29 May 2012

Jumping Side Saddle (Tuesday Talk)

Yesterday, my daughter had a side saddle riding lesson - how to jump properly while riding aside. And it was one of the best lessons I've ever watched!

Kathy and Ace
When jumping astride, a leg each side of the saddle, the rider must bend or "fold" forward as the horse "bascules" or forms a curved arc over the fence. (Note horses will not make this shape over fences under 2'6 to 3' - the height most riders draw the line at)
 (no idea who these riders are! Sorry)

Modern side saddle riders tend to fold in the same way, which with a side saddle looks, and is, pretty uncomfortable. For one thing you have the two side saddle pommels digging in your chest,

 and your own knee which is curved around the uppermost fixed head pommel to contend with. Your backside leaves the saddle - you lose contact and then you have to sit up quickly on landing, which usually brings you back to the saddle with a lurch and a bump.  

No disrespect to the lady rider above, but compare these two images 
- the bottom one looks far more secure and comfortable

Look at the paintings of Victorian women riding side saddle when hunting. Most of these experienced horsewomen (who rode on exactly the same type of saddle as we do today) sat up straight, the left hand on a loose rein, the right often out and down slightly behind the hip, near the balance strap (the second girth)
(with apologies to anyone who dislikes hunting
Victorian women only jumped when out hunting, 
so only hunting images are available)

As Kathy discovered yesterday, a comfortable, practical, 
safe and secure way to jump!

The rider is Becca Holland of the Flying Foxes (see link below)
 this looks a very secure seat to me! 
For more interesting information:

under the habit - what is under a side saddle habit!


  1. Grace BurrowesMay 29, 2012 4:15 pm

    The historical pictures are interesting in part because EVERYBODY used to jump that way, a more "behind the motion" seat. I think it was referred to as Italian school, and because eventers are jumping solid obstacles at speed, and jumping ahead can be fatal for them if the horse refuses, many of them adopt that more conservative posture cross country (as the modern rider in your photo has).
    Wonderful post, wonderful pictures. I've love to know who the instructor was for your daughter's lesson.

  2. Yes I agree - everybody probably jumped that way as that was the most comfortable and safe way to ride aside - as Kathy discovered.

  3. Very interesting information on side saddle riding and jumping! And I'm so very excited for Kathy!!

    Perhaps I'll get the lucky chance to see her ride in September.

  4. Cathy - I fully intend to introduce you to the horses! No chance of getting out of it, I'm afraid! LOL

  5. That's brilliant... the rider on the grey horse in the last photo is me. Hmmmm. Now where do I know you from?

  6. LOL Becca Holland - I had a feeling that photo is you - your name now duly added!
    (and I'll be e-mailing you, I want to steal some of your articles from your blog!)


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