The HCA Red List of Endangered Crafts


Side saddle making


The making of side saddles to allow riders to sit aside rather than astride a horse (see also saddlery).


Status Endangered
Craft category Leather
Historic area of significance London, West Midlands
Area currently practised
Origin in the UK
Current no. of professionals (main income) 1-5
Current no. of professionals (sideline to main income)
Current no. of trainees 6-10
Current total no. serious amateur makers
Current total no. of leisure makers
Minimum no. of craftspeople required



A side saddle is a type of saddle developed for ladies who did not want to ride in a carriage but when riding astride was considered unladylike.



Extremely traditional and tended to always be the top saddlers who specialised. Working with serge, linen, doe and pigskin.


Local forms




  • Side saddle tree making


Issues affecting the viability of the craft

  • Interest in side saddles is enjoying a revival – more people are riding side saddle and wounded veterans with limb loss are discovering the opportunities side saddles offer in their rehabilitation.
  • Although the craft is experiencing an upsurge there are still relatively few skilled makers.
  • Richard Godden’s retirement will mark a great loss to the side saddle making skills base and it will be difficult to replace him.


Support organisations

  • The Saddlery Training Centre
  • The Society of Master Saddlers
  • The Side Saddle Association
  • The Worshipful Company of Saddlers
  • Capel Manor College
  • Institute of Creative Leather Technologies
  • Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust


Craftspeople currently known

Individual makers:

  • James Turner, Berkshire
  • Carolyn Truss, Cambridgeshire
  • Amanda Wilson, Derbyshire
  • Johan Ulvede, Devon
  • Alan Brown, Devon
  • Nigel Higgs, Gloucestershire
  • Clare Barnett, Hampshire
  • Susan Elizabeth Slade, Hampshire
  • Penny Dickson, Kent
  • Catherine Lonsdale, Lancashire
  • Mark Bushell, Lincolnshire
  • Sally Greaves, Norfolk
  • Alice Blakey, Oxfordshire
  • Sarah Stevens, Oxfordshire
  • Anne Dawson, Shropshire
  • Richard Godden, Somerset
  • Ian Silman, Somerset
  • Martin Gulliver, Stafforshire
  • Coralie Chung, Suffolk
  • Helen Dart, Surrey
  • Nicola Watson, Sussex
  • Jackie Winchester, Sussex
  • Laura Dempsey, Warwickshire
  • Julia Duffin, Wiltshire
  • Christopher Harper, Wiltshire
  • Tiffany Parkinson, Wiltshire
  • Robert Jenkins, Worcestershire
  • Hilary Lambe, Yorkshire
  • Julie Shepherd, Yorkshire
  • Jocelyn Danby, Ross-shire
  • Shirley Justice-Vose, Ayrshire
  • Graham Butt, Powys
  • Helen Reader, Carmarthen

Businesses employing two or more makers:

  • Colne Saddlery, Gloucestershire
  • Cirencester Saddlers, Gloucestershire
  • J Houghton & Son, Lancashire


Other information




  • Owen, Rosamund, The Art of Side Saddle