Mrs. J. Stirling Clarke. The Habit and the Horse; A Treatise on Female Equitation. London: Day and Son, 1860. Large Quarto. Nine lithotint plates (six beautifully colored). 216 pp. Water stains along inner top corners. Foxing to plates and some text. Bindings faded, with stains and spine starting to flake.
A handsome mid-nineteenth century book on the various aspects of riding side-saddle. Among the eighteen chapters, there are those titled: Mounting, Dismounting, Positions of the Hands, the Leap, Critical Situations, Hunting, etc.
In Mrs. Clarke’s preface, she says, “I write exclusively for the guidance of my own sex, well knowing the vast importance to the fair novice of a manual which brings her acquainted with that equal pride of prince and peasant–the horse–and with the fascinating and elegant science which teaches how to guide and govern him, and how to guide and govern herself with respect to this noble creature.” In contemplating authoring the volume, she recognized the lack of writing on equestrian techniques and practices for women on their saddle, which is so markedly different from that used by men.
Though the condition is rough, the book is still attractive and very rare. This is an interesting and beautifully illustrated work on an often neglected subject.