Equitana Melbourne

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As young as walking age I was on the back of a horse at any given opportunity, normally courtesy of a close family friend. Living in the suburbs I never had the option to ride regularly but always trail rode and took the odd lesson during school holidays. After years of begging I finally convinced my parents to let me join the closest pony club to us that had a riders without horses program.

When I was old enough to get my first job and could afford to, I leased my first horse and eventually went on to purchase my first horse in 2012, a Standardbred named “Tribal Dynasty”. We dabbled in a bit of everything, not really finding a solid strong point but I really enjoyed showing the most. I completed my Certificate 2 in Equine Industries during VCE and after graduating high school, moved North to do further study in breeding and performance horse management. I worked in racing stables, broodmare farms and yearling prep to cover the costs of living out of home and supporting the 3 horses I had at the time.

I have no idea where the notion came from as I had never seen anyone ride side saddle before but it was something I had always wanted to try. Like most, I didn’t think it existed anymore but went trawling the internet and facebook to find out. On facebook, I joined a side saddle group that was worldwide but largely UK based. I put up a post and ended up connecting with a lady who was actually local to me! She ran a leather working business and had restored a side saddle which sadly didn’t fit her horse. She came out to fit the saddle to my horse and gave me a ‘side saddle 101 crash course’ and said if I like it, I can buy the saddle and if not well at least I gave it a go. Seven years on, 8 side saddles and counting, I have shown up to Royal level aside and given just about every other discipline a go from show jumping, dressage and hunting. I specialise in teaching side saddle within pony club and have introduced 100s of horses and riders to this amazing discipline.

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