Wednesday, 8 September 2010

I'm Back!! Part Four..The Off-Side Side Saddle

I couldn't believe it when I saw it there on the bottom of the rack. My friend who was with me said "What's wrong with that saddle? Why are the horns on the wrong side?" as she had only ever seen my "normal" side saddle. I told her it was an off-side side saddle and that they were very rare to find as not many were made.

I had wanted an off-side side saddle for AGES as sometimes when my right hip is acting up with arthritis, I just want swap over to rest it. This one was well within my budget but would it fit and would the girth straps suit Hattie?

Whipped out my wither tracing and showed it to the saddler and we compared fit. She said that it was actually quite a good fit and even the tree points fit the shape of chunky Hattie. Flipped up the flaps and lo and behold, FORWARD placed girth straps!!

It looks like whoever had the saddle before me, had the girth straps replaced as they aren't as old as the saddle (looks to be from the early 1920's) and are still in good condition.

Would it fit me? Unfortunately the seat is 20 1/2" (UK measurements is a 16" seat) and my thigh is exactly 21". Although it is not suggested to ride in a saddle that is too small, I wouldn't be competing or doing any heavy duty riding in my off-side saddle. It would be my "invalid" saddle for those days when my hip is bad and I just want to rest it and hack out down the lane.

The seat is actually quite wide and very flat (unlike my last side saddle) just like an Owen so although the seat is about 1/2"- 1" too small, the wideness and flatness of it doesn't make it TOO bad or uncomfortable for me to ride in.

At one time, it looks like it had a dual position leaping head but lower screw hole got filled in. It has a roller bar stirrup fitting so a safety stirrup is needed with a regular stirrup leather. There are remnants of a paper label underneath the stirrup flap but it is illegible. I wish I could see who the maker was!

It has a handy nearside handkerchief pocket which is nifty for putting your phone in it while hacking! A lot of work seems to have been done on the saddle as the overgirth is new on it as well and the linen was replaced by the previous owner although it could do with another whitening or clean.

It was probably the quickest saddle purchase ever and I HAD to buy it quick because as I was writing my cheque, everyone in the world seemed to come into that vendor's stand, look at my off-side side saddle and ask how much it was.

It wasn't what I went to the National show to buy but I'm glad I bought it!


  1. I'm so glad you're back! I've been a lurker for awhile now.
    Great find! I can't wait to see you riding in your off-side! I have a question though. Does that mean you now mount on the off-side? I always have such a hard time when I try to mount or dismount from the off-side. a new skill to learn, I guess!
    Congrats again, keep up the great blog and riding!

  2. Thank you Lex!

    Yes, mounting and dismounting from the off-side is a bit weird- it goes against everything you have learned. When I lead Hattie to the mounting block to get on, I always forget and lead her the wrong way in.

  3. Wow!!! Congratulations on the new saddle!!! It looks nice!!!