Museums of Tuxford

by | 9 August 2023 | Community facility, Heritage, Retford

Riding side saddle is very elegant, but do you realise how dangerous it used to be?

The early side saddle had two pommels – not like today, but both on top of the saddle. The right leg was trapped between the two pommels whilst the left leg rested in a stirrup that had no release mechanism.

The result was that, if you fell, your right leg was trapped on top of the saddle and your foot was trapped in the stirrup. Trapped in this position with your head hanging down, the horse would likely spook and run.

In the early part of the 1800s when the Empire line came into fashion, to save modesty on windy days, a strap was fixed around the ladies’ thighs to prevent the dress blowing up and revealing all. This must have added to the feeling of insecurity on the old two pommel saddle.

The dangers of riding side-saddle led to many unfortunate deaths, but also to early examples of Health and Safety.

See examples of these saddles at The Museum of the Horse, open 9.00am to 4.00pm Monday to Friday and 10.00am to 2.00pm on Saturday.

The Walks of Life Museum has a selection of beautiful milk prams – hard work and risky business as they don’t have brakes, and if you broke bottles or spilled milk you would have been in serious trouble with the master! Over a hundred different milk bottles are also on display – a fascinating step back into time.

The Walks of Life Museum is open from 11.00am to 4.00pm on Thursdays and Saturdays, with other dates by arrangement. Contact Diane on 01777 872776 or

Volunteers at the museums are also very excited about the work being done on exploring the history of the house on the site in conjunction with Nottingham Building Preservation Trust and Nottinghamshire County Council. They have been offering opportunities for people to volunteer to learn traditional building skills (information and dates available on The Walks of Life Museum Facebook page).