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Ladies’ Sidesaddle Competition To Be Featured At
The 119th National Horse Show

Wellington, Florida—November 20, 2002—The 119th National Horse Show, the nation’s 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 rider’s whip aids on the right side, which has no rider leg.

The sidesaddle rider’s 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 wax paper.

The 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 horse’s 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 rider’s attire and appointments, right down to the flask and the sandwich, before announcing the final winners.

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 Laura’s 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 evening’s “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.



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