To answer a few questions..
I choose not to weigh down my skirts - but if needed, I use a satin ribbon to tie the skirt to my boot. I usually show in covered arenas that can be very windy.. VERY windy. If you have weights in your skirt.. those weights will actually torture your horse. I experienced this with my red skirt (not weighed down) as the wind was causing the skirt to really slap Oliver's hip and back leg. If it were weighted, the wind was more than strong enough to do exactly what it did .. and poor Ollie would have been stung by the weights.
I choose to safety pin a satin ribbon under the skirt and tie it around my ankle. That way it is in the correct place every time. It would easily tear away if pulled hard enough.
Everyone needs to make their own decisions about what to wear when they ride aside. I have been taking sidesaddle lessons on the same horse for over 3 years (usually NOT wearing skirts) and he is a bit difficult to ride at times, BUT we are not galloping through fields and jumping fences either! We do ring work. Oliver has numerous times spooked and jumped off the rail, made split second stops, lept into the air and even once did a complete 360. None of those times did I even come close to coming off of him. My trainer tells me I have good staying power in the sidesaddle. I am not being naive. I am not invincible, but it is my choice.
With the Country Pleasure attire, using a solid colored jacket combined with a floral or different colored skirt, I prefer a full skirt. I just love the way they look and flow when I ride. As I have said before though, if it gets too puffy it robs the overall picture.
AS for the amount of fabric when I ride. If I mount the horse properly and get the skirt under me, I have never had a second thought about it. It is best to get up very high, so that your feet are at the same level as your stirrup and then just move sideways into the saddle.
For me and the taller Saddlebreds, this means using a ladder or putting a 2 step mounting block on top of a tack trunk! This is almost mandatory if you are wearing a antique type riding skirt with the knee pocket. In the full skirts, you can also just mount astride and then move your leg over, but you will then need to have someone adjust your skirt as you grab your horses mane and 'attempt' to stand in the stirrup.
When I am done showing, I enjoy wearing my suit for the rest of the day (weather permitting). I think it encourages people to come up and ask me questions. In there lies the victory as it is my mission to get others to not only try riding aside, but to embrace the history of it all!
I am having Cindy from Wild Horse Fashions make me a more modern sidesaddle suit. I wanted a skirt with the knee pocket - but alas there was not enough fabric.. so I am getting my first apron made. I will let you know if I like it. I have seen several aprons on riders where you can and cannot tell they are not real skirts. The ones you can tell it is an apron - in my humble opinion look just awful. Another pet peeve of mine is the aprons that are so short, you can not only see both boots, but the nearside leg is hanging out of the 'skirt' no less than 12 inches. Why bother.. just wear pants!