Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Charlotta Ågårdh Orsmark

Here is yet another wonderful Sidesaddle Riders Biography! Meet Charlotta from Sweden! She wrote such a wonderful piece about herself and her country, that I thought I would just quote her as she sent it to me.

"I am a horsecrazy girl living in southern Sweden, near the city of Helsingborg. I live on a farm with horses, dogs and chickens. We have a large forest with many wild animals, including elk, deer, rabbits, foxes, badgers, raccoon and many beautiful birds. Besides my interest in horses, I'm very interested in hunting and hunt as often as I can with my English springer spaniels.
We are close to the Danish border, and here is many horses and riders. Unfortunately, not many of the riders who ride in side saddle. Approximately 0.00005% of riders ride in side saddle. We don't have any contests and side saddleriding is limited to shows and pausenumber of large events. On a landarea of ​​16 500 km2, we are only three riders who rides shows in side saddle

I am always been fascinated by women who have been riding in side saddle but in Sweden is difficult if not impossible to find a good side saddle. If you do not know what is a good side saddle is even more difficult. It was not until we had a performance in school as my dream came true. I borrowed a very old and beautiful saddle of a friend's friend, however, it was in bad shape but we survived and I was totally saved!
After that I began my quest for a own side saddle. I tested almost all saddles that were for sale in Sweden. There were long, short, wide and narrow saddles, some in better condition than others. Finally I found the three treasures I have now:
* One side saddle have belonged to the Swedish Baron Oscar Dickson, and has been used during the 1700's on his pink hunting lodge in central Sweden. This saddle is constructed around 1820 and have no leaping head.
* One side saddle is made in early 1700's in Malmö (a city close to me). It is a parade saddle who are incredibly beautifully decorated. It lacks both leaping head and balancestrap and is in original condition since manufacture. This saddle is a museum piece, and nothing I ride in on a daily basis, it is used only for occasional photo shoots.
* My new side saddle is manufactured by Alphonse Camille Jeune in Paris in the late 1700's. It is a modern twist with leaping head. Right now it is under renovation, but soon I will be able to ride in it.

I have four different horses as I can ride in side saddle, some wilder than others. The horse that I ride at the shows is Sörby O'boy RNF 133. He is 140 cm high, 17-year approved New Forest stallion that I have had in 8 ½ years. Before we began with side saddleriding, we have competed in show jumping in the highest classes (120 cm) at the international level. We have also competed in the Swedish Championships in pony racing, dressage in the second-highest rating, and some low eventing classes.
I have two Swedish warmblood (mother Any Magic and daughter Magic Moon). The daughter Magic Moon is only four years old and has a foals in the spring but I think she become a super side saddlehorse when she gets a little older and more ridden. I have ridden her once with a side saddle (when we took the pictures) and she behaved perfectly! Her mother Any Magic has a bit more temper and surplus energy, which makes it a bit risky. Any Magic has an amazing jumpingcapacity and I will compete her in the show jumping instead of riding her in side saddle. However, I sometimes ride her in side saddle at photo shoots.
My "new" side saddlepony is an Irish cross pony who I have competed before but she has been on loan for 4 years. Three Tone is as high as O'boy and I have raced her in the same classes. She is an excellent jumper and my goal is to jump and ride hunting in side saddle with her.

I'm very interested in history and beautiful antics things so I have also tested the Academic Art of Riding. I've been training for Bent Branderup (Grandmaster of the Academic Art of Riding) both in side saddle (with O'boy) and astride (with Any Magic). Together with Any Magic, I have become Squire of the Academic Art of Riding.
I think it's great fun to ride side saddle and I read everything I come over to learn more. Unfortunately, there are very few books in Swedish, so I read mostly English and German literature. There are also short on equipment and clothing so I do most things myself. I hope that the interest for side saddleriding in Sweden is increasing. I believe that Sweden needs to better saddles, more knowledge and more good publicity for the public to be interested. Sweden has always been a bit "uncivilized" compared to Europe which has done that we do not have any established side saddletradtition but I will try to change it ;)"

To see some AMAZINGLY BEAUTIFUL pictures - go to Charlotta's web page:


Marilyn said...

Charlotta's web page is indeed beautiful! She has lots of links to other European sidesaddle sites as well. Click on the Google translator for some help over the language barrier. Trans is not very accurate but is always funny what it comes up with.

Bif said...

Very interesting! Her pictures are gorgeous.