Meet Lillian Chaudhary! Lillian is not only an accomplished sidesaddle rider, certified sidesaddle instructor, but one of only a handful of certified sidesaddle restorers. She even builds saddles from the tree up! Lillian restored my Champion and Wilton saddle and will be restoring my Knoud very soon!
Lillian has been restoring sidesaddles since she was 15 years old. She found an old Western one from a second hand junk store for $5.00 in 1963. None of the cowboy saddlers would touch it. They told her to throw it in the dumpster. Lillian's Mother however, told her to take it apart and see how it was made originally. Then copy the bad pieces in new leather and put it back together. So she did and she rode in it. That began her education in Sidesaddles. She did that for a hobby until she ended up alone with 4 children and no job. Instead of giving up, she used this knowledge to support her family. 23 years later she is still doing it! She just restored an 1875 sidesaddle out of England that had no panels and only pieces of the billets left. She rebuilt it and it is good to go.
"Nice old Gal" Lillian reflected.
"I am only held back by the lack of trees so I have been buying old dried out junkers for the trees. Currently I have about 5 English trees to rebuild.
I still do repairs and restorations and I do ranch calls and I am going to a stable this weekend to reflock and re-billet some Dressage saddles. The sidesaddles have slowed down some so I am doing the astride saddles now."
The following saddles are all handmade from the tree up. She is searching for a new treemaker since the fellow she had making them is now retired and 83 years old!.
She did all the tooling and designed them as she made them.
Sorry ladies, but all these beauties are sold!
Lillian conducts Sidesaddle Clinic's for amateurs. This photo is from one she taught in Sacramento, California in 2008.
Lillian received the Member of the Year and International Sidesaddle Hall of Fame Award in 2006. She is pictured here with Linda Bowlby, another sidesaddle expert!
Lillian has a web sight www.snowcrest.net/sadlmakr but it has not been updated in a while. Still very worth a visit! If you are interested in contacting Lillian about doing a clinic or help with your sidesaddle, her e-mail address is: