Thanks to the work of the Gutenberg Project I have been reading “The Young Lady’s Equestrian Manual” , an anonymous 19th Century publication, now available for all to read at http://www.gutenberg.org/files/29248/29248-h/29248-h.htm. The book starts :
“The following pages contain a Treatise on the Art of Riding on Horseback, for Ladies, which originally appeared in the Publishers’ well-known Manual of elegant feminine Recreations, Exercises, and Pursuits, The Young Lady’s Book; with, however, various additions to the Text, and a number of new Illustrations and Embellishments.”
It discusses the use of sidesaddles, and remarks on women who rode astride in other countries and other times. I had to remind myself that this book was written when the vast majority of fashionable women would ride sidesaddle “The present graceful, secure, and appropriate style of female equestrianism is, however, materially different from that of the olden time. In by-gone days, the dame or damosel rode precisely as the knight or page”
Interestingly the author points out that Chaucer’s Wife of Bath in the 15th century wore “a paire of spurrés sharpe” , implying that she rode astride.
It goes on to discuss the selection of a horse, stable management, correct riding attire, and much else.
Anyway, I thoroughly recommend reading the book (link above), although possibly not following the whip care suggestion in the illustration above – I suppose it might explain the sheer number of dog-chewed whips that I come across…