Monday, May 11, 2009

My First Lesson!!!

After delay after delay...and I mean MONTHS of them..I finally got to take my very first sidesaddle lesson last Saturday! I am so excited!! It took almost an hour to adjust and re-adjust the saddle, especially since my girth is still on back order, but we got it all done. Thank you Pam! That girth extender you sent me really worked! I had to have a leg up since Chastain is already a tall horse (16+ hh). I actually could not get my foot into the stirrup even with a (small) mounting block! I could not believe how high I was! My saddle never slipped or rolled. My instructor, Kelli checked and rechecked the girth..just to be safe.

Remember - this is the first time Chastain has been ridden aside as well. We rode in the small training pen and Kelli kept me on a lunge line to start. Chastain never pinned his ears, but I would have liked them to be forward...instead of where they were. We walked both directions and I have to admit that one direction (going left) felt more comfortable than the other. It was obvious that we need to use a reverse wedge pad. (oh goodie..something to raise me up even higher!) since his soft back put a slight tilt on the saddle, but I never felt like I was going to come off the back.

I know that I only rode for about 30 minutes, and much of that was walking, but my legs and back were talking to me! After I felt pretty comfortable, I clucked him up into a very slow trot. It was good, so we took off the lunge line and continued the lesson. After a few laps, I asked him to increase his speed a bit, but still very far from a show trot! We changed directions and trotted in reverse. I think Chastain knew I was really concentrating on me and my position because he started to pull his head a bit...a little 'no-no' this horse has done for years, but nothing that caused any problems.

I dismounted ..not sure if my legs were going to hold me...yeah - I am out of shape! ..but I was grinning from ear to ear. I can't wait until next week and our next lesson. Maybe we can get into the big arena.


sidesaddle rider said...


I'm proud of you girl!

Boss Mare Eventing said...

You look like a natural!

Pat said...

Looking good, Julie!!

globalhorseculture said...

I'm so inspired! I love the look. I'll have to try this some day!

Anonymous said...

Yea Julie! You two look really good!

Justabeachkat said...

You go brave girl!!!!


Unknown said...

What great fun! Super Cool!
Hugs, Susan

sunvalleysally said...

Julie you look terrific. I'm so happy you were finally able to launch this sidesaddle riding project "for real."

Cashel used to make reverse wedge sidesaddle cushions and will still do so on special order. The pads are cut thicker on the left side to keep the saddle balanced. If you can't find a reverse wedge pad that is actually designed for the sidesaddle check with Hundred Oaks, great resource, I'm convinced Marti can find anything sidesaddle related. But call the Cashel people, they're very nice and helpful.

Ginger said...

Congratulations Julie!!! That is so exciting that you finally got to accomplish your goal. The first thing I thought of when I saw the picture of you and your beautiful horse is "wow he's tall and elegant looking". I would be scared to death being that high up and sitting side saddle.