Tuesday, October 22, 2013


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...
She is a sensitive thing! I led her down to the arena, and she seemed a little unsure of how to walk…

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!


  1. I just love the look of sidesaddle and all the silly traditions it comes with! How funny she was so confused by it at first :)

    1. From past experience, I'd say they are all a little confused at first. I think because she is so green (again, less than a year under saddle), it just makes it that much more confusing! She just could not wrap her brain around the fact that there is no right leg! You could just tell that she felt unbalanced (how do you balance this contraption when you are still learning how to balance yourself?). And it looks especially funny when you ride aside without a skirt or habit or other traditional attire!

  2. Sidesaddle is the craziest, coolest thing ever. I loved watching them show at Devon. I don't know if I'd ever be brave enough to try it myself though!

    1. With the Old Man, I even jumped low stuff! We're talking 18", but it's still jumping sidesaddle, and the first few times it scared the hell out of me! Once, we even helped her some cows in that thing! You're not coming out of it, that's for sure, so make sure you stay in the middle!!
      A couple of the girls I ride with climbed on just to sit in it, but they were NOT interested in actually moving or going anywhere. LOL

  3. What a good girl she is! I love that she was so cautious about it. :)

    1. This horse just blows me away. She wants to be the perfect princess pony! I liked that she was cautious, too. She wasn't overreactive at any point, and she was constantly thinking about the entire situation. I love that she thinks about things. This one is going to be an amazing problem solver!

  4. I wish there was video! Sidesaddle sounds awesomely fun. Not sure I'd ever be up for jumping in one, but I've always liked the elegance of it. I love this picture though...

    Looks like people who know how to have fun. :)

    1. This link should take you to the really bad video: http://youtu.be/7vSJOYnLFYU
      It's so dark and grainy, you can't really tell I'm aside. ;)

  5. I LOVE appointment classes, I wish they were more popular out west. So formal so precise.



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