The earliest known type of sidesaddle was a stuffed pillow that was attached to the back of a man’s saddle. This was called a “pillion”. The lady would have been positioned completely sideways on the horse. There are two short scenes in the movie “The Other Boleyn Girl” of ladies riding pillion.

Later a saddle was developed that had a foot rest and back rest. Often they also had hand holds in the front and back. Called a “planchette,” this would also place the rider sideways.

Views of a Planchette that is over 400 years old

Two more Planchettes the left one was made by Jami Wormer

It is unknown when the upright horn, the one the rider hooks her right leg around, came into use.

The saddle pictured here was declared to be a 16th century saddle – could this be an early upright horn?


The second horn, an appendage that comes from the right side of the saddle, is commonly attributed to Catherine de Medici. This would cradle the right leg between the two horns and offered a bit more security.
This saddle is later than the 1500's but shows the second horn (not to be confused with the leaping horn). The saddle also shows the rigging used for Western saddles.


Early in this century, the leaping horn was invented. Both the French and English lay claim to this advancement. It was also at this time that the balance strap was created. This strap is attached to the right rear of the saddle, passed under the belly of the horse, and fastened to the left front. This served to stabilize the saddle and offset the extra weight from both legs being on the left side of the horse. The Victorian era in the late 1800s was during the reign of Queen Victoria and is typically what we think of when we recall “sidesaddle”. Queen Victoria wore black for much of her life in memory of her late husband and the ladies of the day emulated her. Could this be the nexus of the traditional black habit seen in the hunt field? A lady’s horse was trained to walk and do a collected canter. It was unseemly for a lady to be bouncing at the trot. Riders were quite often sewn into their habits in order to show off their figure to best advantage.
Queen Elizabeth I's Sidesaddle
Queen Victoria's Sidesaddle

In the 1860s, a western sidesaddle was attributed to Charles Goodnight from the United States. He had a saddle made for his wife, built on a western-style tree. It was believed that the typical English saddle was not sturdy enough for the rough country out west. There are photos of Belle Starr (a notorious bandit and horse thief) on her sidesaddle, usually with her six-gun on her hip. Her saddle is believed to pre-date the Goodnight saddle.

The western sidesaddle often included a “purse” on the offside to hold the lady’s incidentals such as coins for tolls, a handkerchief, and, possibly, a small derringer for protection.

“Goodnight” style saddles

You can add caption here
Mrs Goodnight
You can add caption here

Famous Sidesaddle Riders

Some famous ladies who rode sidesaddle include Queen Elizabeth I, Queen Victoria, and today’s Queen Elizabeth II. Other riders include Laura Ingles Wilder of “Little House on the Prairie” fame, Annie Oakley, and Sybil Luddington, who rode to warn of the British coming just like Paul Revere, except that she rode further and she didn’t get caught!


Becky Good

Becky Good

Becky Good
Donna Huffman Vice-President
Christy Lenon
Treasurer & Membership Secretary

Board of Directors

Jami Wormer
Jennifer Nickle
Jan Cook

2016 Members

Patti Huber
Susie Davis
Lelsie Holloran
Cal Sumner
Jennifer Nickle
Chris Nickle
Shelbi Corlett
Jeannie Borden

Network & Links

Side Saddle Clubs:

ASA provides a supportive network of regional sidesaddle groups in order to promote sidesaddle and enjoy the camaraderie of other sidesaddle enthusiasts.
ISSO is a group dedicated to the art of side saddle riding.
The oldest non-profit sidesaddle group in the US.
British organization founded in 1974 which is one of the largest, and probably the oldest, association of sidesaddle riders in the world.
an affiliate of the UK organization.
GALA is a group of ladies dedicated to the lovely art of sidesaddle riding. 
The TLA is the official equestrian drill team of Texas (74th Leg., 1995).  They are a unique group – the women ride only Peruvian Paso horses aside.
Ladies who ride aside from France.
Aside riders located in Aiken, SC.  They host clinics and other activities.
The Liberty Side Saddle Network:
Hosts of Sidesaddle @ USET – an all sidesaddle weekend with clinics, vendors and two shows.  No web site but you can find them on Facebook.


new and used sidesaddles, clinics by the "Sidesaddle Success" team of Sue Tobin and Gail DeCipio.  Sidesaddle equipment and sidesaddle wedding planning.
new and used sidesaddles, equipment and gifts.
custom sidesaddles made.  Specializes in Western sidesaddles but is developing English saddles.
an award winning UK saddler.  Makes new sidesaddles or repairs.  
saddler Rob Jenkins – repairs or custom sidesaddles.
sidesaddles rebuilt, repaired and made new.

Indiana Horse Clubs:

Indiana Horse Clubs:
Indiana’s oldest all breed organization.  Hosting Spring and Fall all-breed shows each year.
one of the oldest and most active Arabian organizations in the US. 
In 2010, they celebrated their 75th year.
Morgan horse owners and breeders.

Patterns, Habits, Accessories

Victorian era dresses, habits and accessories.
as the name says, habits for sale.
patterns for habits and lots of gift ideas for the sidesaddle lover.
lots of equine related patterns including sidesaddle aprons, hunt jackets, breeches, and even costumes for the horse.
a good source for period habit patterns of all kinds.
a great source for corset making supplies and kits.  Prices are resonable too.
makers of custom made habits.
source of patterns for habits from all eras.


sidesaddle instruction and a Wild West Revue for your event.
for travelers with horses or for trail riding opportunities.
performers from the old wild West. 
tail and mane bags made to order.
equines a speciality.  Events or barn appointments.
BHS Photography:
events, portraits, product photography.  Official photographer for Sidesaddle @ USET.
You can find them on Facebook.


The following movies have sidesaddle scenes. Some are very short but several are worth renting to see the lovely habits, etc. These are indicated with an *

A Midsummer Nights Dream – Calista Flockhart  1999
*Adventures of Robin Hood – Errol Flynn  1938
The Agony and The Ecstasy – Charlton Heston  1965
Alice In Wonderland – Johnny Depp  2010
Amadeus – Tom Hulce   1984
*An Ideal Husband – Paulette Goddard  1948
*An Ideal Husband – Cate Blanchett  1999
Anne of The Thousand Days – Richard Burton  1969
Auntie Mame – Rosalind Russell  1958
Bandit of Sherwood Forest – Cornel Wilde   1946
The Barrets of Wimpole Street -Jennifer Jones  1957
Bedlam – Boris Karloff  1946
*Belle Starr – Gene Tierney  1941
Berkley Square – Leslie Howard  1933
Black Beauty – Mona Freeman  1946
*Black Beauty – Mark Lester  1971
The Black Knight – Alan Ladd  1954
The Black Swan – Maureen OHara  1942
The Bride – Jennifer Beales  1985
Buffalo Bill – Maureen OHara  1944
*Camelot – Vanessa Redgrave  1967
*Canyon Passage – Rita Hayworth  1946
Captain Blood – Errol Flynn  1935
The Castilian – Frankie Avalon  1963
Cimarron – Irene Dunne   1931
*Daniel Deronda – series Hugh Dancy  2002
David Copperfield – Freddie Bartholomew   1935
The Devil and Daniel Webster – Walter Huston  1941
Diane – Lana Turner  1956
Donkey Xote – animated  2007
*Downton Abbey – BBC series  Season 1
Downton Abbey – BBC series  Season 2
Downton Abbey – BBC series   Season 5
The Eagle and The Hawk – Rhonda Fleming
*Elizabeth – Cate Blanchette   1998
*Elizabeth: The Golden Age – Cate Blanchett  2007
Emily Bronte’s  Wuthering Heights – Juliette Binoche  1992
*Enslavement: The True Story of Fanny Kemble –  Jane Seymour   1999
Excalibur – Helen Mirren  1981
Far From The Madding Crowd – Julie Christie  1967
Felicity: An American Girl Adventure – John Schneider  2005
The Fighting Guardsman – Anita Louise   1945
First Knight – Sean Connery  1995
Fire Over England – Laurence Olivier  1937
*The Flambards – BBC series  1979
The Flame and The Arrow – Burt Lancaster   1950
For The First Time – Mario Lanza   1959
*Forsythe Saga – BBC series  2002
*Fort Apache – Shirley Temple  1948
The Four Feathers – Ralph Richardson  1939
The Four Musketeers – Michael York   1974
Giant – Elizabeth Taylor  1956
Gigi – Leslie Caron  1958
*Go West Young Lady – Glen Ford  1941
Gone With The Wind – Vivien Leigh  1939
Gormanghast – Christopher Lee  Ep4  2000
Hidalgo – Vigo Mortensen   2004
*The Horse Soldiers – John Wayne  1959
The Illusionist – Jessica Biel
*The Inn of The Sixth Happiness – Ingrid Bergman  1958
*Ivanhoe – Robert Taylor  1952
Ivanhoe – BBC series  1997
Jezebel – Bette Davis   1938
Jane Eyre – Joan Fontaine  1943
Jane Eyre – William Hurt  1996
Jane Eyre – Toby Stevens BBC  2006
Jane Eyre –  Mia Wasikowska     2011
Knights of The Round Table – Robert Taylor  1953
Lady Jane – Helena Bonham Carter   1986
*Lark Rise to Candleford  BBC Ep10  2008
Laura Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life –  Angelina Jolie  2003
The List of Adrian Messenger – George C. Scott  1963
*Love Me Tonight – Jeanette McDonald  1932
Lust for Life – Kirk Douglas  1956
Madam Bovary – Jennifer Jones  1949
Madeleine – Ann Todd   1950
Mame -Lucille Ball  1974
*The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing – Burt Reynolds   1973
The Mark of Zorro – Frank Langella  1974
Mary of Scotland – Kathryn Hepburn  1936
*Mary Queen of Scots – Vanessa Redgrave  1971
Mask of The Avenger – John Derek  1957
Master of Ballantrae – Eroll Flynn  1953
*Mayerling – Omar Sharif  1968
*Miss Marple, Murder at The Gallop – Margaret Rutherford  1963
Mistress of Paradise – Genevieve Bujold  1981
Moonfleet – Stewart Granger   1955
Moulin Rouge – Jose Farrer   1952
*Mrs. Brown – Judi Dench   1997
Mrs Parkington – Grear Garson  1944
The Musketeers – BBC series  Ep6  2014
Original Sin – Antonio Banderas  2001
*The Other Bolyen Girl – Natalie Portman  2008
Phantom of The Opera – Gerad Butler  2004
Pride & Prejudice – Colin Firth  1995
The Princess Bride – Robin Wright  1987
The Princess Diaries 2 – Anne Hathaway  2004
Rachael And The Stranger – Loretta Young  1948
The Remains of The Day – Anthony Hopkins   1993
Robin Hood – BBC series – Richard Greene  1955-1960
Robin Hood – Uma Thurman  1991
Robin Hood – Russell Crowe  2010
Robin Hood: Men In Tights – Richard Lewis  1993
Rogues of Sherwood Forest – John Derek  1950
*Scaramouche – Stewart Granger  1952
*The Scarlett Letter – Demi Moore  1995
The Sea of Grass – Kathryn Hepburn  1947
Sense & Sensibility – Hugh Grant  1995
*Shallako – Sean Connery  1968
Shakespeare In Love – Gwenyth Paltrow  1998
*She Wore A Yellow Ribbon – John Wayne  1949
Snow White: A Tale of Terror – Sigorney Weaver  1997
Siege of The Saxons – Janette Scott  1963
Stand Up and Fight – Robert Taylor  1939
Suspicion – Cary Grant   1941
Sword of Sherwood Forest – Richard Greene   1960
Sylvia Scarlett – Katherine Hepburn  1935
*The Taming of The Shrew – Elizabeth Taylor  1967
The Three Musketeers – Charlton Heston  1973
*The Tomb of Ligeia – Vincent Price  1965
*Tombstone – Kurt Russell  1993
Travels With My Aunt – Maggie Smith  1972
True Women – Angelina Jolie  1997
*Two Mules For Sister Sara – Clint Eastwood  1970
Valley of The  Kings – Eleanor Parker  1954
The Virgin Queen – Bette Davis  1955
Wanted Dead Or Alive – Steve McQueen “Ransom for a Nun” 1958
War and Peace – Henry Fonda   1956
Western Union – Robert Young  1941
Wild Stallion – Ben Johnson  1952
Wings of The Morning – Henry Fonda  1937
Wives and Daughters – BBC series  1999
Wuthering Heights – Laurence Olivier  1939
Wuthering Heights – Ralph Finnes  1992
The Young Victoria – Emily Blunt   2009
Young Winston – Simon Ward   1972
*Zandys Bride –  Liv Ullman  1974