It’s a nice little book. Inexpensive (1 franc of the time), published on the author’s account in 1893 and edited by L. Régnault-Trolonge, located in Falaise. Simple but elegant rustic, it is signed by Paul de Vaucottes, who we don’t know much about, but who shouldn’t be just anyone, a dandy? A worldly character? Anyway, he was certainly a rider and also sensitive to feminine charm judging from his first words (page 16): “But before you get on the saddle, ladies, (of amazon NDLA) inadvertently infringing on your good taste, I would like to point out a detail of your personal care that you neglect too often and that sometimes causes serious inconvenience.
Fashion, which suits them so well, whatever the type, has put a man’s hat on their head, under which I would ask them to hide their hair well protected by a mesh, so that it cannot just blow in the wind with the minor movement of the horse, for a woman busy ordering her hair abandons the reins, frees her mount to gallop away, and then often lends herself to unfortunate mishaps […]. “
A little later, the author explains that the best mount is that of the man, and warns: “Place your foot in the man’s joined hands, resting your left hand on the right shoulder of the gentleman, then, stretching the hock, it reaches up to the saddle where she sits, gently […] asks the horseman to adjust and put the stirrup on, then while she adjusts the folds of her dress, he adjusts the reins “.
Our contemporaries will like this too: “She (the woman) always has, despite her natural flexibility and elegance, a predisposition to rigidity from the beginning, which becomes an absolute obstacle to the solidity and grace that she could show in this type of sport. “
We will go over the following chapters, a little more technical although full of elementary recommendations, to note this imperative: “the woman should never ride without being accompanied by a relative or a friend, an excellent rider, who goes to her right [. ..] “.
In “My Conclusions” Paul de Vaucottes summarizes his point of view “It only remains for you, my dear ladies, to relive this old French gallantry, which has been lost so much at the end of the century, and invite the rider you want to honor by accepting him as a companion, to lavish you the constant care with which a woman should be surrounded, especially at the time of the walk; you must not, therefore, tolerate that the companion only worries about his horse or about the effect that it may produce. “
That was over a century ago …
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