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Hunting Side Saddle

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  • Hunting Side Saddle

    It is a goal of mine to hunt side saddle, but I am not currently in a situation where I can own a horse and I live in the mid-west where side saddles aren't readily available. Has anyone been able to make hunting side saddle work when they borrow/lease hunt horses? If so, how?

    While we're here, if you have them, please share pictures hunting side saddle. What advice do you have for those of us wanting to start hunting aside? Thanks!

  • #2
    Where in the Midwest? I have a friend in Saint Louis who regularly hunts side saddle but she is very tiny... maybe 5' ish and 110lbs so her sidesaddle is also small.
    Doubled Expectations (Roxy, 2001 APHA)
    Al Amir (Al, 2005 OTTB)
    Ten Purposes (Rosie, 2009 OTTB)

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    • Original Poster

      #3
      Chicago. Definitely would have some overhang with a small saddle--I'm 5'9. I think the smallest I could get away with is probably 22"

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      • #4
        If you are on Facebook, take a look at the Middleburg Photo page. They do phenomenal hunting and steeplechase photography and have quite a few sidesaddle photos.

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          WOW! You aren't kidding--stunning photos. Though now the itch to hunt aside is even greater :P

          Comment


          • #6
            I have lots of sideways hunting pics on my FB page, feel free to take a look and ask any q s.
            https://m.facebook.com/devon.zebrovious

            Cherry Blossom Farm - Show & Field Hunters, Side Saddles

            Comment


            • #7
              Check out HorsesInIreland on Instagram and Facebook - Maria is a beautiful rider who takes horses out aside over some serious country. Lovely people with lovely horses!
              www.manhattansaddlery.com - New York City's tack shop since 1912

              Comment


              • #8
                I did that and while my experience may be unique to me, I found riding aside while foxhunting to be less fun. I am a bold rider, a former MFH, whipper-in, and field master. Even today, I ride first flight. When I was in my late 20s, I decided to try my hunting while riding aside. I had a great horse, solid as a rock. I bought a side saddle, made myself a side saddle habit --all this before internet, so lots of letters between me and the side-saddle association. Read books I acquired through inter-library loan, and when the season started, took myself out to the hunt field. I rode side-saddle for about two seasons, and showed in the summer riding aside. Then I put my side saddle away and went back to riding astride. The side saddle was beautiful, and I think I looked the picture riding out --but, it was just ONE MORE THING to worry about in a sport where one's mind must be on top of many details --sitting properly takes concentration --it was not a "natural" position and I found it harder to ride aside, jump aside, go up and down hill aside, than riding astride. Another problem was mounting and dismounting which really must be done either assisted (hopefully by a strong, handsome groom named Fabio) or from a (higher than usual) mounting block. It isn't a pretty picture to see a lady hike up her apron (usually over her shoulder) then stick a foot in the iron and throw a leg around the saddle to the horn. One then must tuck and adjust the apron. Of course the breeches are in the same color as the apron, but truly to mount well, it is a soft foot into a gentleman's hand then while still facing him he lifts the lady into the saddle, she makes a delicate drape of the knee over the horn while he smooths the apron along the ankle. And in our rip-roaring hunts, as kind as the gentlemen are, stopping to help a lady member to mount isn't always done with attention to detail. I have been nearly thrown to the other side of my horse more than once when given a leg up.

                Under pressure, I have ridden aside to the Blessing of the Hounds a few times in recent years. But it puts me with the hilltoppers. Two seasons ago I gave away my side saddle to a young member who dreamed of riding aside. Still haven't seen her out yet. So, definitely fulfill your dream, but if at all possible, borrow the side-saddle.

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Foxglove, thank you for your candidness. I think currently I'd have better luck finding a strong, handsome groom named Fabio than I would finding a side-saddle to borrow/lease that fits both myself and my (also leased) mount in the Chicago-land area. You don't happen to have a US 8 black habit you'd like to sell lying around, do you? I would love to give hunting aside ago, but am also open-minded to the fact I may not prefer it to hunting astride.

                  SidesaddleRider, you and your SS mounts are stunning. I would love to know more about how you got started hunting aside and your recommendations for finding/leasing a side-saddle.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Fallingwithstyle, I made my apron out of a black fabric that matched my hunt coat, I discarded it after a puppy chewed it beyond repair. Good luck on your quest.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by fallingwithstyle View Post
                      SidesaddleRider, you and your SS mounts are stunning. I would love to know more about how you got started hunting aside and your recommendations for finding/leasing a side-saddle.
                      Thank you!

                      I am far braver aside than astride. Sidelines magazine just did a feature on me, so I will take the easy route and link to the article for info on my background. https://sidelinesnews.com/sidelines-...ke-a-lady.html

                      As to finding a saddle, I sell them, as do a few others in the USA. My website is www.cherryblossomfarm.net.
                      Cherry Blossom Farm - Show & Field Hunters, Side Saddles

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I have started riding side saddle and a bucket list entry of mine is to hunt side saddle. My hunter is fortunately my side saddle mount but as she is keen, I may just gate that one side saddle hunt LOL

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Fallingwithstyle, I just had a thought --when my girls showed Saddle Seat, keeping them in outfits as they grew as a challenge. One of my friends RENTED saddle seat suits --$50 for a show, $200 for a season. Although I never used her services --that made me think --I wonder if you could RENT a side saddle and a habit, fulfill your dream, and then return it and save up for your own it you decided that was a way to go? If there are side-saddle people in your area, that would be best -- I loaned mine out many times, just glad to have it used and returned clean and oiled. I can connect you with the woman who has my old saddle (I gave it to her for hunting, but as far as I know, she's not even ridden in it after 3 years) --she might be willing to let you use it if you pay shipping (which will be $60 each way --I think based on what I've shipped saddles for). You know, she actually hunts in VA at Middleburg once a year --if you are near there, she might just put it in the trailer for you . . .anyway, just a random thought --and I can't speak for her, of course, but she's a very nice person.

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                          • #14
                            Missed seeing you on the Devon livestream SSR!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Foxglove View Post
                              I did that and while my experience may be unique to me, I found riding aside while foxhunting to be less fun. I am a bold rider, a former MFH, whipper-in, and field master. Even today, I ride first flight. When I was in my late 20s, I decided to try my hunting while riding aside. I had a great horse, solid as a rock. I bought a side saddle, made myself a side saddle habit --all this before internet, so lots of letters between me and the side-saddle association. Read books I acquired through inter-library loan, and when the season started, took myself out to the hunt field. I rode side-saddle for about two seasons, and showed in the summer riding aside. Then I put my side saddle away and went back to riding astride. The side saddle was beautiful, and I think I looked the picture riding out --but, it was just ONE MORE THING to worry about in a sport where one's mind must be on top of many details --sitting properly takes concentration --it was not a "natural" position and I found it harder to ride aside, jump aside, go up and down hill aside, than riding astride. Another problem was mounting and dismounting which really must be done either assisted (hopefully by a strong, handsome groom named Fabio) or from a (higher than usual) mounting block. It isn't a pretty picture to see a lady hike up her apron (usually over her shoulder) then stick a foot in the iron and throw a leg around the saddle to the horn. One then must tuck and adjust the apron. Of course the breeches are in the same color as the apron, but truly to mount well, it is a soft foot into a gentleman's hand then while still facing him he lifts the lady into the saddle, she makes a delicate drape of the knee over the horn while he smooths the apron along the ankle. And in our rip-roaring hunts, as kind as the gentlemen are, stopping to help a lady member to mount isn't always done with attention to detail. I have been nearly thrown to the other side of my horse more than once when given a leg up.

                              Under pressure, I have ridden aside to the Blessing of the Hounds a few times in recent years. But it puts me with the hilltoppers. Two seasons ago I gave away my side saddle to a young member who dreamed of riding aside. Still haven't seen her out yet. So, definitely fulfill your dream, but if at all possible, borrow the side-saddle.
                              A have to say, sidesaddle looks awful to me. Hurts my back just to look at pictures. Looks like it would hurt the horse's back too. Am so glad after 100 years of women's rights I could grow up riding astride and still do it now. But who knows, the atavistic facination with antique ways might prevail.

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Foxglove, that would be great, thank you! Do you remember what size seat the saddle is? Leasing for a season would be ideal since I'm not yet committed to hunting/riding SS.

                                Xerox, my understanding is that, because side saddles must be properly fitted to horse and rider, whereas people can (and do) ride in astride saddles that don't properly fit their horses, that there are fewer back issues aside than astride. In my limited experience, what caused the most discomfort SS were my right obliques since those were very engaged and not very in shape . I highly doubt ladies aside will ever outnumber ladies astride in the hunt field, but that is one heck of a sentence.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Fallingwithstyle, I think it would be best to put you in direct communication with my friend who has the saddle. As to the size of the seat --I don't know how to measure a side saddle. It fit me --I'm 5'10, about 140. As to fitting the saddle to the horse, again, no idea. I used it on my 15 hh Arab mare first, then an OTTB who was 16 hh and last on my draft horse (full Percheron) who was 18.2 --I had extended girths made for him, but other than that, never changed a thing. PM me your email (or phone) and I'll pass it along to her . . .does that work?

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by skydy View Post
                                    Missed seeing you on the Devon livestream SSR!
                                    Thank you! I retired my multi-year National Champion ss horse last year, so I currently only have some green hunters that I am making up (and a jumper, who doesn't hack, lol). I hope to be back out next year!
                                    Cherry Blossom Farm - Show & Field Hunters, Side Saddles

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