Although I knew that Peter Mikkelsen sponsored the sidesaddle class at the Grand National Horse Show, I had actually never been to the event. I received an email from Karol Kafka, co-founder of CA Aside, letting me know that the event was coming up on October 25, that she was bringing Peter and inviting me to join them. I invited one of my non-horsey friends who was interested to see what this sidesaddle thing is all about and experience a horse show.
The sidesaddle class was delayed, but that just gave us time to catch up and visit with Karol and Peter. There was a time when there was much stronger support for this show and in general, the attendance seemed kind of sparse. Peter mentioned that one year there were 18 riders in the sidesaddle class. This year there were 4 registered and 2 cancelled, so there were only two riders in the class. They were both very nicely turned out – 1 western, 1 English hunt – and both experienced riders, so it makes it a difficult choice. The English rider, Laura Stevens , took first place and the western rider, DeeDee Kramer was a close second.
The western rider was a trainer named DeeDee Kramer, who I had met more than a year ago – maybe 2 – when a client of hers had bought a sidesaddle on trial and wanted to have the fit checked. As it turned out, they stabled only a few miles from me, so I had gone over to check on it for them and met DeeDee there.
The English rider was also a local trainer, even closer to where I live though I had not met her previously. She trains, teaches and works with Welsh ponies. After the class I had the opportunity to visit with her briefly and let her know I was going to be taking an English saddle making class and that at Level 2 I will be making a pony saddle. She was so excited! “It’s hard to find saddles that fit these ponies. Ponies are so hard to fit!” The thought occurred to me that if anyone were interested in having a custom pony saddle made, it would be helpful for me to know their measurements and to order the tree to fit a particular client or horse. She thought it was a great idea and we agreed to keep in touch.