Ladies Sidesaddle Competition To Be Featured
119th National Horse Show
Wellington, FloridaNovember 20, 2002The 119th National
Horse Show, the nations most prestigious horse show, will
be held at The Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club in Wellington from
November 26 through December 1, 2002. The National, founded in
1883, brings together the best horses and riders in the U. S.
competing in the well-known equestrian disciplines of hunters,
jumpers, equitation and dressage, as well as in the somewhat lesser-known
discipline of ladies sidesaddle.
Ladies sidesaddle is an area of equestrian sport currently
enjoyed by only a few hundred women in the U.S. Historically,
ladies who competed at The National only rode sidesaddle. This
changed in 1915 when Eleanora R. Sears broke this barrier and
became the first woman to ride astride at the show.
Sidesaddle is ridden as the name implies: seated on a special
saddle individually fitted to each horse, the rider keeps both
of her legs on the left side; she maintains a completely square
position in the saddle while the horse is in motion by the use
of proper balance and the assistance of two pommels on the left
side of the saddle which give support to her knees. A sidesaddle
horse must be specially trained to be responsive to the riders
whip aids on the right side, which has no rider leg.
The sidesaddle riders attire is a traditional, tailored
habit reminiscent of the early 1900s: a dark melton skirt to mid-ankle,
a cutaway jacket, an apron, a vest, breeches and a silk top hat.
The rider must wear a pair of leather gloves, with a pair of white
string gloves properly positioned on the right side of the saddle.
The rider must carry a traditional hunt whip with thong.
Attached to the D-ring on the right side of the saddle is a silver
sandwich case. There are 2 compartments in the case: one for a
flask containing sherry or iced tea, the other for a sandwich
on white bread, crusts removed, of turkey or chicken, with no
lettuce or other dressing, quartered on the diagonal wrapped in
ladies sidesaddle hunter division is composed of three classes
one over fences, one hunter hack (a combination of over
fences and under saddle) and one under saddle. The fences are
set at 3 in height, with those classes being judged on a
horses jumping form. The under saddle class is an appointments
class as well: the winning horses are judged on the flat by their
way of moving; once the winning horses are determined by movement,
the judge then checks the riders attire and appointments,
right down to the flask and the sandwich, before announcing the
top sidesaddle horse in the U. S. is Mistress Connie,
a 13-year-old Thoroughbred mare owned by Laura Cramer and Fox
View Farm of Upperville, Virginia. Mistress Connie
and two other of Lauras best mounts will be competing at
The National on Thursday afternoon, Friday evening and Saturday
afternoon. Laura is so passionate about sidesaddle that she even
foxhunts sidesaddle. Laura is thrilled about competing in The
National at its new home in Wellington and is very grateful to
Gene Mische for his support of the ladies sidesaddle division.
The 119th National Horse Show runs Tuesday, November 26, through
Sunday, December 1, with competition beginning at 8:00 am and
continuing throughout each day. Friday evenings Jumping
Under the Stars competition begins at 7:00 pm. Tickets,
Tuesday through Saturday, are $10 for adults, $7 for seniors;
on Sunday tickets sell for $15 for adults and $7 for seniors.
Children 12 & under are always admitted free. Thanksgiving
Day, Thursday, admission is free to all. Tickets are available
at the gate or by phoning (800) 237-8924 or (561) 753-3389. Entrance
to the Equestrian Center is on Pierson Road in Wellington, where
parking is free on all days.
For more information on the 199th National Horse Show, please
contact Mason Phelps, Jr., Barbara Lundy or Beverly Lake Wilkes
at (561) 753-3389.