My taller, skinnier, younger sister was just here to have me, of all things, repair the butt seams in two pairs of her scrubs which she had split out while crouching down to handle dogs at the vet hospital where she works. I had her sit in my side saddle on the premise that she has never seen one, and she should try it and see how it feels. Secretly, I wanted to see just how big a difference 40 pounds really makes. It fits her skinny butt with inches to spare. In fact, it rather flatters her. I'm sure she would look very elegant. Grrrrr.... I did mention, while I was sewing the seams, that one thing I could safely say I had not done in awhile is split out my pants seams. But it was a hollow victory.
This past week I was reading The Art of Side-Saddle by Rosamund Owens. On page 37 she writes... "The prevalence of 17" or 17.5" saddles (American measurements 21" or 21.5")goes to show that our forebears were, on the whole, rather larger than we are. I was recently offered a Champion and Wilton side-saddle, as modern as they come, scarcely used, but when I inquired the measurements, I was told 19.5"! (23.5" American.. and where is this treasure now?) On asking how large the owner had been, I was told, 'well she was a well built girl'."
I imagine when Ms. Owens says "large" she was referring to the fact that the cultural ideal of a woman's figure has changed over the years, and in the early 20th century, curvier figures were in vogue. I seriously doubt, that in the previous generations, the women were any taller or leggier. I have looked and looked and cannot find any scientific data on the average height and weight of women. But I imagine, on the whole, the 21st century norms are far higher for both.
That outstanding tidbit aside, no pun intended, I thoroughly enjoyed the book. It can often be found on used book or auction sites, and no side saddle fancier's library should be without it.