Side Saddle Lady

Jane Dunn, Artist

Professional artist Jane Dunn is now taking commissions for side saddle and other paintings. She also has side saddle paintings for sale. Pictures of two of Jane's original oils are shown below (scanned at low resolution); prices are approximately £150 for a 31 x 46 cm painting; £250 if a likeness is required. A larger size of 50 x 60 cm is approx. £350. Check out her website for more examples of her work, and her contact details:

A giclee print is now available of the left-hand painting below. A 19.5 x 13.75 inch print, signed and numbered, is £25, but the print can be made to any size. Please contact Jane at her website for sales.


Making a Period Riding Costume?

For a correct period look you will need a riding corset!

Ian Chipperfield, otherwise known as 'The Staymaker', runs weekend courses in the UK to enable you to cut and construct a Victorian corset to fit you, which can easily be adapted for riding purposes. Riding corsets were traditionally cut higher over the hips for ease of movement, and the use of spiral steel boning, rather that flat steel boning, gives the flexibility needed when on horseback.

For 2006 dates for Ian's Victorian corset courses, please see his website:


The Fair Equestrienne

An exhibition of riding habits and other sporting dress took place at Killerton House (National Trust), near Exeter, Devon, England, from 13 March to 31 October 2004. As well as featuring costume from the Paulise de Bush collection held at Killerton, riding habits from the Exeter Costume Museum, and one or two from private collections, the exhibition included several original riding habits, side-saddles, hats, whips and stirrups from the personal collection of Side Saddle Lady proprietor Penny Housden*. On 30 May there were also two side-saddle riding displays by Area 16, Devon and Cornwall branch, of the English Side Saddle Association, choreographed by Alison Melhuish.

Penny, and members of staff at Killerton, dressed up in reproduction period riding costumes for the Press Launch day on 10 March. They featured on Carlton Television's 'Westcountry Live', and the BBC's 'Spotlight' programmes, and in the local press (e.g. Express & Echo, Western Morning News etc.). Photos of the event can be seen by clicking here. Horse and Hound magazine carried an article on the exhibition in a March issue, as did the Guardian magazine supplement (end May/June) and Woman's Hour on the BBC's Radio 4 recorded a feature for their programme, which was broadcast later on.

*It is the aim of Side Saddle Lady proprietor Penny Housden eventually to open a museum dedicated to women's side-saddle riding. She would therefore be pleased to hear from anyone willing to donate side-saddle items of historical interest to this future project.

See below for the Press Release issued by Killerton House:

'A rider who is wearing a tall hat for the first time, should not forget to lower her head well in passing under trees . . .' (Mrs Hayes, The Horsewoman, 1910)

'The exhibition will focus on elegant masculine tailored garments and accessories produced for women from the eighteenth century to the early twentieth century. It will also include tailored coats and costumes worn for other outdoor activities in and out of the saddle, such as golf, cycling, walking and climbing, which gradually became more acceptable for women from the 1880s onwards.

'Motoring, a 'new' leisure activity, became popular with the rich when the Women's Automobile Association was founded in 1903.

'The earliest garment in the display dates from the 1750s; it is a camlet jacket from a riding habit, probably made for a 12-year-old girl. Although riding was considered suitable exercise for young ladies, it was not until the nineteenth century that it was considered proper for women to ride alone. By the 1920s, it was only just beginning to become acceptable for women to ride astride.

'Throughout the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, habits were also worn for walking, travelling, and informal day wear, and would be made by a tailor following masculine lines, replacing breeches with a skirt. Women were criticised for 'affecting manly airs' in this apparently androgynous garb, for 'one cannot easily distinguish your Sex by it. For you neither look like a modest Girl in it, nor an agreeable Boy' (Samuel Richardson, 1741).

'However, the cut also showed the influence of fashion. When waistlines rose at the end of the eighteenth century, riding habits reflected the trend. A variety of materials was used, from lightweight colourful silks and wools, to heavy tweeds and thornproof worsted fabrics; summerweight dustproof 'nankeen' cottons were worn for travelling, as well as sport, and are also represented here.

'Luxurious accessories and specialised underwear developed to complete an elegant figure. A mid-nineteenth-century riding corset will be on show, alongside lace-trimmed silk hats, gold-handled riding crops, and examples of side-saddles.

'By the 1900s, riding had become a serious sport for women. In 1910, Alice M. Hayes' classic work The Horsewoman was published. It includes a chapter on dress, illustrated by a photograph of the Hayes' Safety Skirt, developed by the author and Frederick Tautz, an Oxford Street tailor, in 1894.

'Many well-known habit makers of the late nineteenth century, such as Redfern and Creed, supplied the Royal families of Europe, and eventually became better known for day and evening creations. Examples of fashionable day wear will be shown, to place the sporting dress in the context of fashion history.

'The exhibition will also demonstrate that in the last 25 years the elegance of 'man-tailored' garments has been revived by many designers, including Ralph Lauren and John Galliano. Other contemporary designers, such as Vivienne Westwood, have constantly referenced the past for inspiration for their own designs, and two of the most admired elements of 'English' dress, tailoring and tweeds, have appeared frequently in recent collections.'



  • Ebay Auctions
    Watch out for regular Side Saddle Lady online auctions on (can also be seen on and other English-speaking Ebay sites around the world). Auctions are mostly for one-off side-saddle items, especially old postcards and mounted pictures, and out-of-print side-saddle books when available. Occasionally, selected items from the catalogue are auctioned, but check prices for these items on the website first, as with Ebay charges added, it may be cheaper to order direct through Side Saddle Lady instead! Ebay auctions are given in US dollars, but payment can also be in English pounds sterling, or by credit/debit card via the Paypal or Bidpay facilities.

    To find the
    Side Saddle Lady auctions on, use the search facility, typing in the word 'sidesaddle' (one word). If viewing on ensure that you click on the radio button 'Items available to the UK'.

    Happy bidding!

  • It has come to the attention of Side Saddle Lady that other side-saddle websites and organisations are using side-saddle pictures which have been painted or drawn by Side Saddle Lady proprietor Penny Housden and are entirely her copyright, intended to be used exclusively on Side Saddle Lady products (unless you want to pay her royalties for the privilege of using them!). As unauthorised use of such pictures is a breach of that copyright, please do not use these side-saddle pictures without the permission of Penny Housden. If unsure as to the source of any side-saddle picture, please check with Side Saddle Lady first to make sure it is not our copyright! Thank you.


  • Devon County Show - 16-18 May 2002
    Penny Housden, proprietor of Side Saddle Lady, attended the three-day Devon County Show in South West England, mainly helping out on the Side Saddle Association stand promoting side-saddle, but also offering a selection of Side Saddle Lady gifts and dressmaking patterns (Penny was dressed in a tartan Victorian costume (and wearing an original Victorian silk top hat), made from the P11 and P12 1865 dressmaking patterns from Side Saddle Lady (see catalogue); this habit can be seen in the online museum).

    Despite the weather (hot and sunny one day, torrential rain and storms the next!), the event was a huge success, with members of the Devon and Cornwall branch of the Side Saddle Association giving demonstrations and daily displays of side-saddle riding in the main ring, which involved flying changes of costume for the display team. Many people afterwards expressed their view that the side-saddle display was the best main ring event the Devon County Show had put on!

  • New Power O'Donoghue Biography
    A recently published book Nannie Lambert Power O'Donoghue by Olga E. Lockley is available direct from the publisher. It contains many extracts from Mrs Power O'Donoghue's well-known nineteenth-century books on side-saddle equitation, Ladies on Horseback, and Riding for Ladies, as well as being the fascinating story of a horsewoman, humanitarian, and writer. Available from: The Bee Press, 41 Deborah Avenue, Fulwood, Preston, Lancashire PR2 9HU, England.
    Click here for more details given on the publisher's website.

    Look out for occasional
    Side Saddle Lady online auctions of this book in US dollars, with a 'Buy it Now' facility.

  • Costume Event - 14 October 2001

    The Side Saddle Association's Judges' and Instructors' Seminar, held at Bicton College of Agriculture in Devon, England on 14 October 2001, included two costume classes that were well attended by side-saddle enthusiasts. In the foyer of the college, Side Saddle Lady, along with other side-saddle-related businesses, set up its trade stand, run by proprietor Penny Housden. Penny also displayed period riding habits made from the patterns she sells through Side Saddle Lady (see above photograph; individual costumes are now featured in the online Museum, click here for details), as well as a few original riding habits dating from 1890 to the 1920s. Side-saddles were also represented, and included a two-horned saddle from c. 1799, a lady's travelling side-saddle from the 1850s, and two from the 1880s. Some of these side-saddles can be seen in the museum pages of this website.

  • If you know of any museums or sources of information around the world, that hold examples of or references to side-saddles and women's riding habits, Side Saddle Lady's proprietor Penny Housden (in her continuing research into the subject) would be pleased to hear from you. Click here for direct e-mail link, or click on Contact page.


  • Non-side-saddle-related item - perhaps one for husbands, brothers, sons and fathers! The brother of Side Saddle Lady's Penny Housden, is seeking old/new model aircraft engines. If anyone has one to sell, or donate, please contact Side Saddle Lady - click here for direct e-mail link, or click on Contact page.


  • If anyone has any ladies' side-saddle riding whips (pre-1920, and particularly Victorian) they are willing to part with (to sell or perhaps donate to Museum), or give photos and information about, please contact Side Saddle Lady - click here for direct e-mail link, or click on Contact page.

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