Cutting quite a dash
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Dianas of the chase: the popularity of side-saddle dashes is providing a boost to point-to-point meetings