Sideways view of hunting

SHOWING pair Katie Bloom and Jane Collins have completed the first part of their own sporting tour during the hunting season riding side-saddle. As well as their showing in the summer, both are subscribers to Middleton Hunt and avid readers of R S Surtees and lovers of his characters. This year they decided to change Mr Sponges' sporting tour into a girlie thing.

They made it into "Lucy Glitters' sporting tour" and decided to do it side-saddle.

The girls hope to go through their alphabet of hunts and up to the end of the season they had ridden with the Atherstone, Belvoir, Duke of Beaufort's, Cottesmore, College Valley, Goathland, Holderness, Lincoln United, Middleton, Sinnington, Warwickshire and York and Ainsty North and South.

It was quite a challenge to ride with different hunts, jumping what ever country they came across, especially as they are not satisfied with pottering at the back of the field," said Katie.

Jane said: "The days of male chivalry are gone, you have to push to stay at the front and keep your position into fences when hounds are running."

But Katie added: "We have had a lot of fun, met a lot of lovely people and have been made to feel very welcome.

"People have been curious about side-saddle riding and hopefully our tour may encourage more people to try it.

"Anyone can join our tour next season – but they have to ride side-saddle. It is not for the faint-hearted, you must be prepared to have a go."

Jane, who rides all the Selby-based yard's show horses in the ring, believes that hunting a horse side-saddle prepares the horse perfectly for ladies' classes, teaching it self-carriage and manners .

"Surely if you are riding in a Ladies' Hunter class you should have hunted in an apron," said Jane.

"Some people find it unnerving riding side-saddle over uneven ground and natural fences, but the best training to gain your balance and seat is in the hunting field."

Their best day? They have fond memories of the sport shown by Frank Houghton Brown, moving from the Middleton after 14 years, and their last day of the season from kennels at Birdsall was their hardest and most enjoyable.

"That wa a hunt of 14 miles as the hounds ran over challenging terrain and fences in a field of 136," said Katie.

"We knew we had had a hard day and the horses were tired having carried side-saddles, but it was worth it."

Abbervail Dream

goes out to grass

ABBERVAIL DREAM, the mount of Di Lampard that many felt should have gone to the last Olympics, is retiring at 17.

Locally known as the horse that enabled Di to be the first woman winner of the Cock O' the North at the Great Yorkshire in 1999, Abbervail Dream had more than 40 appearances for Britain including two World Championships and two European Championship appearances.

The pair won the Queen Elizabeth II Gold Cup twice, in 1994 and 1998 He is being put out to grass at Di's base at Oakham.

HIGH PARK SCHOFFIELD has won the prestigious Cleveland Bay Horse Society King George V Cup for the second year running.

The annual competition to find the Champion Cleveland Premium Stallion was held at York Auction Centre with nine of the 11 eligible stallions forward.

The six-year-old is owned by Joanne Firth from Dewsbury and bred by John Readman, and his showing career has been in-hand up to date, but he will start his ridden career this season having shown a liking for jumping during home schooling.

The Reserve award also went to Joanne for Penrhyn Dictator, who already has had several showing successes in-hand and ridden.

Joanne said: "I am delighted to have won the competition for the second year running and taking Reserve is a bonus."

BLACKPOOL rider Lorna Gillies and her seven-year-old Dutch Warmblood Swordhill Attorney have emerged the WCF Country Centre's Northern Winter Dressage Elementary Champions.

Last to go in the mammoth championship class at Blackdyke Farm in Cumbria they snatched the class.

Then they followed up with a victory in the advanced medium regional qualifier and a ticket to the regional championships later in the season.

The WCF Novice Championship was won by David Corbit of Clifton, near Preston, with his 12-year-old Hanoverian Newman.

York rider Margaret Hallums and her nine-year-old Lenamore Miss Imp took the Elementary Reserve Championship and the special prize for the highest-placed mare .

The Novice Reserve Championship went to Darwen rider Amanda Slack with Talisman XI.

Highest-placed mare in the Novice was third-placed Foxholme Serenade ridden by Teesside-based rider Deborah Carr-Davidson.

OWNER and amateur show-jumper Julia Harrison-Lee is supporting a new amateur class at the Hickstead Derby meeting.

The Hickstead Amateur Championship is not open to the top 100 in the BSJA rankings or anyone who has competed in a senior Nations Cup team.

The two-tier championship will see the final 12 riders competing in the International Arena for a winner's purse of 500.

YORKSHIRE now has an uniquely qualified equine dentist.

Sally Kingsley from Fellbeck, Harrogate, has just passed the British Equine Veterinary Association's EDT examination.

BEVA-registered equine dental technicians still number less than 50 in the UK and Sally, 29, is the only qualified vet among them who has also certified in the US.

Said Sally: "I've spent a demanding two years in further training, but pursuing excellence in my chosen speciality has been so worthwhile."

Sally is on 01423 711860.