Reply + How do I post a pic - never done it before...
Posted by Anita on April 26, 1998 at 12:01:13:
In response to Visions of Auntie Mame : -) and Q's for Anita, written by Carolyn B on April 25, 1998 at 08:45:59
] So do you not use your "seat" (balance/weight, whatever) much to give commands?
I wasn't sure how "horse literate" the board was, but yes, you do use the seat cues (weight shifting) as well as other cues like dropping your hands to indicate to your horse that a canter is coming on. All of these things depend on the training of your horse.
] I seem to remember that ladies were also supposed to show how they controlled their horses through gentleness rather than strength. (Hands so soft they could steer with cotton threads instead of reins, etc.) Of course the movie cliche is to have the heroine ride the spirited mount who runs off with her!
Again this all depends on the level of training of the horse as well as the rider.
] My big question, of course, regards mounting while in the long habit. Do you require assistance or can you manage on your own?? (without ruining your ladylike deportment ; )
In the really "olden days" they did ride with full skirts. They generally had one person holding the horse and one helping them mount. The method of mounting "gracefully" is awkward for me and I have never tried to master it. You put your left foot in the stirrup and bring your right leg between your left leg and the saddle, drawing it up and over the horns and then lower yourself into the seat. This is supposed to be done in one smooth movement and then you arrange your skirts. You also have to have a mounting block and for those of us who use a fencerail or truck bumper, it is quite difficult. I still do it the "ungraceful" way and swing my leg over the cantle of the saddle and sit astride and then swing my leg over the horses neck around the horns.
However, let me digress here for a moment and make an important point about the saddles. In the early 1800's the sidesaddles had only one horn, the upright one. The leaping head was not invented until the 1830's, but it wasn't until the late 1800's that they were a standard feature on all saddles. Saddles between 1830 and 1880 could have been with or without a leaping horn. In the opinion of most sidesaddle riders, the leaping horn is the source of your security (supplemented by your sense of balance). Without it, if a horse spooked, you would have nothing to grip your left leg against and the lady could be easily unseated. The ladies wearing the big full skirts had higher chances of getting hung up on the horn(s), because of this voluminous mass of fabric atop the saddle - which was consistently less than most illustrations :)
The safety apron was developed because of such accidents and is much easier to manage. It is actually an illusion of a skirt. It has only two major seams and a few darts in order to fit neatly. One of those seams forms the knee pocket so when the lady is mounted in the saddle, it hangs neatly from the knee. The standards are that the right foot should not ever show and the hem should be 2 - 4 in above the ankle for hunt and at the boot heel for western and saddleseat. Period costume is a bit more liberal depending on the costume you are making - it is preferred that you work from documentation and historical example rather than your own active imagination. Back to the apron. It is cut away underneath so you are sitting in the seat of the saddle and not the skirt. The ones made today have velcro closures on the left hip so if you were to have something happen and had to bail out, the apron would literally just come apart. The ladies at the time wore matching breeches or doeskin pants underneath the aprons. With aprons you can either put it on and then mount and arrange your apron, or mount and then put your apron on because you don't sit on it. Most people I talk to find a full skirt irritating to work with but like the effect. The other alternative to a full skirt is one that has a full skirt but the seam is left open on the right hand side and the waistline could be attached with velcro and would break away in case of a hang up. That gives the "long flowing" look and still affords soem safety features. Most of the changes make to saddles and habits were safety improvements. That's why you usually see people riding saddles from 1880 to 1930. That was really the peak of the sidesaddle.
- How to post a pic Caroline 12:12:32 4/26/98 (0)
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