This was a new venture for Worcestershire BHS as we have never done any side-saddle training before.
Heavy rain, which had fallen overnight, still continued when we arrived to start the day’s proceedings. Luckily the arena was well drained and did not suffer any waterlogged areas, enabling us to get on with the days instruction and lessons, without the use of water wings or life jackets!
Luckily only one person failed to make it, her lorry being marooned in a pool of water at her stables. The rest managed to 'swim' their way to New House Farm and were treated to expert individual tuition and guidance by Vicky Nicholls, a BHS and British side Saddle Association Registered Instructor.
After a 15-minute warm up, each participant had a 45-minute individual lesson with Vicky, with the mechanics of the saddle itself being explained, followed by basic instruction on balance and seating position, etc. The lesson then progressed from riding at a walk, through trotting and then slow canter.
Input also included general control of the horse via leg aids, etc., which are obviously somewhat different to those used when riding astride the horse, in the traditional manner.
From a spectator’s point of view it was quite obvious just how much everyone progressed as a result of the advice and tuition from Vicky; some being somewhat 'wobbly' at the start and graduating to looking quite secure and professional at the end!
Everyone who took part enjoyed the day and requests have been received for us to try and hold anther day during the summer. As a result we have managed to negotiate another day during August. Once finalised, details will be advertised on the Worcestershire BHS face book page.
Our thanks to Vicky for her patience and expert input and tuition, as well as for standing in heavy rain for most of the day! Thanks also to Jo Raggett at New House Farm for having such a well-drained arena!