Dear Loyally Luaithrend,
My greatest joy in life is riding to the hunt. My horse Sunset Princess is my dearest friend and brings joy to my life.
Now my Lord Father has instructed me that I am to cease riding, shooting and even visiting the stables forevermore, as I must dress and look the grand lady so that I might achieve a good marriage. He insists that it is past time I made an advantageous alliance for our family.
No matter how richly advantageous the match, the life of household management, court attendance and quiet embroidery seems like a dark prison to me. I don’t think I can bear life without my horse.
Milady, please help!
Huntress and Horsewoman
First, let me put a question to You: Why on earth would you wish to visit the stables? Does your father not have enough coin to pay for decent stable hands and grooms? Are you required to care for your Sunset Princess with your own two hands? Tsk, tsk, dear one! This will never do! You must cease such activities at once and turn your attentions toward cleaner pursuits. A lady does not saddle her own horse, or brush it down after a ride. I t is perhaps acceptable for you to comb and braid your pony’s mane, as that is done in the name of beauty, but you should avoid getting your hands dirty at all costs. You will never make a good match if you smell like horse. A lady should always smell of springtime and flowers, and never of the stables!! You may satisfy your desire to care for your sweet equine by embroidering her caparison, or painting her portrait…but never by engaging in menial labors!
As for your riding, there is no reason that a proper lady cannot enjoy a daily ride. Please allow me to introduce you to a wonderful invention called the “side-saddle.” I have seen ladies ride in a seat placed on a horse, facing to the side rather than to the front. Seated in this manner, a lady can still wear her best garb, keep her skirts firmly closed about her lower extremities, and yet ride gracefully in style. What a wonderful and truly lady-like idea! I suspect that even your father would approve. Indeed, such a seat allows for the hunt, whether through archery or falconry, while allowing you to converse with the gentle to your side without the unflattering need to even turn your head. What could be more appealing to a young woman of grace and dignity?
But, at all costs, DO avoid riding “pillion.” No one but tavern wenches and gypsies would consent to riding behind a man with her legs astride the saddle! Should anyone approach you with such a vile suggestion, I suggest you have your maid meet their invitation with the business end of a stout frying pan.