I stopped by the Myopia Horse Show in South Hamilton, Massachusetts on Saturday, August 31st. The day was hot and humid with a little rain, unlike the mild and dry summer weekends we have had all August. This year I was particularly interested in seeing the Ladies Side Saddle Hunter, an event which hasn’t been on the roster for several years. I had only seen women ride side saddle in old Western movies, so it was fun to watch. Part of the side saddle tradition, along with the classic garb which includes long flowing skirts, is to pack a flask of sherry, port or scotch in the saddle bag. My interest was further peaked in this sport.
Although the side saddle was designed hundreds of years ago to enable women to ride horses while conforming to the cultural norms of feminine modesty, it didn’t stop some adventurous women from being exceptional riders. In 1915, Mrs. Esther Stace cleared a 6’6″ fence at a horse show in Australia, setting a world record. But Esther’s record isn’t considered official because she and her horse launched from a springboard. This past year, Michaela Bowling set a British side saddle jumping record by clearing 6ft 3in. Very impressive considering most of us couldn’t imagine flying over a fence that high with a leg on each side of a horse.
Here are some of my images from the hunter and jumper rings at the Myopia show, and from around the beautiful grounds surrounding the Myopia Hunt Club.