While we’re in the middle of trying so many different things, and the Fancy Pony is being such a good sport about everything… I decided to ride her in the sidesaddle!
|I apologize for the green cast... low light... camera phone... you know the drill...|
I put her on the lunge line to get a feeling for the saddle, and she decided to be perma-bent to the left. It was as if she was trying to keep the saddle from sliding off. There was not going to be any bend to the right!
It was her first time. I wasn’t too worried about it. She didn’t do anything funny on the lunge, so we moved on to the actual riding experience. I swung up and allowed my right leg to hang off the far side. After much insistence, she decided that maybe, just maybe, she could walk with this ridiculous contraption…
After a few quiet laps of the indoor arena, I switched from riding astride to riding aside. She stood like a rock as I repositioned myself. I took up the reins, and she connected with me. I asked her to walk… And she just stood there, giving me the questioning ears. I asked her to walk forward again. She quite handily turned on the forehand, stepping to the right with her haunches. I applauded her attempt to answer my question, and continued to ask for forward motion. She gave me a few more wrong answers that involved various states of moving the haunches or the forehand before she finally ambled off into an awkward walk that listed to the left. We walked lap after lap after lap just to get used to this crazy condition of riding aside.
We tracked right and she insisted that there was no possible way she could bend to the right. She desperately wanted my right leg. She looked for it. I guess this is one way to teach her she can’t lean on it, huh?
Then, we did the unthinkable…
I asked her to trot!
She said, “OH – WHOA – HOLD UP! You crazy lady, you want me to do *what*?”
Seriously. Just give it a shot.
She stumbled into the trot, leaned around the corner, and then she lifted her back as she drove forward into my hand and gave me this lovely trot down the long side before it all fell apart again. For the briefest of moments, I felt the fancy! I felt like I was trotting away in my veiled hat and fancy gloves and fitted jacket and long skirt…
Did you know there are rules for sidesaddle appointments? You have to have a sandwich in your required sandwich case and sherry or tea in your required flask!
HU130 Ladies Side Saddle Tack and Equipment.
1. Sandwich Case: Must be combined sandwich case and flask. Sandwich case must contain a
sandwich wrapped and flask must contain sherry or tea.
2. Bridle: Must be either double or pelham. First definitely preferable. All leather must be flat. A
cavesson noseband must be used. Rubber reins are not permissible. Stitched in leather preferred.
3. Breastplate: Optional, but preferred.
4. Martingales: Not permitted on the flat or in Hunter Hack, permitted in over fences classes.
5. Saddles: Must be plain English type. May have suede seat and pommel. Lining may be leather
or linen. Numnahs and saddle cloth not permitted.
6. Girths: Triple fold leather. No elastic permitted. Cannot be shaped. Balance girth necessary.
7. Irons: Should be regular side saddle iron with oval eye or safety stirrup. Should be large, workmanlike
and polished, without pads.
Can you believe some people actually ride XC in these saddles?
I didn’t want to push her too far beyond her comfort zone, so I chose to save cantering for another day. I think the Fancy Pony has some sidesaddle potential!