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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Jungle Fever -

Apparently what these saddle makers suffer from.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Shockingly Pink

Another lovely *cough* piece from the intrepid saddle makers in Craptackistan. This one hurts to look at, the searing pink flowers just kind of burn the retinas.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


[krap-tak-uh-stahn] (noun) a subcontinent in South Asia well known for producing low quality, unattractive, ill fitting, and often structurally unsound horse equipment.

Examples -

Thank you cattypex for coining this term!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Rainbow Brite

Endurance saddle, made in India (surprise!) and available in a nauseating array of colors. Some are tolerable, some are, well, painful to look at. Click to embiggen.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Return of the camo...

Been awhile since I have seen anything new on the camo front. This one is very, um, stylized in pattern. RealTree it ain't.

Monday, May 16, 2011


Well, I have succeeded in finding a horse show association that welcomes aside riders! The Association of Northwest Arkansas Riding Clubs have been very welcoming and nice. They already have one aside rider and are excited to have another! THANK YOU ANWARC! Also the MidState Horse Show Association, part of the same parent organization as the CAHSA group has welcomed my inquiry regarding riding in their Ladies Gaited class aside. I have written and submitted an article to a local horse magazine the Horseman's Roundup concerning riding aside and how to get started. Hopefully it will get published within the next couple of issues. So things are looking up!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Arkansas Gaited Horse Show Association

I would love for other aside (or heck even astride) riders to go speak their mind and to point out the fact that if they are using TWHBEA rules they should allow side saddle riders.

Per TWHBEA rules, side saddles ARE ALLOWED in all flat shod classes.

According to Sue at Side Saddle Heaven...

TWHBEA has included/accepted/publicized/appreciated sidesaddle in flat-shod classes since the Versatility Program was begun in the late 1970's/early 1980's.

Ah, and now we see the reason...

He could not have more strongly reenforced a stereotype if he had outright stated, "We don't want none uv yer edjicatin, we're all a bunch of ignert hicks and we like it that way!" (pronounce it phonetically)

Learn and listen,I don't care what you do or who you do it with,but your not gonna do it with us!you go argue somewhere else and cause trouble somewhere else,I don't want to deal with you period!!!!!!!!!! You want attention And someone somewhere has time to mess with you I don't!!!all you've done us try to get everyone to think like you and adapt to your thinking,it won't happen here!! We have rules for a reason,it's clear to me your special and think we' should change the format to accommodate just you,now you need to go bother someone who gives a shit about your cause,you don't have a fight here because you dont need to belittle yourself messing with a bunch of people that are not as smart or as educated as yourself!!! Now you get on down the road and quit stirring up shit!!! We can pick and choose who we deal with and your out! Don't send or call or mail or send a damn carrier pigeon, I don't want to hear from you!!!now since you have this where you can reference to , anytime you feel the need to contact us in the future read this!!!! Because we' dont want to hear from you period!!! Not Now not tomorrow next week next year!!!!! Any further contact to push your ideas or you self on this club will be considered harassment and will be dealt with as such!!!! Do you get it now!!!! Leave us the he'll alone!!!! Kenny

Wow, what a shining example to represent their organization.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Oh, the truth will tell...

I sent you an email last night,I just wanted to make sure we had answered your questions! The link you sent that was a woman that was unhappy at the charity show, I went back and checked the records and her story is more made up than Cinderella, there was no stake class she was in and she was the fool that was excused out of a padded stake championship class riding a flatsjod horse, you made comment about the rules, most are handed down from twhbea you might want to start there to change the rules, ours follow theirs, it seems. Strange to me I've had more trouble out of you and have never met you than all the people that I do deal with!! Some things you've said raise red flags, you want people to notice and say stuff about you are you wouldn't try to be so foreign in your tack ,your dress and your ideas, your gonna reap what you sow ,I'm just not interested in dealing with you,I learned enough from sat night and a few years ago at searcy at a Shetland show ,I don't think we need to have Christmas dinner together anymore!!! We are on different pages! - Kenny McGowan, President AGHSA

My reply...

Actually, sir. You very clearly have me confused with someone else. I have never been to a Shetland show, I have only lived in the state for a couple of years and only had my horse here for one year. I have never shown in Arkansas or at all anywhere in the past 10 years, or had any contact with local horse people before Saturday.

As to using TWHBEA rules, according to them, an English side saddle is approved tack. The only banned saddle is the Australian stock saddle.

As for the rest, yes I want people to look and ask questions. It is called education and public outreach. This lack of knowledge illustrates the need for education and exposure to new ideas. Reap what I sow? Education, new ideas, history? Ok, I will reap those things, gladly.

As for my "foreign" appearance, the only difference between my riding habit and appropriate TWHBEA dress is the apron/skirt. Normal TWH show attire in English classes is also pants or side saddle skirt/apron, shirt, vest, coat and bowler hat.

Ah, blissful ignorance.

Good 'Ol Boys Club

My recent conversations to the president of the Arkansas Gaited Horse Show Association after being told I can come show but being familiar with my "equipment" that I would not be allowed to use the side saddle to show in the English tack classes. There was a misunderstanding at the local show Saturday night and I had to ask the judge a question, and when I asked to see the rule book because I did not remember reading that, I was told there was not one available at the show (??). Apparently this qualifies as poor conduct and I am a bad, evil person now. I had spoken to Ms. McBride and been told it was not an issue, then that was rescinded and rules were suddenly different. Hmmm...

Please forward this to whomever you wish, especially the President as I seem to have lost the contact info and name and my phone is on the fritz at the moment, not to mention I hate talking on the phone...

"no one is going to get there panties in a wad because your horse doesnt have shoes on or because you ride an english side saddle. You can use the ausi stock saddle as well if you so choose. You wont be tied down at this show due to any tack restrictions or shoeing regulations. I am the show manager so anything else that you need to know feel free to ask." - Lisa McBride

Apparently they sure will...

This all just seems a bit too odd to me. It seems that certain rules can made and changed to suit.

I understand that some things are new and different, but NO WHERE in the CAHSA rules could I find anything prohibiting side saddles. It is still an English saddle, whether the legs are on one side or both. I can ride it, I am safe on it, and it is appropriate for the discipline, it was not a Western side saddle in an English class. When I found out that indeed the class was Western only, I withdrew and forfeited my entry fee. I suspect the only reason the judge even placed me in the Ladies Gaited class is that I was the only one there, he barely looked at me, nor did he speak or acknowledge my presence in any way. When I was asked to line up on the judge he simply turned his back on me and walked away, leaving me standing in the middle of the ring like an idiot.

I understand now, upon further research, that the Slow Gaited class is gaited western pleasure, I had misread that before hand or had it confused with something else, eh, it happens. If I had a western side saddle still, I would have changed it, my bridle, and my clothes and ridden in the class,as the rule states, in western tack and attire, a western side saddle is still a western saddle, just as an English side saddle is an English saddle.

Many people were very inquisitive about my saddle and how I rode in it. I was hoping to have sparked some interest in aside riding. I had hoped to be able to carry it through the season and really get some interest going. Alas, that seems impossible.

I had several good reactions to my choice of tack and several not so nice ones. I was astonished to have some random man tell me that one of the ladies would, and I quote, "take that pole (referring to my riding cane, which, as I tried to explain, replaces the right leg in signaling your horse) and beat me with it if I waved it around (which I wasn't)". Threats of physical violence, how lovely. I also heard two fellow competitors discussing how they thought "that we had changed the rules to keep THOSE kind of people and horses out" referring to me. What the heck? They had just arrived and had never even SEEN me before. It's not like I had her up on stacks with chains and such, she is barefoot and natural. You can understand my frustration and aggravation after these incidents. This was BEFORE anything happened with the questions to the judge.

This sadly very much backs up what I have read on the internet concerning the AGHSA.

I have no idea what was said or what was done by my friend Caryne when she went to ask about the class Saturday. I was embarrassed to learn a few of the comments she had made, but I cannot change them, and she apologized to someone with whom there had been in a misunderstanding.

I suspect this is a simple misunderstanding blown far out of proportion. I also suspect that something new and different is found to be threatening and all possible ways to prevent it from coming around are being made. There are many riders that compete aside in multiple disciplines around the world on national and international levels including saddle seat, western, hunter, eventing, dressage and more. Most Equestrian communities are very open to new things. I think the local horse folks would enjoy bit of exposure to something different, expand the knowledge base a bit, broaden the horizons if you will.

I truly would have hoped that the local horse community would be welcoming to newcomers, new ideas, and to new things. Apparently this is not the case.

Next email to the President after his reply with his phone number.

Sir, I will and have not phoned, because I wish to have written record of all correspondence and it is much easier to put thoughts into words and maintain a cool head when you can look at things before sending. That being said...

If you have read the email forwarded to you by Ms. McBride, you know that I have an issue with the fact that I am being discriminated against for using an ENGLISH side saddle to ride in classes that require English tack and attire. What I use is first and foremost, an English saddle, just like any English saddle (there are many varieties), regardless of the location of my right leg. My attire was entirely correct for an informal English class, a riding habit in subdued, dark colors, white button up shirt, vest, coat, and bowler hat. Had it been a formal show I would have been required to wear a bow tie and top hat.

There was absolutely nothing wrong or illegal with my equipment or attire for the Ladies Gaited class at the CAHSA show, and since no one seems to actually posses a copy of the AGHSA rule book that can be emailed or posted online (of which I am doubtful is the case in 2011) and the only way I can get a copy is to pay Ms. McBride $40 for one, I am somewhat skeptical that it even mentions side saddles as no one around here seems to know anything about them. My bits are legal, if a bit odd looking to folks, it is a Weymouth bridle, used on Saddlebred horses and affords a great deal more control than a single curb bit even though it takes more skill to handle correctly.

My horse was calm, controlled, and well behaved. She was not in pain, stressed, upset or dangerous. My seat was stable and I was in no danger of falling off or injury, I showed her to the best of my ability, even though we were the only one in the class, and was completely snubbed by the judge.

For future reference side saddles come in both English and Western styles, they are shown, excepting Equitation classes where the rider and not the horse is judged, the exact same as an astride saddle of the same type. The horse is the focus of the classes in most cases. If I were jumping I would use a jumping side saddle, as I am riding saddle seat, I am using a pleasure or park type cut-back side saddle, perfectly acceptable for a gaited horse. The "pole" as it was so crudely called, is a riding cane, it replaces the right leg aids when riding aside. It is necessary to communicate to the horse correctly.

Side saddle is making a huge comeback in the horse show world, many women prefer it for showing as it displays their skill and balance as well as emphasizing the elegance of the turnout. There may be a time when it is common in the area, it is part of Southern tradition as well. There was a time, not so long ago, where it was the only acceptable way for a woman to ride.

I again apologize for the terrible inconvenience and misunderstanding that asking questions caused, being new to the area and not having shown in 10 years, I have many questions and was terribly confused. I had been snubbed, physically threatened, and rudely treated that day and was understandably (at least to most people) frustrated. I was more than willing to let things go and enjoy the rest of the show. My friend and I had a blast doing barrel pick-up and I had loads of fun doing the exhibition barrels on my girl who had never seen a barrel pattern before, but who's dam was a champion barrel horse (yes, a gaited ASB was a champion barrel horse).

I had planned to continue to support your organizations by attending shows and promoting the overall fun atmosphere by encouraging fellow equestrians to get out and participate. However, it seems that neither organization is open to new people or ideas and all effort will be made to make them feel unwelcome, even before any misunderstanding arose. So all in all, it is really a moot point since it has been made absolutely clear that my English tack and attire is unacceptable for a class requiring English tack and attire, and that anyone new will be snubbed, threatened, and rudely talked about and generally made unwelcome.

My apologies for inconveniencing you or anyone else. Since I have been informed that I cannot ask questions of members or judges, I have not asked any more. Thank you for your time.

So, if anyone out there cares to weigh in, please email the president and speak your mind.

Sunday, May 8, 2011


The SRF and I at the local horse show. After this we ran barrels (astride), she had NEVER seen a barrel pattern in her life, knew exactly what to do. The Gift Horse's genes are strong in this one.