Aside World Magazine

Summer 2019 Issue 

2019 ISSO Annual Gathering and Unmounted Clinic 

By: Tammie Conway

Photo Credits: Tammie Conway

If you were unable to make the annual meeting and un-mounted clinic on March 23rd and 24th of this year, you really missed a great event. Each morning we had a complimentary continental breakfast. Saturday Shelly Ligget introduced the board and gave an overview of the upcoming year in her opening remarks. The first presentation was on Purchasing a side saddle by Carla Peetros. It was very informative, and we were able to touch and see stripped down saddles checking tree soundness, billets, seat webbing, etc. Jennifer Stevenson and Laureen Barfield discussed the new points system and our new website. Later Heidi Opdyke gave an interactive discussion on the importance of the right leg with Carla demonstrating in a side saddle. Jennifer and Tammie Conway then lead a discussion panel on calendar of events and social opportunities the group would like to see in the future.


We then had a fabulous lunch that was provided and were able to share time socializing and getting to know each other better. John and Susan Samtak took the group out for a historical tour of USET then Laureen Bartfield explained the difference in western trees and several different ways to rig a western saddle. Our knowledge then was expanded on evaluating saddle fit as well as flocking/shimming options by Shelly Liggett. Carla then gave another talk on how to properly do a whither tracing with many helpful hints on pitfalls to avoid and how to ensure you have the best tracing possible. We rounded out the day’s talks with a presentation on historical habits by Jeannie Whited including a ton of beautiful pictures. The group ended the day at Shelly Liggett’s house with a lot of comradery over pizza and Italian food.


Sunday started with the ISSO Annual Meeting.  We had a lot of productive discussions while eating which, as you can probably tell, was a theme for the weekend. Physical therapist Dr. Kate Dowd of Metcon Mechanics gave a very interesting interactive discussion on stretching exercises for side saddle riders which we were able to practice. Heidi then gave a fabulous talk with pointers on posting trot, tidbits of information to improve your equitation, and examples of good and bad jumping position as well as tips to improve your own position in the saddle. John Moss then gave a delightful talk on leather projects he has done in the past showing us what is possible with a little practice all the while entertaining us with his stories. Our last discussion was given by Kate Hopkins on the pitfalls of buying your next habit off the internet. She strongly suggested people get a trial period to ensure appropriateness for your use and had examples to feel of good and poor quality materials. She also gave us tips on what to look for in photographs if you do not have a trial option, and shared examples of well made and poorly made habits. Shelly wrapped up the meeting with closing remarks, and we closed out the silent auction which had been open all weekend. It really was a fun weekend filled with not only education, but also opportunities to meet new people and reconnect with old friends--which is what ISSO is all about!


If you would like to submit a side saddle related article for an upcoming issue please email

(Photos must include photographer credit. If the photo is from a professional photographer, a photo release is required)

© 2019 International Side Saddle Organization.  Site proudly created and maintained by Paws and Rewind LLC.  ALL photos are ©Paws and Rewind unless otherwise noted.  Photos may not be used or reproduced without written permission. Special thanks to Jeannie Whited for her tremendous job with the site copy.