Monday, August 20, 2012

Welcome to the Sidesaddle Resource Page

Welcome aside-riders, and future aside-riders!

I would like to welcome you to the Sidesaddle Resource Page, a place where people wanting to learn more about the art of riding aside, and are looking for sources for saddles and more.  We encourage all new or aspiring sidesaddle riders to do as much research as possible before embarking into sidesaddle riding, especially when purchasing expensive equipment.

Sidesaddle riding is an ancient tradition, and contrary to some views, if done correctly, can be a safe and pleasant pastime for both horse and rider.  The important thing to know is that especially with sidesaddle, having the proper equipment is extremely important, and there are a lot of products out there at temptingly reasonable prices that could be dangerous for both rider and horse.

Sidesaddles should be very carefully balanced and padded properly, from tree-up to ensure the horse is not injured and to make sure the rider is secure and safe in the saddle.  So proper equipment is crucial. Be prepared to embark on a quest for a good saddle, perhaps with multiple fittings, even with some modifications to the flocking and pommel/horns.  This is no endeavour meant for someone who is bargain-hunting or looking for short-cuts. Sidesaddle riding not only requires specialized equipment, it also requires specialized training. To jump into it quickly could be dangerous. If you are looking for instant gratification, then you could potentially hurt your horse and yourself.

The sidesaddle community is larger than one would expect, and it is replete with ladies who are eager and happy to assist anyone with questions and advice.  There are a variety of Sidesaddle Associations scattered around the globe, founts of experience and expertise, enthusiastic to help new interest in this equestrian pursuit.  If you have no local sources of information, then we recommend you join the Facebook group "Sidesaddle Riders!" (link provided to the left); you will find some of the community's luminaries right there at your disposal, willing to help you find what you need for you and your horse, and encouraging you to have a safe, happy experience that will carry on the tradition of riding aside.  There are instructors, saddlers, custom sidesaddle habit makers, tack and accessory makers, riders with decades of experience, and they hail from all over the globe.  The community is kind and welcoming to newcomers.

If you do your job, and do your research, you will find that riding sidesaddle can be a fulfilling and elegant experience. Your horse, in the proper equipment will also be happy.  Just be sure that you are not seeking information from questionable sources, and trust us, there are people out there who have no idea what they're doing and who still feel compelled to give advice. Stick to legitimate sources, which we have listed here.

The lists provided include all of the sources that could be found and gathered, regardless of the type of product they produce. This listing does not include reviews of the producers or the saddlers. You will have to do that research on your own, but we encourage you to find out as much about the products before you buy them.  We will be maintaining this list to the best of our ability, however, there is a good chance there is missing information.

If you know of a saddler, of a service provider, an association or group that isn't listed here, let us know. We will gladly add them.