Art of sidesaddle riding to be shown

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WALLA WALLA -- Sidesaddle demonstrations and beaded horse regalia will be presented from 1-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Whitman Mission National Historic Site, 328 Whitman Mission Road.

With her horse, Linda Hermanns of Waitsburg will demonstrate how to ride sidesaddle. There will be an antique sidesaddle as well as a modern, adjustable one and historic women's riding habits on display.

In 1836, Narcissa Whitman and Eliza Spalding crossed the Continental Divide riding sidesaddle, opening the path into the Oregon country for thousands of other women and their families.

Hermanns' period clothing and historic riding technique will take park visitors into the mid-19th century, when sidesaddle was considered the only proper way for women to ride.

Native American beading artist John Bevis will be at the park on Saturday only. Bevis is a Umatilla and Walla Walla Native and an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla.

Bevis started seriously beading about 15 years ago when he needed regalia for pow wow. He and his wife have won awards for their beadwork.

Both modern and historic beadwork are on display at Whitman Mission.

Explorers, trappers, and traders brought glass beads to North America as trading items. The native peoples incorporated this new material into their arts, developing their own distinctive usage and style.

One of the most prominent ways this work is showcased is on horse regalia.

Visitors to the park may view a 10-minute slideshow, visit the museum and take a self-guided tour of the mission grounds. The grounds include the original building locations, Great Grave, the Whitman Memorial, and reconstructed Oregon Trail wagon ruts. Rangers present walks and talks daily.

The Whitman Mission is open seven days a week. The visitor center is open from 8 a.m. to6 p.m. The park grounds are open until dark. There is no admission fee.

The mission is 7 miles west of Walla Walla off of U.S. Highway 12. Take the Spalding exit. Spalding is a short road that ends at Vintage Highway. Turn right (west) onto Vintage Highway and follow the signs.

Visitor information may be obtained any time by calling 509-529-2761 or by visiting the park website at www.nps.gov/whmi/.

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