Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Report on the 2015 Sidesaddle Open House

English sidesaddles from a number of historical periods on display
We met our mark of over 60 side saddles in one location, Sunday, October 18.  In addition, through the new fundraiser table, we were able to top up the coffers to provide another year of aside stability for the Ontario Sidesaddle Association, (OSA).

The second annual open house, held just west of Guelph surpassed all expectations and reaffirms – if you build it they will come.  Spreading the word through social media proved to be the best method to entice and showcase the safety and fun with aside riding.

The popular ‘have a sit campaign’, invites the curious and skeptical to ‘pretend’ ride in a side saddle mounted on a saddle stand.  Once they feel secure, many enjoy trying on habits and admiring themselves in the many mirrors strategically placed to keep your sidesaddle equitation in correct form.  Sidesaddle as a type of riding, encompasses all riding seats, English, western and costume. These were all represented at the open house and the differences expertly discussed in a lively and informative conversation with Polly Winsor, avid historian and Martin York, expert saddler.

Ilka riding in formal English attire
Grace elegantly modelling an historic costumer
Blythe jogging in a Western sidesaddle

Several riding demos commentated by side saddle coaches captivated the more than 70 enthusiasts. Riding English in top hat and tails was Ilka Boecker, Blythe Shore rode in western pleasure attire and a historical costume was worn by Grace Lockwood. Grace surprised us with an impromptu powdering of the nose, while mounted! She surfed eBay and discovered a ladies crop with the top end cap cleverly cocooning a mini face powder compact.

Several hunt club members, fresh off their own sidesaddle fun rides exhibiting at the Elora and Creemore hunt parades, brought along their sidesaddle gems to temporary add to our ever increasing open house inventory. Thanks to Nancy Beacon for contributing her sidesaddles for the day and entertaining us with her colourful accounts of many decades riding aside.

Eager enthusiasts have asked for english/western aside lessons and we are pleased to announce two able school horses, and the proper pick for a fit, from Lois’s vast sidesaddle collection are now being offered at her Guelph farm equipped with an indoor arena. Inquire on our OSA Facebook page.

Save the date for next year’s open house, October 16, 2016 at the same location – first Sunday after Thanksgiving. Many thanks to Lois Beecraft our host, all the volunteers and those who dropped in to step ’aside’.