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Side Saddle

Side Saddle riding is an equestrian discipline that uses a type of saddle allowing a rider (usually female) to sit aside a horse. Sitting aside dates back to antiquity and developed in European countries in the Middle Ages as a way for women in skirts to ride a horse in a modest fashion while also wearing fine clothing. It has retained a specialty equestrian niche even in the modern world.

There are now new applications of the Side Saddle sport in the horse show ring, in historical reenactments, and in parades or other exhibitions. The modern Side Saddle rider may be seen in many equestrian disciplines, including dressage, eventing, show jumping, western pleasure, and saddle seat-style English pleasure.

Specialty Side Saddle classes with either traditional equipment or period costume are popular at many horse shows. Another common place to see a Side Saddle is the hunt field, where the tradition is preserved by various Side Saddle devotees. Riders with certain types of physical disabilities also find Side Saddles more comfortable than riding astride, and they are found useful by some people who have lost part of a leg. In addition, the Side Saddle has become a part of some therapeutic riding programs, because the design of the saddle provides extra security to certain types of riders.

We wish to thank the following photographers for their images used on this website (all images are subject to copywright rules and regulations):

  • Barbara Thomson
  • Diana Black Design
  • Kampic Photography
  • Take the Moment

© 2013 Horse of the Year (Hawkes Bay) and NRM Horse of the Year Show

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