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Side saddle making

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).

This craft uses products derived from animals – please read our ethical sourcing statement.

 

Status Endangered
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)
11-20
Current no. of trainees 6-10
Current total no. serious amateur makers
11-20
Current total no. of leisure makers

 

History

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.

 

Techniques

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

 

Local forms

 

 

Sub-crafts

  • Side saddle tree making
  • Lorinery – specialist metal working for tree components, stirrup fittings etc.

 

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.
  • Older side saddles do not fit modern horses very well. Most have been restored more than once which can compromise tree integrity as this part is often reused and in poor condition.

 

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:

  • Johan Ulvede, Devon
  • Mark Bushell, Lincolnshire
  • Sally Greaves, Norfolk
  • Anne Dawson, Shropshire
  • Coralie Chung, Suffolk
  • Rob Jenkins, Malvern Saddle Company

Businesses employing two or more makers:

 

Other information

 

 

References

  • Owen, Rosamund, The Art of Side Saddle