Monday, 7 February 2011

An 1880's Portrait of an Equestrienne

Not much going on riding or side saddle wise this week while Hattie is out of action. The back lady is coming out on Wednesday so pamper Hattie with a nice massage, wish I could get one for my poorly back!!

We went to see a new pony for Josie on Sunday, a 14.1hh Welsh Cob named Jacob so he will be coming to live with us soon! He is bay like Hattie but with a VERY full mane and tail (Josie will be able to show him in the native pony classes) and has 3 white feet with feathers on each leg. He is lacking a topline at the moment from not being worked but we will whip him into shape!

I also took the plunge tonight and decided to put my beloved Manorgrove side saddle up on the UK Ebay tonight along with my black riding habit. I feel sad as I did love my saddle but I just have to face the fact that it's too big for Hatster and I can't afford to keep the saddle in case I get another horse it fits, as I need to buy one NOW to fit Hattie and I'm working with very limited funds!!

I scanned this photo from my antique photo collection which dates to the late 1880's and is of a lady on her grey horse.

What has always fascinated me about this photo, is that you can see her legs (or "limbs" as you would have referred to them if you lived back then!)!

Even now, you shouldn't be able to see your legs through the apron and I'm sure I've read in my antique books on side saddle riding, that a habit should be of sufficient weight as not to show the "limbs".

Oh well, the lady in the photo can rest in peace knowing that we are looking at her with 2011 eyes and are not offended by that-sort-of-thing but it gives a rare glimpse into Victorian riding position.

Some books of the era advocate the right leg on the horse's shoulder but this lady adopts a position that would not look out of place today with her right toe pointed down and her calf firmly against the safe of the saddle. Her left heel also appears to be down as well.


  1. Leila,
    I wish I'd known you were going to sell your habit! I need a black habit. Plus, good luck selling your saddle; too bad I don't need another one. I hope you have a good solid reserve on it! And did you see that gorgeous reversible victorian with all that stitching on ebay? They're so rare, yet three have come on the market in the past couple of months...
    How're things working out with the Beck Morrow?

  2. I've always wanted to learn more about side saddles. Glad I found your blog.

    You're welcome to share your adventures with us every Tuesday on our Horse Blog Linky.

  3. Aw Robin, I didn't know!! It's on Ebay anyways and it's still quite low so you may grab a bargain if you want to bid! The shipping prices are just estimates of the MAXIMUM it would cost to ship to a particular area but most often, it's a bit less. If you want a shipping quote, just email me.

    I know, all these reversible side saddles!! I just had to do a blog about it ;)

    I've still not heard back from the saddler about my Beck Morrow but I guess it will be a few days for him to take out the felt and mess about with the leather panels that are falling to bits.