Sidesaddle in a Hot Air Balloon (and other adventures)

If you’ve come here after reading the Washington Post piece on the revival of sidesaddle in America (now going a little viral on Jezebel.com), here’s a selection from the archives – a little bit of everything from balloonists to tragic heroines, scandalous females and zebras ridden sidesaddle. I also wrote in detail about women and …

Dutch Stables: Horses in the Heart of Amsterdam

I went to Amsterdam last weekend to see friends I hadn’t seen for far too long, and ended up doing a little unscheduled horsey tourism. I hadn’t planned it, honest! I had no idea that Amsterdam had a nineteenth century riding manège right by its main park, nor that the building was still home to …

Sunday Morning Time Travel

Wonderful news for overworked writers who don’t have time to maintain their blogs: British Pathé have uploaded their stock of vintage film clips to YouTube. As the old slogan of the British tabloid the News of the World used to claim, “all human life is there”, and quite a bit of horsey life too. So …

Art & Horseyculture: An American Beauty – and her Horse – in Yokohama, 1860

Here’s your thing of joy for today: the smirk on this rather saucy horse as he carries an American lady sidesaddle through nineteenth-century Japan, as viewed by artist Yoshitori Utagawa in 1860. Japanese women did not ride sidesaddle, so this is an interesting public performance of Western femininity as interpreted by a local. Also, one …

Saddled with the Sidesaddle

‘They get us a side saddle, as they call it, of enormous weight and inconvenience, on which they plant pommels enough to impale three women; they place us in an attitude from which it is next to impossible to control a horse should he be violent, and in a dress which ensures a horrible accident …

Sidesaddle Across Mongolia: An Adventure in Memory of an Adventurous Woman

In memory of their sister Polly de Blank, Martha Sitwell and Clemmie de Blank will cross Mongolia aside in six weeks next May. A journalist, campaigner and yoga scholar, Polly supported both the mental health charity Mind and Prisoners of Conscience, and her sisters are raising funds for both charities. If you’d like to chip …

Looking For Stories About Women and Horses in the Nineteenth Century?

Here’s a selection from the archives – a little bit of everything from balloonists to tragic heroines, scandalous females and zebras ridden sidesaddle. I also wrote in detail about women and girls who rode in Britain and Ireland in If Wishes Were Horses: A Memoir of Equine Obsession. A risqué (and very popular) stage hit …

Alicia Thornton: A Regency Lady Jockey

This is an out-take from If Wishes Were Horses: A Memoir of Equine Obsession. I’ve just found an image of her in the National Portrait Gallery’s collection: click here and again on the picture to enlarge. Twenty-two year-old Mrs Alicia Thornton, the daughter of a Norwich watchmaker and wife of a Colonel Thornton, pitted her …

Whole Heap of Little Horse Links

First up: please go directly to Horse Nation to read Susan Corwin’s account of joining a hunt in Meath, Ireland to break the world record for the number of side-saddle attendees. Fans of Molly Keane and Somerville & Ross will enjoy the craic. This was Susan’s first choice of riding expedition after a gruelling course …