Friday, April 15, 2016

Show Your Arab Sidesaddle--We'll Get You There

The Initiative: If you are already at the show, have a desire to be different, and want to have fun showing in new classes with a vintage flair, try sidesaddle. We will guide you and your horse in typically three lessons, to a safe comfortable ride that will put you into the ribbons. Don’t have the sidesaddle or riding outfit? No worries, this is how we get you there – rentals on horse show date. The Ontario Sidesaddle Association (OSA) has partnered with the Arabian Horse of Eastern Canada Association (AHAEC), to augment the open sidesaddle class with more opportunities to show aside by including, walk trot pleasure, walk trot equitation and a surprise class (more about that to come.)
Holly Ray of Brookfield, Ohio on EF Frisco Bay, 
photo by  Tracey Kelsey Photography, used with permission.

Logistics: First, let the show secretary know you plan to enter the new classes. Allow at least four weeks before the show to team up with an OSA qualified volunteer coach in your area. Meet to be fitted with a borrowed sidesaddle to suit both you and your horse, decide on discipline of English (hunt or saddle seat), western or costume and practice riding at least three times or until you agree aside is safe and fun. The OSA coach will bring your rented aside equipment to the horse show of your choice and coach you through the sidesaddle classes. This initiative is a fund raiser benefitting OSA and amenably priced to get you excited about trying and experiencing the thrill and noble pleasure of aside. As many others have, you too will get hooked and welcome a forum to ride aside at a show. This is how AHAEC will help, by offering non-sanctioned additional sidesaddle classes at choice 2016 Ontario Arabian shows. Book early, as there is limited rental inventory for saddles, habits and costumes.

Holly Ray on EF Frisco Bay,
photo by Tracey Kelsey Photography, used with permission.
Rulebook: According to the AHA 2014 rulebook entry, any Purebred, Half or Anglo may enter and ‘be judged 85% on manners, performance, suitability, quality and conformation, 15% on appropriate sidesaddle attire.’ You may show open in a sidesaddle class, riding either English, western or costume. Classes may be split into disciplines if numbers merit. Section AR 193 further describes ‘the sidesaddle horse should give the distinct impression that it is a comfortable mount to ride. A good ground-covering walk, a comfortable trot or jog-trot, and easy flowing canter or lope is desirable. Transitions from one gait to another should be smooth and effortless. Riders may sit or post to the trot.’
Holly Ray on EF Frisco Bay,
photo by K. Engelhaupt Photography, used with permission.

Tip: Learn from your OSA coach how to minimize any unwanted body movement and ensure a comfortable looking ride - this will capture a judge’s eye. One tip is to take advantage of having the choice to post or not post, regardless of the riding discipline. Sitting trot in aside classes, including hunt seat, is also permissible in general performance rulebooks outside of Arabians. Sitting the trot is much more attractive than rising, when riding aside.
Holly Ray on EF Frisco Bay,
photo by K. Engelhaupt Photography, used with permission.
Posting by definition leaves the rider vulnerable, as the seat leaves the secure surface area of the saddle, albeit for a few seconds. There is a type of posting used riding aside for the utility to help ease muscle fatigue over long distances; however your seat doesn’t leave the saddle surface. Think of sidesaddle posting as deliberately transferring your weight back and forth in trot rhythm, from your right hip up to the bend in your right leg that wraps around the upper pommel and back again. Your seat does not leave the saddle; it’s more akin to a rocking motion. This is not as smooth and comfortable as sitting, which is the preference of many sidesaddle riders.

Next Steps: For more info, we invite you to send us a message through this blog or the OSA Facebook page. Leave your contact info and your local OSA representative will call and discuss bringing you over to our side!

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