Advice for Lady Equestrians (circa 1838)

1838’s Eight Things a Lady Equestrian Simply Should Not Do

  1. Do not ride the wrong-colored horse.
    “Of all colors presented by the horse, none is so rich, and, at the same time, so elegant and chaste, as a bright bay; providing the mane, tail and lower parts of the legs, be black.”
    “But much white, either on the face or legs, whatever be the general hue, is quite the reverse of desirable.”
  2. Be easy, but not slovenly (in the saddle).
    “Nothing can be more detrimental to the grace of a lady’s appearance on horseback, than a bad position, it is a sight that would spoil the finest landscape in the world. She ought to be correct, without seeming stiff or formal: and easy, without appearing slovenly.”
  3. Do not let your hair embarrass you. And definitely don’t wear a bonnet.
    “The hair should be plaited; or, if otherwise dressed, so arranged and secured that it may not be blown into the rider’s eyes, nor, from exercise, or the effect of humid weather, be liable to be so discomposed, as to become embarrassing. To ride in a bonnet is far from judicious.”
  4. Do not beat your horse – it is ungraceful.
    “Ladies certainly ought not to ride horses which require extraordinary correction…a lady should never be seen in the act of positively flogging her steed: such a sight would destroy every previous idea that had been formed of her grace and gentleness.”
  5. Always ride with a man to shield you if your petticoats start to show!
    “The only inducements for a gentleman to ride on the left of a lady, would be, that, by having his right hand toward her, in case of her needing assistance, he might, the more readily and efficiently, be enabled to afford it, than if he were on the opposite side; and, should any disarrangement occur in the skirt of her habit, he might screen it until remedied.”

6.“No lady of taste ever gallops on the road.
Just say no.

  1. Do not harass your horse.
    “The lady, in all cases, should recollect that her horse requires occasional haltings and relaxation…it is always better, if the pupil err in this respect, to do so on the side of brevity, than, by making her lessons too long, to harass her horse.”
  2. Though most of all – do not ride a horse who is anything less than perfect.
    The Lady’s Horse: “The beau ideal of this kind of horse is superlatively elegant in form, exquisitely fine in coat, and unexceptionably beautiful in colour; of a height, in the nicest degree appropriate to the figure of the rider; graceful, accurate, well-united, and thoroughly safe in every pace; ‘light as a feather’ in the hand, though not at all painfully sensitive to a proper action of the bit; bold in the extreme, yet superlatively docile; free, in every respect, from what is technically denominated ‘vice;’ excellent in temper, but still ‘though gentle, yet not dull;’ rarely, if ever requiring the stimulus of the whip, yet submitting temperately to its occasional suggestions.”

This advice comes from a contemporary source and is published with humor. http://dressageart.com.au/

30 Comments Add yours

  1. David says:

    The advice was heeded in those days. Always side-saddle, beautifully attired, every strand of hair in place, impeccable make-up, and, of course, never let anyone see you sweat. Escorted by a gentleman with pure thoughts. 🙂 😉

    Like

    1. anne leueen says:

      The whole issue of the petticoat flaring up and being revealed and the necessity of having a well behaved man with you to obscure that vision makes me laugh.

      Like

    2. anne leueen says:

      The whole issue of the petticoat flaring up and being revealed and the necessity of having a well behaved man with you to obscure that vision makes me laugh.

      Like

  2. Amy says:

    Thank you for sharing, Anne! What a beautiful photo and so perfect!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Glad you enjoyed it.

      Like

  3. Anne Sandler says:

    This was a hoot! Fun post.

    Like

  4. Alli Farkas says:

    Somebody, PLEASE find me that “nothing less than perfect horse” !!! 🦄😂😂😂😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      I’ll get right on that Alli!!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Marsha says:

    Very fun. The hair idea isn’t a bad one. Who wants hair in your face when you are galloping? LOL I thought the one about choosing the horse that was the right color was hilarious. The lady in the picture does look very elegant in deed. Great post, Anne.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Yes I think neat hair is a sensible approach. But some of it is just amusing.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Marsha says:

        It is. It reminds me of the 1800s teacher regulations. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. anne leueen says:

          Yes it would be similar.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Marsha says:

            Except that teachers couldn’t be married.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. anne leueen says:

            This I did not know!!

            Liked by 1 person

          3. Marsha says:

            Teachers were required to whittle pencils for their students;

            • After teaching students all day, teachers were to read the Bible (in their free time) to stay right with God;

            • Teachers were not permitted to drink alcohol;

            • Teachers were not permitted to go to a public social hall;

            • Female teachers were not permitted to be engaged or married. Male teachers, however, were permitted to court a woman;

            • Male teachers were not permitted to go to a public barbershop for a haircut; and,

            • Male teachers were responsible for bringing in coal or wood for the stove, to heat the schoolhouse, and for lighting all the lanterns, as well as general upkeep of the schoolhouse. https://curioushistorian.com/schools-in-the-1800s-insight-into-the-life-of-a-pioneer-school-teacher There are other rules, I’m sure, but this website was easy to find.

            Liked by 1 person

          4. Marsha says:

            I don’t think I would have wanted to be a teacher back then!

            Liked by 1 person

  6. Emma Cownie says:

    Well, the “do-not-beat-your-horse” seems like very sound advice to me!

    Like

  7. Michele Lee says:

    Great share! Reminds me of instructions for how a lady teacher should behave, that I once read in a western museum. Those were not the “good old days” in my opinion.

    Like

    1. anne leueen says:

      I agree. I am very grateful not to be living in an era when one of my biggest worries would be finding a man to ride with so he could conceal my petticoats if the wind fluffed them up.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Paula Light says:

    At least men were good for something…

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This is hilarious. Especially like number three…hair embarrassment..Lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Haha ! Yes and needing to have a man ride with you in case your petticoat was showing !😁

      Like

      1. Lol! Yes, that was a good one too😊

        Liked by 1 person

  10. This is so fun! Thanks for sharing it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      It is a hoot isn’t it?

      Liked by 1 person

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