Friday, March 16, 2012

A pet peeve

As an equestrian, I often get tired of and frustrated by people who simply don't understand a certain Medieval tradition.

The tradition is the woman holding her husband's stirrup as part of seeing him off to war. Most of the pictures and descriptions of this have the woman standing there in her finery, delicately turning the nearside stirrup so the knight can get his foot in it.

No, no, no!

When you hold somebody's stirrup, you stand on the offside of the horse and quite firmly pull down on the opposite stirrup. The point is to keep the saddle from slipping when the person gets on. If you're getting on from the ground or mounting a tall horse (or one with low withers) this is very important. It's not some little ceremonial thing...it's for the safety of the rider and the comfort of the horse.

So, if you're describing that particular scene please, please bear that in mind. (Medieval women were not delicate flowers, either...)