Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Now THIS Is What I Call A Western Side Saddle!

I was just googling this evening and came across an old auction house listing for a beautiful Visalia Western side saddle.



Now, most of the antique Western side saddles around now are "catalog" saddles ordered out of the Sears or Montgomery Ward catalogs- not really functional except for riding to church or to the shops. The more substantial western side saddles found like the Goodnight side saddle, were made for women to ride long distances comfortably or to accompany her husband around on the ranch to do chores.

This rare c. 1911 Visalia side saddle, wasn't just meant for comfortable transportation though but for actual roping as shown by the western horn on the offside.



Now while it is common to find small offside horns or "grab handles" on 19th century Western side saddles, these weren't used for roping but just as added security for the rider. The substantial built up horn on the Visalia saddle is just like the horn on a man's saddle and I can only say that this is a TRUE cowgirl saddle!

7 comments:

  1. That has to be the most unique sidesaddle I've seen! So neat! Can I ask which website you found that on?

    ReplyDelete
  2. It was Icollector.com, it's one of those websites that show you what things ended on at past auctions and current live auctions going on around the country. It's an interesting website as it's not ebay stuff and there are loads of neat things to search for on it.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh neat! I'm definitely going to have to look at that!

    ReplyDelete
  4. My good friend bought that actual saddle. She's an active sidesaddle historian, and so far, it seems to be the only roping sidesaddle in existance. I've had a chance to sit in it, and while I'm a normal sized woman, I found it a bit of a challenge to wedge my leg between the upper pommel and the roping horn, in addition seating myself in front of that Visalia cantle. It was awkward to get into on a saddle stand; can't imagine getting into it (or out of it) while on a living/breathing/possibly moving equine, especially while habited!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank you for sharing your experience with such a rare saddle! I'm glad it has gone to a side saddle home. It is interesting to hear about how awkward the seat actuslly is with the high cantle and also with wedging your leg between the roping horn and the fixed head as from the photos, it looks quite comfy. I guess that is why it has survived all these years as maybe the original owner didn't find it as comfy either.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Can't hide anything from you, can I, Lei? :) -Jeannie

    ReplyDelete