Promoting and Preserving the Elegance, Beauty and Art of Sidesaddle Riding



Riding Habits: Past and Present

Riding habits come in different styles, colors, fabrics, and sizes. Knowing what style of riding or period that you are going to display will help when choosing the fabric, pattern, and color of habit to wear.


Here is an example of an Elizabethan hunting costume.  It was about this time that women would ride alone (without a groom leading the horse) and join in on hunts.  It is a safe bet to assume that fences and jumping would not have been a factor during these times.

Elizabethan habit

Colonial Era: 1740 - 1800

"The Red Coats are Coming!" Well, not really.  It's Mary Weeks & Molly turned out in a 1760s Black Watch habit, complete with brass buttons, black leather belt and period hat.
 Mary's habit won the Most Historically Correct Habit at Ride Aside 2002 and 4th out of 12 at the Sidesaddle at the USET 2005 show.

British Redcoat

Donna Huffman is wearing her 1760s reproduction of an Officer's wife's
habit.  The habit jacket is all one piece to reduce layers.

Colonial habit

Regency Era: 1800 - 1820

Jami Wormer's reproduction Regency era habit is made of tan and brown velvet complete with matching hat.

Regency Habit

Several examples of habits from the Civil War.  Darlene Galloway, Jami Wormer and Jennifer Nickle.

Civil War habits

Margaret Carter and her Civil War look.

CLivil War habit

Victorian - Edwardian Era: 1840 - 1910

Susie Davis wearing her authentic 1880s Western habit. The dress is a pale yellow cotton twill with seersucker sleeves and was custom made by The Crossroads Mercantile. The hat was made by Recollections.

Victorian habit

Sandy Hoffman shows an Edwardian style habit (1910) complete with long coat, riding apron, pith helmet, and matching gloves. Notice the very masculine look to this habit.

Edwardian habit

Joyce Howell shows an 1896 French style habit. She was inspired by the magazine cover shown.

1896 Habit
Figaro magazine cover

Hungarian Habit

Lynn Studebaker shows off her Hungarian habit.  Notice that her horse wears an authentic Hungarian bridle.

Hungarian habit

Western Style

A questionable time frame for this style. Leslie Davis Holloran is wearing a Western habit
with lots of embroidered flowers. Her mother, Susie Davis, shows another early Western style.

Western habits

Modern Era

Saddle Seat

Mary Weeks displays the Saddle Seat style. 

Saddle Seat habit


Training through Fourth Level, the apron should match the rider's jacket, with breeches or jodhpurs of the same color. The recommended dress for those levels includes: short riding coat of conservative color; tie, choker or stock; breeches or jodhpurs; boots or jodhpur boots; hunt cap or riding hat with hard shell, derby or top hat. Pictured are Christy Lenon and Joker's Buggin Me

Dressage habit

Hunt Seat

Jami Wormer is showing informal hunt attire. This would be worn on informal hunts
(formal hunt requires a top hat and hunt whip) and for showing.

informal hunt attire
Photo courtesy of Daydn Ginther

Formal Hunt Seat

Donna Huffman shows the Formal Hunt style. Her coat collar has the colors from the Traders Point Hunt.

Formal hunt attire

Stock Seat

Shirt, vest, trousers/breeches, boots, hat, etc., identical to requirements for the breed/type/class of the astride rider.  Many western-style aprons are made of leather or suede and can be made to resemble chaps with scalloped edges and silver embellishments. Pictured on left are Leslie Davis and Penny's Sugar Pride. On right, Joyce Howell and Array of Pleasure.

Modern Western
Modern western


For those members who sew or are interested in costumes, we have a library of patterns available for loan.

These include nearly all period patterns offered by the major pattern makers. All sizes are available. We only ask that you do not cut the pieces out, only copy what you need. Just pay for the postage to send them to you and for the return. This service is through the generosity of Darlene Galloway who has purchased these patterns for member use. We thank her for offering them to us.

If there is a pattern that you would like to use, contact , or with the pattern maker and number and it will be sent to you.