Skip to content
  • Open today 9am–5pm
  • Free general admission

We are updating our new website in stages. This page will be changed to the new design but is not currently optimised for mobile devices.

You are in site section: Exhibitions

Miss Faithfull's side-saddle

A side-saddle.
Side-saddle used by Constance Faithfull, 1890s. National Museum of Australia. Donated by Jim and Pamela Maple-Brown and Diana Boyd. Photo: Jason McCarthy.

Social convention

During the 19th century, social convention demanded that women ride side-saddle, with both legs on one side of the horse.

This saddle belonged to Constance Faithfull, who grew up and lived at Springfield station, near Goulburn, New South Wales, but lived most of her adult life in England.

Initially, Constance wore a habit, comprising a skirt and jacket, when riding, but she later added a pair of breeches, or knee-length trousers to her outfit, suggesting that she made the transition to riding astride when it became acceptable during the early 20th century.

Horses on Springfield

When Constance Faithfull grew up, horses were an essential part of life on Springfield. By 1890, the property supported around 170 horses, including draught horses to haul loads and work pumps and chaffcutters, stockhorses for mustering sheep, carriage horses to pull vehicles, and Thoroughbreds and trotters for racing and breeding.

Constance Faithfull riding side-saddle.
Constance Faithfull riding side-saddle, about 1900. National Museum of Australia.
Return to Top