As I pass the time side saddle-less, I have delved a little deeper into old books available in online versions and found quite a treasure. I have enjoyed reading such hunting authors as David Gray and Robert Surtees. It is completely by chance and Google recommendation that I ran across the English author Mrs. Edward Kennard.
Mary Kennard wrote in the end of the 19th century and concentrated on sporting subjects such as fox hunting and fishing. I began with her “SportingTales” (1893) a collection of romantic shorts, moved on to “A ProfessionalRider” (1903) and then struck gold in “Pretty Kitty Herrick the Horsebreaker” (1891).
If you enjoy Jane Austen you will love “Kitty Herrick” which runs along the lines of Jane Austen’s Emma only with the strong equestrian theme. The heroine, Lady Katherine Herrick, suffering a cruel and unexpected reversal of fortune, opts to go “into service” as a lady horse breaker finishing and selling ladies horses for the local horse dealer to earn her way while her secret engagement to a poor but handsome (gold digging) gentleman is resolved.
The author’s use of the hunting field and horse training are accurate and enjoyable, particularly to a side saddle rider. Unfortunately, we do not get any particulars about her saddle, but we do know that Kitty wears a brand new Busvine habit out cubbing. Side Saddle readers can relate and any reference to riding style will catch our eye as we find that Kitty is well admired for her straight back and excellent position in the saddle and has “exquisitely light hands”.
I will certainly be searching for more of her novels in print which are not available online so I can again be swept away into the English Countryside. The Girl in the Brown Habit looks particularly promising.