Monday, April 30, 2012

And the collection grows.... W. Musgrave sidesaddle

I think I should start this post with "Hi My name is Michelle and I have a problem..... I'm running out of room in my basement!!" lol Yes I have acquired yet another sidesaddle! It is a beautiful W. Musgrave sidesaddle made sometime between 1880 and 1910. I saw the little tapadero stirrup (my toes *just* fit into it) and the beautiful stamping and knew I had to have it! I especially love the hearts stamped onto each corner of the skirts. I believe the conchos are nickel and the saddle strings are all original. A few have broken off but they were carefully tucked into the offside purse.
It was a lucky Craigslist find, I really can't believe no-one else snapped it up before I did! I was a bit nervous dealing with Craigslist and someone I didn't know but it turned out great and the saddle arrived safe & sound on Friday. I wish I could find more about the saddle maker. All I know is that Walter Musgrave was born in Illinois in 1860, moved to Montrose Colorado and married is wife in 1880. They had a saddle shop there from 1880 to 1910 and then moved to Oregon after that. I believe he eventually died in California. It's obviously a very special saddle with the hearts stamped into it. Perhaps he even made it for his wife? (Sounds like a nice story doesn't it?)
Isn't the purse on the offside pretty? Even the strap (one is missing) that the cinch attaches to is stamped to match the saddle. I think I will find a local saddler that has a similar stamp and get them to make another strap to match. Even the cold iron cinch rings are decoratively covered to protect them from corrosion. It even has a neat little grab handle on the off-side, just in case things get a little western! The seat is really comfortable too!
It's a big saddle but surprisingly, not that heavy! I think my english one is heavier than this one. That surprised me anyways. Looks like it was well loved & taken care of. Yesterday I brought it out to the barn with me to try out on Rain. I figured with her low wither and slightly "round" silhouette, it might fit her. And I was right! Doesn't she look cute in western gear?
Poor pony didn't quite know what to think about it though! I was bumping & bumping with my left leg and she kinda stood there like "Umm what do you want?". We finally got motoring and even tried a bit of trot, she's pretty smooth! Sidesaddle horse in the making for sure! It sure feels different than the english sidesaddles, I almost felt like I was sitting up there in a dish on top of a horse lol. I didn't want to do too much riding in it because those latigo straps were pretty crispy (I think I need to get new ones) and I didn't have the back cinch on to help stabilize it. Hate to chance it sliding sideways and wreck it!


  1. Yes, you do have a problem! I expect to see you featured on "Intervention" one of these days.
    But, wow, what a find! I'm pretty envious.

  2. haha I think I'd fight harder than the hoarders on the show "Intervention" if anybody tried to take my sidesaddles away lol!

    Definitely going to have to make a split skirt or apron like your western one so I can ride in this one in style.