As absurd as this may sound, the sidesaddle took hold in the 14th century to protect the virginity of a teenaged princess traveling across Europe to wed the young King of England. Surprised? Don’t feel alone. Most assume the sidesaddle was the natural outcome of fashion, demanded by the long, flowing, sometimes over-hooped skirts favored for so many centuries. But no, protecting the royal hymen was the reason. For some 500 years, women were told the only way a “proper lady” sat on a horse was sideways, holding on for dear life, a passenger on a 1,500-pound animal she could barely control. The fate of that princess makes the story even more ludicrous.
An interesting history of the rise and demise of the side-saddle. And what became of princess Anne?