On the 2nd Feburary 2013, elegant Ladies from both the UK and Ireland embarked on Ingarsby Hall, Melton Mowbray for the first ever running of the Bernard Weatherill Side Saddle Chase. It was the first race of its kind to be held since the second world war and was by kind permission of Formula 1 Legend Brian Henton.
The idea was that of well known jeweler designer and sidesaddle rider Philippa Holland. The course was over the famous Quorn Hunt countryside of post & rails and hedges.
Sixteen brave ladies mounted their steeds in the courtyard prior to the race for a photocall and then cantered to the start. The going on the course was soft to heavy in places.
When the flag was dropped there was a mighty charge to the first, where there were 3 fallers but luckily no injuries . The pace began to quicken and coming to the fifth from home all partnerships were still in tacked but two riders Lizzie Harris from the Pytchley Hunt and Susan Oakes from The Meath Hunt started to pull clear. What an exciting finished it turned out to be, both ladies jumped the second last and last upsides but on the way to the line Oakes got her horse O’Muircheartaigh up to win by a length.
The winning rider is world renowned for her sidesaddle endeavors and her horse was a one time top National Hunt racehorse who she now competes regularly on the point to point scene.
The horse is somewhat of a quirky character, he is the only horse running under rules in the Micklem bitless bridle and this was he second time under side saddle.
‘I had the ride of my life, it was a difficult decision whether to bring him or not as he has a mind of his own and it was either going to be a great success or a complete disaster, thankfully it was a great day’. Oakes also added ‘It was a privilege riding along side similar minded Lady riders that like a challenge. I’m delighted with my prize of a bespoke Bernard Weatherill Habit, which in March I will go to Saville Row for first measurments and hopefully this habit will be ready for when I attempt to break my own high jump record in July on SIEC Atlas in Aintree. My inspiration to come here was to follow in the footsteps of the orginal side saddle steeplechaser Mrs Nannie Power O’Donoghue who was the only lady who ever rode in 3 steeplechases in Punchestown, Fairyhouse and Balydoyle in the early 1900’s’.
Click on here to see the video.
This week P2P.IE profiles Susan Oakes, the Meath woman holds the World High Jump Record for Side Saddle, we follow her schooling Parsons Pistol at Skryne Gallops, running in the Open Lightweight at Ballydarragh, and a few days later she takes fellow point-to-point riders Annie Bowles and Aine Dagg riding side saddle. We also see her coach Paraic Geraghty putting her through her paces with her grey stallion SIEC Atlas (Acord li- Baroness II- Coriander).
On the 31st of July in Aintree Racecourse Irish rider Susan Oakes won the Leaping Ladies High Jump Competition and she also set a new world record by doing so.
Susan set the new record on grand Prix Show jumper Brandy & Red at 5’8 and then attempted to jump 6’6 but just touched the pole off. The unofficial record of 6’6 set in 1915 by Mrs Ester Stace is believed that she was jumping off a Springboard or that there was a ramp running up to the fence-that’s why the horse is going in such a strange shape.
Now Oakes has been giving a fantastic opportunity by The RDS at a chance to break her own record over the Puissance Wall on home ground on Saturday the 18th August at 6pm.
She would like to thank all the people who have supported her over the last few months from all around the world’.
Any one interested in joining a group of Side Saddle Association supporters to cheer on Susan Oakes during her Side Saddle high Jump over the Puissance Wall which is schedule to take place on Saturday afternoon during a break in the Discover Ireland Dublin Horse Show International Puissance.
Please make contact as soon as possible to allow ample time to organise and hopefully be able to purchase as many seats grouped together as possible
She is riding Crannagh Clover 11 year old gelding supplied by Kinane Bloodstock. She is trained by renown show jumping coach Paraic Geraghty.
This Duo will be attempting to break the World Record for the highest jump side saddle at 6’6″ (2m) which has stood since 1915.
This record attempt will happen on the 28th July 2012 at Aintree Racecourse.
Welcome to Riding Fit, the Body conditioning and get fit programme for riders!
This unique course will help you prepare and understand your body for your equestrian event, improve your confidence and balance your body to meet the demands of riding.
Perfect posture for side saddle riding – click here for details