The American Sidesaddle Association, an Ohio non-profit corporation, is asking the American Quarter Horse Association to change their rules and allow sidesaddle riders to compete aboard their American Quarter Horses.
Although women have been showing in sidesaddles for well over a hundred years and many breeds allow or even welcome riders showing their mounts under sidesaddle tack, the American Quarter Horse Association forbids riders from showing their horses aside. This doesn’t only affect AQHA owners, but many other stock breeds take their cues from the AQHA and follow their rules. Also, many 4-H shows and open horse shows follow the AQHA rules, so this rule means that many sidesaddle riders miss the chance to show our horses aside.
Showing aside isn’t something women only do for fun. Many riders are able to continue riding and showing after an injury when they change to riding aside. Also, riders whose religion forbids them from wearing slacks, jeans or pants are able to honor their religious beliefs while riding aside.
In the past, there’s been a fear that sidesaddle riding is unsafe, uncomfortable or even dangerous. Sidesaddle experts disagree. “Contrary to some rumors, it does not cause injury or pain to the horse or rider. Women have ridden aside safely for centuries, and many women feel more secure in their properly fitted sidesaddle than they do in an astride saddle.”
The American Sidesaddle Association needs help to convince the AQHA to change the rules to allow sidesaddle riding. Anyone can contact the AQHA and let them know they support these rules changes. The ASA is also asking Quarter Horse owners who ride aside or show in open shows aside to send photos and information on their American Quarter Horses and their achievements aside to the AQHA.
Commenting on the proposed rule change, Jennifer Williams, PhD, President of the American Sidesaddle Association, “Many women enjoy riding aside, and it is a shame they cannot show off their horses and skills at AQHA shows. I’m hoping the show committee will change the rules. It is a great chance to show off how versatile the American Quarter Horse is and to teach people about riding aside.”
For more information on the American Sidesaddle Association, visit http://www.americansidesaddleassociation.org