Saturday, 8 October 2011

Boys Can Ride Side Saddle Too

I think most little boys whose mothers ride side saddle have probably at least once, had a sit on their mum's side saddles. My son, who loves anything about the military and history, has had a try on my side saddle especially after I told him about the soldiers from both World Wars (and even some men today), that lost their legs and who still wanted to ride and go hunting, rode in side saddles. He wanted to see how those brave soldiers rode afterwards.

I have two photos in my collection showing boys on side saddles and thought that I would share these unusual photos with you all. Both date from the early part of the 20th century, probably about 1910's.

I love this first one as the expression on the boy is priceless, he looks like he would rather be doing anything else but sitting on a horse. Look at the stirrup iron, it's a jointed "Groom's Stirrup"!

The second photo was taken at the seaside somewhere here in England and shows a toddler aged boy sitting in an even-by-this-date, old fashioned side saddle without a leaping head. I've always noticed in photo postcards and photos from the early 1900's and 1920's that that show seaside donkeys, that they are always laden with these REALLY old fashioned side saddles. I guess by the Edwardian era and the 1920's, there were tons of these relic side saddles around that no one wanted so the seaside donkey ride people picked them up cheap for the kids and ladies to ride in. There are still donkey rides at the beaches over here but adults aren't allowed to ride them any more.


  1. awww, aren't those kids adorable!

    btw, quick question:
    most sidesaddlers recommend sending a withers tracing to see if a saddle would fit. now I know how to make a withers tracing, but how is it placed in a saddle? to me, it would seem you would have to place the tracing between the panels, the space where the horse will actually be.
    but I've also seen people hold withers tracings by the outlines of the tree. but that seems silly because you will always have an inch or two of wool from the panels ( or a wyckham pad) between the tree and the horse. so fitting a tracing like that...wouldn't that cause a saddle to be too narrow for your horse?

    so basically: when you fit your withers tracing in a sidee saddle, do you fit it to the tree or between the panels?

  2. It depends Lieke, I tend to do both when I'm seeing if a tree will fit Hattie just to see if the tree follows the curves of Hattie's wither tracing and then I'll put it between the panels and push upwards to get an idea if it will come down on her withers or not. I did this when I bought my Whippy and Beck Morrow.

  3. that's interesting!

    I'm asking because i saw this gorgeous whippy on it's the correct size (16.5", 20" to cutback) its heavily flocked up right now to be a medium, which gives me hope it might be a medium-wide. it's supposed to have enough flare to fit my mare's ribs and so far it's reasonably priced.
    I contacted the seller and she was very friendly about me sending her a tracing, she'll even have her saddler turn it into a template so she can see how it will fit.
    she said so far it's 3.5" at the narrowest point ( that's between the flocking) and about 10" from the end of the short point directly horizontally to the long point, also between the flocking.
    she'll send me pictures of the front and measure the length between short and long point diagonally for me.

    I'm curious to see how it will turn out. :D

  4. Oh my gosh! I won! I won the auction for the whippy side saddle!

    now begins the long waiting for the seller to receive my tracing and tell me wether the saddle will fit my horse or not. and if it doesn't I won't have to pay, but I won't have a saddle either, but if it does I will have a gorgeous whippy sidesaddle!!! :D


  5. RE boys and side saddles: There was (and maybe still is) an adult male member of the Northern Side Saddle Group who rides side saddle in Group events. And when my mother was a child in the 1920s she knew 2 men in her village who hunted side saddle - they had sustained wounds on active service in the Great War which rendered them unable to ride astride. My grandfather and other horsemen of his era and before regularly schooled difficult horses side saddle due to the security of their seat.

  6. hi leila, hope you are getting on well in your new stables. dont suppose you could tell me how much they charge there could you? alex.

  7. Hi Alex, yup- we've settled in good and Hattie is surrounded by lots of new boyfriends! They charge £20 a week but it's DIY only- you buy your own hay and shavings. No straw bedding allowed.