Is Annabelle the UK’s youngest sidesaddler?

Annabelle Ross on Trixie at Blenheim Palace

Annabelle Ross on Trixie at Blenheim Palace

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A fearless six-year-old rider jumped Trixie the pony over fences twice her height with no hands in front of hundreds of show-goers at the weekend.

Annabelle Ross has only been sidesaddling for six weeks but was part of the Bit On The Side team from Paulespury which performed at the Blenheim International Horse Trials.

Annabelle Ross has only been sidesaddling for six weeks but was part of the Bit on the Side team from Paulespury which performed at the Blenheim international horse trials at the weekend. PNL-140916-132834001

Annabelle Ross has only been sidesaddling for six weeks but was part of the Bit on the Side team from Paulespury which performed at the Blenheim international horse trials at the weekend. PNL-140916-132834001

She was keen to give it a go having watched nine-year-old sister Jessica at riding competitions and after less than two months of experience, is already talking about one day becoming an Olympic show jumper.

Annabelle’s mum Emma, 39, said: “Nothing would surprise me with her. She can’t decide whether she wants to be a pony race rider, an international eventist or an Olympic show jumper.

“She’s only done two shows and has pretty much taught herself. It usually takes two years to get to this stage.

“But she’s absolutely bonkers. There was lots of laughter at the show when she was doing it with no hands and the pony was a bit naughty at first which showed sometimes it doesn’t go to plan but sidesaddling is a good way to ride.”

Annabelle rides Trixie with her sister to Paulerspury Primary School each day from their home in Pury End.

Emma, who is a foster carer, said it is a great way for her daughters to practise.

She thinks Annabelle, who is performing again in Northampton this weekend, could be one of the youngest sidesaddlers in the country.

Sidesaddling uses a special saddle to allow the rider to sit aside rather than astride.

It dates as far back as the Greek and Celtic times but was most common in Victorian England when women’s long skirts were the usual fashion and riding astride was impractical and immodest.