I saw the photos of the 2 sidesaddles. They are Somersett style from the 1880's. They can be restored. But as far as using them. I think they are too old to use regularly. Perhaps they could be used for Living History with a habit of that era. To get into modern sidesaddle riding you will probably need something more along the lines of the Old Name sidesaddles. You need to find your leg length and what size horse you are going to use. If you can attend a clinic you might get to try out a sidesaddle that will come close to fitting you. Then you will know what size saddle you will need. There are lots of ignorant people out here who may tie into you for using a sidesaddle. They do not know the truth about sidesaddles and will spout off what they hear from others who have very little knowledge about sidesaddles. So ask questions, research and study books you can find on the internet. I love these "Old Ladies" and try to save as many as possible. I hope you find a mentor to help you get started well.
What Lillian said. I would probably clean them up really well, and use them for a decoration, unless you wanted to do reenactments.
If you have the history on those sidesaddles, it will make them worth far more as antiques. Provinance is important on these old ladies. I have a Western that was bought at a flea market in 1947 for $50. The man's wife rode it for many years until she passed away in 1995. Her husband put it up for sale and I was the only one who responded to his ad. I love the sidesaddle and even more with the history on it. It is good to know it was loved by the previous owner.
Thank you again for all your help. I've been pointed in the direction of a man who restores saddles in Kentucky, and have emailed him to see what he thinks of the saddles and whether there might be anything he can do to help them land in good homes. My intention is not to make money from these saddles, rather just ensure they go somewhere that they will be appreciated and cared for.
I desperately want to learn sidesaddle, but there are no teachers in my area (or at least not the last time I looked, probably about a year ago). If anyone knows anyone anywhere near Buffalo, I'd love to hear about them!
I moved to Buffalo in September and ride aside! Whereabouts in Western NY are you? I'm in Cheektowaga, but my horse is up in Ransomville near Niagara Falls/Lewiston area.
I'm not exactly great enough to be a teacher, but I know there's a group in Ontario and there has been a clinic or two in Buff as well. I'd let you try it out, but I wouldn't want to put you up on my sometimes crazy app.
Small Change, don't let them go too cheap. They are worth money as antiques. And also a small lady or teen might be able to use them on an older horse whose withers are coming up. Give the buyers the history on them. They would probably love to have what ever history you can give them.
I want to encourage you on to bigger and better things in Sidesaddle. Hopefully you will find an Old Name Sidesaddle that fits you and the horse and you get a mentor. Sdesaddle is a great sport.
Last edited by sadlmakr; Feb. 16, 2013 at 06:40 PM.
Reason: mis-spelled buyer
Bumping up this old thread with a very happy ending for my two lovely old saddles! I've oiled them both up, and they look so much better - the leather is still in rough shape, but is somewhat supple and doesn't feel like it might snap like cardboard anymore. They've found a lovely home (locally even!) with a collector, and I'll be taking them to their new home tomorrow. I am so, so happy that they're going to go somewhere that they'll be looked after and appreciated. Here's a few pictures of the saddles after a bit of TLC:
(5, I tried to PM you about rubbings of the saddles, but your inbox is full. I failed miserably, despite trying different medium and different type of paper. I did take lots of pictures though, which I would be happy to send to you if you think they might be of use to you.)
As I researched my two Sommersett saddles, I'm afraid I got sucked right in to the world of sidesaddles... Today, I brought home a lovely Champion & Wilton that I found through a friend. It is just an amazing saddle! Of course, I had to try it out as soon as I got it home!
On Tea, who's tummy is too large for the balance girth, which is why it is flapping in the breeze, and on Mocha, my Dad's mare. Two rides in a fabulous saddle, and I'm HOOKED!
I can't believe how wonderful everyone has been along the way as well. Thanks to everyone who has contacted me through COTH, Facebook or in person - I really can't say enough wonderful things about the corner of the sidesaddle community that I've come across so far.
Small Change, you will have to get an extender for the balance girth. I am glad you found a good home fo the old Somersetts. At least you know where they are and they are safe. Now have a great time your C&W. Keep us posted on your progress. You will have a wonderful time wth it.
Last edited by sadlmakr; Mar. 7, 2013 at 05:16 PM.
I'm planning on maybe just getting a longer balance girth made for her? I am very, very excited to try it back on her with all the proper pieces in place. I didn't mean to make it sound like I was going to ride the chubby one without the balance girth, but wanted to sit on her with the saddle before I committed to my purchase.
sadlmakr, I meant to send you a message to thank you for all your advice regarding my two old saddles. I dropped them off today, and really couldn't be happier with the home they've gone to! The woman is just lovely, and has the most charming room with a wall absolutely full of sidesaddles. She'll take good care of my "old ladies." She looked over my new saddle too, and even let me try on one of her habits. I think I got sucked in to the sidesaddle world a little bit deeper when I put that habit on...