Extremely rare and unique antique women’s carpetbag sidesaddle. Discovered in the rafters at Jeff’s Architectural Salvage in Weston, Missouri just across the river from Fort Leavenworth in 2013. The saddle is made with a carved wooden saddletree. The padding underneath the saddle is horsehair stuffed in linen. The topside of the seat has straw padding around the edges, and horsehair between the seat and the seat cover. The seat cover is made of decorative saddlebag material. There is still a little of the red coloring left in the design but not much. The wooden seat measures 21” from tip to tail and 13 ¾” across at the widest. It is clearly carved with rough tools. The leather flap on the left has light floral tooling that is still visible but worn and faded. The leather on the right is not of the same cut and may be a replacement/repair from along the way. Both pommels are covered in thin leather. There are some missing components like the stirrup or stirrups. The leather has been given new life, but it remains very fragile. This saddle is not restored.
If there is a maker’s mark, it is too badly worn to identify or has yet to be discovered by a better eye. There is a marking near the slot for the stirrup leather. It seems to read X 189 or X 187 or X 181. This could be a serial number, size, partial remaining inscription, or convey another meaning.
American Leatherworks of Lansing, Kansas traded some items with Jeff’s Architectural Salvage of Weston, Missouri for the saddle in late 2013. When received, the leather was completely bone dry and misshapen from storage. American Leatherworks gradually put life back into the original leathers and molded them near to their original shape while attempting not to put new cracks into the leather. They stored it on a saddle-stand so it would sit properly again.
Previous history is unknown, and the educated guesses of historians, saddle-makers, equestrian enthusiasts, and hobbyists are welcome and appreciated. Images will remain on AmericanLeatherworks.com and the narrative will be updated.
It will be carefully packaged to avoid further damage to the leather. Shipping outside the U.S. will be arranged separately and paid for by the buyer.