Thursday, 4 March 2010

An 1895 Habit

Had a so-so day schooling Hattie today for the dressage. She was more forward going instead of her usual Ploddy McPlodster self, but did NOT want to go in a nice outline so I guess for now until we get back into regular schooling (and in shape!), I will have to sacrifice a pretty outline for a forward moving horse! Her left lead cantering was better and my lower leg didn't move around so much either but for practicing our test for Sunday...Oy vey!!

LOL, well at least I remembered the tests but the accuracy of the movements, well, the least said, the best. I can only imagine what the judges comments will be on Sunday!

Looking through some past vacation photos on my computer in an attempt to forget such an abysmal schooling session today, I found a photo I took at the McCord Museum in Montreal when I went there on vacation in July 2008.

It's of a c. 1895 side saddle habit that was made from dark navy blue wool and that had it's original matching wool breeches still with it as well. The breeches were plain and straight cut and did not have any knee patches on them.

The photo is a bit grainy as the lighting was low in the gallery so I had to lighten the photo to show the details of the habit. It was the only side saddle habit they had on display (the astride riding outfit behind it was from the 1920's) and I was a bit disappointed that they did not show the habit with the Owen side saddle that they also have in their collection to give it a bit more context to non horsey or non side saddle people. My husband, as a non horse person, even remarked this as well.

I found a scan of a c. 1891 CDV photograph in my antique photo collection of a similar style habit.

The sleeves on the habit the lady is wearing are the typical pointed "kick up" sleeves of the late 1880's- very early 1890's but these would evolve into the large Leg 'O Mutton sleeves seen on the McCord museum habit a couple of years later. The general style and body shape of the bodice and skirt are nearly identical though despite the McCord habit being of Canadian origin and the CDV photo being from Austria!


  1. You have so many neat photos! I can't get over how tiny the waist on those breeches are. There's no way in a million years that you'd be able to cinch my waist in that small!

    I'm sure your show will go great! Are you riding astride or aside?

  2. LOL, me too- maybe that's why the habit survived all these years as the original owner "outgrew" it and always thought she'd be able to get back into it. LOL, I have clothes that I can't bear to part with that I think "how'd I'd ever fit into that??!!"

    We're doing it astride this Sunday just because we've both "lost condition" over the winter montns from not being able to ride very much so don't want to over-exert Hattie's muscles trying to get back into work and balance a side saddle AND an out-of-shape rider.

    We've been riding everyday this week, our fitness has improved so the aim is to do it side saddle next month. :-)

  3. How did your show go? Pictures?