Record side saddle turnout for Quorn opening meet

Side saddle aficionados from as far afield as Ireland and Belgium made the journey to Leicestershire on Saturday (27 October) for the Quorn’s opening meet.

Organised by Emma Brown, 40 ladies hunted side saddle, which is thought to be a record in modern times.

“I was so proud to have had a hand in the proceedings, to see such elegance and history being made — and to see so many friends who enjoy riding sideways,” said Miss Brown.

Riders included the Irish side saddle high jump holder Susan Oakes and her friend Kalindi Lawrence, Heidi Ruyver — who brought her stallion, Berner over from Belgium for the occasion — and 12-year-old Lucy Burton with her pony Maria.

Lorries turned up from Yorkshire and East Anglia. Karen Bamford provided a number of hirelings for riders including Jo Hales and Julia Broadman, a Derbyshire-based side saddle judge.

Another Irish rider, Emily Meredith, looked so elegant in her habit that it prompted her boyfriend, Dermot Haniffy, to propose.

Bruce Langley McKim, who has featured in H&H riding his Irish draught stallion side saddle, lent him to Barbara Wale for the occasion. Other ladies out included Alicia Bradley on 22-year-old Skeeta Reefa — thought to be the oldest horse in the field — and Samantha Pilling from Coalville on Toby, nicknamed ‘the warhorse’, who was reported to have jumped the biggest hedges he has ever tackled sideways.

“I think you could say it’s going to be called the ‘side saddle opening meet’ from now on,” said Miss Brown.

“Monday will seem quiet hunting without them all,” she added.