Backwards in high heels: a brief history of the sidesaddle

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This is the main chapter in the publication accompanying the exhibition “Sidesaddle 1690-1935” at the National Sporting Library and Museum (Sept 2018-March 2019) which I co-curated. Taking a German Baroque riding manual of 1678 as its starting point, the chapter examines the status quo of female equestrianism at this crucial period, then provides an overview of its history from when ladies first began to sit aside around 1400 to the final transformation of the sidesaddle to its current shape in the second quarter of the 19th century. The study draws on portraits, fashion, riding manuals caricatures as well as on surviving examples of saddles to delineate the technical development of this object and to read it as material manifestation of gender history.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSidesaddle 1690-1935
EditorsUlrike Elisabeth Weiss, Claudia P. Pfeiffer
Place of PublicationMiddleburg, VA.
PublisherNational Sporting Library and Museum
Number of pages17
ISBN (Print)9780996890540
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2018


  • equestrianism, female equestrianism, gender history, side-saddle, female portrait, fashion, riding habit, hunting, riding manual, caricature, book of hours, tapestry, queenship


Dive into the research topics of 'Backwards in high heels: a brief history of the sidesaddle'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this