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Title: Riding for Ladies
Author: Kerr, W. A.
Language: English
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  W. A. KERR, V.C.,





This work should be taken as following on, and in conjunction with, its
predecessor on "Riding." In that publication will be found various
chapters on Action, The Aids, Bits and Bitting, Leaping, Vice, and on
other cognate subjects which, without undue repetition, cannot be
reintroduced here. These subjects are of importance to and should
be studied by all, of either sex, who aim at perfection in the
accomplishment of Equitation, and who seek to control and manage the

W. A. K.


CHAPTER                                                          PAGE

  I. INTRODUCTORY                                                   1

 II. THE LADY'S HORSE                                               6

     44--LEAPING, 46--DISMOUNTING,                                 51

 IV. THE SIDE SADDLE                                               52

  V. HINTS UPON COSTUME                                            63

 VI. À LA CAVALIÈRE                                                73





PREPARING TO MOUNT                                                 17

MOUNTING--SECOND POSITION                                          19

MOUNTED--NEAR SIDE                                                 22

RIGHT AND WRONG ELBOW ACTION                                       26

RIGHT AND WRONG MOUNT                                              28

TURNING IN THE WALK--RIGHT AND WRONG WAY                           31

RIGHT AND WRONG RISING                                             34

THE TROT                                                           38

FREE BUT NOT EASY                                                  43

THE LEAP                                                           48

THE SIDE SADDLE, OLD STYLE                                         53

THE SAFETY SADDLE                                                  54

SADDLES                                                         55-62

THE "ZENITH" HABIT--JACKET BODY                                    65

COSTUMES                                                           78




What I have said on the excellence of horse-exercise for boys and men,
applies equally to girls and women, if, indeed, it does not recommend
itself more especially in the case of the latter. For the most part
the pursuits of women are so quiet and sedentary that the body is
rarely called into that complete activity of all the muscles which is
essential to their perfect development, and which produces the strength
and freedom of movement so indispensable to perfect grace of carriage.

The woman who has been early accustomed to horse-exercise gains a
courage and nerve which it would be difficult to acquire in a more
pleasant and healthful manner. She also gains morally in learning to
feel a sympathy with the noble animal to whom she is indebted for so
much enjoyment, and whose strength and endurance are too often cruelly
abused by man. Numerous instances have occurred in my experience of the
singular influence obtained by ladies over their horses by simple
kindness, and I am tempted to introduce here an account of what gentle
treatment can effect with the Arab. The lady who told the tale did not
lay claim to being a first-rate horsewoman. Her veracity was undoubted,
for her whole life was that of a ministering angel. She wrote thus: "I
had a horse provided for me of rare beauty and grace, but a perfect
Bucephalus in her way. She was only two generations removed from a
splendid Arabian, given by the good old king to the Duke of Kent when
H.R.H. went out in command to Nova Scotia. The creature was not three
years old, and to all appearance unbroken. Her manners were those of a
kid rather than of a horse; she was of a lovely dappled gray, with mane
and tail of silver, the latter almost sweeping the ground; and in her
frolicsome gambols she turned it over her back like a Newfoundland dog.
Her slow step was a bound, her swift motion unlike that of any other
animal I ever rode, so fleet, so smooth, so unruffled. I know nothing
to which I can compare it. Well, I made this lovely creature so fond of
me by constant petting, to which, I suppose, her Arab character made
her peculiarly sensitive, that my voice had equal power over her, as
over my faithful docile dog. No other person could in the slightest
degree control her. Our corps, the 73rd Batt. of the 60th Rifles, was
composed wholly of the _élite_ of Napoleon's soldiers, taken in the
Peninsula, and preferring the British service to a prison. They were,
principally, conscripts, and many were evidently of a higher class in
society than those usually found in the ranks. Among them were several
Chasseurs and Polish Lancers, very fine equestrians, and as my husband
had a field-officer's command on detachment, and allowances, our horses
were well looked after. His groom was a Chasseur, mine a Pole, but
neither could ride "Fairy" unless she happened to be in a very gracious
mood. Lord Dalhousie's English coachman afterwards tried his hand at
taming her, but all in vain. In an easy quiet manner she either sent
her rider over her head or, by a laughable manoeuvre, sitting down like
a dog on her haunches, slipped him off the other way. Her drollery made
the poor men so fond of her that she was rarely chastised, and such a
wilful, intractable wild Arab it would be hard to find. Upon her I was
daily mounted. Inexperienced in riding, untaught, unassisted, and
wholly unable to lay any check upon so powerful an animal, with an
awkward country saddle, which, by some fatality, was never well fixed,
bit and bridle to match, and the mare's natural fire increased by high
feed, behold me bound for the wildest paths in the wildest regions of
that wild country. But you must explore the roads about Annapolis, and
the romantic spot called the "General's Bridge," to imagine either the
enjoyment or the perils of my happiest hour. Reckless to the last
degree of desperation, I threw myself entirely on the fond attachment
of the noble creature; and when I saw her measuring with her eye some
rugged fence or wild chasm, such as it was her common sport to leap
over in her play, the soft word of remonstrance that checked her was
uttered more from regard to her safety than my own. The least whisper,
a pat on the neck, or a stroke down the beautiful face that she used to
throw up towards mine, would control her; and never for a moment did
she endanger me. This was little short of a daily miracle, when we
consider the nature of the country, her character, and my
unskilfulness. It can only be accounted for on the ground of that
wondrous power which, having willed me to work for a time in the
vineyard of the Lord, rendered me immortal till the work should be
done. Rather, I should say, in the words of Cooper, which I have
ventured to slightly vary--

    "'Tis plain the creature whom He chose to invest
    With _queen_-ship and dominion o'er the rest,
    Received _her_ nobler nature, and was made
    Fit for the power in which she stands arrayed."

Strongly as I advocate early tuition, if a girl has not mounted a
horse up to her thirteenth year, my advice is to postpone the attempt,
unless thoroughly strong, for a couple of years at least. I cannot
here enter the reason why, but it is good and sufficient. Weakly girls
of all ages, especially those who are growing rapidly, are apt to
suffer from pain in the spine. "The Invigorator" corset I have
recommended under the head of "Ladies' Costume" will, to some extent,
counteract this physical weakness; but the only certain cures are
either total cessation from horse exercise, or the adoption of the
cross, or Duchess de Berri, seat--in plain words, to ride _à la
cavalière_ astride in a man's saddle. In spite of preconceived
prejudices, I think that if ladies will kindly peruse my short chapter
on this common sense method, they will come to the conclusion that
Anne of Luxembourg, who introduced the side-saddle, did not confer an
unmixed benefit on the subjects of Richard the Second, and that riding
astride is no more indelicate than the modern short habit in the
hunting field. We are too apt to prostrate ourselves before the
Juggernaut of fashion, and to hug our own conservative ideas.

Though the present straight-seat side-saddle, as manufactured by
Messrs. Champion and Wilton, modifies, if it does not actually do away
with, any fear of curvature of the spine; still, it is of importance
that girls should be taught to ride on the off-side as well as the
near, and, if possible, on the cross-saddle also. Undoubtedly, a
growing girl, whose figure and pliant limbs may, like a sapling, be
trained in almost any direction, does, by always being seated in one
direction, contract a tendency to hang over to one side or the other,
and acquire a stiff, crooked, or ungainly seat. Perfect ease and
squareness are only to be acquired, during tuition and after dismissal
from school, by riding one day on the near and the next on the
off-side. This change will ease the horse, and, by bringing opposite
sets of muscles into play, will impart strength to the rider and keep
the shoulders level. Whichever side the rider sits, the reins are held,
mainly, in the left hand--the left hand is known as the "bridle-hand."
Attempts have frequently been made to build a saddle with two flaps and
movable third pommel, but the result has been far from satisfactory. A
glance at a side-saddle tree will at once demonstrate the difficulty
the saddler has to meet, add to this a heavy and ungainly appearance.
The only way in which the shift can be obtained is by having two




There is no more difficult animal to find on the face of the earth than
a perfect lady's horse. It is not every one that can indulge in the
luxury of a two-hundred-and-fifty to three-hundred-guinea hack, and yet
looks, action, and manners will always command that figure, and more.
Some people say, what can carry a man can carry a woman. What says Mrs.
Power O'Donoghue to this: "A heavy horse is never in any way suitable
to a lady. It _looks_ amiss. The trot is invariably laboured, and if
the animal should chance to fall, he gives his rider what we know in
the hunting-field as 'a mighty crusher.' It is indeed, a rare thing to
meet a perfect 'lady's horse.' In all my wide experience I have met
but two. Breeding is necessary for stability and speed--two things
most essential to a hunter; but good light action is, for a roadster,
positively indispensable, and a horse who does not possess it is a
burden to his rider, and is, moreover, exceedingly unsafe, as he is
apt to stumble at every rut and stone."

Barry Cornwall must have had something akin to perfection in his mind's
eye when penning the following lines:--

    "Full of fire, and full of bone,
    All his line of fathers known;
    Fine his nose, his nostrils thin,
    But blown abroad by the pride within!
    His mane a stormy river flowing,
    And his eyes like embers glowing
    In the darkness of the night,
    And his pace as swift as light.
    Look, around his straining throat
    Grace and shifting beauty float!
    Sinewy strength is in his reins,
    And the red blood gallops through his veins."

How often do we hear it remarked of a neat blood-looking nag, "Yes,
very pretty and blood-like, but there's nothing of him; only fit to
carry a woman." No greater mistake can be made, for if we consider the
matter in all its bearings, we shall see that the lady should be rather
over than under mounted.

The average weight of English ladies is said to be nine stone; to that
must be added another stone for saddle and bridle (I don't know if the
habit and other habiliments be included in the nine stone), and we must
give them another stone in hand; or eleven stone in all. A blood, or at
furthest, two crosses of blood on a good foundation, horse will carry
this weight as well as it can be carried. It is a fault among
thoroughbreds that they do not bend the knee sufficiently; but there
are exceptions to this rule. I know of two Stud Book sires, by
Lowlander, that can trot against the highest stepping hackney or
roadster in the kingdom, and, if trained, could put the dust in the
eyes of nine out of ten of the much-vaunted standard American trotters.
Their bold, elegant, and elastic paces come up to the ideal poetry of
action, carrying themselves majestically, all their movements like
clockwork, for truth and regularity. The award of a first prize as a
hunter sire to one of these horses establishes his claim to symmetry,
but, being full sixteen hands and built on weight-carrying lines, he is
just one or two inches too tall for carrying any _equestrienne_ short
of a daughter of Anak.

Though too often faulty in formation of shoulders, thoroughbreds, as
their name implies, are generally full of quality and, under good
treatment, generous horses. I do not chime in with those who maintain
that a horse can do no wrong, but do assert that he comes into the
world poisoned by a considerably less dose of original sin than we, who
hold dominion over him, are cursed with.

Two-year-olds that have been tried and found lacking that keen edge of
speed so necessary in these degenerate days of "sprinting," many of
them cast in "beauty's mould," are turned out of training and are to be
picked up at very reasonable prices. Never having known a bit more
severe than that of the colt-breaker and the snaffle, the bars of their
mouths are not yet callous, and being rescued from the clutches of the
riding lads of the training-stable, before they are spoiled as to
temper, they may, in many instances, under good tuition, be converted
into admirable ladies' horses--hacks or hunters. They would not be
saleable till four years old, but seven shillings a week would give
them a run at grass and a couple of feeds of oats till such time as
they be thoroughly taken in hand, conditioned, and taught their
business. The margin for profit on well bought animals of this
description, and their selling price as perfect lady's horses, are very

In my opinion no horse can be too good or too perfectly trained for a
lady. Some Amazons can ride anything, play cricket, polo, golf,
lawn-tennis, fence, scale the Alps, etc., and I have known one or two
go tiger-shooting. But all are not manly women, despite fashion,
trending in that unnatural, unlovable direction. One of their own sex
describes them as "gentle, kindly, and _cowardly_." That all are not
heroines, I admit, but no one who witnessed or even read of their
devoted courage during the dark days of the Indian mutiny, can question
their ability to face terrible danger with superlative valour. The
heroism of Mrs. Grimwood at Manipur is fresh in our memory. What the
majority are wanting in is nerve. I have seen a few women go to hounds
as well and as straight as the ordinary run of first-flight men. That
I do not consider the lady's seat less secure than that of the
cross-seated sterner sex, may be inferred from the sketch of the
rough-rider in my companion volume for masculine readers, demonstrating
"the last resource," and giving practical exemplification of the
proverb, "He that can quietly endure overcometh." What women lack, in
dealing with an awkward, badly broken, unruly horse, is muscular force,
dogged determination, and the ability to struggle and persevere. Good
nerve and good temper are essentials.

Having given Barry Cornwall's poetic ideal of a horse, I now venture on
a further rhyming sketch of what may fairly be termed "a good sort":--

    "With intelligent head, lean, and deep at the jowl,
    Shoulder sloping well back, with a skin like a mole,
    Round-barrelled, broad-loined, and a tail carried free,
    Long and muscular arms, short and flat from the knee,
    Great thighs full of power, hocks both broad and low down,
    With fetlocks elastic, feet sound and well grown;
    A horse like unto this, with blood dam and blood sire,
    To Park or for field may to honours aspire;
    It's the sort I'm in want of--do you know such a thing?
    'Tis the mount for a sportswoman, and fit for a queen!"

My unhesitating advice to ladies is _Never buy for yourself_. Having
described what you want to some well-known judge who is acquainted with
your style of riding, and who knows the kind of animal most likely to
suit your temperament, tell him to go to a certain price, and, if he be
a gentleman you will not be disappointed. You won't get perfection, for
that never existed outside the garden of Eden, but you will be well
carried and get your money's worth. Ladies are not fit to cope with
dealers, unless the latter be top-sawyers of the trade, have a
character to lose, and can be trusted. There has been a certain moral
obliquity attached to dealing in horses ever since, and probably
before, they of the House of Togarmah traded in Tyrian fairs with
horses, horsemen, and mules. Should your friend after all his trouble
purchase something that does not to the full realize your fondest
expectation, take the will for the deed, and bear in mind "oft
expectation fails, and most oft there where most it promises."

With nineteen ladies out of every score, the looks of a horse are a
matter of paramount importance: he must be "a pretty creature, with
beautiful deer-like legs, and a lovely head." Their inclinations lead
them to admire what is beautiful in preference to what is true of
build, useful, and safe. If a lady flattered me with a commission to
buy her a horse, having decided upon the colour, I should look out for
something after this pattern: one that would prove an invaluable hack,
and mayhap carry her safely and well across country.

Height fifteen two, or fifteen three at the outside; age between six
and eight, as thoroughbred as Eclipse or nearly so. The courage of the
lion yet gentle withal. Ears medium size, well set on, alert; the erect
and quick "pricking" motion indicates activity and spirit. I would not
reject a horse, if otherwise coming up to the mark, for a somewhat
large ear or for one slightly inclined to be lopped, for in blood this
is a pretty certain indication of the Melbourne strain, one to which
we are much indebted. The characteristics of the Melbournes are, for
the most part, desirable ones: docility, good temper, vigorous
constitution, plenty of size, with unusually large bone, soundness of
joints and abundance of muscle. But these racial peculiarities are
recommendations for the coverside rather than for the Park. The eye
moderately prominent, soft, expressive, "the eye of a listening deer."
The ears and the eyes are the interpreters of disposition. Forehead
broad and flat. A "dish face," that is, slightly concave or indented,
is a heir-loom from the desert, and belongs to Nejd. The jaws deep,
wide apart, with plenty of space for the wind-pipe when the head is
reined in to the chest. Nostrils long, wide, and elastic, exhibiting a
healthy pink membrane. We hear a good deal of large, old-fashioned
heads, and see a good many of the fiddle and Roman-nosed type, but, in
my opinion, these cumbersome heads, unless very thin and fleshless, are
indicative of plebeian blood.

The setting on of the head is a very important point. The game-cock
throttle is the right formation, giving elasticity and the power to
bend in obedience to the rider's hand. What the dealers term a _fine
topped horse_, generally one with exuberance of carcase and light of
limbs, is by no means "the sealed pattern" for a lady; on the contrary,
the neck should be light, finely arched--that peculiarly graceful curve
imported from the East,--growing into shoulders not conspicuous for too
high withers. "Long riding shoulders" is an expression in almost every
horseman's mouth, but very high and large-shouldered animals are apt to
ride heavy in hand and to be high actioned. Well-laid-back shoulders,
rather low, fine at the points, not set too far apart, and well-muscled
will be found to give pace with easy action.

He should stand low on the legs, which means depth of fore-rib, so
essential in securing the lady's saddle, as well as ensuring the power
and endurance to sustain and carry the rider's weight in its proper
place. Fore-legs set well forward, with long, muscular arms, and room
to place the flat of the hand between the elbows and the ribs. The
chest can hardly be too deep, but it can be too wide, or have too great
breadth between the fore-legs. The back only long enough to find room
for the saddle is the rule, though, in case of a lady's horse, a trifle
more length unaccompanied by the faintest sign of weakness, will do no
harm. For speed, a horse must have length somewhere, and I prefer to
see it below, between the point of the elbow and the stifle joint.
Ormonde, "the horse of the century," was nearly a square, _i.e._ the
height from the top of the wither to the ground almost equalled the
length of his body from the point of the shoulder to the extremity of
the buttock. Horses with short backs and short bodies are generally
_buck-leapers_, and difficult to sit on when fencing. The couplings or
loins cannot be too strong or the ribs too well sprung; the back ribs
well hooped. This formation is a sign of a good constitution. The
quarters must needs be full, high set on, with straight crupper, well
rounded muscular buttocks, a clean channel, with big stifles and thighs
to carry them. Knees and hocks clean, broad, and large, back sinews and
ligaments standing well away from the bone, flat and hard as bands of
steel; short well-defined smooth cannons; pasterns nicely sloped,
neither too long nor too short, but full of spring; medium sized feet,
hard as the nether millstone. If possible, I should select one endowed
with the characteristic spring of the Arab's tail from the crupper.
Such a horse would, in the words of Kingsley, possess "the beauty of
Theseus, light but massive, and light, not in spite of its masses, but
on account of the perfect disposition of them."

There is no need for the judge to run the rule, or the tape either,
over the horse. His practised eye, almost in a glance, will take in the
general contour of the animal; it will tell him whether the various
salient and important points balance, and will instantly detect any
serious flaw. When selecting for a lady who, he knows, will appreciate
sterling worth rather than mere beauty, he may feel disposed to gloss
over a certain decidedness of points and dispense with a trifle of the
comely shapeliness of truthfully moulded form. Having satisfied myself
that the framework is all right, I would order the horse to be
sauntered away from me with a loose rein, and, still with his head at
perfect liberty, walked back again. I would then see him smartly
trotted backwards and forwards. Satisfied with his natural dismounted
action, I should require to see him ridden in all his paces, and might
be disposed to get into the saddle myself. Having acquitted himself to
my satisfaction, he would then have to exhibit himself in the Park or
in a field, ridden in the hands of some proficient lady-rider. A few
turns under her pilotage would suffice to decide his claims to be what
I am looking for. If he came up to my ideas of action, or nearly so, I
should not hesitate--subject to veterinary certificate of soundness--to
purchase. Finally, the gentleman to examine the horse as to his
soundness would be one of my own selection. Certain of the London
dealers insist upon examinations being made by their own "Vets," and
"there's a method in their madness." When such a stipulation is made,
I invariably play the return match by insisting upon having the
certificate of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, where the
investigation is complete and rigorous. The very name of "the College"
is gall and wormwood to many of these "gentlemen concerned about




Previous to mounting, the lady should make a practice of critically
looking the horse over, in order to satisfy herself that he is properly
saddled and bridled. Particular attention should be paid to the
girthing. Though ladies are not supposed to girth their own horses,
occasion may arise, in the Colonies especially, when they may be called
upon to perform that office. Information on this essential and too
oft-neglected point may not be out of place. Odd as it may sound, few
grooms know how to girth a horse properly, and to explain myself I
must, for a few lines, quit the side-saddle for the cross-saddle. Men
often wonder how it is that, on mounting, the near stirrup is almost
invariably a hole or more the longer of the two. The reason is this:
the groom places the saddle right in the centre of the horse's back and
then proceeds to tighten the girths from the near or left side. The
tension on the girth-holder, all from one side, cants the saddle over
to the left, to which it is still further drawn by the weight of the
rider in mounting and the strain put upon it by the act of springing
into the saddle. This list to port can easily be obviated by the groom
placing the heel of his left hand against the near side of the pommel,
guiding the first or under-girth with the right hand till the
girth-holder passes through the buckle and is moderately tight, then,
with both hands, bracing it so that room remains for one finger to be
passed between it and the horse. The same must be done in the case of
the outer girth.

In a modified degree the side-saddle is displaced by the common mode of
girthing. The surcingle should lie neatly over the girths, and have an
equal bearing with them. When the "Fitzwilliam girth" is used--and its
general use is to be advocated, not only on account of its safety and
the firmness of the broad web, but for its freedom from rubbing the
skin behind the elbow--the leather surcingle of the saddle will take
the place of the usual leather outside strap supplied with this girth.

For inspection the horse should be brought up to the lady, off side on.
She should note that the throat-lash falls easily, but not dangling, on
the commencement of the curve of the cheek-bone, and that it is not
buckled tight round the throttle, like a hangman's "hempen-tow." The
bridoon should hang easily in the mouth, clear of the corners or
angles, and not wrinkling them; the curb an inch or so above the tusk,
or, in the case of a mare, where that tooth might be supposed to be
placed. She will see that the curb-chain is not too tight, that the
lip-strap is carried through the small ring on the chain, also that the
chain lies smooth and even. In fixing the curb, if the chain be turned
to the right, the links will unfold themselves. It is taken for granted
that by frequent personal visits to the stable, or by trusty deputy,
she is satisfied that the horse's back and withers are not galled or
wrung. A groom withholding information on this point should, after one
warning, get his _congé_. That the bits and stirrup be burnished as
bright as a Life Guardsman's cuirasse, the saddle and bridle perfectly
clean, and the horse thoroughly well groomed, goes without saying. All
the appointments being found in a condition fit for Queen's escort
duty, we now proceed to put the lady _in_, not _into_, her saddle. She
should approach the horse from the front, and not from behind.

After a kind word or two and a little "gentling," she, with her whip,
hunting crop, or riding cane in her right hand, picks up the bridoon
rein with her left, draws it through the right smoothly and evenly,
feeling the horse's mouth very lightly, until it reaches the crutch,
which she takes hold of. In passing the rein through the hand, care
must be taken that it is not allowed to slacken so that touch of the
mouth is lost. Attention to this will keep the horse in his position
whilst being mounted; for should he move backward or forward or away as
the lady is in the act of springing into the saddle, he not only makes
the vaulting exceedingly awkward, but dangerous. Many horses sidle away
as the lady is balanced on one foot and holding on to the pommel with
the right hand, in which case she must at once quit her hold or a fall
will follow.

Having adjusted the rein of the bridoon to an equal length, the whip
point down with the end of the rein on the off side, she stands looking
in the direction the horse is standing--_i.e._, to her proper front,
her right shoulder and arm in contact with the flap of the saddle near
side. The mounter advances facing her, and, close to the horse's
shoulder, can perform his office in three different ways. Stooping
down, he places his right hand, knuckles downwards, on his right knee,
and of it the lady makes a sort of mounting block, whence, springing
from the left foot, she reaches her saddle. When she springs she has
the aid of her grip on the crutch, supplemented by the raising power of
her left hand resting on the man's shoulder. Or the groom aids the
spring by the uplifting of both the hand and the knee. The third method
is, for the mounter--his left arm, as before, touching the horse's
shoulder--to stoop down till his left shoulder comes within easy reach
of the lady's left hand, which she lays on it. He at the same time
advances his left foot till it interposes between her and the horse and
makes a cradle of his hands, into which she places her left foot. Her
grip is still on the crutch, and she still feels the horse's mouth.
One, two, three! she springs like feathered Mercury, and he,
straightening himself, accentuates the light bound, and straightway she
finds herself in the saddle.

[Illustration: PREPARING TO MOUNT.]

It is dangerous to face the mounter in such a position that the spring
is made with the rider's back to her horse's side, for in the event of
his starting suddenly or "taking ground to her right," an awkward
full-length back-fall may result. The foot must be placed firmly in the
mounter's hand; during the lift it must not be advanced, but kept under
her, and he must not attempt to raise her till her right foot be clear
of the ground. The best plan that can be adopted with a horse in the
habit of moving away to one side is to stand him against a low wall or
paling, or alongside another horse. A quiet, well-trained horse may
stand as firm as one of the British squares at Waterloo, or "the thin
red line" at Balaclava, for times without number, but from some
unforeseen alarm may suddenly start aside. The spring and lift must go
together, or the lady may, like Mahomet's coffin, find herself hanging
midway. Practice alone can teach the art of mounting lightly and
gracefully, and to an active person there is no difficulty.

There is yet another method of mounting which requires considerably
more practice--doing away with the services of a mounter,--and that is
for the lady to mount herself. In these days, when so many ladies
practise gymnastics and athletic exercises generally, there ought to be
no difficulty in acquiring this useful habit. The stirrup is let out
till it reaches to about a foot from the ground, the pommel is grasped
with the right hand, and with a spring the rider is in her seat. The
stirrup is then adjusted to its proper length. Unless the horse be very
quiet the groom must stand at his head during this process of mounting.

Mounting from a chair or a pair of steps is certainly not an
accomplishment I should recommend ladies to indulge in; still, there
are occasions when the friendly aid of a low wall, a stile, the bar of
a gate, or even a wheelbarrow, comes handy. In such a predicament, take
the bridoon across the palm of the left hand, and drawing the bit rein
through on each side of the little or third finger till the horse's
mouth be felt, place the right foot in the stirrup, grasp the
leaping-head with the left and the upright pommel with the right hand,
and spring into the saddle, turning round, left about, in so doing.
When in the saddle, disengage the right foot from the stirrup and throw
the right leg over the upright head.


When the lady is in the saddle, that is, seated on it, not in riding
position but before throwing her right leg over the crutch, the groom,
without releasing the hold of her foot altogether, adjusts the folds of
the habit, care being taken that there is no crease or fold between the
right knee and the saddle. This, in the case of a Zenith, is a matter
speedily arranged, and, the adjustment being to her satisfaction, she
at once pivots on the centre, and raises her right leg into its place
over the crutch. The foot is then placed in the stirrup. When a good
seat has been acquired, and the rider does not encumber herself with
needless underclothing, this arrangement of habit had best be deferred
till the horse is in motion; she can then raise herself in the saddle
by straightening the left knee, and, drawing herself forward by
grasping the pommel with the right hand, arrange the folds to her
entire satisfaction with the left.

Attention must be paid to the length of the stirrup, for on it depends
greatly the steadiness of the seat. Many ladies are seen riding with a
short stirrup; but this is an error, for it destroys the balance,
without which there can be no elegance, invariably causes actual cramp
and gives a cramped appearance, forces the rider out of the centre of
the saddle, so that the weight on the horse's back is unevenly
distributed, and displays too much daylight when rising in the trot. On
the other hand, too long a stirrup is equally objectionable, as it
causes the body to lean unduly over to the near side in order to retain
hold of it, depresses and throws back the left shoulder, and destroys
the squareness of position. The length of stirrup should be just
sufficient that the rider, by leaning her right hand on the pommel,
can, without any strain on the instep, raise herself clear of the
saddle; this implies that the knee will be only bent sufficiently
to maintain the upward pressure of the knee against the concave
leaping-head. The stirrup is intended as a support to the foot, not
as an _appui_ to ride from; it is not intended to sustain the full
weight of the body, and when so misapplied is certain to establish a
sore back. I am strongly of opinion that to be in all respects perfect
in the equestrian art, a lady should learn, in the first instance, to
ride without a stirrup, so as, under any circumstances that may arise,
to be able to do without this appendage. Those who aspire to honours in
the hunting-field certainly should accustom themselves to dispense with
the stirrup, as by so doing they will acquire a closer and firmer seat;
moreover, its absence teaches the beginner, better than any other
method, to ride from balance, which is the easiest and best form of
equitation for both horse and rider. Many horsewomen are under the
impression that it is impossible to rise without the aid of the
stirrup, but that such is not the case a course of stirrupless training
will soon prove. I do not suggest that riding thus should be made a
habit, but only strenuously advocate its practice.

A very general fault, and an extremely ugly one among lady riders, is
the habit of sticking out the right foot in front of the saddle. It is
not only unsightly, but loosens the hold, for if the toe be stuck out
under the habit like a flying jib-boom, the leg becomes the bowsprit,
and it is impossible for a straightened leg to grip the crutch. Bend
the knee well, keep the toe slightly down, and this ugly habit is
beyond the pale of possibility. This ungraceful posture may be caused
by the pommels being placed so near together that there is not
sufficient room for the leg to lie and bend easily, but this excuse
will not hold good in the case of the straight-seat-safety-side-saddle,
for it has only one pommel or crutch and one leaping-head.

Having got the lady into her saddle, we next attempt so to instruct her
that it may be remarked--

    "The rider sat erect and fair."--SCOTT.


Hitherto, during the process of mounting and settling herself
comfortably, the reins have been in the rider's right hand. Now that
women can sit square and look straight out and over their horses' ears,
much more latitude is permitted in the hold of the reins. It is no
longer essential to hold them only in the left hand, for as often as
not--always in hunting or at a hand-gallop--both hands are on the
bridle. But, as a rule, the left should be the bridle hand, for if the
reins be held in the right, and the horse, as horses often will, gets
his head down or bores, the right shoulder is drawn forward, and the
left knee, as a matter of course, being drawn back from under, loses
its upward pressure against the leaping-head, and the safety of the
seat is jeopardized. Were the rein to give way the rider would probably
fall backwards off the horse over his off-quarter. On the other hand,
when the reins are all gathered into the left hand, the harder the
horse may take the bit in his teeth, and the lower he may carry his
head, the firmer must be the grip of the crutch and the greater the
pressure against the leaping-head.

[Illustration: MOUNTED--NEAR SIDE.]

As the reins must not be gathered up all in a bunch, I give the
following directions for placing them in the hand. If riding with a
snaffle, as always should be the case with beginners, the reins ought
to be separated, passing into the hands between the third and fourth
fingers, and out over the fore or index-finger, where they are held by
the thumb. In the case of bit and bridoon (the bridoon rein has
generally a buckle where it joins, whereas that of the bit is
stitched), take up the bridoon rein across the inside of the hand, and
draw the bit rein through the hand on each side of the little or third
finger until the mouth of the horse be gently felt; turn the remainder
of the rein along the inside of the hand, and let it fall over the
forefinger on to the off-side; place the bridoon rein upon those of the
bit, and close the thumb upon them all.

A second plan equally good is, when the horse is to be ridden mainly on
the bridoon: the bridoon rein is taken up by the right hand and drawn
flatly through on each side of the second finger of the bridle-hand,
till the horse's mouth can be felt, when it is turned over the first
joint of the forefinger on to the off-side. The bit rein is next taken
up and drawn through on each side of the little finger of the
bridle-hand, till there is an equal, or nearly equal, length and
feeling with the bridoon, and then laid smoothly over the bridoon rein,
with the thumb firmly placed as a stopper upon both, to keep them from
slipping. A slight pressure of the little finger will bring the bit
into play.

Thirdly, when the control is to be entirely from the bit or curb; the
bit rein is taken up by the stitching by the right hand _within_
the bridoon rein, and drawn through on each side of the little finger
of the left or bridle-hand, until there is a light and even feel on the
horse's mouth; it is then turned over the first joint of the forefinger
on the off-side. The bridoon rein is next taken up by the buckle, under
the left hand, and laid smoothly over the left bit rein, leaving it
sufficiently loose to hang over each side of the horse's neck. The
thumb is then placed firmly on both reins, as above.

These different manipulations of the reins may be conveniently
practised at home with reins attached to an elastic band, the spring of
the band answering to the "feel" on the horse's mouth. But, in addition
to these various systems of taking up the reins, much has to be learnt
in the direction of separating, shortening, shifting, and so forth.
With novices the reins constantly and imperceptibly slip, in which
case, the ends of the reins hanging over the forefinger of the
bridle-hand are taken altogether into the right, the right hand feels
the horse's head, while the loosened fingers of the bridle-hand are run
up or down the reins, as required, till they are again adjusted to the
proper length, when the fingers once more close on them.

In shifting reins to the right hand, to relieve cramp of the fingers,
and so forth, the right hand must always pass over the left, and in
replacing them the left hand must be placed over the right. In order to
shorten any one rein, the right hand is used to pull on that part which
hangs beyond the thumb and forefinger. When a horse refuses obedience
to the bridle-hand, it must be reinforced by the right. The three first
fingers of the right are placed over the bridoon rein, so that the rein
passes between the little and third fingers, the end is then turned
over the forefinger and, as usual, the thumb is placed upon it.
Expertness in these "permutations and combinations" is only to be
arrived at by constant practice. They must be performed without
stopping the horse, altering his pace, or even glancing at the hands.

The reins must not be held too loose, but tight enough to keep touch of
the horse's mouth; and, on the other hand, there must be no attempt to
hold on by the bridle, or what is termed to "ride in the horse's
mouth." A short rein is objectionable; there must be no "extension
motions," no reaching out for a short hold. The proper position for the
bridle-hand is immediately opposite the centre of the waist, and about
three or four inches from it, that is, on a level with the elbow, and
about three or four inches away from the body. The elbow must neither
be squeezed or trussed too tightly to the side, nor thrust out too far,
but carried easily, inclining a little from the body. According to
strict _manège_ canons, the thumb should be uppermost, and the
lower part of the hand nearer the waist than the upper, the wrist a
little rounded, and the little finger in a line with the elbow. A
wholesome laxity in conforming to these hard-and-fast rules will be
found to add to the grace of the rider. _Chaque pays chaque guise_, and
no two horses are alike in the carriage of the head, the sensitiveness
of the mouth, and in action. Like ourselves, they all have their own



The rider is now seated on what--in the case of a beginner--should be
an absolutely quiet, good-tempered, and perfectly trained horse. Before
schooling her as to seat, we will ask her to move forward at the walk.
At first it is better to have the horse led by a leading rein till the
_débutante_ is accustomed to the motion and acquires some stock of
confidence. She must banish from her mind all thoughts of tumbling off.
We do not instruct after this fashion:--Lady (after having taken
several lessons at two guineas a dozen) _loq._: "Well, Mr. Pummell,
have I made any good progress?" "Well, I can't say, ma'am," replies the
instructor, "as 'ow you rides werry well as yet, but you falls off,
ma'am, a deal more gracefuller as wot you did at first." We do not say
that falls must not be expected, but in mere hack and park riding they
certainly ought to be few and far between. At a steady and even fast
walk the merest tyro cannot, unless bent on experiencing the sensation
of a tumble, possibly come to the ground. Doubtless the motion is
passing strange at first, and the beginner may be tempted to clutch
nervously at the pommel of her saddle, a very bad and unsightly habit,
and one that, if not checked from the very first, grows apace and

It is during the walk that the seat is formed, and the rider makes
herself practically acquainted with the rules laid down on the handling
of the reins. A press of the left leg, a light touch of the whip on the
off-side, and a "klk" will promptly put the horse in motion. He may
toss his head, and for a pace or two become somewhat unsteady; this is
not vice but mere freshness, and he will almost immediately settle down
into a quick, sprightly step, measuring each pace exactly, and marking
regular cadence, the knee moderately bent, the leg, in the case of what
Paddy terms "a flippant shtepper," being sharply caught up, appearing
suspended in the air for a second, and the foot brought smartly and
firmly, without jar, to the ground. This is the perfection of a walking
pace. By degrees any nervousness wears off, the rigid trussed
appearance gives place to one of pliancy and comparative security, the
body loses its constrained stiffness, and begins to conform to and sway
with the movements of the horse. The rider, sitting perfectly straight
and erect, approaches the correct position, and lays the foundation of
that ease and bearing which are absolutely indispensable.


After a lesson or two, if not of the too-timid order, the lady will
find herself sitting just so far forward in the saddle as is consistent
with perfect ease and comfort, and with the full power to grasp the
upright crutch firmly with her right knee; she will be aware of the
friendly grip of the leaping-head over her left leg; the weight of her
body will fall exactly on the centre of the saddle; her head, though
erect, will be perfectly free from constraint, the shoulders well
squared, and the hollow of the back gracefully bent in, as in waltzing.
This graceful pose of the figure may be readily acquired, throughout
the preliminary lessons, and indeed on all occasions when under
tuition, by passing the right arm behind the waist, back of the hand to
the body, and riding with it in that position. Another good plan, which
can only be practised in the riding-school or in some out-of-the-way
quiet corner, and then only on a very steady horse, is for the
beginner, without relaxing her grip on the crutch and the pressure on
the leaping-head, as she sits, to lean or recline back so that her two
shoulder-blades touch the hip-bones of the horse, recovering herself
and regaining her upright position without the aid of the reins. The
oftener this gymnastic exercise is performed the better.

At intervals during the lessons she should also, having dropped her
bridle, assiduously practise the extension motions performed by
recruits in our military-riding schools. [_See Appendix._] The
excellent effects of this physical training will soon be appreciated.
But, irrespective of the accuracy of seat, suppleness and strength of
limb, confidence and readiness these athletic exercises beget, they
may, when least expected, save the rider's life. Some of those for
whose instruction I have the honour to write, may find themselves
placed in a critical situation, when the ability to lie back or "duck"
may save them from a fractured skull.

Inclining the body forward is, from the notion that it tends towards
security, a fault very general with timid riders. Nothing, however, in
the direction of safety, is further from the fact. Should the horse,
after a visit to the farrier and the usual senseless free use of the
smith's drawing and paring-knife, tread upon a rolling stone and
"peck," the lady, leaning forward, is suddenly thrown still further
forward, her whole weight is cast upon his shoulders, so he "of the
tender foot" comes down and sends his rider flying over his head. A
stoop in the figure is wanting in smartness, and is unattractive.


It is no uncommon thing to see ladies sitting on their horses in the
form of the letter S, and the effect can hardly be described as
charming. This inelegant position, assumed by the lady in the distance,
is caused by being placed too much over to the right in the saddle,
owing to a too short stirrup. In attempting to preserve the balance,
the body from the waist upwards has a strong twisted lean-over to the
left, the neck, to counteract this lateral contortion of the spine,
being bent over to the right, the whole pose conveying the impression
that the rider must be a cripple braced up in surgeon's irons and other
appliances. Not less hideous, and equally prevalent, is the habit of
sitting too much to the left, and leaning over in that direction
several degrees out of the perpendicular. A novice is apt to contract
this leaning-seat from the apprehension, existing in the mind of timid
riders, that they must fall off from the off rather than from the near
side, so they incline away from the supposed danger. Too long a stirrup
is sometimes answerable for this crab-like posture. In both of these
awkward postures, the seat becomes insecure, and the due exercise of
the "aids" impossible. What is understood by "aids" in the language of
the schools are the motions and proper application of the bridle-hand,
leg, and heel to control and direct the turnings and paces of the

The expression "riding by balance" has been frequently used, and as it
is the essence of good horsemanship, I describe it in the words of an
expert as consisting in "a foreknowledge of what direction any given
motion of the horse would throw the body, and a ready adaptation of the
whole frame to the proper position, before the horse has completed his
change of attitude or action; it is that disposition of the person, in
accordance with the movements of the horse, which preserves it from an
improper inclination to one side or the other, which even the ordinary
paces of the horse in the trot or gallop will occasion." In brief, it
is the automatic inclination of the person of the rider to the body of
the horse by which the equilibrium is maintained.

The rider having to some extent perfected herself in walking straight
forward, inclining and turning to the right and to the right about, and
in executing the same movements to the left, on all of which I shall
have a few words to say later, and when she can halt, rein back, and is
generally handy with her horse at the walk, she may attempt a slow
TROT, and here her sorrows may be said to begin.


In this useful but trying pace the lady must sit well down on her
saddle, rising and falling in unison with the action of the horse,
springing lightly but not too highly by the action of the horse coupled
with the flexibility of the instep and the knee. As the horse breaks
from the walk into the faster pace, it is best not to attempt to rise
from the saddle till he has fairly settled down to his trot--better for
a few paces to sit back, somewhat loosely, and bump the saddle. The
rise from the saddle is to be made as perpendicularly as possible,
though a slight forward inclination of the body from the loins, but not
with roached-back, may be permitted, and only just so high as to
prevent the jar that ensues from the movements of the rider with the
horse not being in unison. The return of the body to the saddle must be
quiet, light, and unlaboured. Here it is that the practice without a
stirrup will stand the novice in good stead.

This pace is the most difficult of all to ladies, and few there be that
attain the art of sitting square and gracefully at this gait, and who
rise and fall in the saddle seemingly without an effort and without
riding too much in the horse's mouth. Most women raise themselves by
holding on to the bridle. Instead of rising to the right, so that they
can glance down the horse's shoulder, and descending to left, and thus
regain the centre of the saddle, they persist in rising over the
horse's left shoulder, and come back on to the saddle in the direction
of his off-quarter. This twist of the body to the left destroys the
purchase of the foot and knee, and unsteadies the position and hands.
Though I have sanctioned a slight leaning forward as the horse breaks
into his trot, it must not be overdone, for should he suddenly throw up
his head his poll may come in violent contact with the rider's face and
forehead, causing a blow that may spoil her beauty, if not knock her


Till the rider can hit off the secret of rising, she will be severely
shaken up--"churned" as a well-known horsewoman describes the
jiggiddy-joggoddy motion,--the teeth feel as if they would be shaken
out of their sockets, and stitch-in-the-side puts in its unwelcome
appearance. Certes, the preliminary lessons are very trying ones, the
disarrangement of "the get-up" too awful, the fatigue dreadful, the
alarm no trifle. Nothing seems easier, and yet nothing in the art
equestrian is so difficult--not to men with their two stirrups, but to
women with one only available. What is more grotesque, ridiculous, and
disagreeable than a rider rising and falling in the saddle at a greater
and lesser speed than that of her horse? And yet, fair reader, if you
will have a little patience, a good deal of perseverance, some
determination, and will attend to the hints I give, you shall, in due
course, be mistress over the difficulty, and rise and fall with perfect
ease and exquisite grace, free from all _embarras_ or undue fatigue.

First of all, we must put you on a very smooth, easy, and sedate
trotter; by-and-by we may transfer your saddle to something more sharp
and lively, perhaps even indulge you with a mount on a regular
"bone-setter." To commence with, the lessons, or rather trotting bouts,
shall be short, there shall be frequent halts, and during these halts I
shall make you drop your reins and put you through extension and
balance motions, endeavour to correct your position on the saddle,
catechize you closely on the "aids," and introduce as much variety as

Before urging your steed into his wild six or seven-mile-an-hour
career, please bear in mind that you must not rise suddenly, or with a
jerk, but quietly and smoothly, letting the impetus come from the
motion of the horse. The rise from the saddle must not be initiated by
a long pull and strong pull at his mouth, a spasmodic grip of your
right leg on the crutch, or a violent attempt to raise yourself in the
air from your stirrup. The horse will not accommodate his action to
yours, you must "take him on the hop," as the saying is. If horse and
rider go disjointly, or you do not harmonize your movements with his,
then it is something as unpleasant as dancing a waltz with a partner
who won't keep time, or rowing "spoonful about."

Falling in with the trot of a horse is at first very difficult. In
order to facilitate matters as much as possible, you shall, for a few
days, substitute the old-fashioned slipper for the stirrup, as then the
spring will come from the toes and not from the hollow of the foot;
this will lessen the exertion and be easier. If nature has happened to
fashion you somewhat short from the hip to the knee, and you will
attend to instruction and practice frequently, the chances are strong
in your favour of conquering the irksome "cross-jolt." Separate your
reins, taking one in each hand, feeling the mouth equally with both
reins, sit well down on your saddle, keep your left foot pointed
straight to the front, don't attempt to move till the horse has
steadied into his trot, which, in case of a well trained animal, will
be in a stride or two, then endeavour, obeying the impulse of his
movement, to time the rise.

A really perfectly broken horse, "supplied on both hands," as it is
termed, leads, in the trot as in the canter, equally well with either
leg, but, in both paces, a very large majority have a favourite leading
leg. By glancing over the right shoulder the time for the rise may be
taken. Do not be disheartened by repeated failures to "catch on;"
persevere, and suddenly you will hit it off. When the least fatigued,
pull up into a walk, and when rested have another try. At the risk of
repetition, I again impress on you the necessity of keeping the toe of
the left foot pointed to the front, the foot itself back, and with the
heel depressed. Your descent into the saddle should be such that any
one you may be riding straight at, shall see a part of your right
shoulder and hip as they rise and fall, his line of vision being
directed along the off-side of the horse's neck. When these two
portions of your body are so visible then the weight is in its proper
place, and there is no fear of the saddle being dragged over the
horse's near shoulder. For a few strides there is no objection to your
taking a light hold of the pommel with the right hand, in order to time
the rise, but the moment the "cross-jolt" ceases, and you find yourself
moving in unison with the horse, the hold must be relaxed. Some
difficulty will be found in remaining long enough out of the saddle at
each rise to avoid descending too soon, and thus receive a double
cross-jolt; but this will be overcome after a few attempts. Keep the
hands well down and the elbows in.

[Illustration: THE TROT.]

Varying the speed in the trot will be found excellent practice for the
hands; the faster a horse goes, generally speaking, the easier he goes.
He must be kept going "well within himself," that is he must not be
urged to trot at a greater speed than he can compass with true and
equal action. Some very fast trotters, "daisy cutters," go with so
little upward jerk that it is almost impossible to rise on them at all.
Any attempt at half-cantering with his hind legs must be at once
checked by pulling him together, and, by slowing him down, getting him
back into collected form. Should he "break" badly, from being
over-paced, into a canter or hard-gallop, then rein him in, pulling up,
if need be, into a walk, chiding him at the same time. When he again
brings his head in and begins to step clean, light, and evenly, then
let him resume his trot. If not going up to his bit and hanging heavy
on the hand, move the bit in his mouth, let him feel the leg, and talk
to him. Like ourselves, horses are not up to the mark every day, and
though they do not go to heated theatres and crowded ball-rooms, or
indulge as some of their masters and mistresses are said to do, they
too often spend twenty hours or more out of the twenty-four in the
vitiated atmosphere of a hot, badly ventilated stable, and their
insides are converted into apothecaries' shops by ignorant doctoring
grooms. When a free horse does not face his bit, he is either fatigued
or something is amiss.


Properly speaking, this being, _par excellence_, the lady's pace, the
instruction should precede that of the trot. The comparative ease of
the canter, and the readiness with which the average pupil takes to it,
induces the beginner to at once indulge in it. It is, on a thoroughly
trained horse, so agreeable that the uninitiated at once acquire
confidence on horseback. Moreover, it is _the_ pace at which a fine
figure and elegant lady-like bearing is most conspicuously displayed,
and for this, if for no other reason, the pupil applies herself
earnestly--shall I say lovingly?--to perfect herself in this delightful
feature of the art. On a light-actioned horse, one moving as it were on
springs, going well on his haunches, and well up to this bit, the
motion is as easy as that of a rocking-chair. All the rider has to do
is to sit back, keep the body quite flexible and in the centre of the
saddle, preserve the balance, and, with pressure from the left leg and
heel, and a touch of the whip, keep him up to his bit. She will
imperceptibly leave the saddle at every stride, which, in a slow
measured canter, will be reduced to a sort of rubbing motion, just
sufficient to ease the slight jolt caused by the action of the haunches
and hind legs.

Many park-horses and ladies' hacks are trained to spring at once,
without breaking into a run or trot, into the canter. All the rider has
to do is to raise the hand ever so little, press him with the leg,
touch him with the whip, and give him the unspellable signal "klk." The
movement or sway of the body should follow that of the horse. As soon
as he is in his stride, the rider throws back her body a little, and
places her hand in a suitable position. If the horse carries his head
well, the hand ought to be about three inches from the pommel, and at
an equal distance from the body. For "star-gazers" it should be lower;
and for borers it should be raised higher. Once properly under way the
lady will study that almost imperceptible willow-like bend of the back,
her shoulders will be thrown back gracefully, the mere suspicion of a
swing accommodating itself to the motion of the horse will come from
the pliant waist, and she will yield herself just a little to the
opposite side from that the horse's leading leg is on. If he leads with
the off-foot, he inclines a trifle to the left, and the rider's body
and hands must turn but a little to the left also, and _vice versâ_.

It is the rider's province to direct which foot the horse shall lead
with. To canter with the left fore leg leading, the extra bearing will
be upon the left rein, the little finger turned up towards the right
shoulder, the hint from the whip--a mere touch should suffice--being on
the right shoulder or flank. It is essential that the bearing upon the
mouth, a light playing touch, should be preserved throughout the whole
pace. If the horse should, within a short distance--say a mile or
so,--flag, then he must be reminded by gentle application of the whip.
He cannot canter truly and bear himself handsomely unless going up to
his bit. The rider must feel the cadence of every pace, and be able to
extend or shorten the stride at will. It is an excellent plan to change
the leading leg frequently, so that upon any disturbance of pace, going
"false," or change of direction, the rider may be equal to the
occasion. The lady must be careful that the bridle-arm does not acquire
the ugly habit of leaving the body and the elbow of being stuck out of
it akimbo. All the movements of the hand should proceed from the wrist,
the bearings and play on the horse's mouth being kept up by the little

Ladies will find that most horses are trained to lead entirely with the
off leg, and that when, from any disturbance of pace, they are forced
to "change step" and lead with the near leg, their action becomes very
awkward and uneven. Hence they are prone to regard cantering with the
near leg as disagreeable. But when they come to use their own horses,
they will find it good economy to teach them to change the leading leg
constantly, both during the canter and at the commencement of the pace.
To make a horse change foot in his canter, if he cannot be got readily
to do so by hand, leg, and heel, turn him to the right, as if to
circle, and he will lead with the off foreleg, and by repeating the
same make-believe manoeuvre to the left, the near fore will be in
front. The beginner, however, had better pull up into the walk before
attempting this change. When pulling up from the canter, it is best and
safest to let the horse drop into a trot for a few paces and so resume
the walk.

There is no better course of tuition by which to acquire balance than
the various inclinations to the right and left, the turns to the right
and left and to the right and left-about at the canter, all of which,
with the exception of the full turns, should be performed on the move
without halting. In the turn-about, it is necessary to bring the horse
to a momentary halt before the turn be commenced, and so soon as he has
gone about and the turn is fully completed, a lift of the hand and a
touch of the leg and heel should instanter compel him to move forward
at the canter in the opposite direction; he must no sooner be round
than off. When no Riding-school is available, one constructed of
hurdles closely laced with gorse, on the sheep-lambing principle, will
answer all purposes. Should the horse be at all awkward or unsteady,
the hurdles, placed one on the top of the other and tied to uprights
driven into the ground, closely interlaced with the gorse so that he
cannot see through or over the barrier, will form a perfect, retired
exercise ground. A plentiful surface dressing of golden-peat-moss-litter
will save his legs and feet. In a quiet open impromptu school of this
description, away from "the madding crowd," I have schooled young
horses so that they would canter almost on their own ground, circling
round a bamboo lance shaft, the point in the ground and the butt in my
right hand, without changing legs or altering pace, and they would
describe the figure eight with almost mathematical precision, changing
leg at every turn without any "aid" from me, a mere inclination of the
body bringing them round the curves. A horse very handy with his legs
can readily change them at the corners when making the full right-angle
turn, but there is always at first the danger of one not so clever
attempting to execute the turn by crossing the leading leg over the
supporting one, when the rider will be lucky to get off with an awkward
stumble--a "cropper" will most likely follow. When at this private
practice, "make much of your horse"--that is, caress and speak kindly
to him, when he does well; in fact, the more he is spoken to throughout
the lesson, the better for both parties. So good and discriminating is
a horse's ear that he soon learns to appreciate the difference between
kindly approval and stern censure. A sympathy between horse and rider
is soon established, and such freemasonry is delightful.

[Illustration: FREE BUT NOT EASY.]

Never canter on the high road, and see that your groom does not indulge
himself by so doing. On elastic springy turf the pace, which in reality
is a series of short bounds, if not continued too long at a time, does
no great harm, but one mile on a hard, unyielding surface causes more
wear-and-tear of joints, shoulders, and frame generally, than a long
day's work of alternating walk and trot which, on the Queen's highway,
are the proper paces. There is no objection to a canter when a bit of
turf is found on the road-side; and the little drains cut to lead the
water off the turnpike into the ditch serve to make young horses handy
with their legs.


The rider should not attempt either of these accelerated paces till
quite confident that she has the horse under complete control. As the
hand-gallop is only another and quickened form of the canter, in which
the stride is both lengthened and hastened, or, more correctly
speaking, in which the bounds are longer and faster, the same rules are
applicable to both. Many horses, especially those through whose veins
strong hot blood is pulsing, fairly revel in the gallop, and if allowed
to gain upon the hand, will soon extend the hand-gallop to full-gallop,
and that rapid pace into a runaway. The rider must, therefore, always
keep her horse well in hand, so as to be able to slacken speed should
he get up too much steam. Some, impatient of restraint, will shake
their heads, snatch at their bits, and yaw about, "fighting for their
heads," as it is termed, and will endeavour to bore and get their heads

A well-trained horse, one such as a beginner should ride, will not play
these pranks and will not take a dead pull at the rider's hands; on the
contrary, he will stride along quite collectedly, keeping his head in
its proper place, and taking just sufficient hold to make things
pleasant. But horses with perfect mouths and manners are, like angels'
visits, few and far between, and are eagerly sought after by those
fortunate beings to whom money is no object. To be on the safe side,
the rider should always be on the alert and prepared to at once apply
the brake. When fairly in his stride and going comfortably, the rider,
leaning slightly forward, should, with both hands on the bridle, give
and take with each stroke, playing the while with the curb; she should
talk cheerily to him, but the least effort on his part to gain upon the
hand must be at once checked. The play of the little fingers on the
curb keeps his mouth alive, prevents his hanging or boring, and makes
it sensible to the rider's hand.

"Keeping a horse in hand" means that there is such a system of
communication established between the rider and the quadruped that the
former is mistress of the situation, and knows, almost before the horse
has made up his mind what to do, what is coming. This keeping in hand
is one of the secrets of fine horsemanship, and it especially suits the
light-hearted mercurial sort of goer, one that is always more or less
off the ground or in the air, one of those that "treads so light he
scarcely prints the plain."

My impression is, despite the numerous bits devised and advertised to
stop runaways, that nothing short of a long and steep hill, a
steam-cultivated, stiff clay fallow, or the Bog of Allen, will stop the
determined bolt of a self-willed, callous-mouthed horse. There is no
use pulling at him, for the more you pull the harder he hardens his
heart and his mouth. The only plan, if there be plenty of elbow room,
is to let him have his wicked way a bit, then, with one mighty
concentrated effort to give a sudden snatch at the bit, followed by
instantly and rapidly drawing, "sawing," of the bridoon through his
mouth. Above all, keep your presence of mind, and if by any good luck
you can so pilot the brute as to make him face an ascent, drive him up
it--if it be as steep as the roof of a house, so much the
better,--plying whip and spur, till he be completely "pumped out" and
dead beat. Failing a steep hill, perhaps a ploughed field may present
itself, through and round which he should be ridden, in the very
fullest sense of the word, till he stands still. Such a horse is
utterly unfit to carry a lady, and, should she come safe and sound out
of the uncomfortable ride, he had better be consigned to Tattersall's
or "The Lane," to be sold "absolutely without reserve."

Worse still than the runaway professional bolter is the panic-stricken
flight of a suddenly scared horse, in which abject terror reigns
supreme, launching him at the top of his speed in full flight from some
imaginary foe. Nature has taught him to seek safety in flight, and the
frightened animal, with desperate and exhausting energy, will gallop
till he drops. Professor Galvayne's system claims to be effective with
runaway and nervous bolters. At Ayr that distinguished horse-tamer
cured, in the space of one hour, an inveterate performer in that
objectionable line, and a pair he now drives were, at one time, given
to like malpractices.

Do not urge your horse suddenly from a canter into a full gallop; let
him settle down to his pace gradually--steady him. Being jumped off,
like a racehorse with a flying start at the fall of the flag, is very
apt to make a hot, high-couraged horse run away or attempt to do so.
Some horses, however, allow great liberties to be taken with them, and
others none. All depends on temperament, and whether the nervous,
fibrous, sanguine, or lymphatic element preponderates. And here let me
remark that the fibrous temperament is the one to struggle and endure,
to last the longest, and to give the maximum of ease, comfort, and
satisfaction to owner and rider.


    "Throw the broad ditch behind you; o'er the hedge
    High bound, resistless; nor the deep morass refuse."


Though the "pleasures of the chase" are purposely excluded from this
volume, the horsewoman's preliminary course of instruction would hardly
be complete without a few remarks on jumping. In clearing an obstacle,
a horse must to all intents and purposes go through all the motions
inherent to the vices of rearing, plunging, and kicking, yet the three,
when in rapid combination, are by no means difficult to accommodate
one's self to. It is best to commence on a clever, steady horse--"a
safe conveyance" that will go quietly at his fences, jump them without
an effort, landing light as a cork, and one that will never dream of
refusing. As beginners, no matter what instructors may say and protest,
will invariably, for the first few leaps, till they acquire confidence,
grip, and balance, ride to some extent "in the horse's mouth," they
should be placed on an animal with not too sensitive a mouth, one that
can go pleasantly in a plain snaffle.

Begin with something low, simple, and easy--say a three feet high
gorsed hurdle, so thickly laced with the whin that daylight cannot be
seen through, with a low white-painted rail some little distance from
it on the take-off side. If there be a ditch between the rail and the
fence, so much the better, for the more the horse spreads himself the
easier it will be to the rider, the jerk or prop on landing the less
severe. Some horses sail over the largest obstacle, land, and are away
again without their appearing to call upon themselves for any extra
exertion; they clear it in their stride. Hunters that know their
business can be trotted up to five-barred gates and stiff timber, which
they will clear with consummate ease; but height and width require
distinct efforts, and the rear and kick in this mode of negotiating a
fence are so pronounced and so sudden that they would be certain to
unseat the novice.

[Illustration: THE LEAP.]

It is easiest to sit a leap if the horse is ridden at it in a canter
or, at most, in a well-collected, slow hand-gallop. The reins being
held in both hands with a firm, steady hold, the horse should be ridden
straight at the spot you have selected to jump. Sit straight, or, if
anything out of the perpendicular, lean a little back. The run at the
fence need only be a few yards. As he nears it, the forward prick of
his alert ears and a certain measuring of his distance will indicate
that he means "to have it," and is gathering himself for the effort.
The rider should then, if she can persuade herself so to do, give him
full liberty of head. Certain instructors, and horsemen in general,
will prate glibly of "lifting" a horse over his fence. I have read of
steeplechase riders "throwing" their horses over almost unnegotiable
obstacles, but it is about as easy to upend an elephant by the tail and
throw him over the garden wall as it is for any rider to "lift" his
horse. Although the horse must be made to feel, as he approaches the
fence, that it is utterly impossible for him to swerve from it, yet the
instant he is about to rise the reins should be slacked off, to be
almost immediately brought to bear again as he descends.

Irish horses are the best jumpers we have, and their excellence may
justly be ascribed to the fact that, for the most part, they are ridden
in the snaffle bridle. If the horse be held too light by the head he
will "buck over" the obstacle, a form of jumping well calculated to
jerk the beginner out of her saddle. After topping the hurdle, the
horse's forehand, in his descent, will be lower than his hind quarters.
Had the rider leant forward as he rose on his hind legs, the violent
effort or kick of his haunches would have thrown her still further over
his neck, whereas, having left the ground with a slight inclination
towards the croup, the forward spring of the horse will add to that
backward tendency and place her in the best possible position in which
to counteract the shock received upon his forefeet reaching the ground.
If the rider does not slacken the reins as the horse makes his spring,
they must either be drawn through her hands or she will land right out
on his neck.

I have referred to the "buck-over" system of jumping, which is very
common with Irish horses. A mare of mine, well-known in days of yore at
Fermoy as "Up-she-rises," would have puzzled even Mrs. Power
O'Donoghue. She would come full gallop, when hounds were running, at a
stone wall, pull up and crouch close under it, then, with one mighty
effort, throw herself over, her hind legs landing on the other side
little more than the thickness of the wall from where her forefeet had
taken off. It was not a "buck," but a straight up-on-end rear, followed
by a frantic kick that threatened to hurl saddle and rider half across
the field. "Scrutator," in "Horses and Hounds," makes mention of an
Irish horse, which would take most extraordinary leaps over gates and
walls, and if going ever so fast would always check himself and take
his leaps after his own fashion. "Not thinking him," writes this fine
sportsman, "up to my weight, he was handed over to the second
whipper-in, and treated Jack at first acquaintance to a rattling fall
or two. He rode him, as he had done his other horses, pretty fast at a
stiff gate, which came in his way the first day. Some of the field, not
fancying it, persuaded Jack to try first, calculating upon his knocking
it open, or breaking the top bar. The horse, before taking off, stopped
quite short, and jerked him out of the saddle over to the other side;
then raising himself on his hind legs, vaulted over upon Jack, who was
lying on his back. Not being damaged, Jack picked himself up, and
grinning at his friends, who were on the wrong side laughing at his
fall, said, 'Never mind, gentlemen, 'tis a rum way of doing things that
horse has; but no matter, we are both on the right side, and that's
where you won't be just yet.'"

The standing jump is much more difficult, till the necessary balance be
acquired, than the flying leap. The lower and longer the curve
described, the easier to sit; but in this description of leaping, the
horse, though he clears height, cannot cover much ground. His motion is
like that of the Whip's horse described above, and the rider will find
the effort, as he springs from his haunches, much more accentuated than
in the case of the flying leap, and therefore the more difficult to
sit. As, however, leaping, properly speaking, belongs to the
hunting-field, I propose to deal more fully with the subject in another


When the novice dismounts there should, at first, be two persons to
aid--one to hold the horse's head, the other to lift her from the
saddle. After a very few lessons, if the lady be active and her hack a
steady one, the services of the former may be dispensed with. Of course
the horse is brought to full stop. Transfer the whip to the left hand,
throw the right leg over to the near side of the crutch and disengage
the foot from the stirrup. Let the reins fall on the neck, see that the
habit skirt is quite clear of the leaping-head, turn in the saddle,
place the left hand upon the right arm of the cavalier or squire, the
right on the leaping-head, and half spring half glide to the ground,
lighting on the balls of the feet, dropping a slight curtsey to break
the jar on the frame. Retain hold of the leaping-head till safely

Very few men understand the proper manner in which to exercise the
duties of the _cavalier servant_ in mounting and dismounting ladies.
Many ladies not unreasonably object to be lifted off their horses
almost into grooms' arms. A correspondent of the _Sporting and Dramatic
News_ mentions a contretemps to a somewhat portly lady in the Crimea,
whose husband, in hoisting her up on to her saddle with more vigour
than skill, sent his better half right over the horse's back sprawling
on the ground. It is by no means an uncommon thing to see ladies, owing
to want of lift on the part of the lifter and general clumsiness,
failing to reach the saddle and slipping down again.

Having dismounted, "make much" of your horse, and give him a bit of
carrot, sugar, apple, or some tid-bit. Horses are particularly fond of



It is of first-class importance that a lady's saddle should be made by
a respectable and thoroughly competent saddler. Seeing the number of
years a well-built and properly kept side-saddle will last, it is but
penny wise to grudge the necessary outlay in the first instance. Those
constructed on the cheap machine-made system never give satisfaction to
the rider, are constantly in need of repair (grooms, if permitted, are
everlastingly in and out of the saddler's shop), and are a prolific
cause of sore backs.

[Illustration: THE OLD STYLE.]

With all saddles the chief cause, the source and origin, of evil is
badly constructed and badly fitting trees that take an undue bearing on
different parts of the back. At a critical moment, when just a little
extra exertion would perhaps keep the horse on his legs, a somewhat
tender muscle or portion of "scalded" skin comes in painful contact
with some part of an ill-fitting saddle, the agony causing him to
wince, checks the impulse to extend the "spare leg," and he comes down.
It does not matter how hard or heavy the rider may be, how tender the
skin, a sore back can be prevented by a proper system of measurement
and a good pannel. Mrs. Power O'Donoghue, in her very interesting
letters upon "Ladies on Horseback," unsparingly condemns the elaborate
embroidery which adorned (?) the near flap of every old-fashioned
saddle, pointing out that as it is always concealed by the rider's
right leg, the work is a needless expense. "There might be some sense,"
that brilliant and bold horsewoman says, "although very little, in
decorating the off-side and imparting to it somewhat of an ornamental
appearance; but in my opinion there cannot be too much simplicity about
anything connected with riding appointments. Let your saddle, like your
personal attire, be remarkable only for perfect freedom from ornament
or display. Have it made to suit yourself--neither too weighty nor yet
too small,--and if you want to ride with grace and comfort, desire that
it be constructed without one particle of the objectionable _dip_."

[Illustration: THE SAFETY SADDLE.]

The foregoing two sketches, "The Old Style" and "The Straight-Seated
Safety," contrast the wide difference between the old and fast
disappearing form of side-saddle and that designed and manufactured by
Messrs. Champion and Wilton. The disadvantages of the old style are so
painfully obvious that it is marvellous they should not have been
remedied years ago. On, or rather _in_, one of these, the lady sat
in a dip or kind of basin, and unless her limbs were of unusual
length--thereby pushing her right knee towards the off-side--she
necessarily faced half-left, _both_, not her horse's ears, but his
near shoulder; or, in order to attain any squareness of front, she was
called upon to twist her body from the hips, and to maintain a most
fatiguing, forced position during her whole ride (even through a long
day's hunting), or else sit altogether on the near side of her saddle.
This twist was the cause of the pains in the spine so frequently
complained of. More than this, the height upon which her pommels were
raised caused her to sit, as it were, uphill, or at best (in the
attempt on the part of the saddler to rectify this, by stuffing up the
seat of her saddle) to find herself perched far above her horse's back.
The natural expedient of carrying the upper or middle pommel nearer the
centre of the horse's withers, so as to bring the knee about in a line
with his mane, was impracticable with the old-style of saddle tree,
which gave the pommels a lofty, arched base above the apex of his
shoulders. The result was, in all cases, (1) great inconvenience and
often curvature of the spine to the rider, (2) constant liability to
sore back on the part of the horse, through the cross friction produced
by the lady's one-sided position. To meet and entirely remove the
difficulty, Messrs. Champion and Wilton pruned away all the forepart of
the saddle-tree, and, in place of the raised wood and metal base, upon
which the lady's right leg formerly rested, substituted merely a stout
leather flap or cushion.

As will be seen from the foregoing illustration, they were by this
arrangement able to place the upper pommel in whatever exact position
the form of the rider may require, to enable her to sit straight to her
proper front, riding the whole upon a level seat, and distributing her
weight fairly upon her horse's back. The importance of being in a
position to face her work and to hold her horse at his, needs no
comment. The small holster attached to the saddle is an exceedingly
ingenious air and water-tight detachable receptacle for a reliable
watch with a very clearly marked dial. The rider thus always has the
time before her eyes, and is saved the great inconvenience--in the
hunting-field especially--of unbuttoning the habit to get out a watch.
This invention, though not a necessity, is a very handy adjunct.

[Illustration: FIG 1]

This superlatively good saddle is fitted with a PATENT SAFETY-STIRRUP
BAR, which, while it renders it impossible for the rider to be hung up
or dragged when thrown, cannot possibly become detached so long as she
remains in the saddle. The action of this perfect safeguard is
explained by the accompanying diagrams.

  FIG 1
  FIG 2
  FIG 3]

The back of the bar is fixed to the tree in the ordinary way. There are
only two moving parts, viz. the hinged hook-piece, marked A, Figs. 1,
2, and 3, upon which the loop of the stirrup-leather is hung, and the
locking bar, B, upon which the skirt and the rider's legs rest. It will
be noticed that the front of the hook-piece, marked A, Fig. 1, is cut
off diagonally front and back, and that there is upon the back-plate a
cone, marked C, which projects through the back of the hook-piece. The
locking action may be thus described: The skirt, with lever, B, Fig. 2,
is lifted, the hook, A, pulled forward, and the loop of the
stirrup-leather hooked upon it; it springs back again (spring not
shown) and the locking lever, B, falls down over it, as at Fig 3. While
in the saddle, one of the rider's legs rests at all times upon the
skirt and lever, which therefore cannot rise; but upon the rider being
thrown and dragged, the stirrup-leather is tilted diagonally against
the cone, C, in passing which the hook is thrust outwards, lifting the
locking lever and skirt, as shown, Fig. 2, and thus reaching the
releasing point, is free. There is another case more rare, that in
which the rider is thrown over the horse's head, and also over a gate
or fence when the horse refuses and backs; and here we have just the
reverse action to that of the ordinary dragging, but in this case the
bar acts equally well. When the rider is thrown and dragged on the off
or reverse side, the stirrup-leather lifts the skirt and locking lever,
Fig. 2, and there remains nothing to retain the loop to the bar. The
above sketch of the side-saddle will aid in making the foregoing clear.
Here A is the skirt, and locking lever, B, shown raised, in order to
fit the loop of the stirrup-leather to the hook C below the cone D.

A balance strap is usually supplied with a side-saddle, and is a very
desirable adjunct. Ds also, to which the cover-coat is attached, should
be fitted on.

Quilted or plain doeskin seat and pommels are matters of taste. These
extras add to the cost of the saddle. A waterproof or leather cover is
an essential. Hogskin caps and straps, to prevent the habit catching on
the pommels, should be provided when the new patent safety-bar stirrup
is not used.

When practicable a lady should invariably be measured for her saddle.
It is almost impossible to find a lady's horse that at some time or
another has not suffered from sore back, and it is imperative that the
saddle should fit _both_ and that perfectly. We bipeds cannot walk
or run in tight ill-fitting boots, neither can a horse act under a
badly fitting saddle. I have read somewhere that the Empress of Austria
rode in an 8-lb. saddle, a statement I take leave to doubt. Her
Imperial Highness is far too fine and experienced a horsewoman to have
been seen outside any such toy. In the present day there is a senseless
rage for light side-saddles, much to be deprecated, as the lightness is
gained at the expense of the tree, and light flimsy leather is used in
their manufacture. Possibly when alum comes into general use we may see
lighter and even strong trees. A lady weighing 9 stone 7 lbs. requires
a saddle about 17 inches long, measured, as in the sketch, from A to B,
the seat from C to D, 13-1/4 inches wide, the upright pommel 5-1/2
inches high, and the leaping-head 8 inches long. Such a saddle, brand
new, will weigh about 14 lbs., and at the end of a season will pull the
scale down at 18 to 20 lbs. A saddle made of the proper weight and
strength in the first instance--the extra weight being in the tree,
where the strength is required--will be lighter in appearance.

Light saddles always require a lot of extra stuffing, which soon mounts
up the weight and detracts from the looks; moreover it is very
inconvenient to be constantly sending one's saddle to be restuffed.
Most ladies, from lack of proper supervision and want of thought, are
neglectful of the make and condition of their saddles, and so some
ribald cynic has hazarded the remark that although "a good man is
merciful to his beast, a good woman is rarely so." A first class firm
keeps an experienced man for the purpose of measuring horses, who is
sent out any distance required at a fixed scale of charges. When a lady
cannot conveniently attend to be measured, she should endeavour to get
the measurements, as indicated in the sketch, from some saddle in which
she can ride with comfort.

Though careful fitting and adjustment of the saddle will reduce
friction to a minimum, and will, in the majority of cases, do away with
its baneful effects, still with some very highly bred horses the skin
of the back is so easily irritated, that during a long day's work, in
hot climates especially, it becomes chafed, and injury is inflicted
either at the withers or underneath the seat. Nothing is more difficult
to deal with and heal than a sore back. In a prolonged and arduous
campaign, I have seen regiments seriously reduced below their fighting
strength by obstinate sore backs. A very great _desideratum_, in my
opinion, is the new "Humanity" sponge-lined numnah, another of Messrs.
Champion and Wilton's sensible inventions. This excellent preventative
and curative Saddle-cloth keeps the most tender-skinned horse in a
position to walk in comfort. It is an adaptation of the finer kind of
Turkey sponge, the soft nature of which suggested itself to the
inventors as an agent for counteracting saddle friction.

It is made in two varieties: (1) of bridle leather, lined at the
withers with this fine, natural sponge, thus interposing a soft pad
between the saddle and the withers (a point where the chief strain of a
lady's seat is brought to bear during the action of the trot); (2) of a
fine white felt, lined at the back as well as at the withers with the
same quality of sponge, and intended for such horses as are apt to
become troubled under the seat of the saddle as well as at the withers.
The sponge has to be damped, preferably in warm water, but pressed or
wrung out before using, and the leather part kept soft with vaseline,
which is an excellent preservative and softener of leather. _Each
time after use, the sweat should be thoroughly washed out of the
sponge; to ensure best results, attention to scrupulous cleanliness is
absolutely essential._ The following are representations of this

[Illustration: INSIDE SURFACE.]

With the safety-bar and the Zenith habit it matters not what form of
stirrup a lady uses, for these have done away with the necessity for
the so-called safety patterns, of which there are several. The slipper
has been objected to, as it, from being so comfortable, encourages
ladies to lean their whole weight on it and thus throw themselves out
of balance; moreover, it is out of fashion. Mrs. Power O'Donoghue
advocates the plain iron racing stirrup, with the foot well home, as by
its means the rise or purchase is from the instep, as it ought to be,
and not from the toes. The Prussian side-pieces at the bottom take
sharp pressure off the sides of the foot. The Victoria and French pad
inside the stirrup, except when the safety bar and habit are adopted,
are fraught with danger; with these precautions they are a great
comfort, and guard the instep at the trot when the foot is thrust well
home. The size of the stirrup should be proportionate to the foot.



    "She wore what was then somewhat universal--a coat, vest, and hat
    resembling those of a man; which fashion has since called a
    RIDING-HABIT."--_Diana Vernon_, SCOTT.

Under no circumstances does a lady, possessed of good figure and
carriage, appear to such great advantage, or is she so fascinating, as
when with mien and bearing haught and high, with perfect, well-balanced
seat, and light hands, faultlessly appointed, firmly, gently, and with
seeming carelessness she controls some spirited high-bred horse, some
noble steed of stainless purity of breed, whose rounded symmetry of
form, characteristic spring of the tail, and pride of port, proclaim
his descent from

    "The Silver Arab with his purple veins,
    The true blood royal of his race."

At no time are the beauties of the female form divine displayed with
such witching grace, the faultless flowing lines so attractively posed,
the _tout ensemble_ so thoroughly patrician. But if there be one blot
in the fair picture the whole charm at once vanishes. The incomparable
dignity, the well-turned-out steeds--the best that money could buy or
critical judgment select--the perfect figure of that superb horsewoman
the Empress of Austria, of whom it may justly be said "All the pride of
all her race in herself reflected lives," were it possible for Her
Imperial Majesty to err in such a matter, would have been of little
effect, but for a faultlessly cut and fitting habit.

"Fine feathers make fine birds," and though in riding costume the
plumage, save in the hunting-field, must be of sombre tint, it must be
unruffled and lie perfectly flat. There are Habit-makers and
Habit-makers; a very few as perfect as need be, more médiocre, most
arrant bunglers. Of late years legions of so-called ladies'-tailors
have sprung into being, not one in a hundred possessing the faintest
idea of what is wanted. A Habit-maker is a genius not often met with,
and when come across should be made a note of. A perfect fitting habit,
though not quite "a joy for ever," is a very useful, long-wearing, and
altogether desirable garment. Particular attention must be given to the
cutting of the back of the neck to secure plenty of play, and to
prevent that disagreeable tightness so often experienced, which
completely mars the easy and graceful movement of the head. While
giving absolute freedom to the figure, the well shaped body will fit
like a glove. A tight habit gives a stiff, inelegant appearance to the
whole figure, and produces a feeling of being "cribbed, cabined, and
confined," tantamount to semi-suffocation. A too long waist is certain
to ride-up and wrinkle. For winter wear there is nothing like the
double-breasted body. The choice to select from is a wide one.


To my mind and eye no one understands the whole art of habit-making so
well as Mr. W. Shingleton, 60, New Bond Street, London, the inventor of
the patent "Zenith" skirt, an ingenious arrangement which should be
universally patronized for its absolute safety, if for no less weighty
reason. Any lady wearing this clever and smart combination of skirt and
trousers, seated on one of Messrs. Champion and Wilton's safety
side-saddles, may set her mind completely at rest as to the possibility
of being "hung up" on the pommel, or dragged by it or the stirrup.
Perfect freedom in the saddle is secured to the rider, that portion of
the skirt which in the ordinary habit fits over the pommel, always a
source of danger, being entirely dispensed with. The "Zenith" is made
in two breadths or portions, instead of three, as heretofore, and on
one side this skirt is attached to the trousers at the "side seam" of
the right leg, or leg which passes over the pommel. The skirt is then
carried across or over both legs of the trousers in front, and, on the
other side, is brought round and attached to the "leg seam" of the left
leg and to the "seat seam," both the trousers and the skirt being then
secured to the waistband. Thus the rider, as stated above, has the
pommel leg free to be readily disengaged from the pommel without the
skirt catching thereon, the right leg at the back being left uncovered
by the skirt. An opening formed on the left side of the skirt allows of
the garment being readily put on. The front draping of the skirt
remains unaltered from the usual skirt, but when seen from behind it
presents the appearance of one leg covered, the other uncovered. When
walking, the back of the right trousers leg, which is uncovered, can be
draped somewhat by the front of the skirt being lifted and brought
round by the right hand. There is nothing whatever in this invention to
offend the most sensitive _equestrienne_, nothing to hurt the proper
feelings of the most modest. If preferred, the skirt may be provided on
each side with a slit, extending down from the knees, so as to enable
the wearer to readily use the skirt when wearing breeches or riding
boots. That such an enterprising firm as Messrs. Redfern, of Paris,
should have secured the patent rights for France, speaks volumes in
favour of Mr. Shingleton's really admirable invention.

Except for summer wear in early morning or in the country, and in the
case of young girls, when grey is permissible, the habit should be made
of some dark cloth. In the hunting-field, on which subject I am not
touching in this volume, some ladies who "go" don pink, those
patronising the Duke of Beaufort's wearing the becoming livery of the
Badminton Hunt, than which nothing is more becoming. Diagonal ribbed
cloths are much in vogue for skirts. Stout figures tone down the
appearance of too great solidity and rotundity by wearing an adaptation
of the military tunic. The long jacket-body, depicted in Mr.
Shingleton's sketch of the "Zenith," is well suited to full figures.
Waistcoats are all the rage,--blue bird's-eye, plush-leather with pearl
buttons, kersey, corduroy, nankeen, etc., in endless variety, and are
very much in evidence, as are shirt fronts, high collars, silk ties
with sporting-pin _à la cavalière_. Braiding or ornamentation is bad
form; no frilling, no streamers are admissible; everything, to be in
good taste, ought to be of the very best, without one inch of
superfluous material,--severely simple.

In the Park, except for young ladies just entering on their teens, or
children, the tall silk hat is _de rigueur_. The present prevailing
"chimney-pot" or "stove-pipe" model, shaped something like the tompion
of a gun, is an unbecoming atrocity. Let us hope that fashion will soon
revert to the broad curled brim bell-shaped Hardwicke. Nothing is cheap
that's bad, and nothing detracts more from the general effect of a
"get-up" than a bad hat. So if my lady reader wants to be thoroughly
well hatted, let her go to Ye Hatterie, 105, Oxford Street, and be
measured for one of Mr. Heath's best. It will last out two or three of
other makers, and having done duty one season in Rotten Row, will look
well later on in the wear-and-tear of the hunting field, preserving its
bright glossy brilliancy, no matter what the weather be. Order a
quilted silk lining in preference to a plain leather one, and, when
being measured, let the _chevelure_ be compact and suited for riding. A
low-crowned hat is the best. For young girls, and out of the season,
riding melon-shaped or pot-hats of felt are useful and by no means
unbecoming. Mr. Heath makes a speciality of these, and has scores of
different, and more or less becoming, styles to select from. Hats made
to the shape of the head require no elastics to hold them on, and are
not the fruitful source of headache which ready-made misfits invariably
are. There is no objection to a grey felt with grey gauze veil in the
summer, but black with a black veil is in better taste. Anything in the
way of colour, other than grey, or, perhaps brown, is inadmissible. I
am not sufficient of a Monsieur Mantalini to advise very minutely on
such important points as the ladies' toilette, as to what veils may or
may not be worn, but a visit to the Park any morning or forenoon, when
London is in Town, will best decide. For dusty roads gauze is

Of all abominations and sources of equestrian discomfort a badly built
pair of riding-breeches are the worst. No breeches, pants, or trousers
can possibly sit well and give absolute comfort in the saddle without
flexible hips and belt-band riding-drawers. The best material, and
preferable to all silk, is a blend of silk and cashmere, which wears
well, is warm, elastic, of permanent elasticity, can be worn with great
comfort by the most sensitive, and is not too expensive. A habit should
fit like a glove over the hips, and the flexible-hip make of
riding-drawers which I advocate, aids in securing this moulding. The
fit of the breeches or pants, especially that of the right leg, at the
inside of the knee, should be particularly insisted upon. First-class
ladies' tailors generally have a model horse on which their customers
can mount when trying on. At Messrs. E. Tautz and Sons' establishment,
where the rider can be accoutred to perfection, ladies will find a
competent assistant of their own sex,--a trained fitter--who will by
careful measurement and subsequent "trying on" secure them against the
galling miseries of badly cut and ill-fitting breeches. Materials of
every description are available; but if the fair reader will be advised
by me, she will select brown undressed deer-skin, which is soft,
pliable, and durable. The waistbands and continuations are of strong
twilled silk. Leggings are generally and preferably worn with the
breeches, and can be had in all shades of cloth to go with the habit.

For the colonies and India a new material, known as Dr. Lahmann's
cotton-wool underclothing, cannot be too highly commended. In "the
gorgeous East," of which abode of the sun I have had some experience,
between March and the latter days of October, the thinnest animal-wool
is unbearably warm, and, when prickly-heat is about, absolutely
unbearable, the irritation produced by the two being, I should imagine,
akin to that endured by the four-footed friend of man when suffering
acutely from the mange. Moreover, in the clutches of the Indian
_dhobie_ (washerman), woollen materials rapidly shrink by degrees and
become beautifully less, when not knocked into holes, and are converted
into a species of felt.

This fabric is a new departure in the manufacture of cotton. From first
to last it is treated as wool, is spun as wool, and woven as wool, and
in my opinion is the best possible material for under wear in the
tropics. It is cool, wears well, washes well, is warranted not to
shrink, does not irritate the most sensitive skin, and, being woven on
circular knitting looms, is peculiarly adapted for close-fitting
riding-drawers and under-clothing generally. It has the additional
merits of having the appearance and colour of silk--a soft cream
colour,--is entirely free from dressing, and is moderate in price. As
this fabric (porous, knitted, woven, ribbed, or double-ribbed) is sold
by the yard as well as made up into seamless pants, jersies, etc., it
is admirably suited to the make of flexible-hip and belt-band drawers
referred to above. I feel that in directing attention to this
"baumwoll" (tree wool) clothing, I am conferring a benefit on all
Europeans whose avocations keep them within the tropics, and on those
of them especially who are obliged to take constant and prolonged horse
exercise. It is to be obtained at the Lahmann Agency, 15, Fore Street,
London, E.C.

The question of corsage is an all-important one, as the fit of a
garment depends largely on the shape of the corset. For growing girls,
and especially for such as are at all delicate and outgrowing their
strength, the _Invigorator_ corset is the least objectionable I
have yet seen. That it has the approval of the faculty is in its
favour. It may be described as a corset in combination with a
chest-expanding brace, and as such corrects the habit of stooping, and
by expanding the chest flattens the back and keeps the shoulder-blades
in their right place. Speaking as an ex-adjutant, who has had a good
deal of experience in "setting-up-drills," it in my opinion possesses
for young people merits far superior to anything of the kind yet
brought out. It gives support where most wanted without impeding the
freedom of the movements of the body; its elasticity is such that
respiration and circulation are not interfered with; the chest is
thrown out, the back straightened, preserving an erect figure--the body
being kept erect by the cross-straps at the back; it is comfortable to
the wearer, and there is no undue pressure anywhere. A riding-stay to
be perfect should be as light as possible, consistent with due support,
boned throughout with real whalebone, so as to be capable of being bent
and twisted without fear of "broken busks," and should fit the
figure--not the figure fit it--with glove-like accuracy. Such supple
corsets give perfect ease with freedom. The best special maker of
riding-corsets for ladies is Madame Festa, 13, Carlos Street, Grosvenor
Square, London, W. This artiste's productions combine all that is
necessary in material and workmanship, with perfect fit, ease, and
grace. A combination of silk elastic and coutil is said to be the ideal
material from which really comfortable corsets are made. For winter
work they should be lined with a pure natural woollen stuff as soft as
a Chuddah shawl. For tropical climates Grass-cloth or Nettle-cloth is
strongly recommended.

In this humid, uncertain climate of ours the rider will generally find
some sort of light and short waterproof a great comfort. It should be
sufficiently long to clear the saddle, and of a material such as will
permit of its being rolled up into a small compass for attachment to
the Ds of the saddle. Messrs. Lewin and Co., 28, Cockspur Street, S.W.
(successors to the old established firm Bax and Co.), makers of the
Selby driving-coat, turn out some very neat waterproof tweed or drab
garments, which are appropriate and serviceable. Their designs are
good, and the material thoroughly to be relied upon.

Well fitting, or in other words, tight gloves, of course, look very
well, but horsewomen must preserve free use of their hands. Lightness
of hand is an essential, but a certain amount of physical strength
cannot be dispensed with, and a tight glove, even of the best quality
of kid, means a cramped contraction of the hand and fingers with
consequent loss of power. The material, so long as it be stout enough,
may be of real buck-skin, stout Suède, dog's-skin, so called, or Cape.
The best real buck-skin hunting, driving, and walking-gloves, for
either ladies or gentlemen, I have ever come across, are those
manufactured by T. P. Lee and Co., 24, Duke Street, Bloomsbury. They
are of first-class soft material, well cut, hand-sewn with waxed brown
thread, and very durable; in fact, everlasting, and most comfortable

A neat, light hunting-crop, riding-cane, or whip _without a tassel_,
are indispensable.

The following is a comfortable and serviceable riding-dress for long
country rides, picnics, etc., recommended by a lady who can boast of
considerable experience in the saddle both at home and in the
colonies--one of a riding family. "Habit--a short hunting-skirt, short
enough to walk in with comfort, with jacket (_Norfolk?_) of the same
material, made loose enough to admit of jersey being worn under it, if
required; a wide leather belt for the waist, fastening with a buckle.
This belt will be found a great comfort and support when on horseback
for many hours. Hat of soft felt, or melon-shaped hat. Pantaloons of
chamois leather, buttoning close to the ankles. Hussar or Wellington
boots made of Peel leather, with moderate-sized heels, tipped with
brass, and soles strong but not thick. A leather stud should be sewn on
the left boot, about two and a half inches above the heel, on which
stud the spur should rest, and thus be kept in its place without tight
buckling. The spur found to be the most useful after a trial of many is
a rowel spur of plated steel (the flat tapered-side, elastic,
five-pointed hunting), about two to two and a half inches long, strong
and light, hunting shape, and fastened with a strap and buckle, the
foot-strap of plated steel chain. This chain foot-strap looks neater
than a leather one, and does not become cut or worn out when on foot on
rough, rocky ground. The rowel pin is a screw-pin; thus the rowel can
be changed at pleasure, and a sharp or blunt one fitted as required by
the horse one rides." [_In lieu of chamois leather I would suggest
undressed deer-skin, as supplied by Messrs. E. Tautz and Sons, 485,
Oxford Street, London, which is as soft as velvet, and needs no
additional lining, so apt to crease. And instead of the boots I
recommend waterproofed Russia leather or brown hide, such as men use
for polo, as manufactured by Faulkner, 52, South Molton Street, London,
W., with low, flat heels tipped with mild steel._] The lady's idea,
except with regard to the interchangeable rowel, the pin of which must
work loose, is good.

This brings me to the much-vexed subject of the Spur, its use and
abuse. Ladies should not be mounted on horses requiring severe
punishment; but there are occasions, oft and many, when "a reminder"
from a sharp-pointed rowel will prove of service. I do not say that
lady riders should always wear a persuader; on a free-going, generous
horse it would be out of place, irritating, and annoying; but on a
lymphatic slug, or in the case of a display of temper, the armed heel
is most necessary. We must bear in mind that almost all of the highest
priced ladies' horses have been broken in to carry a lady by
professional lady-riders, one and all of whom wear spurs. Many a horse,
in the canter especially, will not go up to his bit without an
occasional slight prick. Women are by nature supposed to be gentle and
kindly, and yet I know some who are everlastingly "rugging" at their
horse's mouths and digging in the spur. They would use the whip also as
severely as the Latchfords but for the exhibition it would entail. When
punishment must be inflicted, the spur as a corrective is far more
effective than the whip; it acts instantaneously, without warning, and
the horse cannot see it coming and swerve from it. Though more dreaded
it inflicts the lesser pain of the two. The deepest dig from the rowel
will not leave behind it the smart of the weal from a cutting whip. The
best spur for ladies is the one mentioned above, with fine-pointed
rowel; it does not tear the habit, and the points are long enough and
sharp enough to penetrate through the cloth should it intervene between
the heel and the horse's side. No lady should venture to wear a spur
till she has acquired firmness of seat, to keep her left leg steady in
the stirrup and her heel from constantly niggling the animal's ribs. I
do not like the spring-sheath one-point spur, as it is uncertain in its



Much of late has been said and written against and in favour of
cross-saddle riding for girls and women. A lady at my elbow has just
given her emphatic opinion that it is neither graceful nor modest, and
she predicts that the system will never come into vogue or meet the
approval of the finer sense of women. The riding-masters are against it
to a man, and so are the saddlers, who argue that the change would
somewhat militate against their business. We are very conservative in
our ideas, and perhaps it is asking too much of women, who have ridden
and hunted in a habit on a side-saddle for years, to all at once, or at
all, accept and patronize the innovation.

Travellers notice the fact that women never ride sideways, as with us,
but astride, like men. It has generally been supposed that the custom
now prevailing in Europe and North America dates back only to the
Middle Ages. As a fact, the side-saddle was first introduced here by
Anne of Luxembourg, Richard II.'s queen, and so far back as 1341,
according to Knighton, it had become general among ladies of first rank
at tournaments and in public. But the system must have prevailed to
some extent in far earlier times, for Rawlinson discovered a picture of
two Assyrian women riding sideways on a mule, and on Etruscan vases,
older than the founding of Rome, are several representations of women
so seated.

There were no horses in Mexico prior to the advent of the Spaniards;
indeed, from the progeny of one Andalusian horse and mare, shipped to
Paraguay in 1535, were bred those countless mobs which have since
spread over the whole southern part of the new Western world, and,
passing the Isthmus of Darien or Panama, have wandered into North
America. In the great plains of South America, where the inhabitants,
all more or less with Spanish blood pulsing through their veins, may be
said to live on horseback, it is strange that, without some good cause,
the side-saddle should have been discarded for the "Pisana"
fashion--the lady riding in front of her cavalier. In Edward I.'s time
our fair dames jogged behind their lords, or behind somebody else's
lords, in the conventional pillion: then

    "This riding double was no crime
    In the first good Edward's time;
    No brave man thought himself disgraced
    By two fair arms around his waist;
    Nor did the lady blush vermillion
    Dancing on the lady's pillion."

The attitude of the "Pisana" fashion, though in some cases vastly
agreeable, is not highly picturesque, so there must have been some
valid reason why the side-saddle, then in general use in Spain, fell
out of favour. In long rides, it, as at that time constructed, tired
the rider, and caused severe pain in the spine. Nowadays in Mexico and
on the Plate River there are magnificent horsewomen who can ride almost
anything short of an Australian buckjumper, and who never tire in the
saddle, but then they one and all patronize the cross-saddle, riding
_à la cavalière_ or _à la_ Duchesse de Berri. Their riding garb, and a
very becoming one it is, consists of a loose kind of Norfolk jacket or
tunic secured at the waist by a belt, loose Turkish pyjamas thrust into
riding boots of soft yellow leather, a huge pair of Mexican spurs, and
the ladies' "sombrero." Their favourite and, in fact, only pace is a
continuous hand-gallop.

Some thirty years ago I remember seeing the ex-Queen of Naples superbly
mounted, riding _à la cavalière_. Her Majesty was then even more
beautiful than her Imperial sister the Empress of Austria, and quite as
finished a horsewoman. She wore a high and pointed-crowned felt hat, a
long white cloak, something like the Algerian bournouse, patent-leather
jack-boots, and gilt spurs. Her seat was perfect, as was her management
of her fiery Arab or Barb, the effect charming, and there was nothing
to raise the faintest suspicion of a blush on the cheeks of the most
modest. There is no doubt that the Duchess de Berri mode of sitting on
a horse is much less fatiguing to the rider, gives her more power over
the half-broken animals that in foreign countries do duty for ladies'
horses, and, in a very great measure, does away with the chance of
establishing a raw on the back. In support of the claims of this, to
us, novel manner of placing the rider on her horse's back, I quote from
Miss Isabella Bird's "Hawaiian Archipelago." Describing her visit to
the Anuenue Falls, that lady writes: "The ride was spoiled by my
insecure seat in my saddle, and the increased pain in my side which
riding produced. Once, in crossing a stream, the horses had to make a
sort of downward jump from a rock, and I slipped round my horse's neck;
indeed, on the way back I felt that, on the ground of health, I must
give up the volcano, as I would never consent to be carried to it, like
Lady Franklin, in a litter. When we returned, Mr. Severance suggested
that it would be much better for me to follow the Hawaiian fashion, and
ride astride, and put his saddle on the horse. It was only my strong
desire to see the volcano which made me consent to a mode of riding
against which I have a strong prejudice; but the result of the
experiment is that I shall visit Kilauea thus or not at all. The native
women all ride astride on ordinary occasions in the full sacks, or
kolukus, and on gala days in the pan--the gay winged dress which I
described in writing from Honolulu. A great many of the foreign ladies
in Hawaii have adopted the Mexican saddle also for greater security to
themselves and ease to their horses on the steep and perilous
bridle-tracks, but they wear full Turkish trousers and jauntily made
dresses reaching to the ankles." Writing later from the Colorado
district of the Rockies, Miss Bird adds: "I rode sidewise till I was
well out of the town, long enough to produce a severe pain in my spine,
which was not relieved for some time till after I had changed my

Mrs. Power O'Donoghue runs a tilt with all her might against the idea
of any of her sex riding like men. But there are so many manly maidens
about now who excel in all open-air pastimes requiring pluck, energy,
physical activity, and strength, and who attire themselves suitably in
a sort of semi-masculine style, that is not asking too much of them to
try the virtues of the cross-saddle. Their costumes are not so much
_negligé_ as studiedly, so far as is possible without exactly "wearing
the breeches" in public, of the man, manly. One of our Princesses has
the credit of being an adept with the foils; our cricket and golf
fields are invaded by petticoats of various lengths; we see polo played
by ladies on clever blood ponies; they take kindly to billiards and
lawn-tennis; and it is whispered of a few that they can put on the
"mittens" and take and give punishment. It is not so much the prudery
about sitting like men that excites the wrathful indignation of the
opponents of cross-saddle riding as the apparent difficulty of deciding
upon the thoroughly neat and workwoman-like costume.

[Illustration: No. 1.    No. 2.    No. 3.]

The three different costumes represented in these sketches do not
differ very greatly in propriety. Shorten No. 3, the Eilitto
Muddy-Weather costume--who says there's nothing in a name?--just a
trifle and encase the wearer's lower limbs in a pair of Messes E. Tautz
and Son's gaiters or leggings, and we have the costume sported the
winter before last by a well known lady. It certainly looked, on a
wearer of advanced years, a trifle eccentric, but any pretty girl, in
her _première jeunesse_, blessed with a good figure and gait, would
have been the admired of all admirers. This costume with the funny
name is much patronized by lawn-tennis players, golfers, and skaters.
Nos. 1 and 2 are as like as "two Dromios," and in no very material
degree differ from the short-skirted walking-dress. They have been
brought out with an eye to riding _à la cavalière_, and being strong
and yet neat are intended for prairie-riding in the far West, for the
rough-and-ready work of the Australian or New Zealand bush, and for
scouring over the veldt of South Africa, or for the hundred and one
out-of-the-way places of the earth, whither our English girls venture,
from necessity, for adventure, or some more potent attraction. Of the
two I prefer No. 1, which is the smarter. It is nothing more or less
than a short habit made in the shape of a frock-coat, and is buttoned
the whole way down to the knees. The long boots, which, by the way,
show off a pretty well-turned ankle and foot to perfection, are
certainly a trifle more in evidence than is the case when the lady
wears the regular habit and is desirous of showing as little "leg" as
possible--a desire, when the foot is threes or narrow fours, and the
instep well sprung, not too often indulged. No 2 has a divided skirt.

I do not ask ladies of mature age, or even those whose seat is formed,
to don one or other of these costumes, though, after the experience of
Miss Bird and others, they might, under similar circumstances, adopt
both the costume, and the cross-saddle with advantage. In the backwoods
and jungles a wide latitude in dress may be permitted without assailing
the strictest modesty.

The fashion of riding in the cross-saddle, if it is to be introduced,
as it ought to be, must emanate from the rising generation. The luxury
of having both feet in the stirrups, of being able to vary the length
of the leather, of having a leg down either side of the horse, and a
distribution of the bearing equally on each foot, is surely worthy of
consideration when many hours have to be spent in the saddle and long
weary distances travelled. If agreeable to the rider, how much more so
to the horse? We men know what a relief it is on a long journey to vary
the monotonous walk or the wearying trot with an occasioned hard gallop
"up in the stirrups," or how it eases one to draw the feet out of the
stirrups and let the legs hang free. I have already hazarded the
opinion that a lady's seat on a side-saddle is a very firm one, but
when she is called upon to ride half-broken horses and to be on their
backs for hours at a time, traversing all sorts of country, she
undoubtedly is heavily handicapped as compared with a man.

Mrs. O'Donoghue, much to the damage of her own contention, so clearly
demonstrates my views that I venture to quote _verbatim_ from one of
that lady's published letters. "My companion was in ease while I was in
torture. Because he had a leg on either side of his mount, his weight
equally distributed, and an equal support upon both sides; in fact he
had, as all male riders have, the advantage of a double support in the
rise; consequently, at the moment his weight was removed from the
saddle, it was thrown upon both sides, and this equal distribution
enabled him to accomplish without fatigue that slow rise and fall which
is so tiring to a lady whose weight, when she is out of the saddle, is
thrown entirely upon one delicate limb, thus inducing her to fall again
as soon as possible." As for mere grip--the upright and leaping-heads
_versus_ both knees--the security in either case is about the same, but
the woman's position in the side-saddle is the more tiring and cramping
of the two, and in complete control over the horse, the man's position
on the horse has a very decided advantage.



We will take it for granted that the colt, say a three or four year
old, is well accustomed to the restraint of the common halter, and is
obedient to the cavesson on both sides, also that he leads quietly and
bears a fair amount of handling. Were I permitted to explain the
Galvayne system, I could, in a very few pages, save the breaker and the
colt much time, trouble, and many trials of temper and patience. I have
not the professor's permission to make the tempting disclosures.
Without trenching on his domain, I may lay down the following
rough-and-ready _modus operandi_, which, however, I am free to confess
would be considerably facilitated by a set of his breaking tackle,
especially of a particular rope, not made of any vegetable fibre,
which, in some cases, exercises a potential control. We must just "gang
our ain gait" as my countrymen say.

Having fitted the colt with a soft-lined head-collar-bridle, of the
Australian bush pattern, with strong hooks or straps by which to attach
the bit, I proceed to bit him. The bit should be on the flexible
principle, the mouth-piece being either of chain or a series of ball
and socket sections, covered over with white and tasteless rubber, or
other soft and yielding material. It should be no thicker than a man's
little finger. Inside the cheek and leg of this snaffle I have a large
flat disc of sole leather, rounded at the edges, stitched as a guard to
prevent the possibility of the bit being drawn through the mouth, of
pinching the cheeks against the teeth or in any way injuring the mouth.
Every bit, no matter how merciful, will, more or less, make the bars of
the mouth tender, but this least of all. If any suffering is evident,
or any inflammation set up, then the use of the bit must, till all
appearance of undue redness has disappeared, be discontinued. A little
tincture of myrrh with eau-de-cologne applied with the fore finger will
soon allay the irritation and remove the tenderness.

The best way to insert the bit is, having fixed the near ring to the
spring hook or strap on the near side of the head-collar, then coming
round to the off side of the head, gentling the pony's head all the
time and soothing him, to quietly work the two fore fingers of the left
hand into his mouth, and on an opportunity offering, to slip the bit
quickly into the mouth. This must be done deftly, without alarming the
pony, for if the first attempt result in failure he is certain to throw
up his head, run back, and otherwise thwart subsequent endeavours. A
little treacle smeared on the bit will make it more palatable and
inviting. The first time the bit is in the colt's mouth it should not
be allowed to remain more than an hour, and his head must be entirely
without restraint. On removing it examine the mouth to see that it has
not been injured or bruised, and give him a carrot, or apple. It is
immaterial whether these bitting lessons be given in a roomy loose-box,
barn, covered-yard, or small paddock.

After becoming reconciled to the bit, strap on a roller or surcingle,
having two side and one top ring stitched on to it, the side rings
being placed horizontally about where the rider's knees would come,
that on the top fore-and-aft. Through these three rings a strong cord
should be run forming a sort of running rein, tie the cord to the
off-ring of the snaffle, bring it back through the off-side ring, up
and through the top ring on the back, down through that on the near
side, and so on forward to the near ring of the bit to which it is
fastened with a slip knot, taking care that though a slight bearing be
upon the bars of the mouth, the colt's head is not tightly reined in
and an irksome continuous strain kept on a certain set of muscles of
the neck. This running-rein arrangement admits of lateral play of the
head, and minimizes the possibility of creating a one-sided mouth.

After a few short lessons in lounging on both sides with his head thus
restrained, he may be made to stand in stall with his hindquarters to
the manger, the reins being fastened to the post on either side. If the
stall, as probably will be the case, be too wide, narrow it by placing
sheep hurdles laced with straw on either side of him, so narrowing his
standing room that he must preserve a fair "fore and aft" position. The
reins must be, if the pillars are too high, fastened to the three rings
on the surcingle as explained above. In addition to the single reins
there must also be driving reins or cords, carefully adjusted as to
length, so as to preserve an even pressure on either side of the mouth,
attached to the rings on the manger, so that any attempt to advance is
immediately curbed by the strain on the bit.

These lessons should not extend over more than an hour at a time, and
during them the trainer should occasionally, by taking the bit in both
hands on either side facing him, or by laying hold of the long reins,
cause him, exercising only gentle pressure, to rein back, saying at the
same time in a tone of quiet command, "back." There will be plenty of
room for this in a full-sized stall. He may also be taught to bend his
head to the right when the off-rein is pulled upon or even twitched,
and so on with the left.

The instructor's aim must be to instil into his mind the firm
conviction that it is as impossible to resist the pressure of the bit
on either side of the mouth as it is to advance against it. Extreme
kindness and gentleness must be exercised in this initial training,
each compliance with the teacher's hand and voice being at once met
with some encouragement or reward, in shape of a word or two of
soothing approval, gentling his head, and a few oats or pieces of
carrot or apple--in the tropics sugar-cane or carrot--the bit being
removed from the mouth for the purpose. Horses of all sorts are very
quick in their likes and dislikes. From the start never let the colt
take a dead pull at the reins, let all the pressures be exerted in a
light feeling manner with the fingers not the hands.

On becoming fairly proficient at his indoor lesson, we will now, with
his Australian bush pattern head-collar-bridle on, a pair of long reins
run from the snaffle through the side rings of the surcingle back into
the trainer's hands, who will walk behind him, and led by a leading
rein attached to the near side of the head-collar but wholly
unconnected with the bit, take him into a quiet yard or paddock. He has
now to be taught to stop, back, and turn to his bit. The control
exercised by the assistant holding the leading rein just suffices to
prevent the colt rushing about, or under sudden alarm running back; he
will also, though giving him a perfectly free rein, be sufficiently
close to his head to aid him in obeying the mandates of the trainer.
After walking about as quietly as possible for some time, teaching him
how to incline and turn, the feel on the mouth with a moderately tight
rein being carefully preserved, he will be on the word "Whoa!" brought
to a stand still, and made to stand still and motionless as a
well-trained charger on parade.

In the lessons on turning, he may if needful be touched with the whip,
_only if needful_, and then the lash should fall as lightly as the
fly from some expert fisherman's rod, the touch of the silk or
whip-cord coming simultaneously with the touch on the bars of the
mouth. For instance, he is required to turn to the right and hangs a
bit on the rein without answering the helm, then a slight touch on the
near shoulder will send him up to his bit, give him an inclination to
turn smartly in the direction wished for, and the movement may be
hastened by the point of the whip being pressed against the off
buttock, or upper thigh on the outside. The pull must not be a jerk but
a decided lively pull. Always let him go forward as much as space will
permit of before making another turn; he must not be confused and so
provoked to be stubborn or fight. Let all the turns be to one hand for
the first few minutes then turn him in the reverse direction. Should he
get his head down and endeavour to establish a steady dead pull, do not
indulge him, but step in closer to his quarters so that the strain is
at once off the reins, and the moment that he once more feels his bit
instantly make him come to a full halt with the word "Whoa." To make a
horse stand after being halted, the Arabs throw the bridle over his
head and let the rein drag on the ground. When the colt is being broken
the bridle is thus left hanging down between his fore legs, and a slave
gives it a sharp jerk whenever a step in advance is taken. By this
means the horse is duped into the delusion that the pain inflicted on
his mouth or nose is caused by his moving while the rein is in this
pendant position. What is taught in the desert may be taught in the
paddock. The slightest attempt to move forward without the "click" must
at once be stopped.

The "backing" lesson is, as a rule, a very simple one, though there are
some horses which decline to adopt this retrograde motion. To rein
back, the trainer, standing immediately behind the colt, either exerts
an even and smart pressure on both reins, drawing them, if need be,
through the mouth, when the horse will first bend himself getting his
head in handsomely and then begin to step back. At first he will be
perhaps, a little awkward, but will soon learn to use his hocks and to
adopt this strange gait. If there be any difficulty about getting his
head in--it must not be up and out with the bit in the angles of the
mouth--the assistant should place the flat of his hand on the animal's
face pressing its heel firmly on the cartilage of the nose. The
backward movement must cease on the word "Whoa!" and the relaxation of
the rein. A horse must not be taught to run back, some acquire the bad
habit too readily to a dangerous extent. I may here say that when a
horse is given to this vice the best plan is to turn him at once and
sharply in the direction he wants to go. In tuition what we want to
arrive at is a sort of military "two paces step back, march!"

In these introductory lessons the main use of the assistant with his
loose yet ready leading rein is to prevent the colt from turning
suddenly round and facing the trainer, a _contretemps_ with a
Galvayne's tackle next to impossible. Reins should not, however, be
tried at all till the lessons in the loose box and in the stall are so
well learnt that there is little or no fear of sudden fright,
ebullitions of temper, or other causes of disarrangement and
entanglement of the long driving reins. When the habit of yielding to
the indication of the rein has once been acquired and well established,
it becomes a sort of second nature, which under no circumstances, save
those of panic or confirmed bolting, is ever forgotten. A few lessons
carefully, firmly, patiently, and completely given will cause the colt
to answer the almost imperceptible touch of the rein or the distinct
word of command. Once perfected in answering the various signals at the
walk, he is then put through precisely the same movements at a trot,
and to be an effective teacher, the breaker must not only be a good
runner, but in good wind, he must be active enough to show such a horse
as "Beau Lyons" at the Hackney Show at Islington. A pony such as is
"Norfolk Model," one a hand higher and of a very different stamp, it is
true, from what I commend for children, would make a crack "sprinter"
put forth his best pace.

During the time the pony is acquiring the A B C or rudiments of his
education, he must be frequently and carefully handled. Every effort
should be made to gain his confidence. Like all beasts of the field the
speediest and surest way to his affection is down his throat; he is
imbued with a large share of "cupboard love," so the trainer should
always have some tit-bit in his pocket wherewith to reward good
behaviour and progress made; moreover, the pupil should be aware of the
existence and whereabouts of this store-room. The handling must be
general. Rub the head well over with the hands, always working with,
and never against the run of the hair. Pull his ears gently (never pull
the long hair out from the inside) rub the roots, the eyes and muzzle,
work back from the ears down the neck and fore legs, between the fore
legs, at the back of the elbows, and along the back, talking to him all
the while. Before going to the flanks and hind quarters make him lift
both fore feet. If there be any disinclination to obey, a strap should
be wound round the fetlock joint, the trainer then taking a firm hold
of the ends in his right hand says in a loud voice "Hold up!" at the
same time with the palm of the left hand, throwing a portion of his
weight on to the near shoulder; this, by throwing the animal's weight
over on to the offside, enables the foot to be easily held up.

This lesson imparted, it is extended to the off fore foot. Should the
colt, by laying back his ears, showing the whites of his eyes, hugging
his tail, and other demonstrations of wickedness, evince his objections
to being handled behind the girth, one of the fore feet must be held up
and strapped, the buckle of the strap being on the outside of the arm,
the foot brought so close to the point of the elbow that no play is
left to the knee joint. Then commence to wisp him all over commencing
with the head, but, if he is not very restive, do not keep the weight
on three legs more than ten minutes at a time, though he, if not
overburdened with fat, could easily stand very much longer, or travel a
mile or so on three legs. The object, unless vice be displayed, is
merely to prevent serious resistance and to convince him that the
operation causes no pain. The wisp, the assistant all the time standing
at his head speaking in low reassuring tone, patting and caressing him,
in the hands of the operator should be at first very gently then
briskly applied to the flanks, over the loins, down the quarters and
along the channel running between the buttocks, inside the flanks,
stifles and haunches, over the sheath, down inside the hocks, in fact
anywhere and everywhere known to be tender and "kittle." Having
succeeded with the near fore foot up, release it, let him rest awhile
and find his way to the store-room dainties. Go through precisely the
same lesson with the right foot up, on this occasion giving special
attention to those parts which he most strongly objects to being
handled. Dwell over his hocks and the inside of his stifles, handle his
tail, freely sponging his dock out, running the sponge down through the
channel over the sheath, the inside of the thighs and hocks. Release
the fore foot, and if he will stand a repetition of all these liberties
quietly, he has learnt one important part of his education.

Elsewhere I have endeavoured to describe the unsophisticated antics
displayed by the fresh-caught Australian buck-jumper and the inveterate
plunger in endeavouring to dislocate their riders. In the one case it
is the untaught, unpractised effort of an animal in a paroxysm of fear;
in the other the vice of the artful, tricky, practitioner. In either
case the horseman may be, very often is, "slung" handsomely, wondering,
as he picks himself up, dazed and bewildered with an incoherent idea as
to what had befallen him, and how he got there. If a wild horse
suddenly finds a panther or a tiger on his back, he at once, in terror,
endeavours by a succession of flings to get rid of the incubus. So it
is with the unbroken colt bred in captivity, and especially so with the
pony fresh from his native hills or pastures. What must be his
astonishment when, for the first time he feels a saddle tightly girthed
to his back, and the weight of some one in it? His first and only
feeling is that of fear, so, being prevented by the bit and bridle from
rushing off at the verge of his speed, he by bucks, plunges, and kicks,
sets to work to throw the rider.

In mounting the colt the first attempts at making him quite quiet
during the process should be in the direction of eliminating every
sense of fear. As saddles, especially if badly stuffed and cold, are
the cause of many back troubles, I prefer to have him, in the first
instance, ridden in a rug or sheepskin, the wool next his hair, kept in
its place by a broad web surcingle. Hold the rug or skin to his nose,
and let him smell and feel it, rub it over his head, down his neck, in
fact all over him, not neatly folded up but loose; toss it about, drag
it over him, round him, between his fore legs, under his belly, and out
between his thighs. When he takes no heed of it, fold it up on his back
and girth it on with the surcingle. Then lead him out for half an hour
or so occasionally, pulling up to lean a good bit of weight on his

On returning to the loose box, covered yard, or paddock, the first
lesson in mounting will be commenced. Having secured the services of
some active smart lad who can ride and vault, the lighter the better,
make him stand on a mounting block, an inverted empty wine chest will
do, placed near his fore leg. If the pony be nervous at this block, let
him examine it, smell it, touch it, and even eat a few carrots off it.
Standing on this coign of advantage, the lad must loll over him,
patting him, reaching down well on the off side, leaning at first a
portion, and then his whole weight on him. If he makes no objection to
this treatment, the lad should seat himself on his back, mounting and
dismounting repeatedly, slowly but neatly, being careful not to descend
on his back with a jerk. So long as the colt shows no fear, this
gymnastic practice may be varied with advantage to almost any extent,
the contact of the gymnast's body with that of the pony being as close
as possible. He should not only vault all over him and straddle him,
but should crawl and creep all over him and under him, winding up by
vaulting on his back, over his head, and over his quarters. I have
frequently taught Arabs to put their heads between my legs and by the
sudden throw-up of their necks to send me into the saddle face to the
tail. On no account hurry this mounting practice, do not let him be
flustered or fatigued, and see that the rider's foot deftly clears him
without once touching or kicking him; much depends on the clean manner
in which the various mountings and dismountings are performed.

The mounting block will be dispensed with so soon as the rider is
permitted to throw his right leg over his back and to straddle him
without starting. It is essential that he should stand stock still and
that he should not move forward without the usual "klick." When quite
patient and steady in being mounted with the rug or fleece, a nice
light 5 lb. polo or racing saddle with a "Humane" numnah under it
should be substituted, and if the pony's shoulders are low and upright
a crupper will be necessary. Care must be taken that the crupper strap
is not too tight, also that the crupper itself does not produce a scald
under the dock of the tail; a strip of lamb-skin, the wool next the
dock, will ensure that. After being led about in the saddle for a time,
he is brought into the box or yard and there mounted by the lad, the
trainer having hold of the leading rein, the rider of the bridle.

Now a word as to the said lad. All he has to do is to preserve the
lightest possible touch of the mouth, and to sit firm and sit quiet. I
would rather prefer that he did not hail from a racing stable, for
these imps--the most mischievous of their race--are up to all sorts of
tricks and are accustomed to ride trusting almost entirely to the
support gained from their knotted bridle and the steady pressure
against the stirrup somewhat after the principle of the coachman and
his foot-board. He must be forced to keep his heels and his ashplant
quiet. I am averse to much lounging and am confident it is overdone. On
carrying the lad quietly led by hand, the following lessons should be
in company with some staid old stager. Markedly gregarious in his
habits, the horse never feels so happy or contended as when in company;
in the society of a well-behaved tractable member of his family he will
do all that is required of him. Soon the leading rein will be
superfluous and the pony and his rider will be able to go anywhere at
any pace. It is especially advisable that when his first rides lie away
from home he should be ridden in company with some other horse, or he
may turn restive. Be very careful not to attempt anything with him that
may lead up to a fight in which he may remain master. Any disposition
on his part to "reest" or to break out into rebellion is proof of his
not having learnt his first lessons properly. Far better to lead him
away from home for a mile or two and then to mount him, than to hazard
any difference of opinion. The example of a well-broken, well-ridden,
well-mannered horse is very important. One act of successful
disobedience may undo the careful labour of weeks and necessitate very
stringent measures, such as those described in my previous volume, in
the case of confirmed vice. Weeks of careful riding always under the
trainer's eye, will be required before the lessons are complete, and
the pupil sobered down so as to be a safe and comfortable conveyance
for children beginners.



The following are adapted as closely as possible from the carefully
thought-out system of Military Equitation practised in the British
Army, and may be executed as follows:--

_Prepare for Extension and Balance Motions._--On this caution each
rider will turn his horse facing the Instructor, drop the reins on the
horse's neck, and let both arms hang down easily from the shoulders,
with the palms of the hands to the front. This is the position of

CAUTION.--_First Practice._

          {On the word "One" bring the hands, at the full
          { extent of the arms, to the front, close to the body,
          { knuckles downwards till the fingers meet at the
  "ONE"   { points; then raise in a circular direction over
          { the head, the ends of the fingers still touching
          { and pointing downwards so as to touch the forehead,
          { thumbs pointing to the rear, elbows pressed
          { back, shoulders kept well down.

          {On the word "Two," throw the hands up, extending
          { the arms smartly upwards, palms of the hands
          { inwards; then force them obliquely back, and
  "TWO"   { gradually let them fall to the position of _Attention_,
          { the first position, elevating the neck and
          { chest as much as possible.

N.B.--The foregoing motions are to be done slowly, so that the muscles
may be fully exerted throughout. No stirrup is to be used.

CAUTION.--_Second Practice._

          {On the word "One" raise the hands in front of the
  "ONE"   { body, at the full extent of the arms, and in a line
          { with the mouth, palms meeting, but without noise,
          { thumbs close to the forefingers.

          {On the word "Two," separate the hands smartly,
  "TWO"   { throwing them well back, slanting downwards,
          { palms turned slightly upward.

          {On the word "One," resume the first position above
  "ONE"   { described, and so on, sitting down on the saddle
  "TWO"   { without any attempt, in resuming the first position,
          { to rise.

  "THREE" {On the word "Three," smartly resume the position
          { of _Attention_.

In this practice the second motion may be continued without repeating
the words "One," "Two," by giving the order "Continue the Motion:" on
the word "Steady," the second position is at once resumed, the rider
remaining in that position, head well up, chin in, and chest thrown
out, on the word "Three," resuming the position of _Attention_.

CAUTION.--_Third Practice._

          {On the word "One," raise the hands, with the fists
  "ONE"   { clenched, in front of the body, at the full extent
          { of the arms, and in line with the mouth, thumbs
          { upwards, fingers touching.

          {On the word "Two," separate the hands smartly,
  "TWO"   { throwing the arms back in line with the shoulders,
          { back of the hands downwards.

  "THREE" {On the word "Three," swing the arms round as
          { quickly as possible from front to rear.

  "STEADY" On the word "Steady," resume the second position.

  "FOUR"  {On the word "Four," let the arms fall smartly to
          { the position of _Attention_.

CAUTION.--_Fourth Practice._

          {On the word "One," lean back until the back of
  "ONE"   { the head touches the horse's quarter, but moving
          { the legs as little as possible.

  "TWO" On the word "Two," resume the original position.

CAUTION.--_Fifth Practice._

          {On the word "One," lean down to the left side and
  "ONE"   { touch the left foot with the left hand without,
          { however, drawing up the foot to meet the hand.

  "TWO" On the word "Two," resume the original position.

The same practice should also be done to the right reaching down as far
as possible, but without drawing the left heel up and back.

The following practice can only be performed in the cross-saddle, by
pupils learning to ride à la cavalière, and suitably dressed.

CAUTION.--_Sixth Practice._

          {On the word "One," pass the right leg over the
          { horse's neck, and, turning on the seat, sit facing
  "ONE"   { the proper left, keeping the body upright, and the
          { hands resting on the knees. The leg must not
          { be bent in passing over the horse's neck.

          {On the word "Two," pass the left leg over the
  "TWO"   { horse's quarter, and turning in the seat, sit facing
          { to the rear, assuming, as much as possible, the
          { proper mounted position, the arms hanging
          { behind the thighs.

          {On the word "Three," pass the right leg over the
  "THREE" { horse's quarter, and, turning in the seat, sit facing
          { to the proper right, the body upright, and the
          { hands resting on the knees.

          {On the word "Four," pass the left leg over the
  "FOUR"  { horse's neck, and, turning in the seat, resume the
          { proper mounted position.

Each of the above motions may be performed by command of the instructor
without repeating the words "One," "Two," "Three," etc.

Transcriber's Note: Inconsistencies in spelling, punctuation, and
hyphenation have been retained as printed.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Riding for Ladies" ***

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