Saturday, January 19, 2013

Side Saddle Hunt in Ireland today


Evelyn Glynn riding side-saddle in Co. Meath today

In Ireland, side-saddle riding is undergoing a revival.  In Navan. Co Meath today some 50 riders met, all elegantly attired in their finery.   An overcast, muddy day was not going to deter this enthusiastic group of sports women.


 The organizer is Susan Oaks who currently holds the world record in side-saddle high jumping, clearing 5ft. 9 ins. on Brandy and Red at Aintree, (England)  racecourse in July. The previous record was achieved in 1915 in Sydney.


 Video shows Susan Oakes securing world record



 In its second year, the Irish Side-Saddle Hunt has attracted for this event, women from around the world.  Participating this year are France's Lady Antoinette de la Bouillerie, Lady Martha Sitwell, socialite and former face of Ascot Races, Jewellery Designer Phillipa Holland and Lucy Holland.Visitors from Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Belgium will join the Irish side saddle riders who range in age from 8 yrs old to late 60's.  Wearing side saddle habits, many handed down from generations, in navy, black or tweed.
Susan Oaks securing the world record


Oakes will ride her German stallion SIEC Atlas today.   Recently she completed a one day event in France, taking on all three categories, dressage, cross-country and showjumping while riding "side-saddle"


My nice, Evelyn Glynn, while relatively new to the art of side-saddle riding is no stranger to the equesterian world.   Securing a jockey's licence at a young age, she advanced to show jumping and is a regular rider with the Hunt.

In gratitute for photos by: Alison Murphy-Dunboyne Photography

65 comments:

  1. How interesting that side saddle riding is having a revival. That must have been a beautiful sight today--all the riders dressed so elegantly. Hope your niece had a successful day!

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    1. Hello Sanda

      It is so elegant and wonderful that the sport is returning. There is skill required.
      Hope your week is special

      Helen xx

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  2. Thank you for an interesting post, and bringing such good news. Side saddle riding always looks both difficult and beautifully elegant. As a child I lived next door to a lady who sometimes rode side saddle, with an appropriate black suit and it fascinated me even then; just like the Queen. It must be lovely to have a niece involved.

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    1. Hello Patricia

      A warm welcome to my blog and yes as you said, it is good news. Thank you for sharing that beautiful story about your next door neighbour all those years ago. Evelyn, my niece loves the sport and has tremendous respect for all of her fellow riders.

      Helen xx

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    2. Thank you Helen, and I love your blog!

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  3. Hi Helen, I agree with Sanda, so lovely to see it revived, I hope it stays. Love horses, both my daughter and I used to ride, but sadly no longer do. Seems like you had a wonderful day!

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    1. Hello Sharon

      Like you, I hope the sport continues. I share your love for horses and would love to try this one day.
      To a week of joy
      Helen xx

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  4. Hello Helen:
    Such grace, such style, such elegance. We had no idea, until now, that side-saddle was, if you like, a very separate and distinct form of equestrian sport. And how splendid it is that there is, very clearly, so much interest in it.

    Wonderful too that your niece, Evelyn, obviously an accomplished horsewoman, takes part.

    We trust that you are having an enjoyable weekend. Warm wishes from a bitter Budapest!

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    1. Hello Jane and Lance

      Like you I knew side-saddle existed and such a graceful and elegant practice. They hunt on beautiful grounds and weather does not seem to deter them.
      I hope the weather warms a little in Budapest
      Have a wonderful week my dear friends

      Helenxx

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  5. Wow, what form! Really enjoyed your post today.

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    1. Hello Rebecca

      Thank you for visiting and for your kind words. I am glad you enjoyed reading about this Event.

      Have a very special week

      Helen xx

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  6. This fascinates me because having ridden horses, I would think it would feel quite vulnerable to be perched on the side like that, plus very off balance for the horse and rider. Obviously not though. Thank you for that, I've learned something new today.

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    1. Hello Chania

      You and me will have to pick up the courage and try side-saddle. Perhaps we could start just walking?
      Thank you for your kind words and visiting.

      Helen xx

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  7. It must be difficult riding side saddle, I found it hard enough staying on a horse just riding the usual way.It does look very elegant though and the attire is beautiful. When I was very young Navan was the first example of a palindrome we were taught!

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    1. Hello Sulky Kitten

      I would ride side-saddle, if only to wear the outfits. I love equestrian styling. That is interesting how you remember Navan- hmmm now you will have me thinking palindromes!

      Helen xx

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  8. Oh Helen,

    This art/sport intrigues me enough in the "male" style of riding, but even more so as the women have to build up another set of muscles and mental skill to achieve and maintain mastery! And to add, it is SUCh A BEAUTIFUL SPORT TO WATCH!

    I love horses, the countryside of Ireland, and the people. Thank you for sharing AND for coming to see just a tiny portion of the miracles of what stand outside our window at dawn. Anita

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    1. Hello Anita

      I recall your love for horses and Spotty Pony being a favourite. I would love to try side-saddle and one day when next in Ireland will probably be brave enough to at least ride in the paddock.
      As an Irish woman, I thank you for your compliment on Ireland and her people.

      To a miraculous week

      Helenxx

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  9. Congratulations to Evelyn who manages to combine grace, skill and athleticism. What an amazing sport.

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    1. Hello Jen
      I shall convey your kind message to Evelyn. It is not for the faint hearted is it?

      Helen xx

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  10. Congratulations to Evelyn who has managed to combine grace, skill and athletisism in this amazing sport.

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  11. Helen, I grew up around horses and competed (western) for many years. When given the opportunity to watch side saddle competitions I am left in awe.

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    1. Hello Bonnie
      I am confident you would master the skill of side saddle riding hearing you vast experience riding Western. I, too, like the Western saddle.

      Have a wonderful week

      Helen xx

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  12. Hi Helen!

    I can't help wondering how they can keep their balance, jump and do all the stuff they do, whilst "perched" on a horse!
    This sport would be no good for me: I love hats, but hats don't love me. Horses run away when they see me, and I run away when they come too close. I once got on a scooter and almost fell off the side of a hill, so... no... not for me, though I am quite graceful,even elegant, and I quite like tweed!

    The ladies look very elegant and beautiful. I find it interesting that side saddle riding seems to be having a revival. I thought only The Queen and princess Anne did it!

    Thank you for the lovely pictures, Helen. I love the way you stay in touch with your beautiful Ireland, a wonderful Country!

    CIAO!

    ANNA
    xx

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    1. Hello Anna

      I am sure you would look most elegant and graceful in tweed.

      I am delighted it is making a revival. It makes one wonder if men will complain for being excluded?

      I feel about Ireland as you do for your Italy and then again sometimes I am also passionately in love with Italy too Two of my favourite countries.

      Wishing you a week of goodness

      Helen xx

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    2. It's actually much safer than an astride saddle.
      You're held in place...and it's comfy and very elegant, with good posture.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sidesaddle

      ...and some men do do it, for health reasons.

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  13. This sport really looks so graceful and the ladies so elegant.
    I would love to see the ladies riding sidesaddle.
    Your grandaughter Evelyn.. has truly mastered the art..and looks so fine upon her mount.
    I am sure that you would have also loved to have been there Helen.
    Like Anna wrote.. I really do not know how they dont fall off.
    Nice to hear of your stories from your lovely Ireland.
    thank you Helen.
    Happy Sunday
    valxx

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  14. Hello Valerie

    Grace and elegance certainly describes this sport. There seems to be a comraderie amongst the women and that all ages can participate and be respected is wonderful.

    Hope your week is joyful

    Helen xx

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  15. I do love the black and whites Helen... The first few images of the hunt are just wonderful ... horses and riders are both looking magnificent... xv

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  16. Hello Vicki

    It was a superb day for horses and riders, despite the bleak day and muddy conditions but the riders has the best time. My niece is complaining of aching legs today.

    Have a great week

    Helen xx

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  17. Dear Helen,

    These ladies look so very elegant, even on horseback. I enjoyed watching your images very much. To a Dutch city girl like me, they look like photographs from a lost era.

    Have a lovely new week,

    madelief x

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    1. Hello Madelief

      Elegance, determination and skill - these brave women possess all these wonderful qualities. Hope the weather is fair in Holland
      Thanks for your good wishes, which I return to you.

      Helen xx

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  18. I admire their ability and balance. How comfortable can it be? And why is it, that the ladies actually prefer this to "regular" style? I am just curious. Being an occasional rider myself, I have a hard time imagine staying on.... Forget about jumping....Amazing!
    Thank you for your kind remark, I will follow your advise!
    xoxo

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    1. Hello Victoria

      I believe this is a skill and a style of horseback riding which dates back to Victorian times and perhaps before. How great you ride. I am very anxious to try and will have my niece give me lessons one day soon.
      Kindest regards

      Helenxx

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  19. I never learned to ride a horse so I really admire these ladies! And how beautiful they look on these magnificent horses.

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    1. Hello Diane

      It is never too late to learn!!! I am sure you would make a wonderful horsewoman. I can see you riding along the Florida coast!

      Helen x

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  20. Oh, I love these pictures! The elegance and the spunk of these wonderful women is truly commendable. Having no experience of horse-riding whatsoever, they inspire me a great deal.
    Kudos to your niece for achieving so much at so young an age.

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    1. Hello Suman

      Elegance and spunk describes these brave women so well. I hope you get the opportunity to ride one day, it is a wonderful experience. Evelyn is very talented, she is also a musician, singer and Irish dancer.
      Some members of the family get all the gifts!! hee he

      Helen xx

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  21. I enjoy it immensely.

    For anyone interested, this is a great place to start...

    http://www.sidesaddleassociation.co.uk/

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    1. Thank you for this link and thank you for visiting.

      A warm welcome

      Helen

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  22. Hello Helen,
    What an amazing blog! I love the wonderful old photos and the new ones too!
    There is a grand hunt near us Zetland/Raby in the north-east of England and it's still held every Boxing Day/New Year.
    I learn't about riding at The Australian Equestrian Academy in Queenscliff, Victoria,
    I thought that if I lived in Oz I would need to be able to ride a horse. I learned more about dressage than galloping across the countryside. I was never much good at any of it because I was frightened of the fall to the ground.
    Cheers Gillian

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    1. Hello Gillian

      The black and white photos, while looking old, were taken last week. I am sure you are an accomplished rider, having taken lessons in Australia. Like you, I have respect for horses having had a few tumbles.
      Have a great week

      Helen xx

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  23. Hello Helen, I too am concerned about the comfort of riding in this manner, but never let it be said that I am too stuck in my ways to shy away from new experiences, or positions. Will I need a special saddle?
    Sx

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    1. Hello Scarlet Blue

      A warm welcome and thank you for following. You are to be admired for your spunk and bravery in you willingness to try new things. You will indeed need a special saddle.
      Have a wonderful week
      Helen xx

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  24. Love Allyson Murphy’s black and white photo...

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    1. Thanks for your visit and yes Alyson Murphy's photos are works of art. She is extremely talented and professional.

      Helen xx

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  25. Thank you for your comment Helen! It is indeed a very different climate on the other side of the ocean. But what a great details in the pictures! My eye fell mainly on the beautiful clothing and accecoires of horse riders.

    Nice weekend!

    Warm hugs,
    Helena

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    1. Hello Helena

      The costumers are beautiful and so classic. Many are handed down from generation to generation although in looking at the images of the riders following the event, the mud and wear must take it's toll on them

      To a great week

      Helen xx

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  26. Thank you Helen for educating me more on the world of side-saddle riding. What an exciting sport and everyone looks so regal. Your niece looks stunning on her horse in the black and white photo. So very impressive! I hope you have a lovely weekend Helen. The snow has been washed away here and it's rather gloomy / :

    xx Deb

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    1. Hello Deb

      They do indeed look so regal. If you decide to cross the pond and give it a try, I am sure Evelyn would love to introduce you.
      I am sure the daffodils and spring flowers will be blooming shortly.

      My best for a great week

      Helen xx

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  27. What fascinating post! I had no idea there was a side saddle revival going on!
    It looks a very elegant way to ride, but it looks like it might be more difficult jumping - must be less secure sitting sideways rather than being balanced with legs either side of the horse? Not being a rider this is just a thought from one who knows nothing of this!
    The black and white photographs are wonderful.
    Thanks for such an interesting post Helen!
    Gill xx

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    1. Hello Gill

      I agree with you that skill is required when jumping and it must be all about balance. I am fascinated by the sport and have tremendous respect for these women. I understand there is wonderful comraderie amongst the women riders too and age is irrelevant.
      Have a beautiful week

      Helen xx

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  28. Beautiful Helen,

    Oh how I love this post; I was here a week ago and my heart just jumped out of my chest! I LOVE HORSES and I am enchanted over how women can ride side saddle. The muscles that have to be strong to maintain that position!!

    THANK YOU for coming to visit and to view my art...it is simple and ME. I could never paint like you...if I did, I fear it would look like the work of that elephant that used to paint with her trunk!!!!!!!!!!

    MUCH LOVE! Anita

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  29. Hello again dearest Anita

    I know you love horses, harps, literature and art. I hereby declare you an Honourary Irish Woman. I know you would master the art of side-saddle in no time and maybe even give us a few chords on the harp, following. What a beautiful thought.
    Wishing you a brilliant day and weeek

    Helen xx

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  30. Wow! First I adore horses.. they are magnificent, majestic creatures that have an amazing spirit. Secondly, it's wonderful seeing such elegance in riding. Women being REAL women, showing their feminine side but yet clearly .. all athletes in their own right.

    Very impressive. Wonderful post.

    leslie

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    1. Hello Leslie

      I love what you say: "Women being REAL women, showing their feminine side" and yet master horsewomen in their field.
      Thank you for visiting and I look forward to return visits.

      Helen xx

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  31. Hello Helen,
    The ladies look so elegant- like characters from a Georgette Heyer novel. I'm not a great rider and I can't imagine what courage it takes to jump sitting side saddle! What an interesting piece- many thanks Jane xx

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    1. Hello Jane

      I agree with the elegance of the women and horses. I have tremendous respect for them an their achievements. Thanks for the lead on Georgette Hoyer, I shall note that author
      Have a wonderful week

      Helen xx

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  32. Amazing. I never realized that side saddle was still popular. I can't imagine doing it myself, but it does look very elegant.
    Great post.

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    1. Hello Yvette

      I believe there is a keen return interest in side-saddle riding in England and Ireland and both are producing great riders. Personally, I can hardly wait to try.
      Helen xx

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  33. Well, who knew there was such a thing as sidesaddle hunting? Only I'm a bit confused with the jumps; is it still called a hunt if they aren't chasing a fox with a bunch of hounds? I googled and apparently there is still fox hunting in Ireland, another benefit of being independent, I suppose. Not that I'm a fan of the sport, but it's always interesting to learn this sort of thing. Thank you so much for following my blog, I'm really honoured.

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    1. Hello Shelley

      On this occasion the side saddle riders rode with the Royal Meath Hunt and it was an actaul hunt. I am delighted to have found your blog and look forward to knowing you

      Helen xx

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  35. Hi Helen I am from New Zealand I have also hunted aside. Reading about your wonderful hunt with the Royal Meath has definitely put it on my bucket list of things to do. It sounds like a fantastic time was had by all. Side saddle is also increasing in popularity in New Zealand though mostly in showing classes, there aren't many of us mad enough to jump yet!

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  36. Hello Jenny

    I am delighted to read that New Zealand is also embracing side saddle events. It is a marvelous and elegant sport and not for the faint hearted.
    Thank you for visiting and welcome to my blog.

    Helenxx

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  37. Looking at that video I know I'd never have had the courage, not even when I was young and fit!

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