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Bippity boppity bits, buckles and balance girths!

Updated: Jul 18, 2021

Last blog we spoke about turnout for the rider. Today we're going to talk about turnout for the chosen mount, including the side saddle and further appointments. I should preface this by saying that I am of course aware that all the turnout we've spoken about is 'English' riding based. This is because 99% of places you can ride/compete aside in Australia will require English side saddle turnout (as opposed to Western). If Western is something people want to know more about, I can certainly cover this as a topic in another blog after I've cross referenced allowable side saddle rules within the Western associations in Australia. - Correctly fitting English type side saddle with safety fitting or, if the saddle has a roller bar, an appropriate safety stirrup. The inside measurement of the stirrup should be at least 12 mm. (half an inch) wider than the boot. Covering this point further: below is a fantastic exert which covers not only the parts of a side saddle but also some popular 'brand name' or patented types of safety fittings. Alternative to the below fittings, some older or unbranded side saddles have a 'roller bar fitting' (image below). A side saddle should NOT have a fitting similar to that of an astride saddle. Appropriate types of safety stirrups to be used with roller bar fittings can be those like Cope, Scotts or Latchford or a common astride type of safety stirrup like Kwik-Outs or Peacock Irons.

- Numnahs (when worn) should be well fitting and unobtrusive to the eye. Wykeham pads are permitted, but must fit the saddle. - Saddle linen should be correctly whitened (lightly applied and with no old flaking whitener left on), or if left unwhitened, should have no marks. - Threefold leather girth (or lampwick), with central loop if full length balance girth is fitted. In Australia, for low level/non-turnout classes, synthetic girths would be fine to use providing they have a keeper of some kind to hold the balance girth in place. Buckles should not be directly attached to/by

elastic. - Leather balance girth should be full length, or attached to the girth. Y-balance girths permitted on older saddles.

- Bridles should only be used with a flat or slightly raised cavesson


- If rider is wearing a silk hat/top hat, a double or Pelham-type bridle must be worn. - Martingales, boots and bandages are NOT permitted in regular show classes. Working Hunter classes may make an exception for this. - Cruppers may be used, but must be correctly fitted. - Horses should be turned out to that of 'open' class standard (i.e. to have manes plaited and tails plaited, pulled or clipped, quarter marks, make-up, blacked hooves, trimmed face, etc.) - Pure-bred, native breeds and other breeds whose governing bodies stipulate alternative turnout rules to that of open standard i.e. unplaited manes or tails, need not be plaited. Remembering that these guidelines above are just that.. guidelines! We are all bound by the rules of the associations we compete under (EA, Pony Club, AHSA, RAS, etc.) until such time that there is a national governing body for side saddle in Australia. Make sure you read the rules of those associations, cross reference with these guidelines and of course, ask for help if you're unsure! So long as you and your mount are neat and clean and your gear is functional and most importantly, well fitting; you should be right to get going. There is also no right or wrong type of horse to use for side saddle and all types and breeds are welcome in the side saddle show ring. If competing side saddle in regular 'open' classes unfortunately you may find some judge bias against breed or type but this aside (pardon the pun!), you're out there giving it a go and getting the discipline noticed and talked about and this is much more important than bringing home a ribbon at the end of the day! So get out there, give it a crack and HAVE FUN! Victorian Ag Societies that normally hold side saddle class(es) or have indicated there will be classes this 2021/2022 show season: Wangaratta Ag Show - Friday 8th of October 2021 Sunbury Ag Show - Saturday 9th of October 2021 Kyabram Ag Show - Saturday 16th of October 2021 Benalla Ag Show - Saturday 16th of October 2021 (While Kyabram and Benalla are held on the same day, it's entirely possible to do both shows. One has classes in the morning at the start of the program and the other in the afternoon at the end of the program). Mansfield Ag Show - Saturday 20th of November 2021 Lilydale Ag Show - Sunday 21st of November 2021 Side saddles and habits are available for hire for these and any other shows/competitions. Contact us or CLICK HERE for more information!


Credits for images that aren't my own: - Book: 'Side-Saddle' by Jane Pryor - - Grainge Show Bridle - Saddleworld Website

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