Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Mrs Stace’s jump

Today I feel like a break from more serious stuff. Well, not too serious anyway.

One of the issues at present in Australia is whether or not Prime Minister Abbott might choose to call a double dissolution election. ABC commentator Antony Green had a useful piece on the mechanics involved. My thanks to Don Arthur (@donattroppo) for the lead. As an aside, I’511px-STACE-Esther_Mm inclined to agree with Don’s piece on Club Troppo, Humiliation and the dole: a forgotten debate.

One of he things that I enjoy about history are its byways.

This photo shows Yarrowitch woman Mrs Esther Stace setting  a world record for a sidesaddle jump of 6’ 6” (1.98m). The year is 1915, the place Sydney’s Royal Easter Show.

Yarrowitch lies to the east of Walcha on the Oxley Highway, so a local connection so far as I am concerned. I know nothing about Mrs Stace beyond the apparent fact that she came from Yarrowitch.  

I hadn’t realised now recent the modern sidesaddle was. It was invented in the 1830s by Jules Pellier. It was revolutionary, for it allowed women to ride at a gallop and to take part in equestrian events.

By time time Mrs Stace jumped, the sidesaddle era was coming to an end as changing concepts of modesty along with changes in women’s clothing allowed women to ride astride. I wonder if her record was ever beaten?

Update 16 September 2017

A comment from La Chienne Shady Lady provided a partial answer to my question, was Mrs Stace's record ever beaten? This fascinating 2012 piece from Flora Watkins, Side saddle high jump record broken, in Horse & Hound provides a partial answer. As an aside, I didn't know that when William "Will" Thacker (Hugh Grant) in the film Notting Hill said that he was from Horse & Hound I didn't realise that it was a real magazine!

Returning to my point. With the exception of one reported higher jump in the US which does not appear to be properly documented, Mrs Stace's jump is still the highest. But, and it is a big but, the height is challenged because the horse jumped off a springboard. I have no idea whether or not this is true, but it appears to be a major issue in the competitive world of sidesaddle jumping.


La Chienne Shady Lady said...

Allegedly in Ireland last year. There's debate over whether Esther used a spring board.

Jim Belshaw said...

That's a fascinating piece, La Chienne Shady Lady. My thanks. :)