Friday, September 16, 2011

Owen and Co. Sidesaddles

I recently purchased an Owen Sidesaddle. It is the first sidesaddle that I have that does not need to be restored immediately! It is just beautiful!!! (Thanks Jeanne!) So lets look at Owen Saddles today and talk about them!

Following information from:
Owen and Co. was founded prior to 1839 by Henry Owen trading from 125 Mount St, Berkeley Square, London.

*1900 ~ around this time introduce the “Flat seated side saddle.”

*1930 ~ By this time The Middleburg Saddlery Co. Virginia, U.S.A. sole U.S. agents for Owen & Co.

*1940–47 ~ Between these dates A McDougall & Son., (Est. 1770), 22 City Road, Finsbury Square, London E.C.1. have purchased Owen & Co.

*1959 ~ W & H Gidden Ltd., (Est. 1806), purchase McDougall & Son.
Held Royal Warrants to Queen Victoria and the King of Italy

Informatiion from my sidesaddle readers verifies that Owen saddles the elite of their own. They are not only great for flat work but are preferred by those who enjoy hunting and jumping.

My observation after only a few rides upon Oliver: It is a beautiful and elegant saddle! I was impressed with the fit. I knew immediately when I rode him too. With one slight exception of needing about 1 inch rise in the back to make it perfectly level, it seemed like it was made for him. For me, this saddle is a KEEPER! I found no places where it rubbed or pinched. Although I miss the 'garage door' feature I have on the Knoud, it does have a hook/eye for a quick adjustment.

This saddle does sit about 3 inches higher than my Knoud and about 1 inch higher than the Champion and Wilton I have. While this does not make much of a difference in the ride for flat work, it does give the impression that either Oliver has a shorter neck than he does ... or that his rider (that would be me!) is really really tall. For this purpose, I may be showing him in Saddlebred shows using the Knoud.

This Owen sidesaddle has two toned leather. Jeanne was trying to find out if this was a popular design of the era.

Jeanne found out from Nick the reason for the two-toned coloration on her saddle.
"The pommel and cantle were of pigskin so they darken fairly quickly.
The reason the flap leather is so different is that it has had a surface dye i.e. aniline dyed or in the trade known as anionic dye.
This is fairly common."

This is an offside Owen... very very valuable to the ladies who prefer riding to the right.

I had this picture saved and labeled as an Owen breakaway stirrup assembly however, it does not look like the one on my saddle. Tonight I will try and remember to take a picture of mine so we can compare.

This is a Champion and Wilton stirrup assembly and was specifically requested for this Owen many of you already guessed!

Gemma sent me this pic of her Owen sidesaddle stirrup assembly and mine looks more like this too:


gemma said...

I LOVE my Owen :)

That stirrup fitting looks like a Champion & Wilton to me, the Owens have a tube-over-pointy-bit version (I'm emailing you a pic of mine!).

Equine Mum said...

Great Blog! Why not come along to and post your blog there too for other horsey lovers to follow.

sidesaddlegirl said...

It is a C&W fitting but it wasn't uncommon for customers to request another fitting than than the saddler's "own brand". the lady may have preferred a C&W fitting over an Owen fitting.