more adventures in 2014 ~
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
Meeting a fence too long but with no room for an extra stride, throwing your heart over the fence, closing your eyes, hoping for the best and then feeling the horse go with you.
A challenging jump saddle jump – oh f**k, oh f**k, oh f**k, I’m wobbling, I’m gonna come off, I’m gonna die, wait a second, I’m still up here – woo hoo we made it!!
How make up is never really ‘stay all day’ or ‘budge proof’ unless it doesn’t rub off your forehead after wearing a hat and can withstand twelve hours of mud, wind and lashing rain. Extra marks if it stays on after you get a branch to the face on a hunt.
Having no sympathy for someone who broke a nail or got a paper cut. Sure that’s nothing compared to landing head first into a pole or ditch or being lifted off the ground by an animal several times your size. Suck it up.
Being reasonably sober after many generous slugs of god knows what from several hip flasks yet absolutely hammered after one bottle of beer.