Exciting challenges for side saddle daredevils

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  • Brave side saddle riders will welcome the news that two high-profile events are to become permanent fixtures in the calendar.

    The Leaping Ladies high jump challenge and the Dianas of the Chase steeplechase have attracted such interest that their respective organisers now plan to run them on an annual basis.

    Last month (27 July), Michaela Bowing (pictured top) is believed to have set a new British high jump record for side saddle, at the Aintree National Show. She cleared 6f 3in (1.90m) on Laughing Larry.

    “It’s a crowd pleaser — there were around 600 spectators,” said Aintree’s Carly Goodall.

    “We think that Michaela’s horse could definitely go higher next time — the world record is 6ft 6in, so that’s just a couple more holes.

    “There were also some very good juniors, so I think we may do a junior section next year.”

    Jewellery designer Philippa Holland’s inaugural Dianas of the Chase steeplechase (2 February) attracted considerable media interest and she has confirmed that it will run again next year.

    Philippa was inspired to organise the race after discovering that she was not allowed to ride sideways in a point-to-point.

    “I wanted to show that side saddle isn’t just about looking pretty in the showring — it’s about being brave, as well as looking elegant,” she told H&H.

    Lizzie Harris — who came second in the Dianas race to Susan Oakes — said she hoped to go one better next year.

    “I love the showing, but it is great to have variety,” she said.

    Visit www.dianas-of-the-chase.com

    This news story was first published in Horse & Hound magazine (22 August, 2013)

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