This year, there were no side saddle classes held at the RDS Dublin Horse Show. Instead, the organisers asked the one and only Miss Susan Oakes to put on some sort of a display. Susan put her thinking cap on and came up with the idea of an exciting display that would show case side saddle riding though five different disciplines, with some of the best riders in the country taking part. The display would showcase Susan Oakes for show jumping, Jennifer Torrance for showing, Jonah Wragg for hunting, Amie Garrigan for Concours d’Elegance and Hanna Bjoremark for dressage. I offered to write the commentary and in a bid to advertise the display I also set up a facebook event page on the SSA Ireland facebook page with some ‘taster’ photographs of what the display would entail.
The following entries are from the event page:
Jennifer Torrance will give a display based on ‘Showing’. Jennifer will be riding her own gelding ‘Peppermint Paddy V’ and will show us how to show off your horse to the best advantage at a competition, for a judge. She will also demonstrate how to mount and dismount correctly as well as trotting her horse up in hand to show the crowd what the saddle looks like. Jennifer is a side saddle instructor based in Co. Roscommon. She has been riding side saddle since 2003 and was a member of the Legover Ladies team chase team as well as the ‘Bit on the Side’ side saddle display team in England. Photo copyright Sinead Ni Riain.
Amie Garrigan has been riding side saddle since the age of 8, coming up through the IPS ranks. She has trained every horse she has ever had to carry a side saddle. Amie has been concentrating on eventing for the last number of years. She will be displaying Concours d’Elegance at the horse show. She will be wearing a beautiful historical costume. Concours is judged on the overall elegance and picture as well as the way of going of the horse.
Jonah (Jonnie) Wragg will be promoting the art of hunting whilst riding side saddle. Jonnie has hunted side saddle her whole life with packs all over Ireland and the United Kingdom. She has also evented, hunter trialled and point to pointed ‘sideways’. She will be jumping the banks in ring two as part of her display and will be dressed in a beautiful tweed habit.
Susan Oakes from Navan, Co Meath will be showcasing showjumping on the day. She will be jumping her stallion SIEC Atlas. The pair jumped 1m85cm in England recently in their bid to set a new world record. Susan has also ridden side saddle her whole life. She recently won a side saddle point to point in England and also set a world record by organising 50 ladies from all over Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales, America, Sweden, Italy, France and the Czech Republic to come hunting ‘side ways’ in Co. Meath
Hanna Bjoremark Deegan will be promoting the art of dressage whilst riding side saddle. Hanna is originally from Sweden and will be riding her home bred swedish warmblood gelding ‘Fairflax’. This dressage partnership has previously won the advanced open riding club championship. Side saddles can be used for any competitions run under Dressage Ireland rules. On the day, Hanna will display some advanced moves such as piaffe, passage, half pass, shoulder in, counter canter, pirouhettes, etc.
We had a practice at our secretary’s house, and I had to come dressed in my habit so that the ladies in charge could check that I was presentable.
My job on the day of the show would be to be dressed in all the gear and available to answer questions from the public. However I was very pleased and surprised to be asked to read out my commentary on the day at the horse show! My friend Lorna was also going to be on hand to help answer questions and to hand out leaflets about our next Have a Go Day. So I added these photos to the event page too: