Dr. Harriet Austin's Prescription, Ladies, Ride Like A Man

JPK Huson 1863

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#1
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A huge part of allure for ladies riding was the ' costume ', heavily advertised in ladies' magazines, an ultra feminine concoction whose flowing skirts, foaming lace and stylish hat betokened one's cutting edge fashion sense. And one's acceptance of social norms.

Dr. Harriet Austin was an era newsmaker. One of our ' bloomer ' wearing intellectuals, she was physician, author, social activist and general raiser of heck for causes. Unlike her professional, pants-wearing peer, Dr. Mary Walker, Harriet seems to have escaped History's scorn. No idea why, they shared the same tendencies to outrage convention, care for unfortunates and champion women's rights. Born in 1825, by the time of the war she was qualified and in full cry. It'll take a thread to do her justice, this is just by way of introduction.
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Dr. Harriet Neely Austin heavily endorsed the Dress Reform Movement, first embracing the bloomer style. It was a determination to not be confined, not a deliberate attempt to outrage. Unsurprising to see this article.

This would have riled things up a bit. We've had threads on sidesaddle riding and discussions on those peculiar ( in their day ) females who rode astride. Now a doctor is prescribing astride riding on the grounds of one's health.

1863
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Unsure who Dr. Jackson may be, bless him for working with consumptives. TB baffled doctors for as long as it took to invent antibiotics. He seems a little lukewarm on the idea, in case we girls got carried away. next thing you know, we'd be demanding the vote.

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It'd be awhile before Dr. Harriet got her point across. We'd been at this awhile.
 

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#2
Her outfit is...interesting!! But it does look a wee bit easier to move around in. I wonder if she wore a corset or forewent that as well?

Thanks for posting!
 
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#3
Ahhh...not until the mid 1880's did the upper class female equestrians heed Dr. Austin's advice and dare to don "breeches" or in her case, bloomers, while riding. Notice it also still included the long flowing skirt to keep up with the fashion. But then at the turn of the century they invented the "safety" apron skirt. However...side saddle was still the fashionable way for a "lady" to ride, breeches and all. However, no more flowing fabric to be caught up in the upper pommel and leaping horn to drag the poor rider to her death should any type of riding accident occur!
I'm sure Dr.Harriet Austin was aware of that danger too along with the "diseases" she feared. :wink: Bless her heart!

1885:
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1903:
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#4
Ahhh...not until the mid 1880's did the upper class female equestrians heed Dr. Austin's advice and dare to don "breeches" or in her case, bloomers, while riding. Notice it also still included the long flowing skirt to keep up with the fashion. But then at the turn of the century they invented the "safety" apron skirt. However...side saddle was still the fashionable way for a "lady" to ride, breeches and all. However, no more flowing fabric to be caught up in the upper pommel and leaping horn to drag the poor rider to her death should any type of riding accident occur!
I'm sure Dr.Harriet Austin was aware of that danger too along with the "diseases" she feared. :wink: Bless her heart!

1885:
334f40a6edb0ca1889ad49a8c6da50b4.jpg

1903:
e0fd23f3f7d1aa6f5ad3dfe3e68e3c9a.jpg
99cfb116fed4c21d79023fb63c24af63.jpg
f5440694a9505a6c1f632cecc963a62a.jpg
Those outfits look nice while the rider's astride, but just standing there...Hmm.:unsure:
 
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#8
Oh I gotcha! That looks a lot better. :smile: Thanks for clarifying. Is your riding habit anything like those? Or have you tried to ride in one like that?
Mine is the "unsafe" one from the 1860's for reenactments. Besides...I need a lot of petticoats under it (no hoops on horseback) to "smuggle" goods to my Rebel troops! :rofl:
 

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JPK Huson 1863

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#12
Uh oh. Crazy Mary Free Zone. :angel:

Of course Belle had photos of those breeches, thank you! Wonder how shocking they were thought to be at the time?

Her outfit is...interesting!! But it does look a wee bit easier to move around in. I wonder if she wore a corset or forewent that as well?

Thanks for posting!
You know, with that nipped waist you'd think so but probably not? Not an expert ( recent thread on those ' costumes ' here somewhere ) but the point of them was not to be confined by extravagant, feminine fashion? Gosh you would hope that included corsets. They were also considered dangerous by docs- tons of era articles pointing out health hazards ( like not being able to breathe well ).
 
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#13
Uh oh. Crazy Mary Free Zone. :angel:

Of course Belle had photos of those breeches, thank you! Wonder how shocking they were thought to be at the time?



You know, with that nipped waist you'd think so but probably not? Not an expert ( recent thread on those ' costumes ' here somewhere ) but the point of them was not to be confined by extravagant, feminine fashion? Gosh you would hope that included corsets. They were also considered dangerous by docs- tons of era articles pointing out health hazards ( like not being able to breathe well ).
Yeah absolutely. I'd hope they would avoid corsets if she went to the whole trouble of making a fashion statement with the shorter skirt and all. I guess maybe she was just thin? :wink:
 
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#16
Uh oh. Crazy Mary Free Zone. :angel:

Of course Belle had photos of those breeches, thank you! Wonder how shocking they were thought to be at the time?



You know, with that nipped waist you'd think so but probably not? Not an expert ( recent thread on those ' costumes ' here somewhere ) but the point of them was not to be confined by extravagant, feminine fashion? Gosh you would hope that included corsets. They were also considered dangerous by docs- tons of era articles pointing out health hazards ( like not being able to breathe well ).
A corset would be as compulsory as a sports bra for obvious reasons. Especially is a horse's gait is not too smooth! :bounce::bounce:
I'd look just like the two laughing heads without one! LOL
 
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#18
By the 1880s, or possibly earlier, divided skirts (something like the modern "skort" but ankle length) were in common use, although generally not in public, in the West. Ranch women whose daily chores involved riding over rugged country herding, roping, etc. cattle, needed something safer and more practical than a sidesaddle and riding habit. For a long time, women would wear divided skirts riding astride a western saddle at home on the ranch, but still wear long skirts with a sidesaddle in public (such as riding into town). We don't see photos of women riding astride until the late 1890s, although we know from narratives that they did so much earlier. Divided skirts were also worn for bicycle riding in the 1890s.

I know from my own experience that horseback riding without a supportive bra is downright painful. I therefore assume that 19th century equestriennes wore corsets. Certainly those fashionable riding habits had tightly fitted bodices that required corsets!
 
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