Aside World Magazine
Summer/Fall 2020 Issue
Member Spotlight: Stacey Rusic
How long have you been riding aside?
I have been riding aside for just shy of 8 and a half years.
What first interested you in riding aside?
I wish I knew! To this day I still cannot remember where the notion of wanting to ride aside came from. I don't recall having seen it anywhere before. I think I was just born in the wrong era!
What disciplines do you ride aside?
I mainly do show riding aside but also like to dabble in some dressage and show jumping as well.
What do you enjoy most riding aside?
There are two things that come close to my favorite things. One would definitely have to be the turnout. I love the tradition and correctness of it all. I take great pride in trying to be turned out as correctly as I possibly can when competing aside. A close second would be achieving and proving I can do things aside that other riders can do astride. I remember very early on in my side saddle journey I had a lady tell me that it was impossible to do a 20m circle in a side saddle (of course we know that's not true!) and that they were only used for hunting so going forwards in a straight line out on the hunt. That comment has always been a driving force for me to show people that anything you can do aside, you can do astride!
Do you have just one horse that you ride aside?
At the moment I do have just one horse who is aside, with a youngster coming through who I hope will be aside within the next few years. My current side saddle horse is an Arabian Stock Horse called 'Troika Widgie Bar'. He is an ex-eventing horse who I have turned into a side saddle show horse.
What do you find most challenging?
Funny enough most people would say finding suitable saddle or finding instructors but for me it is finding suitable horses. After I had to retire my first side saddle horse (who was incredible) I have really struggled to find suitable horses to ride aside on. Either due to temperament or soundness. I have unfortunately had to retire about 4 horses in the span of 5 years. I am very lucky to have stumbled across my current horse who is doing well aside so far but he is not without his quirks!
What advice would you give to someone interested in trying to ride aside?
GET HELP! I've unfortunately been witness to the horrible things that can go wrong when people do not seek help. It doesn't matter how good your horse is or how long you've been riding for if you're starting side saddle for the first time, please seek help! The side saddle community worldwide is honestly incredible and only too willing to lend a hand.
What would you like to see ISSO accomplish in the future?
I'd love to watch ISSO continue to grow into an even more international front for the discipline of side saddle. I recently became the first ISSO Qualified Instructor in Australia and I hope to see more follow suit after me in both Australia and other countries. When the world opens up and more international travel is allowed again it would also be incredible to have a big international side saddle extravaganza with riders from all of the world. How amazing would that be!
What do you do when you are not riding?
When I am not riding, competing or instructing side saddle I work in Customer Service for a company that sells horse rugs!
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