Watercolour of a riding habit

The subject is wearing a black, tailored riding habit with a veiled top hat and carries a dressage whip. As explained in an 1874 issue of The Barb and the Bridle, horse riding was considered “…as a means of recreation, as a promoter of health… [and] is perhaps unequalled among the many accomplishments necessary to a lady” (14).

An 1865 issue of Beeton’s advises women to wear plain riding habits “usually of black or dark green woolen stuff fitting closely to the bust; the gloves should be strong buff leather, coming up well upon the wrist; the whip light and plain” (684). Women were expected to ride side-saddle and understand the fastenings of her horse in order to bridle and saddle the horse herself, if men were not present for assistance.

 Carolus-Duran, Equestrian portrait of Mademoiselle Croizette, 1873, oil  on canvas, 11.1 x 10.2 ft, MUba Eugène-Leroy, 927.1.1.