Wednesday News & Notes from Haygain

Something we don’t talk about often enough (I think, at least) is the character-building traits horsemanship cultivates. I feel like I always hear parents expressing gratitude that their kids found horses versus partying in high school, and I have to believe that isn’t only because horses take up a lot of time. Spending time around horses builds work ethic, compassion, empathy, awareness, dedication…the list is basically endless.

This is one reason why I really love the PERCS program at Detroit Horsepower. This program, which teaches Detroit-area youth how to ride and care for horses while also building character traits, centers around five core focuses: Perseverance, Empathy, Responsible risk-taking, Confidence, and Self-control. Through this value-charged approach, Detroit Horsepower is producing not only knowledgeable horsemen and women but also better-equipped humans. You can learn more about this incredible program and how you can support it here.

#WomensHistoryMonth Bit of the Day:

Ok, bear with me here. For today’s moment in women’s history, let’s talk about the sidesaddle. I got to wondering: what was the origin of the sidesaddle? Well, I went down a rabbit hole and what I found was…interesting. There are plenty of women warriors who have ridden into battle astride a horse, but then men decided they needed a say, and that protecting a woman’s virginity was more important than riding “normally”.

It was Princess Anne of Bohemia who was on a journey to wed England’s King Richard II. On the journey, it was decided that the princess’ virginity must be preserved, so the sidesaddle was used. Excuse me — really?

True West Magazine writes: “By 1600, riding aside was the only way a “decent” woman could ride a horse without scorn. Most women went willingly along—except for Catherine the Great, of course, who was so powerful, she decreed her court would all ride astride. The reins, both of personal power and individual equestrian control, had been taken away by men who now restricted a woman’s political and equestrian destinies,” CuChullaine O’Reilly wrote for the Long Riders Guild Academic Foundation.”

As time went on, women began to leave the sidesaddle behind, a choice that was soon associated with female liberty. ““The fall of the sidesaddle is linked to the rise of female liberty, for it was the dawning of political freedom which brought about the overdue death of this repressive equine invention,” CuChullaine O’Reilly wrote in her article “Sidesaddles and Suffragettes, the Fight to Ride and Vote“.

At any rate, it’s an interesting history lesson. I know I learned something new. You can read the full article here.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Ocala Winter II H.T. (Ocala, Fl.): [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Volunteer]

Pine Top Spring H.T. (Thomson, Ga.): [Website] [Entry Status] [Ride Times] [Volunteer]

Wednesday News & Reading:

Calling all volunteers! The Ocala Winter II H.T. at Florida Horse Park is still in need of volunteers this weekend. The Advanced division will run on Friday, and volunteers are needed to jump judge on cross country. Click here to sign up and earn some VIP points!

It’s time to apply for the next round of Strides for Equality Equestrians’ Ever So Sweet Scholarship! If you’ve missed any of the cool things winter recipient Sierra Lesny has been up to, you’ll definitely want to follow the Ever So Sweet Instagram page — talk about FOMO! Now’s your chance to apply: click here to learn more.

Canadian rider Dana Cooke is hot off a great weekend at Red Hills and has some exciting horses coming up in her string. Read all about her weekend and learn some more about her horses in this write-up from Equestrian Canada.

I think it’s safe to say the Swedish know a thing or two about horse management — just ask their Tokyo gold medal-winning show jumping team. Get some insight and perspective on turnout from Peder Fredericson in this interview piece from The Chronicle of the Horse.

Watch This on H&C+:

Did you miss any action from this weekend’s Dutch Masters? You can catch the replay on H&C — and then don’t forget to tune in next week for Carolina International!

Wednesday Video Break:

Just another highlight reel from “back in the day” — this one comes from the 1978 World Championships held in Kentucky!