History of the sidesaddle

Young ladies at Grace Dieu Lodge (National Library of Ireland  via Flickr CC)

Young ladies at Grace Dieu Lodge (National Library of Ireland via Flickr CC)

On the 15th April Gothic Valley WI hosted a talk by Lydia Rivlin on the history of the sidesaddle.

Lydia gave the group a detailed account of how the sidesaddle, and riding aside, occurred over the centuries, including in mythology, such as Aphrodite riding a swan.

The sidesaddle was used for a variety of motives. Riding aside has been highly fashionable and was used to show wealth, or as a more comfortable way to ride for invalids or pregnant women. Eighteenth century sidesaddles were made to fit both the rider and the horse: an expensive pursuit!

The sidesaddle has also been used as a means of restriction or control, as riding sidesaddle in the early 1800s meant that female riders couldn’t do more than walk the horse, and certainly couldn’t jump or take part in hunting.

Today the sidesaddle is still used by some female riders and there are classes of competition specifically for this way of riding, so it definitely doesn’t stop women riders jumping now. Lydia sold it to the group when she said that in today’s world, “the sidesaddle is an elegant choice, in an inelegant world”. And, as the GVWI are an elegant group of ladies, the sidesaddle definitely appealed.

Accompanying the talk was a delicious banana bread with a cream cheese frosting made by Yvette.



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One Response to History of the sidesaddle

  1. Delphine De Noire says:

    I have always found the idea of riding sidesaddle enchanting. The ladies do indeed look most elegant and exquisite. Delphine xx

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