Learning to Ride in Early Modern Britain, or, The Making of the English Hunting Seat

  • Donna Landry
Part of the Early Modern Cultural Studies book series (EMCSS)


During the eighteenth century, Britons developed a distinctive way of riding on horseback that gave them a patriotically charged experience of so-called native freedoms.1 What came to be known as the “English hunting seat,” whether its practitioners were English or Irish, Scots, or Welsh, emerged during the early modern forging of the nation as an imperial metropole.2 Both this new disposition of the body on horseback and the rhetoric of native freedoms as guarantors of cultural superiority and imperial prerogative were manifestations of Britain’s “gentlemanly capitalist” version of mercantilism, of Britain’s participation and rise to dominance within the capitalist world system between the late sixteenth century and the mid-nineteenth century.3 Indeed, the very question of an English seat may have been most hotly debated precisely during moments of national crisis and identity formation or reformation, though the evidence for this is not conclusive.


Eighteenth Century Late Eighteenth Century Early Modern Period Thoroughbred Horse Cultural Superiority 
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© Karen Raber and Treva J. Tucker 2005

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  • Donna Landry

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