So long sidesaddle! 🏇 + Journal Entry

February 16, 2018

If you've been reading the Ginger Gold Mysteries Series you've likely realized that despite having a glamorous title, Lady Ginger Gold doesn't readily conform to expectations placed upon her. Especially when these social norms impede her investigations. 

Murder at Kensington Gardens

In Murder at Kensington Gardens Ginger's fiery spirit is not dampened. Once again she shocks those around her - this time with her equestrian escapades. Unlike most English women of her time, Ginger rides astride rather than sidesaddle.

Why is this so significant? Keep on reading!


In the 1920s many women were fighting to gain the spotlight. So-called radical women refused to take the backseat in politics and in the workplace. This was also true for horse riding, as women were often 'passengers' while their male counterparts typically rode in front guiding the horse.

Although historically associated with women’s virtue, during the Roaring Twenties there was a shift in how the custom was viewed. Many women felt that riding sidesaddle was yet another social restraint marking women’s inferiority. As an act of rebellion, suffragists made a deliberate point of exercising their freedoms by riding to the voting polls astride, just as men did.

Riding sidesaddle in the 1920s
Riding sidesaddle in the 1920s

Although it was considered an ‘elegant’ way for women to ride, riding sidesaddle was hardly glamorous. Not only was the practice uncomfortable, it was quite dangerous. Riders were at risk of being dragged behind their horses if they were thrown off. This was especially risky for women who rode wearing long skirts.

Inventions such split skirts or breeches (pictured above) were created to prevent such tragedies. Other precautions were taken as well. In order to ensure that women did not slip off, they were strapped to the left side of a horse with a special saddle. Sidesaddles enabled women to have control over their horses while riding in a precarious position.

Despite the obvious challenges, some women became so adept at riding in this manner that they could do so while riding at a gallop or show jumping.

Riding sidesaddle in the 1920s

Did you learn something new? Write me a note to let me know.

You can read more about women's rights in the 1920s HERE.

Gingers Journal

Good news for those of you who've been waiting ~I've posted a new entry to Ginger Gold's Journal!

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  1. I learned all of this back in school. But I hadn’t really thought about it in a few years. Ok more like 20 years!

  2. Little did men realize that women riding sidessddle actually demonstrated the superiority of the female rider because it was much more difficult to ride sidessddle then astride. It also showed man’s inferior thinking because men didn’t realize that sidesaddle was a demonstration of women’s superior equestrian anilities.

  3. I’m wondering how the horses felt about being ridden side saddle! If it was uncomfortable for the women to ride this way, how much worse might it have been for the poor animal’s back? One point for suffrage, and one point for ending animal cruelty!

  4. I learned about the women competing in side saddles. I love how the women from this time stood up for their rights and paved the road for women today!

  5. I learned about the women competing in side saddles. I love how the women from this time stood up for their rights and paved the road for women today!

  6. I just learned something new. I love the women suffragists rebellion to ride astride. Side saddle always seemed so uncomfortable for fear of falling. You would laugh at my first horseback riding experience!

  7. I didn’t know that they actually had sidesaddles. I can’t imagine trying to ride a horse in that way. It would be so unnatural. I wonder if those ladies that were really good at it developed hip and/or back problems.

  8. The things women went through for acceptance were extraordinary! So pleased to have been born later. Corsets? Sidesaddles? No, thank you.

  9. I think riding sidesaddle looks quite uncomfortable and hard on the back. I can’t imagine how women could ride sidesaddle while wearing a corset!

  10. Sidesaddle is impractical and dangerous, so I’m certainly glad that it’s no longer considered the “virtuous” way to ride a horse. Ginger has the right idea! 🙂

  11. I would have been one of those women to ride with a split skirt but not sidesaddle. I never realized women were strapped on the saddle to ride sidesaddle.

  12. I never knew riding side saddle was a rebellious act or a way to protest women’s inequality. Fascinating history lesson!

  13. They had some very strange ideas back when. I remember my grandmother telling me I’d go crazy taking a shower every day. Huh?

  14. I did not realize how dangerous riding sidesaddle was! I was especially surprised to read about the risk of being dragged behind the horse.

  15. I’ve always admired Queen Elizabeth ll for riding side saddle during the Trooping of the Colours on her official birthday in June. I’ve never rode a horse except on the carousel ride. 😀


  17. Riding side saddle has to be uncomfortable, so Ginger Gold goes against the norm and rides astride the horse! This tells me she takes chances! Yea!

  18. I didn’t realize riding side saddle was dangerous. I wish my grandmother was still alive so I could ask her if she rode side saddle and did she like it.

  19. I learned something new! I can’t believe women could ride sidesaddle at a gallop or jumping. That’s amazing. Sidesaddle would be so bad for your back seems like. Mine would be jerked out of place lol

  20. I cannot even fathom trying to ride side saddle. I am glad that they came up with some suitable adjustments so women could ride more easily and less dangerously. I think I would have opted for the split skirt over the special sidesaddle.

  21. Thank you for all of the information you post! Some I knew some I didn’t! It’s intriguing to me! My mom always said I was born in the wrong century…

  22. I knew riding sidesaddle was dangerous but I didn’t realize that the rider was actually strapped onto the saddle. I hate to think of how many women were injured in this “lady-like” way of riding.

  23. I absolutely love the 20’s era. I often wonder what kind of woman I would have been back then but deep down I know I would have been kicking up trouble somehow.

  24. I didn’t realize that the women were in danger riding sideways on a horse. I just really never thought about it so I did learn something. Riding in the normal way was the most sensible anyway! What stupidity!!

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