© Château-Musée de Saumur, cliché Bernard Renoux

Three-pommel saddle (the right leg passing between two pommels, the left leg engaged under the third pommel) for sidesaddle riding. Second quarter of the 19th century.

The specificity of the sidesaddle is in the "pommels" (or horns or butts), which are protuberances that hold the rider's legs in place and thus to buttress the shaking of the gaits. Until 1830, the right leg alone was held in place. The "third pommel" then appeared, providing the left leg with greater stability in the stirrups. History says that the sidesaddle's forerunner appeared in the 15th century under the influence of Catherine de Medici. The queen, finding her ankle and calf pretty, placed her right leg over the pommel of the saddle to show them off. Until then, women sat on a horse as on a seat, with both legs hanging from the same side and feet resting on a kind of board.