World Record Side Saddle Hunt in Meath
On the 19th January 2013, Ladies from all over the world arrived in Boyerstown, Navan, Co. Meath to hunt side saddle with the Meath Hunt. In total 50 brave Ladies crossed the Meath countryside on Irish hunters. In doing so they created a ‘New World Record’ for side saddle hunting. Ladies came from as far afield as Virginia and Kentucky in the USA, France, Italy, Sweden, England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Ireland to be part of this historic occasion which commemorated the famous Empress of Austria hunting across Meath side-saddle during the years 1876 to 1882.
The event was organised by the side saddle high jump World Record Holder Susan Oakes from Navan. Susan began riding side saddle at the tender age of four and has been the major driving force behind the renewed interest in side saddle riding in Ireland.
Fifty ladies turned out on the day dressed immaculately in habits and tack of the 1920s, ready to take on and jump imposing Co Meath ditches, drains, banks and hedges. Luckily Oakes had organised well schooled hunters for all of the ladies visiting from abroad, many of whom were so impressed with the horses they had been supplied with that they enquired about buying them! The day was a huge success, including a very fast run over extremely challenging big double banks and deep, wide, drains, albeit during heavy rain and even a sprinkling of snow. The riders returned home absolutely covered in mud but still looking elegant and grinning from ear to ear at the memories of what they had achieved and ready to dance the night away at the Hunt Ball held in the Knightsbrook Hotel, Trim, later that night.
This event could not have taken place without support of local landowners, hunting enthusiasts, horse owners and an array of volunteers who worked tirelessly to ensure the success of this historic event. Special thanks to all the kind sponsors, without who’s generous support this event could not have taken place.