- 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.
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