We are five days out from our Ladies Side Saddle Hunter debut at the Showplace Spring Festival on Friday, and after a winter of getting myself comfortable just riding around in the sidesaddle, I’m feeling reasonably secure and confident on the flat. But over fences is still another matter, as is having all our attire together.
I’ve been hard at work on the apron, after the gorgeous fabric arrived from Mears. Thanks to their help, it is an obviously perfect match for the cutaway coat of theirs I bought. And after a lot of hard work figuring out patterning to make the amount of material they sent work, and eliminate a lot of the extra fabric that was on the first apron I made, it came together pretty well last weekend.
When I had a lesson get rescheduled a few times last week, we eventually decided it was going to be a sidesaddle lesson, and I brought the nearly-finished apron along to do a test fitting. The weather was still looking rather threatening on Friday morning, but we solidered on, and decided to do a mini-lesson and at least get the apron fitted and get started on fixing my left twist on jumping. Because that’s what Holly does–fix me!
The apron fit wonderfully, and looked gorgeous on Cally. It lays much better than the lighter fabric used on my first apron, and doesn’t need much more than a small hem to be ready to go. Here it’s looking a little odd on the left hip because I still had to do snaps down that side so it’s flapping out a bit, but looks pretty good, if I do say so myself.
Snaps got put on today, and the hem is ready to get stitched tonight, so we’ll be ready to go!
After a bit of a flatwork warmup where I worked on keeping her a little more forward at the trot and tightening my legs on the pommels to keep me balanced, we decided to work a bit of jumping practice into the canter work, as the sky was starting to look pretty ominous, and it was starting to sprinkle a bit. Basically, Holly set us a little pile of groundpoles as a canter rail, and worked on keeping a good pace down to it, and not getting myself forward or twisted over it.
That was actually feeling really good, and I was pretty optimistic as we went the other way a few times, and I worked on keeping my eye up and on the forsythia bush 100 yards down to the right of the ring. And that really helped, I wasn’t feeling twisted at all. That felt great, but the sky was NOT looking great. I asked if we could try the crossrail quickly before it started to rain. Coming down to it, it felt quiet and responsive, but since we’ve worked on behaving to fences, when the distance was less than perfect, we chipped. Which is REALLY not a good thing in a sidesaddle–when in doubt in one, you always want to go with the looong spot. Jumping aside is a bit whiplashy even when it’s good, and it’s horrifically jarring if you chip.
It was actually raining a little then, but I wanted another try, so around we came again, and it felt perfect!
Notice how nicely and confidently we were able to continue forward feeling good, and like I could have actually competently jumped another fence.
Sadly, due to the rain worsening, I did not get the chance. We headed back to the barn, just in time for the sky to open up. Literally did not even have the saddle completely off of her before it was pouring! We’ve got the “other half” of our mini-lesson on Wednesday, so that should put us in good shape coming off a hopefully confidence-building bit of jumping lesson and going into the show on Friday.