Monday Minstrel: Horsemanship for Women

Here is a marvelous quote from T.H. Mead’s book ‘Horsemanship for Women’ (1887) that I discovered in Kathleen Walker-Meikle’s book ‘The Horse Book’

Advice for lady riders:

“Mount then, from the ground, if you have some one to put you on and some one to hold your horse; or, if the horse will stand without holding, cautioning your escort–if you are not sure of his expertness in such service–to be sure to raise your foot straight up, and to give you warning by counting one, two ,so that you may be certain to have the leg straightened before he begins the lift, as otherwise the result may be the reverse of graceful.

When in your saddle, rise in your stirrup, as already suggested, and smooth down your dress, meantime thanking your escort and telling him how well he did it. This smoothing down of the skirt is a good plan to practice frequently, first standing, then at a walk, then at a trot, till you can do it deftly, almost without a thought, for there is no telling at what inopportune moment it may become necessary.”

So! There you have it! These women were not just sitting about doing their knitting. They were up and out riding their horses and looking graceful! And gentlemen ….you are now, no doubt, aware of the importance of being able to assist the woman in the process of mounting her horse.

 

IMG_20171126_1529429
Detail from “Lord and Lady Twemlow” by William Barraud, 1840’s

 

 

14 Comments Add yours

  1. Thank the escort for a job well done. Really? wow…

    Anyway, I love that we were at least allowed to ride back then I guess, I don’t even know if I could conquer side-saddle but I would be willing to give it a go.
    Straighten your dress at a Trot. I can’t even get a whisp of hair out of my eyes at Trot at times LOL.
    What a great Post!!
    Mel

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      thank you! Your comment gave me a good laugh. The “escort” is pretty funny but if you think about it we still have some male figures that need to be complemented when they do anything right! Thanks for your comment it has made my evening!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Indeed we still have those male figues LOL. I loved reading your POST. Keep em coming mate
        mel x

        Liked by 1 person

  2. (HorseLover4Ever) Elizabeth says:

    This is very interesting to read, yet at the same time hilarious to me!!! ๐Ÿ˜€ Thank God us ladies don’t have to ride side saddle nowadays!! But I do think it would be fun to try sidesaddle… ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      I’d like to try it too. As I commented to another blogger at the Olympics in London 2012 I sat next to a woman from Australia who rode and competed side saddle!

      Like

  3. N says:

    I really enjoyed the post, It’s fascinating imaging life back then and how far we have come.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Yes it is. I’m glad you found it interesting. I have to say I find it very humorous that the advice is to let the “escort” know he has done a good job. In many respects that has not changed even today. Thank you for this comment.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. N says:

        hahaha..ture!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. That is awesome! I like to read historical novels. They often described the women riding sidesaddle. After riding astride, I donโ€™t know how itโ€™s possible to ride side saddle!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      I know that there are still women who ride and compete in side saddle. I sat next to an Australian woman at the London Olympics and she competed in side saddle classes. I’ve never seen this but it is out there somewhere.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Can you imagine the travesty of not having ones skirt smoothed down. Itโ€™s almost unthinkable ๐Ÿคฃ

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Precisely! Heaven forfend any snippet of ankle or leg be seen !

      Liked by 1 person

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