From the first time I saw a photo of a lady riding side saddle, I wanted to give it a go. I had read all about it in a novel called ‘Flambards’, and in a horse encyclopedia that I have here too, which has a very interesting article written by Janet MacDonald (who set up the side saddle association in England). My opportunity to have a go ‘sideways’ came when I spotted a side saddle perched up pride of place in my friend’s mum’s tack room! I asked Caroline for a lesson ‘sometime’ and she told me to go out and catch her mare and that she would give me a go then and there. I didn’t have to be told twice! I caught Peggy the lovely grey mare and Caroline showed me how to tack her up. We went out to the paddock where I was legged up and soon I was walking around happily. After 5 minutes I got brave and had a little trot, this was absolutely bone shaking as I was not fit AT ALL at the time. Peggy was hunting fit at the time and enjoying the spin so I even had a canter on my first go! Note to newbies, it is MUCH easier on the right rein to start off. It was the strangest feeling in the world at the start but I quickly got used to it and from that lesson onward, I was absolutely hooked. Caroline very kindly let me use her beautiful saddle that summer and I went along to a couple of Riding Club shows and was placed a few times.
The first big show I did was in 2008 at the riding club festival, I was totally out of my depth against some top class riders but we really enjoyed the experience and Tex looked great!