Glorious equestrian display at Goodwood House

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SINCE the current Summer Exhibition of The Horse at Goodwood House opened, visitors have enjoyed items on display showing why this glorious estate is known world wide for its equine activities and facilities spanning centuries.

On Tuesday August 30, as part of the exhibition, Caroline Wilkins of Walberton will be putting on a side saddle display. She will be riding Mango, a handsome chestnut gelding kindly loaned to her for the occasion by Mrs Angela Church.

Mango and Caroline are no strangers to the Goodwood countryside, having spent good days hunting with the Chiddingfold Leconfield and Cowdray Hunt. Appropriately, earlier this year the hounds meeting in front of the Kennels at Goodwood.

For part of this display, Caroline will be wearing her vintage Samuel Krohn habit made in about 1907, that she wore for the hunt scene of the first series of Downton Abbey.

It is similar in design to the one worn by Ivy Gordon Lennox in a photograph to be seen in the Goodwood House exhibition. Ivy is shown with the Warwickshire Hunt beside her father Lord Algernon Gordon-Lennox.

Another interesting photo is one of Hilda as Countess of March, taken about one hundred years ago, riding side saddle with her family and daughters, Lady Amy and Lady Doris.

After the second world war side saddle riding dwindled as ladies rode astride, but then in 1974 a group of enthusiasts revived the art and old saddles were brought down from lofts and restored.

One of those new riders was Louisa Gordon-Lennox and in 1981 she won the title of National Junior Side Saddle Rider of the Year. Today side saddle riders often wear historical costumes copied from paintings.

A very popular choice is the livery of the Charlton Hunt painted by George Stubbs in such detail when he came to stay at Goodwood in 1759.

The historical costume that Caroline will be wearing in her display has been made from pale butterscotch synthetic watermarked silk, based on a painting of Marcia Pitt of Stratfield Saye in 1782. It is a similar period to the Jacobean Tapestry Room in Goodwood House.

At this time it was fashionable for young ladies to enjoy a high standard of riding instruction.

Young riders today are still gaining pleasure from learning to ride on the Goodwood Estate. Caroline was a member of Goodwood Pony Club for many years and was often seen riding the cross country courses side saddle.

This month the tradition continues as eleven year old Eloise, daughter of Charles, Earl of March, has just taken part in the annual camp on her pony. Goodwood certainly has given so much to all lovers of all things equestrian and these can be seen until September 26 when the exhibition closes .

See http://www.goodwooodco.goodwood-house/visit-goodwood-house/thesummerexhibition.aspx

The side saddle display by Caroline Wilkins will take place in front of the house on Tuesday August 30 at approximately 3pm.