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Ladies on Horseback

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EC2
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Post by EC2 » Wed April 4th, 2012, 10:23 am

Women rode in a mixture of ways. The 'chair' side saddle with a platform was known long before Anne of Bohemia. I've seen examples across illustrations and seals for the MA. The Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal covers the incident of the empress and says that she was riding 'en seant' as women were accustomed to do. John Marshal tells her she can't get a move on like this and she is going to have to part her legs over the saddle bows.

L'empereriz qui chevalcha cumme femme fait, en seant.' ...

L'om ne puet pas en seant poindre, les jambes vos covient desjoindre e metre par en son l'arcum.

From my researches it would seem that the graceful, formal and customary way a woman should ride was sideways, but there was leeway and you see hunting illustrations where they are astride with full skirts retaining modesty.
Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal

www.elizabethchadwick.com

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Madeleine
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Post by Madeleine » Wed April 4th, 2012, 10:37 am

[quote=""Carla""]There might be a biological basis for this belief, if the hymen could be stretched or ruptured by riding astride.[/quote]

I've heard this theory too. :eek:
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MLE (Emily Cotton)
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Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Wed April 4th, 2012, 2:17 pm

On the virginity issue, of course a woman would not lose her virginity--that is defined as not having had intercourse. But horseback riding (and many other normal activities) can stretch and even rupture the hymen and remove the most evident proof of virginity. The hymen is, after all, a membrane designed to be disposable. Normal wear and tear create openings in it anyway -- pity the girl who is born with a hymen so substantial that a gynecologist has to pierce it so she can menstruate. Wonder what whey did in that case back when? There is even some percentage of women (can't remember how many, it's been too long) are born with only a vestigial hymen or none at all.

This still lingers on in Romany (Gypsy) communities worldwide, where girls are taught to carefully protect that bit of tissue lest they come to their marriage bed (usually before the age of 16) and be thought to be whores, which would make them community pariahs.
Last edited by MLE (Emily Cotton) on Wed April 4th, 2012, 2:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Shield-of-Dardania
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Post by Shield-of-Dardania » Tue April 10th, 2012, 7:33 am

I'm not a rider myself, although I think I should learn horseriding, that often being a staple of many strategic scenes in what we all write in HF. But I once knew a girl during college days, who had been riding since young with her twin sister, doing tournaments and stuff.

She never mentioned anything of that sort, so I assumed that it was not an issue. But I did observe that her sister did have a slightly, very slightly bowlegged posture. Whether that was a hereditary trait or one acquired as a result of years of riding, I couldn't really say for certain.

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Post by fljustice » Tue April 10th, 2012, 5:05 pm

[quote=""Shield-of-Dardania""]I'm not a rider myself, although I think I should learn horseriding, that often being a staple of many strategic scenes in what we all write in HF. [/quote]

I wrote a review of Writing Horses by Judith Tarr (better known for her fantasy books and some HF) which you can read here: http://www.historicalfictiononline.com/ ... ing+horses

I thought she did a good job of providing guidance to writers who have horses and riding in their books.
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Divia
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Post by Divia » Wed April 11th, 2012, 12:32 am

[quote=""Carla""]There might be a biological basis for this belief, if the hymen could be stretched or ruptured by riding astride.[/quote]

Yes I read the same thing. It makes sense to think they would believe such a thing.

Besides, isn't it vulgar for ladies to have their legs spread in such a way if they were riding astride?

As someone who used to show I dunno how women could jump on a sidesaddle. It is a most impressive skill to have.

Bareback is also a pain in the butt.

However I always felt more secure on an english saddle than an western.
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Shield-of-Dardania
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Post by Shield-of-Dardania » Wed April 11th, 2012, 1:36 pm

[quote=""fljustice""]I wrote a review of Writing Horses by Judith Tarr (better known for her fantasy books and some HF) which you can read here: http://www.historicalfictiononline.com/ ... ing+horses

I thought she did a good job of providing guidance to writers who have horses and riding in their books.[/quote]
Thank you FLJustice. That book could come in really handy for me, if I could get my hands on it.

I actually already have a draft scene in book 1 of my WIP trilogy, where a young princess (she will be sovereign queen about midway through book 2) watches keenly as her beau (her future husband and army commander) is busily occupied at shoeing his male pony, small chat, questions and all. All using material I gleaned from a newspaper article comprising an interview with a real life horse shoer (correct me if that term is incorrect).

I thought it read quite natural and original as a subtly romantic scene, actually. Plus, it made the author (me) sound like someone genuinely quite familiar with horses. ;)

Well, at least I know that horses are highly nervous animals. You don't hide behind their arse or under their neck unless you want your arse or head kicked. When they get edgy you need to whisper to them gently to calm them down. Right, I'm going to give that equestrian club a call some time. I pass by it on the way home from the office every day.

Now, just making sure, guys did shoe their horses in the 11th century, didn't they?
Last edited by Shield-of-Dardania on Wed April 11th, 2012, 2:15 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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fljustice
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Post by fljustice » Wed April 11th, 2012, 3:14 pm

[quote=""Shield-of-Dardania""]Thank you FLJustice. That book could come in really handy for me, if I could get my hands on it.[/quote]

This must have been one of my earlier reviews because I usually provide the details. Sorry for the omission, here's the beef:

Title: Writing Horses: The Fine Art of Getting It Right
Author: Judith Tarr
Publisher: Book View Café, 2010
ISBN: 9781611380309
Format: ebook (all digital formats including pdf)
Price: $4.99
Available: http://www.bookviewcafe.com/index.php/T ... ing-Horses
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wendy
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Post by wendy » Sat April 28th, 2012, 11:33 am

[quote=""fljustice""]This must have been one of my earlier reviews because I usually provide the details. Sorry for the omission, here's the beef:

Title: Writing Horses: The Fine Art of Getting It Right
Author: Judith Tarr
Publisher: Book View Café, 2010
ISBN: 9781611380309
Format: ebook (all digital formats including pdf)
Price: $4.99
Available: http://www.bookviewcafe.com/index.php/T ... ing-Horses[/quote]

I found Tarr's book very useful. It gives a good grounding to non-riders and reminds experienced equestrians some of the things they take for granted that their readers might not know.
I think I bought it on the back of your earlier review Faith - so thanks for the tip!
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Post by annis » Tue May 1st, 2012, 12:31 am

@Shield-of-Dardania: Horses were certainly shod in the 11th century, but given the skill and materials required, I'm just wondering how often people would shoe their own mounts rather than get a blacksmith to do it? The farrier-blacksmith was an important member of any holding or village and armies always had farrier-blacksmiths among their company - vital for stuff like armour and weapon making/repairing, mending tack and shoeing horses. Also, shoeing a horse is a potentally dangerous business and requires concentration - possibly not the best situation for indulging in a bit of light badinage with your romantic interest. Perhaps your hero could be grooming his horse instead? Horses generally enjoy that as opposed to shoeing, which they don't, so they're less likely to do you a damage if you don't have your mind on the job.
Last edited by annis on Tue May 1st, 2012, 7:56 pm, edited 8 times in total.

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