Hello everybody!

Just a quick question, what do you guys and gals think of sidesaddle? I really like the style and would love to ride like that at a show as trail is not exactly savvy to that sort of riding.

My mare is a Classic Pleasure horse and would look wonderful under this seat she really is a ladies mare. I have seen sidesaddle used in hunter classes and I have seen western sidesaddles but, I personally would probably only go English with this idea unless it is truly O.K. with hunters. Then I could go get that plaid skirt I have always wanted (LOL)

Anywho, thanks!

18 Responses to Sidesaddle

  1. Carole says:

    Hi Empressive!
    I do my Tandem ride and drive sidesaddle. I have great fun. If you truely are interested in riding side saddle…then do your research. Get a qualified someone to help you. Finding a sidesaddle to fit a Morgan can be tricky. I had mine custome made by the best in the world…. Lillian Chaudhary out of Willows, California made my western side saddle for me. She really knows her stuff. Just google her in as “Lillian Chaudhardy-side saddle maker”
    You can visit my website at

    and see what I am doing sidesaddle.It took me a little bit of time to feel comforable enough to gallop with two horses. Check out the video on my website and you will see me with the side saddle doing the tandem ride and drive.

    Side saddle is fun and you will get lots of questions about the saddle. You can talk to Lillian about English side saddles as well. Be sure to tell her that Carole Mercer/Dancing Morgans sent you.
    Carole L. Mercer
    Dancing Morgans
    World Equestian Games
    Hopefully I’ll be there side saddle and all.

  2. empressive says:

    Oh that’s great that you are entering for the games!

    Thanks for the information I will be sure to check it out. I will be going to college soon and want to take a horse with me. I have always wanted to try sidesaddle actually I ride bareback that way every once in a while! I just have to decide if that is an added expense I want.

    One thing for me is that I want to show and although I want to do well and have fun I am also trying to cover my assets. If I lose a class because I am riding sidesaddle then it doesn’t make much sense to keep riding that way.

    Not that losing is bad when you are having fun. But, I always want to improve (talking about the child that recieved 4 C’s in the 2cd grade and bawled her head off swearing to never get a C again and hasn’t) I have undoubtedly grown up some but, with the outlook that with every loss there is a gain in knowledge and wisdom to become better.

    Do you think USEF would have rules? I looked all through the Morgan section and I do not remember seeing anything. Well thanks again!

  3. Carole says:

    I don’t ride in shows so I don’t know the show ring rules…this blog has a wealth of knowledge and I am sure someone out there would know what the Morgan rules are for riding side saddle…in fact ….email the Morgan Horse AMHA sight and ask them. They would know.
    Have fun. Carole

  4. wctigger says:

    I know Britney Rickford Weibel won the Grand National Hunter Pleasure Ladies Championship riding side saddle in 1997. So it didn’t count against her back then :) so I don’t think it should matter now. I don’t think there are any rules about riding sidesaddle, but I don’t know for sure. I personally think it would be really cool to see someone show in the Hunt or Western classes sidesaddle.

  5. JRae says:

    The USEF rule for the Morgan Division is that sidesaddle is legal for all divisions except equitation.

  6. Carole says:

    There you go. Now we all know the rules. Hurray for sidesaddle. Thanks JRae.

  7. says:

    Hi there, just wanted to add my 2 cents as a Saddle maker & fitter and a Morgan owner. There are a few issues with Sidesaddles in general that you need to watch for.

    The older saddles are just that – OLD! The better names for English style saddles are Martin, Owen, Champion & Wilton, Whippy, Mayhew and Passier. Many of these saddles have spent years in barns or attics, leather can only be brought back so far & many of these are far, far past that point. In terms of the antique Western style saddles, I would not even go there, they look better in the rec room I am afraid and the style is not really suitable for the showring anyway. When buying any older saddle, make sure it has a leaping horn, a horn that points down & wraps around your lower leg. You also should take into account the fact that the majority of the older saddles do not fit the modern body type very well & that can apply to both horses & humans… We were both skinnier back then…

    Newer saddles can be fabulous but expect to pay for it. The $400 sidesaddles on Ebay, ugh. I am not sure who will be more sore, you or the horse! Good Sidesaddles, new & used, modern & antique can be found at (I have no affiliation with this company but they have been around a long time & sell good stuff, English & Western) You are looking for a leaping horn (always) Names I would look for would be Steele, or Swain. Circle Y has made some very pretty Western sidesaddles. Lillian Chaudry as well.

    I would love a good Western Pleasure horse in sidesaddle, plus you don’t have to post! If you have seen some of the outfits that show up at the Arabian shows, yum!

    Sidesaddles can be quite long & that can be a bit of a problem for the smaller horse, you also sit quite high on a sidesaddle, many of them will have you 4-5″ off the back and that can make a small horse look really small.

    As far as rules, I believe they are also not allowed in Reining or Parade classes.

    So maybe that was more like 2 dollars worth but saddles are a subject I can talk for days about! Any other questions are certainly welcome too.



  8. nightmusicfarms says:


    That post was so interesting, thank you. I know very little about side saddle but have always wondered if the horn you describe presents a serious hazard in terms of the rider either doing an emergency dismount or simply being thrown clear of the horse. It seems as if it would be easy to get caught on it and pretty seriously hurt. Is that the case?



  9. PlayMorBill says:

    We used to show sidesaddle a lot, so I can attest to the fact that yes, you can get hooked up on that saddle if a horses gets to seriously misbehaving.

    But the whole point of sidesaddle is the tradition of the lady-like seat AND the lady-like horse. You don’t put a lady on horse that may misbehave. That why we still don’t allow stallions in ladies classes. Not because the ladies can’t ride them, but because of the traditional view that they shouldn’t.

    I like that. I should sponsor a sidesaddle class at a show and make the girls pull ours out of it’s trunk. :)

  10. Carole says:

    You are so right about a misbehaving horse with a sidesaddle. I may put my foot in my mouth here, but I generally believe it is “nice’ to have a well behaved horse in the show ring at all times. I like seeing a well trained horse with any rider …be it a new rider or an expeienced rider. I miss seeing those wonderful well trined horses that DO NOT misbehave in the show ring.

    I am just old so I think like an old fashioned person…well trained horses are wonderful. I like them really well broke under me anymore…yes they are horses and can be unpredictable, but a nice mannered horses is a joy to ride and to own…be it side saddle, saddle seat, western, hunt seat, a jumper , reining horse or a driving horse…etc. You get my point.

    Carole L. Mercer
    Dancing Morgans
    World Equestrian Games

  11. empressive says:

    Hehe! The only reason I would even try sidesaddle is because my mares are to par! LOL
    They are both wonderful I could never ask for a better set of horses. And will not begin to tell all of the crazy things I have done with them.

    I want to thank everyone again for all of the information. I have learned so much! Plus the cautioning God knows I need it. I admit I was looking at some of the new saddles on ebay. I figured some of the older saddles were probably not worth it and I do not know anyway that works with saddles.

    So I figure newer would be better. I also thought that it would fit easier on a Morgan but, HoHo I am wrong! Nice to know. Well thanks again everyone!

  12. nightmusicfarms says:

    People are more brave than I, although that would not take much. :)

    The combination of a side horn, a long skirt and both legs on one side would convince me to stay off any horse, regardless of how trained or quiet.

    Imagine that women used to hunt on a side saddle, complete with field jumps. Now THOSE were equestriennes!

  13. Carole says:

    Oh sidesaddle is easy! You just sit there!LOL.

    It’s lots of fun to ride sidesaddle. I love it when I gallop my mares in tandem and we do flying lead changes down the centerline….all while I am riding side saddle. It took me weeks of practice and gathering my courage to even try a trot.

    I agree with you…those ladies were equestriens and they rode “lady’s horses” sidesaddle while wearing long skirts….
    cheers, Carole

  14. empressive says:

    Those were some pretty amazing women. But, like they say behind every great man is an even greater woman.

    Oh, and Susan. I am more than sure you are no wimp. I broke both of my mares myself and! Used to ride a blind Appy pony. Yet I am having the hardest time convincing myself that the gelding I am trying to teach now (even though I have already ridden him in a round pen once)is safe.

    I though trust my other mares and am sure someday I will trust the gelding too. Someday…

  15. nightmusicfarms says:

    Dear Impressive Empressive:

    WAIT till you can and do trust him. The worst accident I ever had or ever hope to have was with a five gaited ASB. I knew very well I didn’t trust him, but figured I could handle it. This horse went up and over on me in the middle of a completely tranquil trail ride, with nothing to alarm him. I broke my back in three places and fractured my tail bone as well. Always listen to your gut instinct and common sense, as doing otherwise just isn’t worth it.

  16. empressive says:

    I am waiting. I do not care to be hurt. He is only 13.3 hands but, that doesn’t mean I am crazy. Maybe he will get shorter? Not that shorter is better but, I can hope.

    Thanks for the advice.

  17. equusaside says:

    You can look at the leaping head (lower pommel) two ways: 1) you have a very secure seat and can ride out the worst bucking and bolting fits you’ve ever seen. 2) you get hung up. Me? I’d rather stay on top of the crazy horse than be disoriented on the ground around its feet, so getting clear fast is not really on my “to do” list. 20 years of riding aside and I’ve not wished I bailed instead of staying on – really, how often do you wish that astride?

    All that aside (get it? :) ), check out the International Side Saddle Organization ( They may have an instructor near you, some of them have saddles to use in lessons. They also sell books and videos aimed at beginning sidesaddle riders. Their quarterly newsletter is full of hints, goings-on, and history, too!

  18. sadlmakr says:

    Hi, I just found this board quite by accident.
    Thanks Carol for the plug for my work.
    I have some Old Name sidesaddles on hand to restore and one Western also but it is a small one. 19 inch seat.
    The secret ,if there is one, about riding sidesaddle is NOT to jamb your left leg and knee up into the leaping horn. You should be able to put your flat hand under it easily.
    That is not the way to stay on the saddle. Even though some are preaching that to the new to the Sport.
    I make and restore sidesaddles and have ridden sidesaddles for 43 years.
    Ask me off board anything I will try to answer to the best of my ability.
    I am assuming you are looking for an English sidesaddle?
    If you can find a Park seat(Saddleseat) sidesaddle that would be super. Most ladies are using Huntseat sidesaddles because so few of the Park seat are available.
    Now and then they turn up but often need work. I agree with those who posted to stay clear of the Ebay “El Cheapos”. It takes about as much work to correct them as what one pays for it so you end up paying double the price for one to ride well. The horns are not right on most of them. And they are overstuffed in the panels and not balanced. Most are overflocked on the right side and they turn on the horse to the left. So they need to have the panels taken off and reflocked correctly. I will not do that on the ones made in India. I have found bad things in the panels used as flocking. Dirt and grass and leaves and trash. They looked like the maker raked his back yard and stuffed it all in the saddle.
    There is one from Romania also that is sold on Ebay as a German sidesaddle. Again it’s horns are wrong. It is way too wide for most horses. It is OK for a draft or half Draft. But it doesn’t ride right.
    I have one of those here I call my Boomerang. It ends up back here with me always. I am sorry I ever bought it.
    Sidesaddle is fun and safe. But the horse has to be “Lady -Broke”. Don’t try to ride a green horse in sidesaddle. We recommend a horse be 6 to 7 years old and well trained. (their backs are not fully developed until that age.)
    I teach women how to bailout if there seems to be trouble heading her way. And try to do so and land on your feet.
    But hopefully that may never happen to you.
    There is lots of good information for the aside rider out there. Lot more than when i started into sidesaddle. I have been a certified Instructor for sidesaddle for 17 years so I would be pleased to help if I can.
    Hope this helps.
    Kindest regards, Lillian (sadlmakr)

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