Within the past year, daily horseback riding has become a realistic possibility in our family, as we acquired three horses.
This is a lifelong dream come true for me, and some of my siblings too! But in a family of girls that choose to only wear skirts/dresses, the question inevitably arises: how do you ride horseback modestly in a skirt?
Before going any further, let me make it clear that I don’t think it’s a sin to wear jeans or to ride a horse in them! I’m actually a girl that likes to wear *certain pairs of* jeans. But my personal conviction is that jeans (and pants in general) outline and accentuate parts of a woman’s body that should be kept private. So when I do wear them, it’s with a skirt over top!
Modesty on horseback is possible. It can be done, believe me! It just takes a little creativity sometimes!
Obviously, sidesaddle is one option but personally I don’t care for it too much. For slow, easy riding, I think it’s great but I don’t like the thought of galloping on horseback without straddling the horse! With the right training, it might be doable but it just seems dangerous to me!
Another option is to wear a long skirt that has enough material to allow one to straddle the horse. My sisters and I have done this plenty of times and it can work … sometimes … sort of!
One of the difficulties with wearing a long skirt is that you need one with a lot material in order to not feel like your legs are confined …
… as you can see, if your skirt isn’t wide enough, it usually ends up at your knees – not necessarily a problem but definitely not my preference!
The other problem is that if you are wearing a skirt that is wide enough to hang comfortably, it only works for slower speeds. If you start into a canter, or even sometimes a trot, it starts working its way loose. And it certainly isn’t modest or ladylike to be riding with your skirt flying high behind you! Ask me how I know 😉
The next best option, in my opinion, is to wear pants along with a shorter, knee to calf length, skirt. My sisters and I use this type of outfit for horseback riding fairly often. It is probably the most cost-effective option, as we can get skirts and pants for $1 each on certain days at a local thrift store.
On a side note, I just want to mention what amazing siblings I have! Gracie was completely untrained when we first got her and was known to bite and kick whenever she didn’t like something or was in a bad mood. These two, but especially Samuel, have worked miracles with her! She is now obedient, no longer mean and the crowning touch was when Sam stood on her back with no one holding her lead rope!
The layers also help keep you nice and warm on wintertime rides!
This isn’t one of my sisters but she may as well be! Britney is a very good friend (and skilled horsewoman!) and she also wears the skirt/pants combo when horseback riding.
In this case, she was wearing yoga pants and half chaps along with a shorter skirt.
Wearing pants and a shorter skirt is ideal for easy riding but the drawback is that for faster speeds, the skirt can still ride up. Of course, you’re still covered because of the pants, but I don’t care for having a flapping skirt, even if it isn’t revealing anything! And I’m not sure who decided to take Abigail’s picture with only half of her face …
… here’s a better one though! Aren’t they both beauties? 🙂
The best, most practical, modest option I have found yet, is to wear a split skirt or culottes. I sewed this one years ago and wear it nearly every time I’m working with the horses.
Maggie was being a bit mischievous … apparently she thought I didn’t need to be in the picture! I still have the pattern for this western-style skirt – it’s a Butterick 3836, and includes patterns for a matching jacket and blouse. There are several available for purchase on Etsy. I can’t find any pictures of me riding in this outfit – I know we have them but I’m not sure where!
Sarah had a very large circle skirt, and she cut and sewed up the middle to use it for a riding skirt as well. It’s modest but she says that there is so much extra fabric that it is bulky and can be difficult to work around when getting on and off the horse.
Moral of the story: you don’t need a full circle of fabric to make culottes! I do like how pretty and feminine hers are though!
Ruthie sewed Lydia’s split skirt and didn’t have a pattern, so she just winged it! As you can see, it has the fullness of a skirt when she’s standing.
But having the split legs helps so much when climbing on and off, not to mention while riding.
Isn’t she cute?!
As Lydia was looking over the pictures that I’ve included in this post, she claimed that most of them were not good pictures! Obviously we haven’t had many fancy photo shoots and I was working with what I had, so if the girls decide to take some professional photos in the future, I’ll be sure to share them!
Do you ride horses? What do you wear?
One more thing … as we are approaching Mother’s Day, I wanted to share with you this post that I wrote for Shining Stars. I hope it is a blessing!