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Side Saddle

Side Saddle

Back in the day, when it was considered unladylike to straddle a horse, some bright spark invented the side saddle.

After going through a period of development, in the 1830s the design of the side saddle, featuring two pommels, was accepted as standard. It gave women more security in the saddle and greater freedom of movement when riding.

Although times and attitudes have changed over the centuries, side saddles are still in use today, with dedicated enthusiasts keeping this historically significant form of riding alive. There are also competitions held at prestigious events such as the Royal Windsor Horse Show.

Photo courtesy of Mark William Hambleton.

"Side saddle riding can be traced back for many centuries and still offers an alternative style of riding," a representative of The Side Saddle Association told MumsHaynet. "By the 1830s the design of saddles incorporated two pommels which provided more security, and in the early 20th century the modern flat-seated side saddle was introduced, which is still in use today.

"The side saddle must fit horse and rider and it is advisable to have expert help to ensure the rider establishes a correct position and balance.

"Most types of horse and pony can be ridden side saddle and it often provides a second or third career for them.

"Riders are able to compete in a wide variety of disciplines and classes including equitation, dressage, concours, jumping and costume.The dress code maintains the style and tradition of this elegant form of riding whilst ensuring safety and welfare are paramount."

In theory, anyone can enter side saddle competitions, as long as you have, or can borrow, the equipment. However, the dress code for competing is strict – this sport really is a nod to the days of old.

To learn more, or to get involved, check out these sites: and

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