Every industry has been touched by the effects of the current worldwide pandemic. The world of horses and horse racing has been no stranger to these impacts.
Since the pandemic shut the world down in February and March, every industry has felt those reverberations. Quickly gaining on six months of this strange new world here in the Lowcountry, we too have felt the world shifting. We have changed our policies and what services are available to our riders and guests to keep everyone safe and healthy. When the nation started closing down and canceling major events, it was no surprise that horse tracks and horse races started to shut down and cancel in the footsteps of the NBA, NFL, MLB, and the PGA. Every industry has felt the shock waves of these effects, and all of us at home have felt the tremendous loss these decisions have caused.
Out of the safety of our nation and its people, we recognize the importance of these decisions, but there is plenty still left to mourn. What should come as a surprise is that even though it drastically changed, the industry of horse racing didn't actually shut down. In a recent interview, racing analyst Randy Moss mentioned that even though the world has changed and we've adapted to an online world, the world of horse racing can't be stopped. He said, "You can't water or feed horses through Zoom. They can't get veterinary care through Zoom!" So, those behind the scenes, almost 1500 people to every 1000 horses at each American race track according to Moss, have kept the industry afloat. The needs of these living and breathing creatures depended on quick action, which is exactly what happened. Decisions were made to keep both the industry and the industries employees alive and well.
This doesn't mean that every race and event went on as normal. Once things started to shut down it was almost like a domino effect, and it was felt globally.
One of the largest blows our industry saw was the postponement of the Kentucky Derby. For the first time since 1945, it was pushed back to a different date. After weeks and months of waiting, Churchill Downs announced that the race was going to be moved to September 5th. With this change, the entire set up of the Triple Crown was completely changed. For the first time in its 152 years, the Belmont Stakes started the Triple Crown instead of ending it. On July 20th, the race still went on as planned. Here too, no fans were present. Tiz The Law took first. The hope that the Kentucky Derby would be able to have fans in the stadium was still in the works when the date was pushed back. Many believed that by September, things would be looking much different.
During June and early July of this year, it was announced that 14% of the Derby's capacity would be allowed to attend in person. Social distancing and masks along with frequent hand washing and sanitizing were going to be strongly suggested. Whether masks were going to be enforced or not was never solidified, according to CBS news. This decision and the uncertainty of masks were met with skepticism. As weeks went on and the spike in Coronavirus cases went up drastically, the executives of Churchill Downs decided to change their minds. According to CNN, the race will still be run, but without a crowd. The 14% capacity was still 23,000 fans, and that was too much for comfort. Kentucky governor, Andy Beshear, has praised the decision according to CNN. Although it is a tragic disappointment and loss, it is understood. Following the Kentucky Derby will be the Preakness Stakes on October 3rd, officially finishing the Triple Crown of 2020.
The derby was one of the last big sporting events to see such a change. 2020 has been a huge blow to every industry and sports lovers alike. Throughout Europe, with pandemic numbers looking more promising, they are hopeful for races that were postponed to the fall. Many of these races will be run much later than they ever have been before. They hope that by pushing them back they will be able to amp up even more excitement and be able to have some, even if it is limited, crowd engagement. What has 2020 done to your connection to the world of horses? Comment below - we want to hear from you! Until next time, stay safe and stay hopeful.
The next Year Of The Horse might not be until 2026, but for us, it's every day! We wanted to share and explore the history behind the zodiac horse and what it means to be born in a year of the horse.
We hope while you're reading this, we find you happy and well. We've enjoyed seeing so many of your friendly and familiar faces back on our trails. For those of you new to our blog or for those of you who might be unaware, we are currently open and offering our Historic Trail Rides! Enjoy the beautiful weather, the wonderful Low Country scenery, all while socially distancing on the back of a horse. We are adhering to the Governor's guidelines to help keep our staff and client safe! All saddles, bridles, and helmets are cleaned after every ride. A visit to the stables might be exactly what you need right now.
This year has been a rough ride, to say the least. We've all overcome and gone through challenges in all areas of our lives. Depending on the culture, some look to Farmers Almanacs to predict or look for answers for a difficult year. Some look at astrological coincidences and others look at the zodiac sign to help explain the reasoning behind what is happening in their region or throughout the world. This year in the Zodiac calendar is the year of The Rat, and there won't be a year of The Horse until 2026. Regardless, we wanted to learn a little more about the history of the Horse Zodiac, it's personality traits, and what it could mean during the year of The rat. The most recent Year Of The Horse were 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014 and soon to be 2026.
Ironically, even if you don't believe in the zodiac signs or know much about them, 2020 does resonate with what has been predicted. We, like all of you, hope to find good luck in what's left of this year. But, if anything, learning more about this beautiful creature in the eyes of a different culture has been very interesting. What did you think? Comment below! Also, let us know if you were born in a previous year of The Horse or know anyone that was. Does their personality match the descriptions we've listed?
Are you finally in the market to buy a horse of your very own? We have some tips and suggestions that can make the process smooth and simple.
This summer weather is not a joke! We love being outside with our horses and on the trails with all of you every time you visit. But, this heat index is crazy! We can't stress enough that keeping yourself and your horse hydrated needs to be your top priority right now! Don't forget your sunscreen and bug spray, too. We've seen a lot of horse flies recently, and those bites are not pleasant.
Since many of us are spending a good amount of time at home right now, more of you might be thinking about buying a horse of your very own. A few blogs back we talked about some steps and what to expect when adopting a horse here in South Carolina. If you missed that blog, please follow the link below to read:
We understand that you might want to go a different way when getting a horse of your very own. There is no wrong way of doing this, it is all a personal preference. But, before you make the big step in buying your horse, we wanted to share some tips and ideas to keep in mind before you do and while you're going through the process.
We are so excited that you are thinking about bringing a horse into your family, and we hope these tips and suggestions cleared up any questions or hesitations you might have. Until you do make this dream become a reality, don't forget we are still open for our historic horseback trail rides. They are the perfect way to get outdoors, be safely distanced, and visit with your favorite animals. For more information, please visit our website. Until you join us for your next ride, please continue to stay safe! We are Charleston's premier horseback riding trail, dedicated to keeping you safe while exploring the beauty of the Lowcountry.
Becoming a forever home for a horse in need can be a dream come true for you and your new horse. How do you go about adopting a horse here in the Lowcountry?
Friends, we have to say it. We LOVE when you visit and take one of our historical tours. Please know you are always getting the best trail rides and horseback riding experience in Charleston every time you visit. But, we know the truth of how it feels to fall in love with horses and wanting one for your very own. It comes with a big-time commitment, a big responsibility, and a can be very expensive. But, they are worth every moment and every penny. With that in mind, we wanted to share a few tips and suggestions on how and where to adopt a horse of very own here in the Charleston. Choosing to adopt and buy one from a breeder is a personal choice, and whichever you decide is perfectly fine. We just wanted to share the adoption process with you first, and talk about some wonderful organizations that can help your dreams come true.
2. Big Oakes Rescue FarmLocated in Hodges, SC this rescue farm is dedicated to the care of horses, donkeys, mules, and more! The sanctuary was founded in 2007 by Joe Mann, who has a passion for saving animals. They strive to give these animals a new life and home along with providing education to the public about awareness of animal care, welfare, and abuse. Since 2010, they have also rescued and rehabilitated over 300 horses and found them brand new homes. Big Oakes also has an extensive application that you must fill out before an adoption can happen. You have to describe where the horse will be living, along with providing pictures of where they will be living, where they will be fed, and where they will exercise. You must provide your personal information, along with your farrier's and vet's information. They will also be calling your vet as part of the application process to talk about your history with animals and if you would be a good potential horse owner. To learn more, begin the application process, or donate to their cause visit their website below!
3. H.O.P.E ACRES RESCUE (Helping Our Precious Equines) Located in Berkeley County, SC they provide rescue services to horses across the country. Thanks to community, country, state, and donation support they can save, rehabilitate,and give a safe home to horses in need. From the very beginning of the adoption process, HOPE makes it very clear that every potential family must understand the financial and physical demands of owning a horse. Their multipage application is also very detailed. The questions range from wanting to know about you, your knowledge of horses, who will be riding and caring for the horses, what your style of riding is, what activities you have planned for your horses, and more. The HOPE farm also has very specific requirements that must bet met before being considered for adoption including:
Horses are magical creatures and those who take the time to save and care for ones who have been through the worst are heroes. Consider donating, learning more about horse welfare education, and maybe even adopt one someday. Until you join us for your next ride, please continue to stay safe! We are Charleston's premier horseback riding trail, dedicated to keeping you safe while exploring the beauty of the Lowcountry.
Curious about what you might find when riding on our trials or on trails of your own? Here are some important accessories you need to know about!
Happy June, everyone! Let's continue to get back in the saddle one day at a time. When joining us for your next trail ride, there might be a few needed accessories that you might not know what they are or what they do. Don't worry! We are here to help guide you. Also, everything you need for your next visit with us will be provided. We are taking very serious steps to keep our guests and employees very safe. Everything you touch and come in contact with will be very safe and clean. But as you prepare to come to visit us, we wanted to share some information about some important trail riding accessories. This information is also great for those who want to explore trails out in the wild or who might want to invest in their trail riding equipment. Don't forget, our historic trail rides are open and available to the public. You don't want to miss this beautiful and unique experience this summer!
Each of the items we will be talking about today makes riding and any experience on or with a horse much more prepared, easier, and comfortable for both parties involved. They help keep the quality of the ride enjoyable and can come in handy to keep you safe and protected in any situation.
Have you seen or used some of these accessories before? Or are they all new to you? We are excited to help continue and nurture any education when it comes to our beautiful horses and everything it takes to ride them safely and properly. The trails are calling you, so what are you waiting for? Until you join us for your next ride, please continue to stay safe! We are Charleston's premier horseback riding trail, dedicated to keeping you safe while exploring the beauty of the Lowcountry.
These beautiful creatures are full of surprises. Their unique personalities, how they interact with one another, and the things we discover continue to surprise us. So much so, there are hundreds of interesting and bizarre facts about horses out there, and many you might not know!
We are getting one step closer to some sense of normalcy every day. As we mentioned in our last blog, we've been taking extra care of our horses, barns, equipment, and stables to make your next ride with us very safe. Make sure you're paying close attention to our website or give us a call for all of our latest information. We are currently open for our historic trail rides, which are not to be missed! Enjoy this beautiful weather and the wonderful Lowcountry scenery, all while social distancing on the back of a stunning horse. We are adhering to the Governor's guidelines to help keep our staff and clients safe. Please reach out to us regarding any specific questions or services, and we hope to see you real soon. It's very easy to book your next ride with us on our website or to send us a message. We are here for you and continue to offer the best trail rides in Charleston!
In our last few blogs we've scaled the spectrum of topics. From ways to ride your horses, staying sanitary, to myths and legends, we've offered a slew of new things to learn about. Education is something we deeply appreciate and cherish. We love watching new riders of all ages hop on a horse for the very first time, and continue coming back as their love and appreciation grows for these amazing creatures. As the virtual school year has a few more weeks left, we hope that parents will bring their children to our trails for a field trip or stumble upon our blog. In that vein and the spirit of continued education, we wanted to share some interesting and bizarre facts that you may or may not know about horses! We would love to hear from you after you read this blog. Comment what facts you found interesting and what you learned. Don't hesitate to share and post this for all of your friends and family to enjoy, too!
These are just some of the interesting and bizarre facts about horses that are out there. These gentle creatures are very complex, and in the 5000 years they have been domesticated, we continue to learn more and more about them. What facts did you learn today? Did anything surprise you? We would love to hear from you! Until then, please continue to stay safe! We are Charleston's premier horseback riding trail, dedicated to keeping you safe while exploring the beauty of the Lowcountry.
Due to the current state of things, you may or may or may not have been able to get a start on your barn's spring cleaning. Since the Lowcountry is starting to open up again, it is the perfect time to get started!
Hello Lowcountry friends and fellow horse lovers! We are so excited because it looks like we will see you back in our barns and back on our trials sooner than many of us thought possible. With that becoming a reality more and more every day, we have started on our barns and stables deep cleaning and have continued to follow safety guidelines to keep our employees safe. We also want to make sure that when you come and visit us again, you'll stay healthy and safe too! Since we are digging into the deep cleaning of our barns and stables and are continuing to sanitize everything, we wanted to share some tips and suggestions on how to give your barn the best deep clean possible!
If you are are a farmer or a horse owner, deep cleaning and disinfecting has always been apart of your cleaning schedule. Horses are so susceptible to bacteria and germs that are found on all surfaces in a barn and anything they can come in contact with, that it is always important to keep up with a consistent cleaning schedule. When this pandemic set in, the need to clean and sanitize was nothing new to us! Regularly disinfecting your barns and stables have always been important to help with the care and health of your horses. It has always helped with keeping your horses and employees healthy. But, with the world in the state that it is, it's more important than ever. As many of you know, this is hard work. It takes time, and a lot of extra elbow grease to do it well. But it is always worth it.
When you get started, it's important to move your horses away from the area that you will be cleaning, and relocate them until you're finished. Also, it is important to remove their bedding from their stalls to maximize the deep clean. When cleaning with soap, detergent, and disinfectants of any kind, make sure that you choose based on how it could affect your farm, your animals, and yourself. Always wear the proper clothing and safety gear to keep yourself safe when using chemicals of any kind.
Like we mentioned above, keeping a barn and its horse stalls clean and disinfected takes time and serious work. But, the horse's health and the health of your employees is worth that time. Also know that when you are getting ready to head back out on our trails and to visit our horses again, a deep clean like this has always been normal for us. It is nothing new. It is something that we take very seriously. We have been and will continue to apply these ideas to helmets, saddles, and any other riding gear that is used by our guests and visitors. Remember, once we do get back to normal we offer the best horseback riding in Charleston, the best horse trail riding in Charleston, and more. During this break, take the time to visit all of the pages of our website, and enjoy learning more about Middleton trail rides! We will see you soon!
We had so much fun diving into the world of the horses we've loved in the pages of our favorite children's books, we wanted to dive in a little deeper! We are going from the pages of our favorite books to the legends of our favorite mythical horses that have been around for centuries!
Hello, Lowcountry! We hope you've been enjoying this beautiful weather as much as we have! Before you know it, you'll be able to enjoy the best horseback riding trails in Charleston with us! We have been getting ready for you, and our horses can't wait to see you again. Until then, we hope you and your family continue to stay healthy and safe. Did you enjoy our last blog revisiting some of your favorite fictional horses you grew up with? We loved researching and revisiting those stories and took so much comfort from them. We loved it so much that we thought we would take this blog one step further and visit some of the most famous and mythical horses of all time. When we dove into this magical world, it proved to be very surprising. It might just put your knowledge to the test. We are excited to see how much you know and remember about these fascinating creatures.
We couldn't begin or write a blog about mythical horses without starting or including Pegasus! This beautiful winged creature was born from the pages of Greek Mythology and was the child of Medusa and Poseidon. Pegasus has been seen in literature, art, and currency since as early as the 7th Century BCE in Corinthian culture. As the Greek myth goes, Poseidon fathered Pegasus with Medusa, and Pegasus was born when the hero Perseus slew Medusa by cutting off her head. The blood from her neck fell into the ocean, and out of the white ocean foam came Pegasus. The immortal horse received its signature bright white color from being born of the beautiful white sea foam. Poseidon gifted the horse to his son Bellerophon. Together the pair fought and won many famous mythical battles including Bellerophon's fight against the Chimaera. The two were quite a pair until similarly to Icarus, Bellerophon flew too close to the Mountain of the Gods. Pegasus threw him off his back and down to Earth. Grecian legend goes on to say that Pegasus was then gifted to Eos, and helped him pull Dawn across the sky. Others believe this is when Pegasus officially became a constellation and the servant of Zeus. He provided Zeus with all the thunder and lighting he needed. Thanks to Roman art, the history of Pegasus was immortalized which eventually lead to him becoming a symbol of immortality. To this day Pegasus appears in art, literature, cartoons, famous children's books, and movies. What has been your favorite version of Pegasus?
This incredible mythical creature has a very interesting beginning. With the body and hindquarters of a horse and the front half of a griffin, the Hippogriff was created. Many credit this creation to Ancient Greek lore, some to Virgil, and others to the 16th-century poet Ludovico Ariosto. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, this creature was created and written about by Ariosto, while the other's just mentioned his possibility. The Hippogriff appeared in Ariosto's poem entitled "Orlando Furioso" which was indeed credited and based on Virgil's Eclogue, according to Marianne Shapiro's "The Poetics of Ariosto". The famous poem made its the first appearance in 1516 and had multiple revisions between that date and 1532, very close to Ariosto's death. The creature is supposed to signify something impossible because it was known throughout lore that griffins and horses were mortal enemies. The Hippogriff was and still is a legendary creature that lives within Greek Folklore, and continued to grow in fame thanks to Ariosto. The creature is said to be able to fly around the world and even to the moon. It has also been very frequently depicted on the coat of arms after it's appearance in the 16th-century poem. He is also said to be a symbol of the Greek god Apollo. Today, the Hippogriff has made a very popular comeback thank's to writer J.K Rowling and her Harry Potter book series. Rowling created and introduced the character of Buckbeak the Hippogriff to the Harry Potter world and its fans. He continues to be one of the most popular characters in all of the seven books.
Before we closed out this blog we had to touch on one of the most famous mythical horses of all time, the unicorn. This creature is depicted as a beautiful horse with a single horn coming out of its forehead. This legendary creature has been depicted in modern cartoons, books, and movies for a very long time. But, its mythical legend and how long it has been included in art, literature, and storytelling dates back thousands of years. It has been mentioned across multiple races and religions, appearing in Ancient Greek mythology, The Bible, European Folklore, Chinese mythology, and it's timeline spans from antiquity and beyond. Through each of these tellings, the Unicorn is depicted in multiple, albeit very similar, forms of appearance with multiple different and very interesting and sometimes disturbing stories of parentage. Although considered a relic of mythology, the creature was very real for many cultures and civilizations for many years. The horn, drinking from the horn, or drinking its blood has been cited to save the drinker from poison, sickness, and even death. To this day, thanks to cartoons, books, and the popularity of mythical lore, the unicorn still holds a very popular place. To many, it stands for something rare and represents fantasy.
How did these facts test your knowledge of ancient lore and Greek mythology? Did we stump you or did you already know these facts and details? There were a few things we learned ourselves, and we now have a huge urge to go back and visit some of our favorite Harry Potter books and favorite childhood cartoons where these beautiful creatures live. Please continue to stay safe everyone. The longer you stay safe, the sooner we can get back to the trails! Remember, once we do get back to normal we offer the best horseback riding in Charleston, the best horse trail riding in Charleston, and more. During this break, take the time to visit all of the pages of our website, and enjoy learning more about Middleton trail rides! We will see you soon!
The media and the news aren't full of the best topics right now. We are right there with you when we say it's hard to read them every day. So we wanted to change things up a bit, and share some of our all-time favorite stories.
During these unknown times, it has been very easy to get sucked into watching the news nonstop or scrolling through our phones for hours on end. A positive message and distraction is something that we all need right now. Which is why we picked this particular topic for our first blog of the month. To break up the multitudes of articles and blogs you've been reading about the current situation, we wanted to share one about some of the world's most famous literary horses, what their stories are, and what their history is. Sometimes, you can't always find yourself in the comfort of a saddle riding through the best horseback riding trails in Charleston. Sometimes you have to turn the pages of your favorite books, and that's alright. They will be here to keep you happy and comfortable until we can see you again!
BLACK BEAUTY By Anna Sewell (1877)
There are many of us out there who believed that Black Beauty was a real horse and based on a true story. Some you might still believe that today. With his amazing popularity and renown, it's hard to imagine a world without Beauty, even if he just lives in the pages of our most beloved children's book. Remember too, Beauty is the one telling the story. As much as we LOVE the idea of a real talking horse, they are still just in our storybooks. The book is credited as one of the first major animal stories in children's literature, and we all know why. Beauty himself narrates the story, as we said before, and the book is the story of his heroic life. It is the story of a well-born and well bread horse living in a world before cars and most modern technology that we know today. The amazingly brave, strong, smart and obedient Beauty is sold to a very cruel master, after his happy early years. Under the hands of this cruel master, he collapses from ill-treatment and overwork. Thankfully, Beauty recovers under a new master who loves him dearly and lives an extraordinary life after this rescue. Not only is this a beautiful story, but it was also one of the first to teach the importance of kindness towards animals and about animal welfare. Black Beauty is sited as the most famous horse story ever written and is it is still very popular to this day. It is one of the best selling books of all time, having sold over fifty million copies. There have been multiple TV shows and mini-series, movies, theatrical adaptations, and a musical recording adaptation made by Walt Disney about or inspired by Black Beauty.
MISTY OF CHINCOTEAGUE By Marguerite Henry (1947)
This four-part book series was written between 1947 and 1992, inspiring many others to continue the Misty legacy in their own books. Even before many of us read Black Beauty, Misty and the many books written by Marguerite Henry were the first stories about horses we read and fell in love with. The story begins in Virginia in the mid-1900s. The island the story takes place on has become home to several wild horses who came from a Spanish ship that sunk in the 1300s. The horses made their home on the beaches and became wild after being left alone for generations, and have become a staple of this story's little town. Paul and Maureen, our two main characters, want to be apart of rounding up these wild horses to sell or train as the rest of the adults do in their town, but since they are so young they have been allowed to. The famous wild horse, Phantom, has never been caught by anyone in the town and happens to be the prize Paul and Maureen have their eyes set on. Against all odds and through many trials and tribulations, they round up Phantom and her foal, Misty. Paul and Maureen finally gain Phantom and Misty's trust and allow them to be ridden. Paul trains Phantom to race and wins to the pride of their town and their grandparents. Guilty with the knowledge that Phantom wants to run free again, Paul and Maureen let her go, while Misty wishes to stay behind. This beautiful story is a coming of age book in many ways and continues to hold onto this beautiful theme through the full book series. Have you read them all?
THE BLACK STALLION By Walter Farley (1979)
This series of books was written for the adventurer and daydreamer alike playing make-believe while we were growing up, or for those still daydreaming today. The first book that started the adventure was about a young boy named Alec. While sailing around West Africa, Alec befriends a beautiful stallion on board. When the ship sinks, Alec saves the horse by releasing him from his stall and they swim to a nearby island. When they are finally rescued after forming a very tight bond, Alec insists that his horse be reduced too. They go to America, where after training, the stallion is now called "The Black". The horses are entered into his very first prominent race and wins, breaking a world record while doing so. This incredible book proved that nothing can get in the way of your dreams. The following books in the series are about his three children, his life beyond that of the first book, and introduces many other incredible horses along the way. Even though Black Beauty was sited as the most famous horse story ever written, the New York Times has described The Black Stallion as "the most famous fictional horse of the century." There have been three movie adaptations and one TV adaptation of the book. The first two books in the series, along with the last were all adapted into the three movie adaptations. In total, there were twenty books in the series written over more than 40 years. Some of the books were written by Walter Farley's son, Steven has also written his own Black Stallion novels, which are not included in the original 20 book series. Which one was your favorite?
What is your favorite book or story about a literary horse? Is that where you came to find your love of horses for the very first time? Are the pages of these stories where you went you couldn't ride or visit your horse? Are these books ones you've shared with your family or plan to in the years to come? We hope you take comfort in their pages now, and they are getting you excited to ride with us again! When this is all over, we can't wait to take a trail ride with you on the best horseback riding trails in Charleston and in South Carolina!
Did you know that there are multiple ways to ride a horse and different kinds of saddles to support these different ways to ride? One of the most famous and most difficult ways to ride a horse is called sidesaddle riding. It comes with an exciting and rich history that every horse lover needs to know about.
Sidesaddle and the way we ride horses continues to evolve in and out of history books, to film, to being back on the filed. For some, it's coming back into popularity outside of period movies and TV shows and back into horse races and shows. But what is riding sidesaddle and what is its history? Sidesaddle riding is exactly what it sounds like. Instead of straddling the horse while riding, you posterior flat with either leg on either side of the horse, you sit sideways on the horse with both legs hanging off of the same side of the horse when riding. Many think this type of riding was just a tradition followed by women of historic royalty and high birth in the last few hundred years, but it goes way beyond that! Some historians date it back to the 6th century where the god of blacksmiths, Hephestus, has been pictured riding sidesaddle himself.
This type of riding became common for women to use because riding with your legs on one side of the horse allowed women to keep their knees together at all times, which was considered to be more modest, which was important even while riding. Even though it is is much harder to ride this way, it was culturally accepted as the only way a woman could ride a horse for centuries. In the beginning, it was only men who rode horses and women were just their passengers. Women would ride behind their male counterparts, sitting on an attached cushion or blanket, being as modest as possible and keeping both of their legs together. This was also due to the fashion at the time, women wore heavy layers of skirts, and it was impossible to ride astride and maintain their modesty while doing so.
Some say women started riding sidesaddle as early as 1382, and some say it was even earlier. In 1382, Princess Ann rode sidesaddle to marry King Richard II. This style of riding was considered the only way to properly preserve a woman's virginity, so from there on out it was the only way for a woman to ride. Ironically it wasn't until the middle ages that the idea and concept for a specially made saddle for this proper type of riding was even considered. This new saddle would offer support, comfort, and allow them to control and guide their horse better than ever before, and be able to ride without a man.
As the years went on, many saddles were created and invented to help a woman ride more comfortably, but in 1830 with the addition of an additional pummel, the tables turned for women riders. This provided the most security and freedom in their movements than ever before, allowing them to freely gallop, ride for longer periods, and even jump if they wished. They could now hunt, race, and keep up with their male counterparts while still being in control of their modesty. But what about the lower social classes? Of course, they rode out of necessity, but as a form of physical activity and fun and appropriate behavior, it was only acceptable for women of the wealthiest class to ride until as late as the 1850's. It took almost until the 1880's for a specific riding outfit to be designed and considered for a woman to ride in. Up until that point, a woman was wearing her normal day wear, which if too long, could prove to be very dangerous for the rider. This fashion quickly changed and by the early 20th century women could wear pants to ride. With this change in fashion and with the rise of the Suffergets side saddle riding slowly began to decrease in popularity. By the time the 1930's arrived, women were finally riding like their male counterparts after almost 550 years.
Today, thanks to the rise in popularity of British TV shows like Downton Abby, the return of sidesaddle riding has come. These vintage lovers are riding again in competition, races, horse shows, and for fun. They are not only bringing back the style of riding, but they are also bringing back the classic period style of dressing along with it too. Some men throughout history did ride sidesaddle, even though it was considered a woman's sport. If they had lost a leg or had other injuries, riding sidesaddle was easier for them. Riding sidesaddle was used when riding camels, zebras, mules, ostriches, and other exotic animals. Of course, some women refused to ride this way. They claimed that they were still very much proper women regardless of riding astride, Catherine The Great being one of these ladies. Also, if they were going to be riding long distances, sidesaddle was deemed impossible.
The next time you are looking for the best horseback riding in Charleston and you find our beautiful paths and stables, will you want to ask about riding sidesaddle? Would you be brave enough to try it? It will give you a whole new perspective on riding, and we guarantee that it will provide quite the adventure. Come see us soon, we can't wait to ride with you!
Middleton Place Team