An improved side saddle riding skirt is disclosed. The improved side saddle riding skirt includes a knee loop coupled to a knee dart of the skirt, and a strap coupled to the hem of the skirt. This strap is removably coupled through the knee loop to prevent the skirt from flying up. The side saddle riding habit further includes mechanisms for adjusting the skirt to a range of different sizes.
Linda A. Bowlby
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The present invention is related to side saddle riding habits. More particularly, the present invention relates to a side saddle riding apron which is flexible and convenient for modem riders and can be adjusted for use by riders of a number of different sizes.
Although women have been riding side saddle for centuries, clothing appropriate for use with the side saddle has always been problematic. Riding habits for side saddle riding must be capable of preventing a long skirt from flying up as the horse is in motion, while allowing the rider sufficient flexibility to control the horse and to dismount quickly in the event of an accident. To meet these needs, a number of different types of riding habits have been developed over the years.
One type of riding habit is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 445,203 to Rossberg. Rossberg discloses a riding habit that includes two flaps that button around the right leg and two elastic stirrups, one for each foot. The flaps maintain the skirt against the right leg, while the stirrups provide support for the feet while riding. Other prior art riding habits include various means for maintaining the skirt in proper order while seated on the horse. For example, in some cases buttons are sewn on internal breeches which can be buttoned to the inner facing of the skirt. In other cases, straps including button holes can fasten the edge of the skirt to internal buttons. In one particular case, for example, a Y-shaped elastic piece was used to fastened to the knee dart in the skirt to internal buttons located at the hem of the skirt. This configuration prevented the skirt from riding up. In more recent times, many skirts have been fitted with a long elastic strap that was wound through a buttonhole in the edge of the skirt, and then around the leg and foot of the rider.
While all of these prior art devices serve their intended purpose, to prevent the skirt from riding up or flying open while riding the horse, they suffer from a number of disadvantages. Internal buttons, for example, can be difficult to fasten and unfasten. Therefore, a significant amount of time and effort is required in preparing to mount the horse, and in reconfiguring the habit once the ride is over. Furthermore, because the rider's leg is closely fastened to an often heavy, inflexible outer skirt, it can be difficult for the rider to maneuver appropriately in the event of a fall or accident, or even to dismount. Similarly, an elastic band wound around a leg can be difficult to remove and can even become entangled in the saddle, in the reins, or with other pieces of the rider's clothing. Often, the devices used to secure the skirt can be torn off or easily ripped from the clothing. Additionally, because of the need to provide straps, stirrups and other fastening devices in the skirt, the skirt must often be sized very specifically to the individual. Therefore, prior art devices must generally be custom-made or produced in a large number of sizes to fit a variety of riders. Furthermore, although riding side saddle is increasingly popular both in historic reenactments and for general riding, women today are less inclined to submit to restrictive and complicated clothing than in the past.
Therefore, there remains a need for a side saddle riding habit which allows the rider to ride side saddle in comfort. The riding skirt would preferably be easy to put on and take off. The riding skirt would also be flexible, to allow the rider to respond appropriately in the event of an accident, and to dismount easily. The skirt would be sturdy in construction, and would not tear easily. Preferably, the skirt would easily adjust to walking after the horse has been dismounted. The skirt would preferably also be adjustable, and therefore easily fitted to riders in a variety of size categories.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The present invention is a side saddle riding apron constructed, in part, to provide increased flexibility and freedom of movement for the rider. A loop of material (the knee loop) is coupled to or near a knee dart on the inside of the skirt. A strap coupled to an end of the skirt section of the apron can be removably attached around the leg of the rider and through the knee loop to retain the flap of the skirt against the right leg of the rider while riding, thereby preventing the skirt from flying up. Because the leg is inhibited only by a small flexible strap, rather than buttoned to the side of the skirt or to internal breeches, the rider can move relatively freely during the ride. When the rider dismounts, the strap can be looped through a belt of the skirt, so that the rider can also walk comfortably. The knee loop and strap are preferably constructed of elastic, rubber, or other stretchable materials, thereby maximizing flexibility of movement. However, the loop and strap can also be constructed of cloth materials, string, rope, or other suitable substitutes.
In another aspect of the invention, the riding apron can be adjusted to fit riders in a variety of size categories. The knee dart described above, for example, can be varied in length, and the knee loop repositioned as appropriate to fit the height of the rider.
The riding apron can also include one or more size adjusters, such as belt buckles or slide fasteners, to adjust the waist of the skirt to fit riders of different sizes. One or more size adjusters are preferably located in the sides of the skirt, where they cannot be easily seen, and where they do not interfere with centering the long skirt section on the rider. If multiple size adjusters are used, they are preferably located at diametrically opposed positions on the skirt waist band to assure that the adjustment can be achieved without offsetting the center of the skirt. In one embodiment of the invention, for example, the first size adjuster is a belt buckle located on the right side of the skirt, and the second size adjuster is a slide fastener at the left side of the skirt. Although belt buckles and slide fasteners have been described, it will be apparent that the size adjusters can also be hook and loop fasteners, hook and eye fasteners, snaps, buttons, or other known types of fasteners.
To further adjust the size, the skirt can also include a fold-over section of material. The fold-over section can be folded under to reduce the waist of the skirt, or folded out to increase the waist of the skirt. The combination of the fold-over section and the size adjusters allows the waist of the skirt to be adjusted to a number of different sizes.