Continuing the trend of trying crazy new things with Cally lately, yesterday we did a sidesaddle lesson! It was maybe lesson the “crazy” and more on the “fun” end of the scale, since it was an actual serious thing with the trainer, rather than me putzing around with a jousting lance for giggles. I wasn’t sure it was going to happen, as it rained hard the night before and was off-and-on sprinkling on the way to the barn. I actually brought Cally in and started some serious sock clipping work for a while, until Holly popped into the barn during a clear bit of weather and asked if I was ready to try it while it wasn’t raining. Sure, let’s give it a go!
I was a little worried what Cally would think of the different saddle, especially the balance strap that angles down from the back of the saddle to the girth, which could tickle a little. But she was totally cool being tacked up, and walked up to the ring like usual. Because I’m not an idiot, I let the professional who actually does the Sidesaddle division get on her first–I mean, otherwise, why have a pro?–and see how she was going to take to it. You could definitely see the wheels turning at first, not in a bad way, just in that “hmm, this is different, why is she balanced like that??” sort of way. Once she actually relaxed and started using her back, Holly said she was quite comfortable.
Then they cantered. Cally looked really confused at that, because she kept trying to swap to the right lead, thinking the weight on that left side was asking her to move over. But once she figured out that, no, that’s just how it was, go on around, she was fine, cantered right around, more phased by the puddles than the sidesaddle. Holly even had me put down one of the fences to an itty bitty X, and Cally went right over without batting an eye. Apparently she’s comfortable to jump aside, as Holly cantered back around and came over the bigger X that was set!
How amazing is that!?!?
Then it was my turn to hop on. Which is a little difficult, incidentally. But once I was up, it felt less awkward than my first go at sidesaddle, maybe because it was my horse, maybe because I’d done it once before so it didn’t feel totally bonkers.
I didn’t do a ton with her, just let both of us get used to the feeling a bit more. Since she started off with the pro, she was actually pretty easy to get round, which meant she was easy to sit on, and I didn’t feel quite as bounced around at the trot as I did the time before, though that may also be because she doesn’t move with the suspension that Gideon does. She went around quite nicely, though!
Then we picked up the canter, and my goodness, on her I felt like I could canter around all day!
I did not try and jumps yesterday, but we’ll definitely do this again when it’s dried out a bit and try it! Both Holly and I were very happily surprised at how well Cally took to being a sidesaddle horse, and I wished that I had the proper outfit to wear, so I could try just taking her to a local show and doing a few flat classes that way. Then I spent my downtime at work last night poking around online at the cost of proper attire ($$$) and even sidesaddles (either more than my mortgage or scarily inexpensive cardboard garbage looking things). Because now I want one, and to do this more. I think I can sew myself the skirt, though, so maybe I’ll investigate patterns and start with that. This is going to be trouble….