Move over eventers: these ladies have a lock on “most crazy awesome ridiculous thing done on a horse.”
Sunday saw the return of the second annual “Mrs. George C. Everhart Memorial Invitational Side Saddle Chase”, the first side saddle race in the United States. It did not disappoint. These brave women made several jumping efforts over a vast green course on the Oatlands Plantation in Leesburg, Virginia over the weekend, to the thrill of the local crowd.
(Note: must be logged into Facebook to view, or you can see the video by clicking here. Click the Facebook “f” in the corner if the video is not playing for you.)
Perhaps most delightful and admirable of all, after showing their fortitude and pluck in the heart-stopping event, all the ladies demonstrate the most ladylike sportsmanship at the finish line by shaking hands and congratulating each other on a safe and successful event for all the participants.
The race organizers were Maggie Johnston and Devon Zebrovious, who decided to develop the event after meeting British sidesaddle racing organizer Philippa Holland in 2013. Holland runs the Dianas of the Chase Race, which was previously the only sidesaddle steeplechase in the world. The event quickly became beloved and iconic, even inspiring a scene in the PBS period drama, Downton Abbey.
The video was shot by Middleburg Photo, and you can see many more fabulous photos of the race (and more moments from The Loudon Races) on their website. You can also follow the race on Facebook.
Go sidesaddle riding!