By Danielle Buchheit The fourth rendition of Side Saddle at the USET was as delightful as the warm summer breezes of August 11 – 13 in Gladstone, NJ.
Hamilton Farm, sight of the United States Equestrian Team Head Quarters is the perfect backdrop for the presentation of our traditional form of equestrian sport.
Ladies in top hats and formal attire melded with the historic and the fabulously decorated fantasy costumes.
But Side Saddle at the USET is not just a horse show, it is a three-day holiday dedicated to riding aside.
It’s about sharing knowledge, it’s about camaraderie, it’s about sportsmanship, it’s about mentoring and then there’s the shopping.
So let’s get started.
Side Saddle at the USET really starts when the last horse trailer pulls out of the USET, the year before.
Kit Roszko, the weekend’s manager and driving force, starts booking dates, contacting clinicians, judges and other horse show staff.
She coordinates the horse show activities from ribbons to food, and drinks to of course a port-o-potty.
Her staff of Liberty Network directors and volunteers, all Clinician Kit Roszko on Count On Me.
Photo courtesy of BHS Photography. get a list of assignments to tackle.
Day 1 Friday The horse trailers started rolling in as early as Thursday, even though no activity was planned until Friday.
Ladies and horses came from as far away as North Carolina and Indiana.
While horses got settled in, Friday afternoon was spent with lessons given by SSA (Side Saddle Association of the UK) certified clinicians Anne Moss (Coatsville, PA), Heidi Opdyke (Newton, NJ) and Kit Roszko (Jackson, NJ).
Each has years of riding and teaching experience aside.
Anne has the only Silver Medal awarded by the USDF to an aside rider.
Heidi has years of awards won in the United Kingdom and Kit has ridden or coached 12 USEF National and Zone Champions in the Ladies Side Saddle Hunter Division.
All have impressive credentials.
Ladies of every skill level expanded their portfolio and had something to take home and practice.
Willie’s Tavern (Bedmisnter, NJ), a few miles away, greeted weary rider/travelers that evening with a great meal and a few cocktails.
Many tried the “French Martinis.” We all introduced ourselves around each table to attach names with faces.
Some online friends met face to face for the first time.
I got great advice from fellow ACL injured, encouraging me that it would get better soon, as a hobbled on my braced knee.
We all went home relatively early because we knew Saturday would be a big day. 4 Day 2 Saturday morning was devoted to more lessons with our great clinicians and open schooling in the main ring.
The ring was cleared at 2:30PM, to enable the last minute ring preparations before the 3PM start of the USEF Ladies Side Saddle Hunter Division.
Steve Rivetts (Three Bridges, NJ) was invited to judge, Ann Schneider (Summit, NJ) announced and Deidre Would (Stockton, NJ) was our able ringmaster.
JC Wilson and Patricia Bowens worked the gate and coordinated ribbons and awards.
Two thousand dollars in prize money was offered in this division and spread over four of the five classes being offered.
The highlight of the afternoon was the $1000 Handy Hunter Stakes Class.
This class included a trot fence as part of the course.
It was ably negotiated by all of the competitors.
All the results of the afternoon’s classes can be found on the main part of this website under USET Results.
The Championships were awarded as follows: Division Champion “Count On Me” Owned by Danielle Buchheit (NY) Ridden By Kit Roszko (NJ) Owned by M.
Laura Cramer (VA) Ridden by Sandra Conchar (VA) Reserve Champion “American Idol” The Friends Reception If you come for nothing else, come for the party.
Fran Johanns (Middletown, NY) outdoes herself preparing and coordinating the treats and the beverages.
Ann Schneider changed roles and was now our bartender, ably assisted by Miss Grace Opdyke, who got a great kick helping hand out soft drinks.
Side Saddle chatter filled the upstairs barn and the Rotunda.
Funny how ladies of different backgrounds and interests mixed over a glass of wine without hesitation, bound by a common thread.
Ladies could also sneak a peak at the USET Trophy Room above the Rotunda, where equestrian legends’ awards are on display.
Side Saddle education is the primary mission of the Liberty Network and through your support of Side Saddle at the USET, the Liberty Network was proud to make available three educational scholarships.
These scholarships were awarded during the “Friends” reception and are to be used over the next year for side saddle lessons by the winners.
No restriction was placed on their choice of instructors.
Applications for these scholarships were available on the Liberty Photo courtesy of BHS Photography. 5 Photo courtesy of BHS Photography. Side Saddle website prior to Side Saddle at the USET.
Sponsored by the Liberty Network were presented to Miss Linley Beckner (Richmond, VA) and Miss Maura Gay (Kennett Square, PA).
Each junior scholarship was worth $250.
The USHJA also sponsored a $500 scholarship.
This award was restricted to current members of USHJA and was awarded to Miss JC Wilson (Kingston, NJ).
To help support the scholarship program a raffle was set up with donated items.
The prizes included decorative outdoor lanterns, a designer scarf, a basket of golf related items donated by the Trump National Golf Club and a silver plated nutcracker.
Thanks to all the prize donors and to those that bought raffle tickets.
Almost $500 was raised to go toward next year’s scholarship program.
Shopping, shopping, shopping.
Our vendors had their wears on display prior to the evening’s events.
Vintage and new clothing, art, antiques, gifts, books and new and used equipment was bought, sold, tried and traded.
Lots of fun! Two junior scholarships “Always time to shop.” Says Dede Parisi.
Photo by Ann Schneider.
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