I first got the opportunity to ride sidesaddle many years ago as a freshman in college. While it was only one ride, it was something I took to immediately and getting to ride aside again was something that remained in the back of my mind for years afterwards, and I had always longed to do it again someday. Fortunately for me, that dream came true last week!
Recently, Sully's Mom purchased a sidesaddle for him to fulfill her own long-held dreams of riding aside, and invited me to take him for a spin. It was absolutely just as fun as I remembered it being!
Sully was also a total gem to pack me around for my first time aside in nearly 15 years, and such a good egg for not having really any training as a sidesaddle horse whatsoever. He complied with all my requests as well as he could understand them, and was just all around a good boy.
I managed a reasonable walk, trot, and right lead canter (the left lead was.. challenging without a leg on the right side!) and was able to remain pretty secure in the tack despite the horns not being properly shaped for my legs. I couldn't, though, make my right toe point downwards like it should have. I've got too many decades of "heels down" burned into my brain and muscle memory!
Despite not having ridden aside in a long, long time, after a few minutes of tooling around with Sully it felt almost as comfortable as riding astride. It was such a gift to be able to ride sidesaddle again, and I'm so thankful to Sully's Mom for letting me take a spin in her new saddle. I've always loved this elegant discipline, and it's easy to imagine oneself as a lady from a fantasy story when riding aside - something my active imagination greatly enjoys! Hopefully I'll be able to pursue riding aside even more in the future.
Have you ever ridden aside? Did you love it or was it just too weird for you?