Blazing Saddles (Side-Saddles)

Side-Saddles

side-saddle

  • Side-saddles were considered the appropriate way for a lady to ride from the 16th – 20th century.
  • Ladies could ride in their finest long skirts and still maintain their modesty.
  • In early Greek, Celtic, and Medieval times, women usually sat on horses as passengers behind men.  As they did not need to steer they could perch in a more polite and dignified pose at the rear.
  • As time advanced, women wanted to control their own mounts but still wished to appear feminine.  This led to the development of a functioning side-saddle.
  • The first chair-like saddle, with its own footrest, is credited to Anne of Bohemia (1366-1394).  But this dangerous design was not very practical.
  • Catherine de’ Medici’s later version at least faced forward.  The rider wedged her right leg around the pommel, between a side-horn that secured the same knee.  Her left foot rested in a slipper-stirrup.
  • In the 1830s, a second lower pommel was added to the side-saddle by Jules Pellier.  This pivoted slightly, adjusting to the individual rider.  It provided much more security and allowed women equestrians to gallop, jump, and hunt.

side-1(Gary Parker: Drawing by Theodore Hoe Mead)

 

Sources:

Flood, Elizabeth Clair. Cowgirls: Women of the Wild West.  New Mexico: Zon International, 2000.

National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, Texas.

Wikipedia. “Side-Saddle,” at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sidesaddle

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