Side by side: Three generations of side saddle riders compete at championship show

  • Three generations of side saddle riders — daughter, mother and granddaughter — competed side by side at the recent national championship show held at Addington Manor.

    Danielle Spinney shared the ride on Highland stallion Clandon Oliver Twist with her mum Annie Neame, 59. She also watched her daughter Hemi Spinney, eight, ride her Welsh section B pony Bobbin Jarman. While Danielle was contending her third national championship show as a side-saddle rider, Hemi and Annie were making their first visits to the show.

    The three jockeys live together at their base in Kent.

    “I’ve ridden side-saddle for three seasons and this year, Mum decided she wanted to give it a go, ” said Danielle. “She had a taster lesson about 40 years ago and only picked it back up again this year; she practised at home a few times and the championships was her first show.

    Twelve-year-old Oliver Twist has been owned by Annie since he was eight months old and has been used as the family’s stud stallion.

    Danielle caught the side-saddle bug just before her wedding in 2013.

    “It was my dream to be able to ride Oliver Twist down the isle so I got in touch with a trainer who helped me saddle him up and learn the basics so I could just about ride him to the church,” continues Danielle.

    “I had a Highland mare at the time so I decided to have a few lessons and learn properly.

    “The tables turned at the champs this year, as mum is normally on the ground grooming and I had to do my fair share this time. There is a running joke that I never get him looking as good as she can!”

    Danielle has a three-year-old colt by Oliver Twist ready to come through the ranks next year. “It will be nice to have the two of them out together as father and son,” she says.

    Annie and Oliver Twist secured several placings including a fifth in the native breed dressage.

    Danielle’s daughter Hemi also shone at her first championships, picking up the reserve award in the Signet rider of the year.

    “Hemi is also very keen and she is growing in confidence,” says Danielle. “We’d love to watch her do more as it’s important to keep the art of side-saddle riding going through junior riders.”

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