Thursday, 23 August 2012


Up for sale is my lovely Champion & Wilton style saddle as it just doesn't work for Hattie.

A ladies all leather side saddle from April 10, 1893 made from lovely tan colored English leather and fitted with a period Champion & Wilton style safety fitting (stamped on the stirrup fitting with "Wilton's Patent Oxford St." and "Saddle NOT Made by Champion & Wilton"). It may be an early Whippy who are known for the nail just under the seat on the nearside and were the "great integrator's" with regards to using features from other saddle makers.

It was retro fitted with a safety fitting instead of a roller bar when it was new in the 1890's as the old stirrup flap was cut off and a Champion & Wilton style flap sewn over instead. All the leather and stitching matches so was probably done by the same saddler who made it. The date in burnt into the offside flap and the saddle has D-rings on the nearside for a skirt protector to be buckled on (skirt protector sadly does not survive with this saddle). I have a photo of a saddle with a skirt protector that I can forward onto the high bidder should you wish to have one made for this saddle. There are extra D-rings on the off-side to attach extra things other than a sandwich case so a good travelling saddle. I had plans on using it for Le Trec due to all the extra d-rings and the comfy wide seat.

The saddle does have a hunting bar fitted but I do not know if a saddle of this age would be suitable for jumping and hunting now. The webbing in the seat seems strong and tight as there is no sagging or puckering to the leather on the seat. The pommels don't have any damage to the leather. The leather at the back of the cantle is in good condition too. It does not appear that this saddle had much use over the years due to it's tan color and lack of "sweet spot" in the seat. The leather is still "squeaky new" as it was never ridden in long enough for it to be broken in. I bought it from a master saddler at this year's Nationals at Addingon but sadly, the tree shape is just not quite the right shape for my awkward mare's conformation as it pinches her off-side shoulder ever so slightly. It's an "almost, but not quite" fit for my 15.3hh Thoroughbred mare who takes a medium fit in saddles. It fit my friend's 14.2hh Connemara gelding PERFECTLY, who takes a medium fit in GFS saddles but the saddle is too long for my friend who is only 5'1" so needs to be sold. The flocking is not lumpy and the flocking job actually fit my horse quite well. The saddle will most likely need to be flocked for your own particular horse though.

I have been riding in this saddle for the past couple of weeks since buying it August 5 in an attempt to give the flocking a chance to bed to Hattie's shape but sadly, it's a no go. We've been schooling and hacking out with some fast canters and it felt SO comfortable. The saddle did not feel to ride uphill with me and I found the seat comfortable. I do not like very flat 1930's style seats as I don't find there is enough support but each to their own!

If I was keeping this saddle, I would have the girth straps replaced as they look to be the original ones, have a new gullet channel liner put in as for some bizarre reason, someone sliced the original serge channel liner and I would have the saddle panels relined in linen to cover up the old serge which has some moth damage (there is also a hole in the linen as well). The leather has discolored at the top edge of the safe. There is moth damage to the top of the panel safe (see photos), and the leather has come away a bit at the cutback head but a screw was added in modern times (it's not an old screw), see photos. I am not a saddler and have checked over this saddle as best as I am able to but it is a swish looking saddle and well worth putting the work into it as it is eye catching. It is an old saddle and does need some work but these old saddle are becoming harder and harder to find. Bidders are welcome to view the saddle or even try it if you are local BEFORE bidding as there is no returns.

Saddle does not come with any fittings.

Seat measures 21 1/2" from the front of the fixed head to cantle and 17 1/2" from the cutback to cantle. I am 5'9" and a UK size 16 and this fits me brilliantly but seat length also depends on your own particular conformation. The tree is a good medium fit which will fit high withered Thoroughbred types. The tree gullet fits my FAT 15.3hh Thoroughbred mare but the shape of the tree does not quite suit her. Fit a 14.2hh Connemara perfectly who takes a medium fit in GFS saddles. Right under the cutback head in the gullet channel measures 4 1/2", D to D ring is 8", Bottom of short off-side tree point edge to the bottom edge of the near side tree point edge is 17", actually gullet spread taken from the tree edge to tree edge without padding is 6".

I would like £850 but will consider offers as there is no point in me keeping a saddle that doe not work for Hattie as I have enough stuff in my house as it is! Shipping within the UK will be £40, £100 to Europe, to the US and Canada will be £175, to Australia/ New Zealand will be £302. I always ship carefully and the saddle will be sent heavily padded out in a BIG box.

I ship internationally! My courier WILL NOT ship to P.O. Boxes so you must have premises to deliver to.


  1. I wish.....
    Although a. I don't have a horse, and b. I'm in Australia so it would be a rather too frivolous gift for myself! Better if it went to someone who would use it!