23 Things You Learn When You Ride Side- Saddle

Ah side saddle… I’ve already covered it in this post and here, but here is a little list of things we all learn when we start getting our leg over…

  1. Non- riding friends will not be able to see a photograph of you riding without posting some comment along the lines of “SO LADY MARY.” Of course, just last night I killed a Turkish diplomat with my steel thighs during a bout of illicit love making. Given that my friends now post these comments on non- riding photos, I should probably check my bed for dead Turks…


2. Men will doff their hats at you.

3. People will comment on how ladylike you look, even though a week previously you were hitting your horse with your whip and calling it a “little f****r” for refusing a post and rails.

4. You will get bruises in new and interesting places- mostly the inside of your knees.

5. You no longer have to worry about keeping fawn breeches clean…

6. But you do have a whole new uniform to maintain.

7. Trying on your habit will probably rival watching your firstborn in her wedding dress.

8. Little girls in the hunting field will think that you are “da bomb” so to speak, and will start pestering their parents to find a tiny side saddle for 12.2hh Merrylegs.

9. Generally people will think that you are crazy, despite the fact that the supposedly fragile women of yesteryear rode like this ALL THE TIME.

10. You will want a faithful man servant to do up the thousand different girths, boost you into the saddle and arrange the elastic loop around your right foot.

11. Women who would never think to hunt astride without a crash helmet will happily don a bowler/topper.

12. You will really want a topper, and then realise that as an unmarried woman (read: spinster of the parish) you are obliged to announce your availability to produce heirs by slipping on a bowler and a short and tie.

13. Veil + lipstick + hipflask = veil stuck to lips.

14. I used to wonder how women ever had the time to wear make up hunting. With a veil its a full face or looking like you have no features. Cue getting up earlier and smearing mascara all over your face.

15. There is only one “first time” that genuinely lives up to expectations, and that is cantering aside. The whoops of delight will NOT be faked (best to do this on your own).

16. You will want all the books about side- saddle riding; and by books I mean “vintage books” that are full of fantastic anachronisms about etiquette and having a male chaperone who would check jumps before you took them on.

17. You will want longer reins.

18. You will wonder how the hell you are supposed to clean doe skin, and wish again for a trusty man servant to do it for you.

19. Likewise you will want a lady’s maid to fashion three feet of hair into a decent bun.

20. People will stop you out hacking and be all “is that a side saddle???” Um…

21. Dismounting side saddle style is far nicer on your knees than astride.

22. On cold days your apron makes a lovely warm blanket.

23. You will never want to ride astride again. Unless you have to do a gate.


Photo by Jenn Hewson Photography (2015)


One thought on “23 Things You Learn When You Ride Side- Saddle

  1. One more… When your friend riding ahead of you goes down horse and all out hunting, and is knocked out, your apron keeps her warm while you wait for the ambulance!

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