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Side Saddle, 1896

Midwives provided an invaluable service in country areas in the late 1800s where there were few resident doctors or trained nurses. They were called upon to make visits at all hours of the day and night, and riding on horseback provided the quickest and safest mode of travel, especially in country areas where there were few roads suitable for a horse and buggy, and where snow and icy weather conditions provided constant access challenges during the winter months.

This side saddle was made by Arthur Augustus Crittenden for Walcha midwife Caroline Ford, née Anderson. Crittenden operated his Saddlery shop in Fitzroy Street, Walcha from 1896 to about 1935. Side saddles were custom-made to fit horse and rider. This saddle was specially shaped to fit both Caroline Ford and her favorite horse. The wear on the top of the horn indicates it was well used.

The saddle’s smooth seamless seat appears to be an innovation. In 1897, the local newspaper reported that Arthur Crittenden’s seamless Stock Saddle had won First Prize at the Walcha Show.


What was the occupation of the owner of this saddle?

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