My new Owen saddle

I blame Verity. She sent me an eBay link on Facebook of the most beautiful side saddle I had ever seen with the quote “Ciara, this has your name on it”. Verity is my ‘enabler’ (every side saddle rider has an enabler). The second I saw it, I knew it was perfect! Hubby was sick and tired of hearing me go on and on about getting a new saddle so when I told him, he said ” go get it, and I never want to hear about you getting another one ever again”. 🙂

I deleted the link immediately in case someone else saw it and clicked on ‘buy it now’ before I had a chance to! I was really worried that it was a scam as there was no option to pay via PayPal, so to minimise the risk I agreed the sale, I wired the money to money over to my friend Charlie in Yorkshire and she went to collect it in person for me. I then had an anxious wait as she had to wrap it up in her mum’s blankets and post it over to me in a big box. It is a thing of great beauty indeed but I was nearly full term pregnant so had to make do with having a sit on it on the arm of the couch! Much to my mother’s disgust 🙂

To my huge delight it is a fully rebuilt Owen saddle ( known as the Rolls Royce of side saddles), it is practically brand new and strong enough to last another hundred years!

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Meath Side Saddle Hunt January 19th

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.