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Is it permissible for an Orthodox woman to do horseback riding in an ordinary saddle, or does she have to use a sidesaddle? Furthermore, would she be able to use women's trousers made for horseback riding, or does she need to dress in a skirt?

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@ba, do we know whether they rode sidesaddle? –  msh210 Oct 28 '12 at 7:27
Maria, orthodox Judaism permits the same things for Orthodox women and for other Jewish women (at least in the vast majority of cases). Is there a particular reason you ask whether standard riding would be permissible for, specifically, an Orthodox woman? –  msh210 Oct 28 '12 at 7:29
@SethJ, but the question was whether it's permissible, not whether the woman views it as such. –  msh210 Oct 29 '12 at 0:33
@msh210 Yes, but that depends on whom you ask. If you assume, as many here seem to, that any Halachic discussion must be from the Orthodox perspective, then, sure, it's redundant. But if you don't, it makes sense to specify. –  Seth J Oct 29 '12 at 1:33
@msh210 Thank you for asking me. The reason why I want to know if an Orthodox Jewish woman can do standard riding, is that I seek to convert to Orthodox Judaism. Furthermore, I would like to be able to fit into the community, and I do not want to transgress any prohibitions. –  Maria Nov 10 '12 at 14:01

4 Answers 4

Rav Nebontzol in Hanhagos uMinhagim 16 writes there is an inyan for a woman to refrain from riding a horse because of a proof from Rashi (Pesachim daf 3a Rashi Ki Amar) by a woman its written "או על הכלי אשר היא יושבת" since it is not appropriate to mention riding or pisuk reglaim regarding a woman. For this reason it is assur for women to wear pants because of pisuk reglayim aside from other issurim.

It seems riding a horse should not be done,but pants are assur,that's how I understood it,see it inside.

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How is pants pisuk raglayim if she is standing? I understand if she is squatting with her legs apart (as she would be if on a horse) then it's pissuk raglayim. But pants by itself isn't. –  Double AA Jun 20 '14 at 2:26
I would assume it means the outline is already pisuk reglayim,I do hear the question,but I can see how pants shows the outline too –  sam Jun 20 '14 at 2:28
I don't know why one say that. Legs together aren't split... –  Double AA Jun 20 '14 at 2:29
But you do understand when one walks in,pants each leg is shown separated as opposed to a skirt or cloak of some sort –  sam Jun 20 '14 at 2:31
Only if you are taking really longs strides. Normal walking isn't pisuk raglayim. If walking was pisuk raglayim we'd make women jump around with their feet together. –  Double AA Jun 20 '14 at 2:32

I am Orthodox and I did it in jeans on regular saddle. I don't see a problem in that, neither did the women who taught me how to ride.

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Were the women who taught you halachik experts? Are you? –  Double AA Jan 25 '13 at 13:29
@Carlita, welcome to mi yodeya, and thanks for sharing your experience! This answer would be more valuable if you could edit in your or your teachers' Halachic rationale, communal traditions, or other source for your and their feelings on the subject. Also, please consider registering your account, which will give you access to more of the site's features. –  Isaac Moses Jan 25 '13 at 14:43
Orthodox. I'm not sure that you're using that word the same way many of the users here do. –  HodofHod Jan 28 '13 at 0:09
@HodofHod How do you figure? –  Double AA Jan 28 '13 at 5:04
@DoubleAA Facebook profile from user's website. –  HodofHod Jan 28 '13 at 5:27

Very loose pants are not allowed: First, because many of them are not tznius; and second, poskim don't allow even the ones that are tznius because it would be opening a can of worms/germs etc...

Women are not allowed to horseback ride in front of men regardless, because it's not tznius. Gemorah Pesachim 3a-b.

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b"H for cars! Otherwise, apparently women would have to sit at home all day. –  Double AA Jan 13 '13 at 20:09
i am not convinced that that is the meaning of the gemara in Pesachim. –  josh waxman Jan 13 '13 at 23:48
@DoubleAA, how do cars alleviate that problem? theyeshivaworld.com/coffeeroom/topic/women-driving –  Seth J Jun 24 '13 at 17:44
@Seth tell me about it... have you seen Rav vosner's tshuva on it? Shevet halevi 4:1:2 I'm kinda embarrassed to link to it in public –  Double AA Jun 24 '13 at 21:17

Rabbi Barry Freundel (rabbi of Kesher Israel in Washington, DC) said in a Q&A that if a woman is doing an activity more modestly done in pants than a skirt, she should wear women's pants. As examples, he mentioned bicycle riding and mountain climbing. He said there no longer exists an issue of beged ish with women wearing pants.

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This doesn't answer the sidesaddle issue. –  Seth J Oct 28 '12 at 5:05
Should I refrain from answering one because I can't answer the other? One might be able to make a case that riding a horse is no worse than riding a bike, which he explicitly permits. –  Ze'ev Felsen Oct 28 '12 at 5:34
Wearing pants is not about beged ish, it's about showing the shape of the legs. So the suggestion is either VERY loose pants, or pants with a skirt on top. –  Ariel Oct 28 '12 at 6:56

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