A very rare near and OFF-SIDE Martin and Martin side saddle from the early 1900's has just been listed on the Side Saddlery.
At $7500, the price of it is WAY, WAY, WAY beyond my budget for a saddle which is too bad as I measured myself and I would have fit into it perfectly and judging from the gullet size and tree shape, it would have fit Hattie too. Maybe I should start playing the lottery again.
I wonder how it rides as the tree would be symmetrical? Usually the saddle panels are built up on the nearside to support the left thigh (and then vice versa for an off-side side saddle) but how would it work with a reversible side saddle as neither could be flocked up more than one side at once?! I suppose you would have it flocked up more on the side that you rode the most on and just put a riser pad underneath the side you rose least on, on the days you decided to ride on that side. Although not really ideal if you swapped sides everyday. Hmmmm, I REALLY want to ride in it to see how it feels!
Here is the description of it on the Side Saddlery website which I have saved for posterity..
This is a later Martin & Martin saddle in nearly pristine condition. This saddle would be perfect for the handicapped rider or lady who must alternate which side she rides to on different days.
The seat measures 21" in length from the front of either of the upright pommels to the rear of the seat. The seat measures a generoud 13" in width. This is an unusual tree measuring 7.5" in the gullet and 17" from point to point. The tree has a wide gullet with two long points to stabilize the saddle, so a back tracing or personal fitting is required. The seat and pommels are pigskin and in perfect shape. There are D rings present to attach a breast plate.
The space between the two fixed head (top pommels) will not accomodate an extremely large thigh. To see if you would fit, at 9" above the knee, the thigh circumference must be less than 23".
There are two leaping heads. The one on the nearside screws in on reverse threads like all old name side saddles. The pommel on the off side screws in on standard threads, which is correct to keep the pommel in the proper position when riding on the off side. The balance strap is easily moved from one side of the saddle to the other. The safe is padded on both sides and is in excellent condition.
The panels are the original serge with occasional flea bites - the only condition issue with this saddle! The stirrup assembly is a bar on either side which uses a standard stirrup leather. The saddle comes with the original Cope's breakaway stirrup with the doeskin covering over the metal arch still intact! The balance strap and billets are in good condition. The saddle comes with a vintage balance girth.
The leather has been professionally cleaned and reconditioned. It is supple and in good condition throughout.
Of course if anyone would like to buy the side saddle for me, I would be more than happy to accept it! ;-)