LEARNING TO RIDE.
The first thing to do is to learn to ride, and no one should attempt to appear in public until a few preliminary lessons in riding are taken. Until a person has learned to appear at ease on horseback, he or she should not appear in public. The advice given in the old rhyme should be kept in mind, viz:
Keep up your head and your
Your hands and your heels keep down;
Press your knees close to your horse’s sides,
And your elbows close to your own.
THE GENTLEMAN’S DUTY AS AN ESCORT.
When a gentleman contemplates riding with a lady, his first duty is to see that her horse is a proper one for her use, and one that she can readily manage. He must see that her saddle and bridle are perfectly secure, and trust nothing of this kind to the stable men, without personal examination. He must be punctual at the appointed hour, and not keep the lady waiting for him clad in her riding costume. He should see the lady comfortably seated in her saddle before he mounts himself; take his position on the lady’s right in riding, open all gates and pay all tolls on the road.
ASSISTING A LADY TO MOUNT.
The lady will place herself on the left side of the horse, standing as close to it as possible, with her skirts gathered in her left hand, her right hand upon the pommel, and her face toward the horse’s head. The gentleman should stand at the horse’s shoulder, facing the lady, and stooping, hold his hand so that she may place her foot in it. This she does, when the foot is lifted as she springs, so as to gently aid her in gaining the saddle. The gentleman must then put her foot in the stirrup, smooth the skirt of her riding habit, and give her the reins and her riding whip.
RIDING WITH LADIES.
In riding with one lady, a gentleman takes his position to the right of her. When riding with two or more, his position is still to the right unless one of them needs his assistance or requests his presence near her. He must offer all the courtesies of the road, and yield the best and shadiest side to the ladies. The lady must always decide upon the pace at which to ride. It is ungenerous to urge her or incite her horse to a faster gait than she feels competent to undertake.
If a gentleman, when riding alone, meets a lady who is walking and wishes to enter into conversation with her, he must alight and remain on foot while talking with her.
ASSISTING A LADY TO ALIGHT FROM HER HORSE.
After the ride, the gentleman must assist his companion to alight. She must first free her knee from the pommel, and be certain that her habit is entirely disengaged. He must then take her left hand in his right, and offer his left hand as a step for her foot. He then lowers his hand slowly and allows her to reach the ground gently without springing. A lady should not attempt to spring from the saddle.