Cut­ting quite a dash

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country - Flora Watkins

TWO hunts are hop­ing to cap­i­talise on the resur­gence of sidesad­dle rid­ing (COUN­TRY LIFE, Oc­to­ber 2, 2013) by hold­ing side-sad­dle dashes at their point-to-points. At the Bices­ter meet­ing on March 12 (Whitfield) and the South­down and Eridge on April 9 (God­stone), race­go­ers will en­joy the sight of ladies fly­ing down the race­course in tra­di­tional dress.

‘We’ve been in­un­dated with re­quests,’ says Vic­to­ria Jew­son from the Bices­ter. ‘The only pre­req­ui­site is that riders must have hunted; our hunts­man and hounds will lead the run­ners down to the start.’ The win­ner will be given a mink gilet, do­nated by V Furs of Lon­don.

At the God­stone meet­ing, mem­bers of the Side Sad­dle As­so­ci­a­tion will give a demon­stra­tion be­fore the race and riders are in­vited to pa­rade with hounds.

Sue Webb, whose idea it was to in­cor­po­rate the dash, has had ‘en­quiries from all over the coun­try—in­clud­ing one man’. She hopes that the spec­ta­cle will bring in new peo­ple. ‘Side sad­dle is such a crowd-pleaser. The num­bers of peo­ple that come around the ring when we do the his­tor­i­cal dis­play at the South of Eng­land Show are huge.’

The Bices­ter is also hop­ing that the dash will boost its gate, with or­gan­is­ers mov­ing mar­quees to look out over the race­course.

En­tries for the Bices­ter dash are now closed. For the South­down and Eridge, con­tact point-to-point sec­re­tary Sally Marks (sally.marks36@bt­in­ter­

Dianas of the chase: the pop­u­lar­ity of side-sad­dle dashes is pro­vid­ing a boost to point-to-point meet­ings

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