Please download and keep a record of your side saddle hunting days by clicking on the link below. All hunting days from official opening meet to official closing meet of any pack on any horse are included, the Marjorie Kennedy trophy presented by the Kennedy family will be awarded to the lady who clocks up the most days hunting in her side saddle.
The Laois Hunt will host a side saddle lawn meet at Stradbally Hall on Saturday 17th of December by kind permission of Mr Thomas Cosby. This meet is the home of the Electric Picnic and the famous cross country course used by the Pony Club, Riding Club and Eventing Ireland among others, several parts of the cross country course will be open on the day and the rest of the country covered will feature Laois drains and banks. There will be plenty of jumping for those who want it and ways around for riders that are not so confident. Hirelings can be arranged for overseas visitors, all ladies must supply their own side saddle. After the meet there will be refreshments served in the local pub. Stabling can be arranged for anyone bringing their own horse. Cap for Side Saddle visitors and their partners is 30 euro, please phone David Lalor on 0872542114 or Ciara O’Connell on 0872266321 for further information
The Fingal Harriers will host a side saddle lawn meet at Master Brian Beggar’s house at Fieldstown bridge, Oldtown on Saturday 4th of February. This meet is next door to the famous Dreaper stables where Arkle was trained and only 15 mins from Dublin Airport. There will be plenty of jumping for those who want it and ways around everything for riders that are not so confident. Hirelings can be arranged for overseas visitors, all ladies must supply their own side saddle. After the meet there will be refreshments served in the local pub followed by music and dancing that night. Stabling is available locally for anyone bringing their own horse and there will be a beach ride the following day Sunday 5th of February. Please phone Michael McGrath on 00353862225611 for any further information.
The hunt is on the Saturday where we will hopefully set a new record for the number of Ladies Hunting, following this we have the Huntball.
Claire’s first Experience to ‘Have a Go’ riding Side Saddle was at the ‘Beginners Clinic’ held in Ardmulchan on the 8th September.
Then nothing would do her but to head for Mount Juliet on Saturday 20th October for the ‘Trail – Trek’ in the fantastic surroundings of the Kilkenny Country Side where under the watchful eye of both Ciara Ryan organiser of the wonderful day and with great guidance and assistance from Susan Oakes.
Claire wrote to thank us all which is very much appreciated and makes it so worthwhile just to see smiling happy faces of both Father Flor and Daughter Claire”
‘Thank you for all your help last week. You were very nice to me and thank you for letting me borrow Amy’s habit – it is really lovely. Daddy will bring it back to you shortly.
I felt really important and all grown up even though I am only nine when I was all dressed up last week. I had the best day of my life in Mount Juliet – everyone was kind to me. Ms Oakes helped me to jump on my own – she is GREAT – I want to jump the ginormous wall in the RDS some day just like her.’
Sidesaddle riding is a unique form of equestrianism where lady riders sit aside rather than astride their horse. Sitting aside dates back to the Middle Ages as a way for women in skirts to ride a horse a modest fashion while also wearing fine clothing. On Saturday last, Laois Hunt in conjunction with The Side Saddle Association of Ireland hosted a special lawn-meet in Shanahoe to continue this century’s old tradition and many sidesaddle devotees descended on the magnificent setting of Shanahoe House, home to the Connolly family, for this special occasion. In the early 20th century, as it became socially acceptable for women to ride astride while wearing breeches, the sidesaddle fell out of general use for several decades. However, there remained a place for sidesaddle riding in certain traditional and ceremonial circumstances, and aficionados kept the tradition alive until the sport enjoyed a revival beginning in the 1970s. It has since retained a specialty niche in equestrianism and the modern sidesaddle rider may be seen in many equestrian disciplines, including dressage, eventing, show-jumping and of course the hunting field. Saturday’s event was a huge success, with monies raised being donated to local charities and already plans are afoot to make this an annual occasion. Many thanks are due to all the local farmers and landowners for allowing the hunt to cross their lands, including hunt chairman Lionel Foot and Denis and Norma Connolly for the splendid hospitality they provided throughout the day.