Ancient sculptors prove that the horsemen of almost every country were accustomed to mount their horses from the right side of the animal, that they might the better grasp the mane, which hangs on that side, a practice universally changed in modern times.
The ancients generally leaped on their horse's backs, though they sometimes carried a spear, with a loop or projection about two feet from the bottom which served them as a step.
In Greece and Rome, the local magistracy were bound to see that blocks for mounting (what the Scotch call _loupin_-on-stanes) were placed along the road at convenient distances. The great, however, thought it more dignified to mount their horses by stepping on the bent backs of their servants or slaves, and many who could not command such costly help used to carry a light ladder about with them.
The first distinct notice that we have of the use of the saddle occurs in the edict of the Emperor Theodosias, (A.D. 385) from which we also learn that it was usual for those who hired post-horses, to provide their own saddle, and that the saddle should not weigh more than sixty pounds, a cumbrous contrivance, more like the howdahs placed on the backs of elephants than the light and elegant saddle of modern times.
Side-saddles for ladies are an invention of comparatively recent date. The first seen in England was made for Anne of Bohemia, wife of Richard the Second, and was probably more like a pillion than the side-saddle of the present day. A pillion is a sort of a very low-backed arm chair, and was fastened on the horse's croup, behind the saddle, on which a man rode who had all the care of managing the horse, while the lady sat at her ease, supporting herself by grasping a belt which he wore, or passing her arm around his body, if the gentleman was not too ticklish.
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