THE SUSAN OAKES SIDE SADDLE TRAINING ACADEMY

Whoa, who knew this would be so much fun and so informative?  I picked Susan up at the airport on Friday with her Chasing a Fox mascot; boy, is he getting around.  He was just in the Horse Illustrated September issue!

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Anyway, I digress.  I had to zip back to the barn to meet up with a rider coming in with her horse from New York for the clinic.  Lucky for me, my good friends were at the barn cause she beat me back.  With her, all settled in we headed to dinner.  I had organized a small dinner for the ladies riding in the clinic at a local restaurant where we all met and had a great time.

The next morning Susan and I had to go back to the airport to pick up our friend Stephanie Boyer the owner of Grey Lake Stables, who Chasing a Fox put the clinic on with.  After a quick lunch, we headed over for Susan to look at The Myopia Schooling Field.  Susan started the clinic out in our Polo Arena and moved everyone pretty quickly outside.  I was so proud of all the ladies; everyone jumped everything…..sooooo crazy.

Ashley and susan

Ashely and Susan

angela greer jumping.

Angela on her horse Lily

Sam and Milo

Sam and Milo

Day one of the clinic was a huge success, and we headed over to Myopia for dinner at the club.  Thank you to one of our joint masters Kim Cutler for hosting us for dinner and giving everyone a very informative history lesson on the club.

Sunday I was up early going to see just how dirty Sir Thomas was.  Of course, he needed a bath before the clinic, so he was nice and cool to start, he was still a little damp…..Poor Mr. Pink had never jumped before so I asked Susan to take him for a spin.

Squeal, Susan sat on my pony!!!  When I got on him, he was perfectly tuned up and ready to go.  Unfortunately, I was so busy organizing and running around; it’s almost like I wasn’t there.  There are no pictures of me actually riding accept a group one at the end of my lesson…..I hate when that happens.  Oh, well, maybe next time.

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Jess and Fiona-love the look on her face, she’s so calm.  Looks like she’s sitting on the couch.

maryell and chunky

Mary Ellen and Chunky Photo Credit: Carla Skinder

In the end, we all graduated from the Susan Oakes Side Saddle Training Academy.  She taught us some great tricks that you could only learn at one of her clinics, so if you ever have the opportunity don’t miss it!

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As you can see, we had a wonderful time and are so grateful that Susan and Stephanie made the trip! Now I have to buy a frame to hang up my diploma!

 

THE LADIES OF THE CHASE

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Chasing a Fox flew down to Virginia to attend the National Sporting Library and Museum’s Sidesaddle Chase Awards Ceremony. http://bit.ly/2bkOiO4 We went to support our good friend Mary Musheno on her winning the United States High-Point Rider award.  Mary was number two overall behind Susan Oakes who won all three races. It was lovely to get together with this wonderful group of like minded women to celebrate a truly inspiring sport.

Our first order of business was to check out the new Side Saddle Cafe. http://bit.ly/2bBBVxA (which was pretty cool!)  One of our favorite parts was the kitschy paintings on the bathroom doors.  (Can you guess who they are?)

The most exciting part of the weekend was the awards ceremony.  Our dear friend Kim, who owns Middy n’ Me worked tirelessly on a sidesaddle collection just for the occasion.  The fashions will be available soon online, and we will be sure to post with a link when they are.  I don’t even know where to start because I want it all!!!  I was lucky to be asked to model the Sir Thomas Pink Skirt which I was drooling over.

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The Sir Thomas Pink skirt, The Valentine skirt, and The Maureen skirt.

The fashion show was a huge success. As you will see in the following videos, It was so wonderful that Cathi Grove lost her mind and stole the whole thing.  (She looks like an upstanding citizen until…)

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She stuffed the mannequins and collection in her car.  I chased her down, but with stacked heels, a fancy purse and a still recovering broken back, I wasn’t very fast!!

As if she didn’t have enough, she wanted the Amy tunic that I was wearing.  Before I knew what was happening she whipped off her shoes, came running at me and threw me over her shoulder.  (She is a firefighter in real life.)  With my feet hanging out the window, she proceeded to drive through Middleburg laughing her head off!   OMG, that was so funny, I almost wet my pants!  It’s all fun and games till someone gets kidnapped.

Eventually, Cathi brought everything back, and we went over to The Salamander Resort and Spa for dinner.  We were so loud laughing that when Amy Magee showed up, she could hear us from the front door.

We headed back to the cabin to pack things up.  I guess I bought more than I should have.  I had to lay on my suitcase to get it closed.sissi laying on suitcase

Needless to say, we had a wonderful weekend.  The only things missing were Susan Oakes, who won the whole series and Stephanie Boyer who lent her Fort Henry, who she rode like she stole him!

Susan High Hope

Until we meet again on November 6th at the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup Races.  (Which has added a sidesaddle race!)

Kick on!

XO

Popsicle Headache

 

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That’s right, I’ve had a popsicle headache thinking about my dilemma of buying the right vest for me.  After months of trying to wade through the process of how to be “safe” on my horse. I have finally decided where I will be at least on my way to feeling comfortable.

I have been borrowing a friends “safety vest” while I figured the whole thing out.  After I had started my research, I realized the vest I was borrowing was not even rated……OMG, I may as well have just ridden in my t-shirt.  Well, maybe not that bad, but definitely not the protection I am looking for.

I have read almost everything I could find and talked to absolutely everyone who would humor me with my constant conversation.  I finally pulled the trigger and ordered a vest.  I decided the only thing I could do was to think about it like I was buying a car.  What has the best safety ratings and what would I put my kids in.  In the end, it was a no-brainer, I’m going to be riding in a Point Two Hunter Air Jacket.

As you all know, since my accident I’ve had to look at riding in a whole new light.  I know there is always a certain amount of risk that goes along with this sport. But having the right safety equipment will at least help protect me more than nothing which is what I was wearing before.  I mean, I would never get on my horse without my helmet so now I won’t get on without a vest.

Now, I’m eagerly waiting by the mailbox for my vest.  Hopefully, my popsicle headache will go away.  I’ll tell you all about it when it arrives and what I think.

Until next time, be safe and kick on!

 

CLEAR YOUR CALENDARS!

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If you are going to be anywhere near us on August 20th or 21st you should come.  We have been so lucky to get to know Susan, and we cannot say enough about how wonderful she is.  We are all going to be in Virginia the weekend of August 13th, and we asked Susan if she would come stay with us and do a clinic before she went back to Ireland and she said “YES!”   She and our other gal pal Stephanie Boyer who owns Grey Lake Stables with her soon-to-be husband Ivan Dowling will be jetting in on Friday the 20th and staying with us for the weekend! (Ivan, by the way, was the Huntsman for Mr. Stewart’s Cheshire Foxhounds for over a decade!)  Grey Lake Stables http://bit.ly/29St0bA is a lovely farm in Unionville, PA where they train and sell quality foxhunters, timber racing horses and retrain off-the-track thoroughbreds.

If you don’t realize what a unique opportunity this really is, here are just a couple of other things Susan has done….

In addition to her world records, Susan Oakes’ other numerous accomplishments include:

  • Won the Irish Hunt Horse competition riding Croboy Rambo.
  • Represented Ireland numerous times eventing at junior level.
  • Rode side saddle in two movies, including Lassie.
  • Set the world record for side saddle jumping at 6’5” over the triple bar.
  • Set a world record for jumping side saddle on a Connemara pony over a puissance wall at 1.35m.
  • First woman to open an international puissance competition by jumping the puissance wall aside.
  • Won the inaugural running of the “Dianas of the Chase” side saddle race in England (with a bitless bridle).
  • First jockey, male or female, to win a race over three miles and 15 fences in a bitless bridle.
  • Rode in the world-famous La Touché cup at the Punchestown Racecourse twice.
  • Represented Ireland in the world Arab racing series.
  • Organized two record setting gatherings for ladies hunting side saddle, with 50 ladies in 2013 with Meath Hunt and 62 ladies in 2014 with the Tara Harriers Hunt.
  • Master of the Grallagh Harriers Hunt in Ireland from 2013 – 2016.
  • Rode aside in the inaugural 170th reenactment steeplechase race from Doneraile to Buttevant.
  • Took 2nd place in the first ever running of a side saddle flat race in Wincanton, UK.
  • Participated in a side saddle jumping display at the opening ceremony of the European Championships in Aachen, Germany in 2015 with 50,000 guests in attendance.
  • Holds the astride Irish ladies’ puissance record. So, we’re just saying, she’s done some stuff!!!

So, we’re just sayin, she’s got some street cred!!!

Here are the details for the clinic!

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We hope you can join us for all or part of this!  There is also a rumor that Middy N’ Me will be coming for the weekend too.   let’s see, the last time we were all together it took me a month to recuperate and we will be hanging in Virginia the weekend before too….look out!

Make your plans!!!!!

XO

WHAT YOU NEVER KNEW YOU NEEDED TO KNOW

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We love when you write to us with fun questions.  One of you wrote: “Why do we leave the bottom button of our vest undone?

This was the only picture I could find of me that has a good shot of the bottom of my vest.  This photo was taken on a really hot day as I was waiting to go into an appointments class.  (I know my hunt whip should be facing backward.) My friend had just handed it to me (remember I had a little case of heat stroke.)  I had switched it before I went into the ring!

Anyway, this is what we have been told about the button question.  The tradition started after one of the Kings got fat and couldn’t do his up.  Since he couldn’t, no one else could either!!  We would love to hear any other stories you have been told about the bottom button.  We love this stuff!!

If you didn’t already know to leave your bottom button undone, now you do.  Just remember to leave it that way, you never know when you might run into the King!

THE STRUGGLE IS REAL

Thomas

Introducing THOMAS PINK, one of my favorite tailors, and my new horse!

So it’s official.  I have a new horse, and I have to be honest, I’m in uncharted waters.  (Not because I have a horse, cause I’ve always had one of those.)  I am 48 years old and until about a month ago, I have never, ever, ever even sat on a gray horse never mind been responsible for keeping one clean.  I need everyone’s help.  I need your tips and tricks on keeping one tidy…….I really have no clue.  Imagine, how could I be so naive?

Every morning I get to the barn, and there he is standing there in all his stained glory!  I add more shavings to his stall, but it doesn’t matter he is still a mess.  I don’t even want to think about Hunt season.  It was hard enough getting to the meet on time having a chestnut or bay horse; I may have to sleep at the barn!

It feels great to be back in the saddle on such a sweet horse!  Hopefully, you all can help me figure out how to keep this guy clean.  Let me in on your gray horse hacks; #thestruggleisreal

XO

TO VEST, OR NOT TO VEST-THAT IS THE QUESTION.

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{Photo courtesy of Nature of Light Photography, all rights reserved}

For those of you, that follow us here at Chasing a Fox.  You are probably wondering where my new pony Big Chief is. Well after he took the long ride from Aiken to get to me for his “semi-retirement” it occurred to us it was time for him to retire for real.  So with heavy hearts, we loaded him back on a Fairway Trucking rig on Thursday and sent him off to Virginia where he will live out the rest of his days eating grass and loving life!

So now for the rest of the story.  When I returned from Kentucky a few weeks ago, I walked into the barn, and this adorable gray popped his head out of a stall to greet me.  He was so cute, and he was hanging out with Big Cheif and his other friend Shorty.  My good friend Kathy (who by the way is a roper) told me this guy had been brought in for a dressage rider to try out.  Really, he’s a dressage horse?  He is part of a roping team, and he is the head horse.  That means his rider ropes the cows head while his partner ropes the feet.  There is also a rumor that he was a pick-up horse at a rodeo.  A pick-up horse is a horse that catches the Broncs after the rider falls off.  Well, evidently this horse does it all.  I can attest to that because he went hunting for the first time last week and look at the snaffle in his mouth and he was PERFECTION!

Anyway, my big conundrum is all about the safety equipment.  As you all have probably figured out by now, I am a true old school traditionalist.  No room for change from tradition and here I find myself wearing a safety vest.  What has made this transition a little easier is that my racing sidesaddle friends all wear them over their habits, and they still look lovely.  We want to know what your thoughts are on the safety vest.  Do you wear one, if you do what kind do you wear and do you wear it over your coat or under……so much for my poor little brain to digest.  Breaking your back is no joke, and I am taking this change very seriously, please tell me your thoughts!

XO

 

HIGH HOPE STEEPLECHASE SIDESADDLE RACE RESULTS

Wow, we are so proud of all the ladies that raced in these exciting races this year!  Here are the race results for High Hope.  Chasing a Fox and Middy N’ Me were the sponsors for the “Who Wore it Best” awards for all of these, so we got to pick the winners.  (All the ladies that participated were lovely!) What fun to be in the infield with all the movers and shakers.

OVER FENCES

1st Place: Susan Oakes on Fort Henry

2nd Place: Meredith Johnson on Skittles

3rd Place: Maureen Britell on Tango

Who wore it best- Christina Mulqueen

Susan High Hope

{Susan Oakes aboard Fort Henry- Photo Courtesy of Jj Kansas Jayhawk Sillman (notice the Chasing a Fox mascots attached to Henry’s breastplate and D-rings, that fox on the front, had one hell of view) all rights reserved}

FLAT RACE

1st Place: Bernadette Boland on Reddington
2nd Place:  Mary Musheno on Brum Brum Boy
3rd Place: Cathi Grove on Figure it Out

Who wore it best- Bernadette Boland

Bernadette winning race

{Bernadette Boland aboard Reddington- Photo by Middleburg Photo, all rights reserved} http://www.middleburgphoto.com/

PARADE RESULTS

Who wore it best-Mary Musheno

Mary Musheno

{Mary aboard Brum Brum Boy, led by the very dapper Andrew Camp}

 

A SIDEWAYS GLANCE AT THE PADDOCK PART III – HIGH HOPE

This is our last rider to profile before the race.  Look out ladies, I think she is hunting for bear!  We’d like to introduce you to –  Meredith Ruth Johnson
Meredith Ruth Johnson
Meredith and Skittles photo courtesy of Bruce Corwin
So, Meredith, Inquiring minds want to know……
How old are you?
I’m am 22
Who are you riding?
I am taking Susan Corwin’s OTTB Skittles, she is a 10-year-old plain bay mare.
Where are you coming from?
Sue and I are trailering from Louisville.
How long have you been riding aside?
I have been riding since I was 6, I got my start in hunter/jumpers, then hunted for about six seasons, and started riding aside 3 years ago.
Do you hunt, and if so who do you hunt with?
I’ve been hunting for about six seasons, (thanks,college). I got my start with Beach Grove Hunt, and have hunted with Cedar Knob Hounds and Long Run.
What do you love most about riding aside?
I love riding sidesaddle because it feels like that was the way my body is supposed to move. It feels so natural and effortless.
What do you do when you’re not riding?
I am  hard core horse girl so I don’t do much outside of the barn. I would have to say though that my other love is reading.
What about the weekend are you looking forward to most?
I can’t wait to meet all the ladies! I talk to them online but have never met them in person!
Chasing a Fox wishes Meredith and Skittles good luck on race day!
If you want to learn more about the High Hope Steeplechase, go to – http://highhopesteeplechase.com

A SIDEWAYS GLANCE AT THE PADDOCK PART II – HIGH HOPE

We are so excited to meet these new ladies that are going to run this weekend.  Next up is Victoria Nader!

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So, Victoria, inquiring minds want to know……

How old are you?

I would rather not say my age. However, I will say that my horse is older than I am. 🙂

Who are you riding?
2. I am riding my mare Nemesis. She is a 19-year-old (20 in June, which makes her a Gemini) Anglo-Arab (3/4 thoroughbred 1/4 Arab). My little bomb proof pony is 14.2. She’s done just about everything from hunter to carting and western pleasure to jousting.

Where are you coming from?

My pony and I are coming from the corn fields of Greenville Oh.

How long have you been riding aside?

I’ve been riding sidesaddle now for five years.

Are you a foxhunter and if so, who do you Hunt with?

I am a fox hunter, but I have yet to do so aside. I hunt with the Miami Valley Hunt located in Urbana Oh

What do you love most about riding aside?

While I love just about everything about riding aside, I must say the average person’s reactions are my favorite. I must admit I love when an astride rider says I can’t do something aside, and I then go to prove them wrong.

What do you do when you’re not riding?

As of the moment, I am finishing up my senior year of high school while working a part-time job as a waitress. I’ll be attending Midway university as a full-time student starting this fall.

What are you most looking forward to this weekend?
I’m excited for the weekend as a whole! However, I’m most excited for the race itself, when else am I going to have the chance to run against these ladies! I’ll admit, it is a bit intimidating, though.

Chasing a Fox wishes Victoria and Nemesis good luck on race day!

For more information about the High Hope Steeplechase go to – http://Highhopesteeplechase.com

SKIP INTRO