Aside World Magazine
Spring 2021 Issue
Savannah Grace's Public Side Saddle Debut
Article and photo's courtesy of Jacquelyn Holly
Wow! Where do I even start? To say Savannah’s debut demonstration at the 2021 Idaho Horse Expo was a success would be an understatement! Last month as the Idaho Sidesaddle Association was practicing hard for our hour-long arena demonstration, we received a notification from the Idaho Horse Expo that they wanted to include us in a Round Pen Demo the day before the Main Arena Performance. We were delighted and, also anxious to build a team with such limited notice.
Savannah Grace posing in front of the Idaho Sidesaddle Association Booth
I was driving down the road, mind wandering, thinking about all our unique members, their diverse equines, and the variation in ages of our members- and then it hit me. Why not include our youngest member in the demonstration ?!
I presented the idea to Savannah Grace in the simplest way I knew how; ""do you want to ride Rosy... in front of a lot of people and show them what a good rider you are?" She looked at me processing. I tried to break it down more and this time I added one of her favorite
incentives; "maybe you would even get a ribbon!" Her face lit up and I could tell it was game on.
The wait, however, was long for a three-year-old little girl, but it gave her motivation to
practice at home in our own round pen and process the whole concept some more.
At last, April 9 th arrived. The demo wasn’t until 1pm, so I took Savannah Grace over to the horse park at 9am to acclimate her to the environment – and who am I kidding? To shop of course! We visited the Idaho Sidesaddle Association booth, walked down to the round pen and I showed her the bleachers where spectators would be seated and then we hit the shops.
There was something so key about bringing her to the facility in the morning before the demo. Many people told her how excited they were for her to come back and ride, she saw just how many people were actually there, and she got to bring home mini Breyers. Everything about the experience that morning was positive and left her wanting more.
Savannah Grace shopping for Breyer's
We came home, checked off our lists to make sure we had everything ready and hit the one-mile trek back to the horse park (another wonderful benefit – close to home in case we forgot something, and less road time for Savannah Grace!)
As ISA members all lined up outside the round pen, Savannah Grace asked to ride first!
I expected Rosy – who has been in that facility countless times – to be on her best behavior, but as we all know, “things happen”, so I led her in the round pen without Savannah Grace so she could walk a few laps on the lunge line. She was on her best behavior, so we brought Savannah Grace in and boosted her into her sidesaddle.
She rode fantastically! She sat straight up and smiled ear to ear the whole time! She gathered her reins like a pro, slid her hands down to the braided part and put her thumbs up.
Savannah Grace smiling while riding
She rode around and around in circles while I described her custom English-made tweed habit, complete with a yellow collared shirt, a matching vest, a Navy tie with hunt print, breeches, jacket and safety apron. And although the majority of the audience wasn’t familiar with the late Roger Philpot, I made sure I credited him to the stunning children’s sidesaddle.
Savannah Grace and Jacquelynn Holly in round pen
Rosy and Savannah Grace in the round pen
Savannah Grace was riding in, as it once belonged in Roger’s extensive collection in the UK. Savannah Grace was thoroughly disappointed to leave the round pen and asked to stay on Rosy while our other members demonstrated. And when it was time to head back to the trailer, the look on her face absolutely melted my heart. She turned and pointed to the round pen “I want to go ride in front of all those people ‘gain”. Oh, how I wanted to be able to take her back in the round pen!! She had such a great time!
Grand Duchess Maria 1914
Tsar Nicholas with Olga and Tatiana, August 1913
Savannah Grace being told she has to leave- look at that face
That night, as I was putting her to bed, she looked at me and said, “I want to ride Rosy there again, right now.... ‘xcept... it’s bedtime”.
And every time we drive by the horse park (which is nearly every day), she reminds me how much she would like to go back there.
I am so proud of Savannah Grace and so happy she had such a wonderful experience. This
summer will be focused on finding other leadline activities for her to participate in.
Spectators watching Savannah Grace and the other Idaho Sidesaddle ladies
Savannah Grace and Jacquelynn walking back from the expo
Thank you Jacquelynn!
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