For those of you who have the off-white outfits consisting of the split skirts & white blouses where did you find them?

Linda Dibenedetto

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Hi Linda,
I don't ride aside, but I do ride in the feminine outfit. I always thought if a woman was going to ride a Peruvian horse, she should look like a woman. Then I saw an article in a Peruvian magazine about the women's side saddle group in Peru. I LOVED their attire. I tried to recreate the look they had in the photos.

The lace/ruffle shirt I have was an "antique" Gunnies brand shirt from the 80s I found on Ebay for about $10. The split riding skirt was a pattern from the local fabric store. I used a cotton fabric so I could bleach the heck out of it when necessary. It was a pretty simple pattern. Only 4 pieces and a zipper. I have several different shawl/scarves. The one in my picture is actually from Peru. I had two and sold one to Laura. (Do you get special mom privileges with her clothes?) The others were really long, wide scarves from a local department store. I also know someone who used a very beautiful table cloth. You would never know if you saw it.

Someone could really make some decent money if they were a good seamstress and would make the split skirts for people in the Peruvian world. The shirts can really be from anywhere, the skirts are the difficult thing to find. Hope this helps!
Warmest Regards,

Hope all is well in your area, thank you for your reply.

Have A Wonderful Thanksgiving.
Linda Dibenedetto
Have you seen the jeweled magnets they have to hold your number on at shows? That's what I use on the shoulder. It is the same golden/chestnut color as the scarf with rhinestone trim. The magnets are REALLY powerful. They work great. I use them for my number as well.

The scarf/shawl itself is made out of the same fabric as the standard ponchos. The bottom 1/3 is knitted. I can pull it out and add a picture of it later.
Warmest Regards,
Hi Michele,
That is a GREAT idea. I have been a little afraid to try them as I didn't know how strong they were. Will have to try it! Currently I use a large gold safety pin that blends in with my shawl. I found some great shawls at a shop in the Fort Worth airport when I was at Nationals in October. It was at the $10 store. Perfect size & washable. I think they were made somewhere in South America. Have them in 3 colors now. Variations of ivory, & browns.

I agree, like to look feminine even when riding aside.

Thank you for your reply.

Have A Wonderful Thanksgiving,
Linda Dienedetto
Hi Michele & all,
Well, I am the tablecloth lady!!!LOL
I purchased a gold metalic lace tablecloth on sale & made my split skirt from a vintage Buttrick pattern availabe at the fabric store. I used white gabardine material. It drapes nicely, doesn't show through, it is tough as nails & washes like a dream. Add a lacey blouse, top it off with a ladies Peruvian hat, &.........
Walla, Peruvian Damas look alike. Well anyway, an American version.
I love my jeans, but when riding on a classy Peruvian Horse in the show, I like to look like a lady.
One of the reasons I chose the Peruvian Horse was because of the rich tradition that comes with the horse. The natural presentation, tack, dress & romance ie: Merinara, Enfrenedera (did I spell that correctly?) & other traditional dance & excercises with the horse.
I am working on riding aside. The split skirt would work, but I think a full skirt looks the best. If you research the Civil war reinactor's sites, you can find riding skirts. My friend even has one that is short in front & back & long on the sides for riding astride, with drawstrings to gather the sides when walking around. Creative MMM? Hint Hint on the seamstress thing. I have sewn the split skirts for others in the is finding the time to do it & fitting long distance can be a problem. Aren't the Peruvian horses versitile???? We shouldn't be allowed to have so much fun!!!!!
Happy riding!
Dear Cheryl,
I ride all the time in gauchos (split skirt) and don't ever feel in danger. I ride only in shows in the apron, since it's thick and heavy ontop of jodphurs. A white apron or skirt would look much better in Peruvian shows if traditional white is required/worn.

Since I'm new, like to ask...what do the NAPHA rules say that sidesaddle riders in sidesaddle and in regular classes are to wear? for each.....

What colour? What style? Traditional Peruvian white? English habit?
Full skirt or apron or split skirt?
What Headgear?
What footwear?
I would appreciate any help you can give or leads to websites to find out?

What are the clothing rules for sidesaddle riders in Spain on Spanish breeds?
Thanks, Tobi
I have tried riding aside in a split skirt & really feel unsafe as well because of the bulk of fabric potentially getting caught in the leaping horn. I don't think it looks well with the horn sticking out anyway...... A white traditional skirt is safer, I think...of course the apron would be safer yet if it has breakaway velcro or snaps. I have tried that too, practicing, but wonder how it would look with the back of the apron flyng in the wind if for some reason it wasn't tucked in just right.....ok, ok....we do wear breaches or leggings underneath for anyone wondering. Honestly I don't feel comfortable in a sidesaddle apron....but safety first.....& abide by show committee rules.
The best (most authentic looking) damas outfit -- out of unbleached muslin -- I have seen was procured via Maria Barrena who is at most of our West Coast shows with her Barrena Enterprises tack booth. Her sister in Peru makes the caps, shirts and jackets she sells, and as I understand it, she was the go between with a Peruvian seamstress who made the costume.
Replying to Tobi re the NAPHA rules. In regular classes side-saddle would be "alternative tack" (the presumption is that "regular tack" is the traditional Peruvian astride saddle), and the rules very specifically say that regardless of the tack, the riders must dress in whites. Whites as defined in the rules includes the option of a white split skirt in place of the white pants, plus white shirt, scarf and poncho or jacket. The damas outfit is also allowed. Cheryl raised the issue of wearing an apron and so I suggested that she works with her show committees to get the following text included in their show premium:

"TACK: Unless specified (e.g. Western Class), Western, English, Plantation, Australian, sidesaddle, or Peruvian tack is allowed in any class (e.g. Mares 4-6 Breeding, Champion and Reserve Breeding Stallion, etc.). Attire for those classes is traditional "whites". For example: in the Western Class the specific tack and attire is Western. No "whites" are allowed. In the Mares 4-6 Breeding Class, a rider could use a Western saddle or an English or a Peruvian, etc but must be attired in the traditional whites including poncho or jacket, hat, etc. "Whites" for sidesaddle tack could include, as an option, a white apron or split skirt (covering the right foot completely when mounted) in addition to the shirt, jacket, scarf, hat."

If such a text is included in a premium it becomes part of the rules for that show. If not in the premium, the rules are as I stated at the beginning, unless the 2009 rules have made some changes from 2008 (I'm a carded show steward -- and I much prefer that such things be dealt with before the show ever starts!)

Side-saddle attire in side-saddle only classes are stated in a bit of detail in the rules, which are on the NAPHA site.
Hi ladies, while I do not have PPs, I do have a friend/trainer who is questioning authentic costume for PP aside riding. So I went surfing and found you all. I am told that many of the aside classes for your breed feature women who need some serious assistance in the costuming department. I was simply trying to find a supposed authentic Peruvian aside dress photo, as I would imagine that the US might be lacking in research options. Seems I might have been right. I have designed, and made antebellum, or wedding riding habits and rebuilt antique sidesaddles - for the past 25 years or so, and was involved in costuming of some kind or another most of my life. I understand the traditional white aspect of the PP outfits, but I am curious about some of your comments.

I agree whole heartedly with the woman who believes split riding skirts are dangerous aside. To the lady who has had no problem with the issue, I would say it is only a matter of time. I have ridden both single head and leaping head 1840s vintage sidesaddles, and I would never consider a "split skirt" either appropriate or safe. I absolutely disagree with the woman who says it is safe and that Split skirts were worn or that astride riding was condoned during the Civil War period. Assuming of course, that the comment was about the American Civil War and not about a South American war I am unaware of, she is wrong, as riding astride or in anything resembling a pant was considered unladylike. Adolescent female children were allowed to learn to ride astride, but were switched near puberty to sidesaddle. I think most women can gather the implications. At least in the South, had you been seen riding astride, you may not have ever shown your face in polite company again. All bets were off post Civil War, when people all did what they had to do to survive. The comment from the woman who wants a western look aside outfit should consider either a full riding skirt or aside apron of leather or suede and a traditional modern western shirt with the large shawl you all seem to know about, or for an older look a 1880-90s riding habit with flat topped homberg hat.

If someone IS looking for an experienced costumer who will choose appropriate fabrics, meant to last, and who will stick incredibly closely to the authentic, please give me a try. I will work with you and your budget, but refuse to produce something that will appear cheap or "thrown together" in the showring. One of my sidesaddle habits is still going strong after twelve or fifteen show seasons. I usually will make minor repairs for a nominal fee.

I also make very serious western and english hunt chapsand can make aside western aprons with the same features. I specialize in inlay/onlay leather, and will make pretty much any design you want. I have one pair of my own that I did in a rust pigsuede with gold coin smooth leather and sienna smooth leather, which features a twined grape vine trailing the entire length of the leg. Hand made lambskin pin stripes and braided pin stripes are a favorite request. I made hunter chaps once in a glazed bronze/brown with lipstick pink lambskin pinstripes, pink and rose ostrich inlay roses, custom silver conchos with pink stones and the customer's name beaded into the back belt, very picky young woman
:-). I should think that there are some traditional design icons in Peru that might be incorporated into chaps or skirts that would really look stunning in the show ring. "ONLY CUSTOM" - thats me. Call for more info 970-560-3070

PS, we are opening a BBand Barn in SW Colorado, and hope to cater to travelling show horse people. You can't get a better price on overnight people accomodations anywhere in the area, and you can't stay a couple hundred yards from the barn where your horses are either. We have a 740 sq foot apartment with private entrance, small kitchen, grill, firepit, sat tv etc, newly refurbished and with new furniture two queen beds. FOur stalls in new barn, small arena/turnout, and we hope to have LQ hookups by summer. Literally tons of mountain trails nearby, and we can rent a small two horse for those who are worried about trailhead parking.
Dear Dimitri, Glad to hear all your comments about the white outfit for sidesaddle. You seem to have a lot of experience both with the habits and saddles. Where do you live? I am in New Zealand, working on the costume for aside riding with Peruvian horse. Please tell how to contact you to speak about it or a website. Thanks, Tobi


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