Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Women of Wednesday: The Accomplished Rider

One of the all-time favorite books I own is called: Etiquette for Ladies by Florence Hartley. It was published in 1873, and offers sage advice for women's deportment. I'll be dipping into it now and again.

Today, our topic is horseback riding. For those of you who already ride or if you are thinking about it, here are a few tips for appropriate behavior when seated upon your noble steed:

"There is no accomplishment more graceful, pleasing, healthy, and lady-like, than that of riding well. Avoiding, at the same time, timidity and the 'fast' style, keeping within the bounds of elegant propriety, gracefully yielding to the guidance of your escort, and keeping your seat easily, yet steadily, are all points to be acquired."

"To ride well is undoubtedly an admirable qualification for a lady, as she may be as feminine in the saddle as in the ball room or home circle. It is a mistaken idea to suppose that to become an accomplished horse-woman a lady must unsex herself."

"Nothing is more revolting than a woman who catches the tone and expressions of men. To hear the slang of jockeyism from the female lips, is very offensive, yet ladies who mix in field sports are liable, nay, almost certain, to fall into a style of conversation which is ten times worse than the coarsest terms from the lips of a man."

"In mounting you are desired, gentle Amazon, to spring gracefully into your saddle, with a slight assistance of a hand placed beneath the sole of the shoe, instead of scrambling uncouthly, to your "wandering throne" as Miss Fanshawe wittily calls it, from a high chair, as is frequently done by those who've not been properly instructed."

"Do not wear a skirt too long; it will be dangerous in case of accident, and it may prove annoying to your horse. Your habit must be made of a material sufficiently heavy to hang gracefully, and not move too much with the wind. . . . In summer, your hat should be of fine straw, and slouched to shade the face; in winter, of felt, or, if you prefer a close cap of cloth. The hat may be trimmed with feathers or a knot of ribbon, and the shape should be one to protect the complexion, at the same time, graceful and becoming."

You may want to check out more well-behaved ladies here at the United Against the War on Women Rally held in Concord this past Sunday. Thanks to Diane for these photos!


Mur said...

What a hoot! I am silently thanking the Lord I was not born in an earlier century.

I'm Jet . . . said...

Well, M. You actually WERE born in an earlier century -- just not THAT early century!

I, too, thank my lucky stars -- as someone once wittily put it.