Aside World Magazine

Spring 2020 Issue 

2020 ISSO Annual Gathering and Unmounted Clinic

If you couldn't make it to the 2020 ISSO Annual Gathering and Unmounted Clinic on March 7th and 8th in Herndon, VA then you really missed out on a great meeting. At registration, each participant was given a great swag bag which included old issues of Aside World, samples of horse products, people treats, lots of other goodies, and a booklet which included agendas for each day, copies of talks, presenter contact info, thank you for our sponsors and paper for note-taking.  We started the day by introducing the ISSO board members, then went into the programing. The first discussion was lead by Carla Peetros on fixing saddle fit problems.  We discussed common fit problems, then went through a myriad of saddle pad options available and considerations with each of them. She then went into a second presentation and discussion on broken trees, imparting her knowledge over the years including how to tell when a tree is broken, examples of breaks (this included pictures and actual trees that everyone could look at and touch), options of possible fixes, along with the people to consult, and how they would go about fixing different breaks.


We then had a very illuminating talk about horses' backs and side saddle from a vet's perspective by Dr. Laureen Bartfield. She spoke about equine anatomy and discussed why many suggest waiting until a horse is six years old before starting side saddle.  She then covered the importance of warming-up and cooling-down, and covered specific warm-up and cool-down exercises, as well as the actual muscles the exercises engage.  She then shared with us common treatment modalities available today including the pros and cons of each.  Finally, we learned about exercises we can utilize to keep our equine partners going sound for years to come.  

Everyone then enjoyed a fabulous lunch provided complementary by ISSO.  We then returned to a very informative talk by Dr. Mary-Anne Ost on helmet safety and dementia. She went over importance of wearing helmets and current helmet technology available on the market.  She then taught us about dementia related to brain injury and prevention for the future.


After a short break, Mary Beth Walker presented about how she makes her fabulous helmet hides.  She provided hands-on access to wigs, hats, helmets, etc. Dr. Laureen Bartfield contributed to the talk with her collection of commercially available helmet hide hats including derbies, straw hats, western hats, and other options available. We then pulled out members' projects and discussed ideas on how to improve them or start on new ones.  The highlight of the discussion for many was ideas on how to create a safe top-hat style helmet! Kate Hopkins then gave a wonderful talk on everything to do with aprons-design concerns, materials, safety considerations, modifications of vintage garments, patterning, etc. It certainly was a whirlwind exploration in a short amount of time.


Our last discussion was on instructor certification and grading systems available for side saddle led by Shelly Liggett. We had a lots of questions and dialogue around options available for not only our organization, but all the side saddle organizations.  We discussed possible implications to amateur status, and how we can encourage more people to try side saddle without breaking amateur eligibility. We then had a quick wrap up before we concluded to go get ready for the banquet that night. 

The next day we opened our day with the Annual Business Meeting (please click here for Meeting Minutes) then had three interactive break-out sessions where members got to voice their concerns, ideas, and vision for the future of ISSO. We came up with a ton of ideas (click on this link to see the minutes) but some of which will need to be tabled until next year given the current COVID 19 concerns and change to  everyone's calendars. If you would like to help with planning for upcoming events, contribute to the Aside World Magazine, or volunteer in any way we would love to hear from you at  

If you have anything you would like to submit to Aside World please email

© 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.