Ever wondered what’s the correct way of going for a ride? Here is a short and simple set of do’s and don’ts for a lady and her companion.
In a nutshell, a lady should look elegant, but not too flashy. and a gentleman should bring his purse – you will see why.
Here are some basic guidelines from The Rules of social life and etiquette. Good manners, coll. By Juryev and Vladimirsky. St. Petersburg, 1889, 235-6:
Riding in the company of a noble person or your superior, you should keep on his left, trying to avoid overtaking him.
A lady who mounts a horse should be dressed following the latest fashion – but she should never exaggerate the fashion or put on a fantastic dress, because a lady who is dressed too brightly or too pretentiously risks looking like a circus rider.
A habit that is too long is very dangerous.
When mounting, gather the habit with your left hand, stand as close to the horse as you can, facing its head, and put the right hand on the saddle head. The man who helps you to mount holds his right hand at a certain distance from the land. Put your left foot on his hand and jump on the horse at the very moment when he lifts you.
Do not rise too high in the saddle, nor lie on the horse’s neck, nor hold the reins in both hands.
Young ladies should not ride without a companion.
The gentleman in whose presence the lady wishes to mount a horse should put out the palm of the hand so that the lady could put her foot on it. When the lady jumps in the saddle, the gentleman must help her with the pressure of his hand. For this purpose it is best to agree on a signal, for instance, counting “one, two, three,” so that the pressure of the gentleman’s hand and the lady’s jump would coincide with the word “three”… The gentleman should not press too strongly with his hand, as it may happen that the lady will fly over the saddle, especially if she is tiny and very light.
When the lady has mounted, the gentleman should help her find the stirrup and place her left foot in it. When this is done, and the lady sits upright, he must adjust her habit.
The presence of a groom or riding master does not release a polite gentleman from all these obligations concerning his female companion, just as the presence of a footman in the room does not release the gentleman of the becoming service of offering the lady a chair without leaving this to a footman.
A gentleman who rides in the company of a lady covers all expenses they may have on the way.
If they are faced with the need of opening the gates, a gentleman should undertake this labour and hold the gates open until the lady rides through.