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Opposite-facing sidesaddle

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  • Opposite-facing sidesaddle

    I was recently in an accident that rendered my right leg useless and me unable to rotate/move my hip more than a few inches in any given direction. Riding astride is not an option at this point and I would really like to get back to riding again. A normal sidesaddle (with the right leg wrapped around the horn) also wouldn’t work. But a sidesaddle that was “flipped” the opposite direction, so my right leg could just hang, would be amazing.

    My question is : does anyone know of a company that sells sidesaddles facing the opposite direction, or of a company that does relatively cheap custom ones? I also don’t have much money to spend, so a secondhand saddle would be most ideal.

    Thank you so much in advance!

  • #2
    If you do Facebook, there are several side-saddle groups that should be able to help you find an “offside” saddle. In general, there are not a great number of modern sidesaddle makers, whether Western or English, and I’m not certain that any of the reputable ones can do an offside as a custom. Almost certainly not inexpensively, nor quickly. But there are some antique/vintage ones knocking about in various states of repair that may suit your needs.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Unfortunately I do not have Facebook, but I did reach out to the ASA via email and asked if they knew anything. Thank you for your help! I didn’t know it was called an “offside” saddle. Much appreciated!

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by jet3456 View Post
        Unfortunately I do not have Facebook, but I did reach out to the ASA via email and asked if they knew anything. Thank you for your help! I didn’t know it was called an “offside” saddle. Much appreciated!
        There’s also the ISSO: http://www.thesidesaddlery.com/store.../saddles.shtml. The only current quality maker of new jumping-suitable SS’s I know about for sure is “Bit on the Side” Saddlery (http://www.bitonthesidesaddle.co.uk/#about-2), don’t know if they can do an offside. There’s at least one other English maker that’s a man’s name, but I’m not sure if he’s still active or what, and I’m not finding it on a quick search. The Western current maker I know of that has a good reputation is Crest Ridge (http://crestridgesaddlery.com/sidesaddle.html). Again, don’t know if they can do an offside. Royal Kings are not well thought of as they reportedly have a poor stirrup placement. And be very wary of the various imports from Craptackistan.

        If you have to opportunity to try one, may want to go ahead and give a nearside side saddle a whirl, it may be more viable for you than you think. I have not personally ridden SS yet (just researching and waiting until my horse is old enough to start trying aside), but from what I understand your right leg should come out straight from your hip, parallel to the ground, much as it would if you are seated primly in a chair, and the knee sits on the head with the lower leg more or less passively hanging (so not really wrapping forcefully if you are just riding a long). The “down” leg is positioned a great deal like it would be for aside; viewed from the back a SS rider should look like an astride rider, with the right leg lopped off. I worry if your right leg can’t be positioned correctly for astride, it wouldn’t be positioned correctly or comfortably in an offside side saddle, either. Many of the people (there are more men than one might think) posting in the FB groups with physical issues report being more successful with nearside vs offside, and it does not necessarily correlate with which of their limbs is problematic. Fun Fact: many offside saddles were made for men with war injuries.

        I have no idea where to begin to look for the kinds of saddle adaptations used by Paraequestrians, but that might be worth sniffing around, too, or at least discussing your needs with a saddler with that experience.

        Comment


        • #5
          There was a gal with a blog called Sidesaddle rider, and she had several off side sidesaddles.
          http://weanieeventer.blogspot.com/

          Comment


          • #6
            I have only been aside in clinics, so I am no expert, but I will second the idea that you might actually want--and be safer in a standard side saddle.

            The left leg presses into the leaping horn and helps to keep you on and stable. If you were to ride offside and your right leg is not able to do that, it would be akin to not having a leaping horn--which means the only thing keeping you on is your knee hooked around the horn.

            In the last clinic I took, the first saddle they had me in did not fit me correctly and made my left leg basically useless--meaning I was hanging on by only my right knee. It was terrifying. Once they got me in one that fit correctly and I could use that left leg, I was cantering off with a smile on my face.

            You might also want to consider a "western" side saddle. There are companies recommended by the ASA that make modern western style ones (Crest Ridge). There is no one who makes modern English style saddles that the ASA considers safe--many of them are knockoffs made in Asia and though they look the part, are really not functional at all. The western saddles also have deeper seats, while the English ones are flat. Western side saddles do not look like Western saddles and, though they are not reinforced for jumping, are quite comfortable, IMO.

            All that said, it IS possible to find offside saddles...and even to move the horns in some cases. If you don't hear back from the ASA, drop me a OM and I'll put you in touch with my clinician, who just happens to be the president. She is wonderful and very knowledgeable.

            Comment


            • #7
              I took up side-saddle after i busted my right ankle - I mean when your heel is facing up what's a gal to do right? Beside the habits are smashing. I agree with Ecileh, with a "useless" right leg you're better off having it across the leaping head as you would be using your left leg and reins. You might try to find a Western sidesaddle as the cantle would probably give you more support vs. English where there is no cantle.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by ecileh View Post
                There is no one who makes modern English style saddles that the ASA considers safe--many of them are knockoffs made in Asia and though they look the part, are really not functional at all.
                From what I've heard, the Bit on the Side saddles are very well thought of, although pretty new on the scene so perhaps not on your clinicians' radar? I finally came up with the name of the other English guy, Robert Jenkins (http://www.malvernsaddlecompany.co.uk/side-saddles.asp). Several people on the more international FB groups have these saddles and love them. Obviously these are both manufactured someplace other than North America and are likely custom orders with a wait, but so are many quality astride saddles (I just got word my new Adam Ellis dressage saddle has arrived stateside, can't wait to get my hands--or rather, tushy--on it and try it out!).

                Elan saddles don't seem to be made anymore, so "recent" but not really "modern", but if you can find a used one they seem to fill an acceptable niche of a "starter" English side saddle from everything I've read. Decent quality and design, not as expensive to buy (and/or restore) as one of the Old Maker saddles or a new custom job. Not suitable for jumping and probably not the best option for Very Serious Showing in an appointments class. The ASA "Tackroom" page does have some other Asian import offerings from time to time that are not Elans but are not the horrorshow garbage that shows up on eBay; since they curate what they sell pretty carefully, I would assume they consider these particular versions to be safe and acceptable (again, likely not OK for jumping unless specifically noted).



                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by gottagrey View Post
                  I took up side-saddle after i busted my right ankle - I mean when your heel is facing up what's a gal to do right? Beside the habits are smashing. I agree with Ecileh, with a "useless" right leg you're better off having it across the leaping head as you would be using your left leg and reins. You might try to find a Western sidesaddle as the cantle would probably give you more support vs. English where there is no cantle.
                  Ditto for the broken right ankle being an impetus to looking into sidesaddle!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I've ridden sidesaddle a few times, and I'm not an expert by any means, but I second the other posters who say that you may really want a traditional sidesaddle.

                    IF I remember correctly, the leg on the horse is actually the leg ON the horse - it needs to be active and talking to the horse, just like you do aside; the whip is carried to act as the other (right) leg. With the traditional leaping horn, the thigh of the leg presses up and into the underside of the horn, giving you stability and helping with balance. I'd encourage you to find someone who rides sidesaddle and take a few lessons with them on a traditional saddle to see how it works.

                    There are quite a few vintage/antique sidesaddles out there - I've got one right now that's only for display, and I've sold two others that were ride-able. But if you go that route, keep in mind that it might look good on the outside, but that tree is probably dried out and/or rotted through.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Totally agree that you will want a traditional sidesaddle and if you can find a Steele, the western style would be ideal. I had one for parades and it was the most comfortable, solid saddle I have ever owned. Only sold it because it would never have worked for my current horse - I now have a Champion & Wilton - purchased from the above mentioned Side Saddlery.

                      It will cost you more, but buy from a reputable dealer - don't go the ebay route.

                      I never cared for Elan - they just didn't fit me well and I found the quality of the leather to be lacking.

                      I have heard that the Crest Ridge saddles are OK, but I have not seen one in person.

                      Once you ride aside you'll be hooked. I need to get my saddle repaired and look forward to finally getting some use out of it this summer. Tired of looking at it sitting on display in my living room!


                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        I greatly appreciate everyones responses - thank you! The reason behind wanting an “offside” saddle was that I can’t bend or rotate my right leg at all. In a traditional sidesaddle my leg would have to bend considerably - and at this time that isn’t possible. My horse is already trained using voice commands, so having the right leg as the “dominant” one, would not be an issue. Thank you again for the replys!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Toblersmom View Post

                          There’s also the ISSO: http://www.thesidesaddlery.com/store.../saddles.shtml. The only current quality maker of new jumping-suitable SS’s I know about for sure is “Bit on the Side” Saddlery (http://www.bitonthesidesaddle.co.uk/#about-2), don’t know if they can do an offside. There’s at least one other English maker that’s a man’s name, but I’m not sure if he’s still active or what, and I’m not finding it on a quick search. The Western current maker I know of that has a good reputation is Crest Ridge (http://crestridgesaddlery.com/sidesaddle.html). Again, don’t know if they can do an offside. Royal Kings are not well thought of as they reportedly have a poor stirrup placement. And be very wary of the various imports from Craptackistan.

                          According to this blog from 2013, http://www.sidesaddlegirl.co.uk/2013...de-saddle.html, Bit on the Side saddlery did make offside ones at some point. Can't hurt to ask if they still do, or will make one for you anyway.

                          This farm in Virginia sells used side saddles, you could ask them to keep an eye out for a used offside for you.
                          https://www.cherryblossomfarm.net/aboutus
                          Custom tack racks!
                          www.mmeqcenter.com/tacklove.html

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by mmeqcenter View Post


                            According to this blog from 2013, http://www.sidesaddlegirl.co.uk/2013...de-saddle.html, Bit on the Side saddlery did make offside ones at some point. Can't hurt to ask if they still do, or will make one for you anyway.

                            This farm in Virginia sells used side saddles, you could ask them to keep an eye out for a used offside for you.
                            https://www.cherryblossomfarm.net/aboutus

                            I was just scrolling down to comment about Cherry Blossom Farm/ Devon Zebrovious! She's the expert in our area.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              SidesaddleRider may be able to help. Haven't seen her here lately, but you can try a PM.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by jet3456 View Post
                                I greatly appreciate everyones responses - thank you! The reason behind wanting an “offside” saddle was that I can’t bend or rotate my right leg at all. In a traditional sidesaddle my leg would have to bend considerably - and at this time that isn’t possible. My horse is already trained using voice commands, so having the right leg as the “dominant” one, would not be an issue. Thank you again for the replys!
                                If that's the case, then, yes, an offside saddle is definitely what you want. And yes, they are out there. I would still recommend a western Steele, if you can find one, for the additional stability it would provide you, the "scooped" seat is definitely a plus! I love my C&W, but boy I do miss that seat!

                                Comment

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