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