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Jacquelynn Holly, a dedicated equestrienne with a penchant for the past, found her passion in the elegant world of sidesaddles. Her journey began in 2013 when she stepped into the enchanting realm of Victorian reenactment. Little did she know that this initial curiosity would blossom into a lifelong devotion to preserving and reviving the art of sidesaddle riding.

 

The Fascination Awakens

Jacquelynn’s first encounter with a sidesaddle was like unearthing a hidden treasure. The delicate craftsmanship, the unique balance, the intricate designs and the rich history behind these saddles captured her imagination. She marveled at the way women of bygone eras rode gracefully, in a vast array of artistically styled sidesaddles.

From Curiosity to Craftsmanship

As Jacquelynn delved deeper into the world of sidesaddles, her fascination evolved into a mission. She realized these beautiful relics needed more than admiration—they needed restored, but restored to be used, as there is a finite number of functionally, safe sidesaddles in the world, and no one is building new Western sidesaddle trees. 

Guided by her passion, she embarked on a journey to learn the art of rebuilding and restoring sidesaddles by disassembling and studying those in her own ever growing and ever changing private collection.

 

 

 

Restoring the Past while redefining goals

Jacquelynn’s workshop became a sanctuary for these forgotten treasures. Eventually the shop was affectionately coined "Holly Hospital and Home for Wayward Sidesaddles"  by friend and colleague, Anita Riesinger.

The collection was an eclectic assortment of Western, English, Mexican and Peruvian, from all eras of their evolution. Some had great potential, while others had no value and might otherwise be dubbed "wreckers". Others, in decent condition, should still only be used for conversation pieces and decor.

 

It was time to redefine the restoration vision. Westerns, both fully rigged by big saddle maker names and the mass-produced catalogue sidesaddles were what drew Jacquelynn in the most. In 2019, Jacquelynn re-homed many of her sidesaddles to turn her focus solely on Westerns.

Today, Jacquelynn continues to meticulously disassemble sidesaddles, study their construction, and breathe new life into them. Each stitch, each pattern, carries the secrets of lost history. Jacquelynn revels in the challenge of preserving authenticity while ensuring functionality, and giving these pieces of art the opportunity to serve another 150 years. 

 

Jacquelynn takes great pride in uncovering the history behind each sidesaddle - who owned it, who made it, where it came from and where it is going. Her restorations go beyond leather and delve deep into history itself.

 

 

The Birth of Idaho Sidesaddle Association

Where rugged mountains meet rolling plains in picturesque Idaho, Jacquelynn Holly and Lois Murphy share a passion for riding aside. Their love for this elegant discipline became a shared mission to ensure the tradition lives on in the West. 

With unwavering determination, Jacquelynn and Lois founded Idaho Sidesaddle Association in 2018 (www.idahosidesaddle.com). The vision: to promote historical education by riding in various styles of sidesaddles. Sidesaddles, having evolved across different cultures and eras, hold stories of elegance, resilience, and femininity. The association aims to weave these narratives into the practice of riding aside. 

What began as a modest endeavor, soon gained traction, drawing riders from neighboring states and internationally. ISA's commitment to preserving the art of sidesaddle has resonated globally. 

 

Since 2021, ISA began hosting an annual clinic in May, drawing participants from across the nation and bringing out international clinicians to teach. ISA is extremely grateful for the International Side Saddle Organization's annual support and sponsorships in making this growing event possible. 

During the remainder of the year, ISA stays busy speaking and riding at educational events including Idaho Horse Expo, riding in a number of popular parades, and competing in the show ring. In 2023, ISA expanded its presence to include the Idaho Renaissance Faire, where ISA loaned equines and sidesaddles to Renaissance Royalty.

 

 

 

 

 

INSPIRING YOUTH

Jacquelynn inspires young riders with her unwavering passion for sidesaddles and their history by offering Give it a Go's around the Treasure Valley hosted by Idaho Sidesaddle Association. Educating younger generations about sidesaddle is a valuable endeavor that fosters intergenerational learning and preserves rich history. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Serving the Sidesaddle Community

Thanks to social media, the small restoration community, and the even smaller world of sidesaddles, word has spread about Jacquelynn’s expertise in Western Sidesaddles.

Jacquelynn works tirelessly to put sidesaddles back into circulation, while ensuring their safety to be used. 

Trees are meticulously inspected, repaired and re-rawhided, rigging is replaced and upgraded to better suit the balance of the saddles. If skirts cannot be preserved and used, they are replaced and replicated with the same tooling.

 

Jacquelynn takes great pride in offering restored sidesaddles for trial before purchase to ensure the perfect fit for both equine and rider. 

Her restored sidesaddles and full builds can be found nationwide. 

 

 

 

A Legacy Preserved

Jacquelynn Holly’s dedication transcends mere craftsmanship. She became a custodian of tradition, bridging the gap between past and present. Her restored saddles have graced parades, historical events, and riding competitions.

In the quiet corners of her workshop, Jacquelynn Holly continues to breathe life into sidesaddles. Her love for this lost art has become a beacon, guiding others to appreciate the grace, resilience, and sheer beauty of riding sidesaddle. Jacquelynn’s story reminds us that passion can transform the ordinary into something extraordinary—a lesson she imparts to the sidesaddle community and beyond.

Jacquelynn Holly

Preserving elegance and tradition, one sidesaddle at a time

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One of several J.S. Calles sidesaddles Jacquelynn has had the privilege of restoring. This sidesaddle now resides in Key Largo, FL. 
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Jacquelynn's very first restoration, and sewing project - ever. The leather was rehydrated, the skirts received new paint, the attached fabric, rigging and panels were all replaced. This saddle came to Jacquelynn in a trade for gemstone tack (Equine Jeweled Designs). The accompanying history is that "Polly", from Jamul, CA jumped in this sidesaddle. This sidesaddle is now on display at a private residence in Coronado, CA. 
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Left: Jacquelynn and Rosy discovering  a passion for Victorian re-enactment, San Diego, 2014
Right: Jacquelynn and Rosy modeling a Holly Saddlery restored sidesaddle, Boise, 2021
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Jacquelynn Holly and Lois Murphy, co-founders of Idaho Sidesaddle Association at one of their first club meetings, circa 2019. 
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Idaho Sidesaddle Association's first appearance at Idaho Renaissance Faire, 2023
Left: Jacquelynn Holly leads the two princesses aside
Right: The Royal Court stands with members of Idaho Sidesaddle Association members Sam Chamberlain, Lois Murphy and Jacquelynn Holly
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Jacquelynn Holly and assistant, Hannah Enzminger, demonstrate an introduction to Western Sidesaddle at an educational event in the Treasure Valley, before children enthusiastically give sidesaddle a go for the very first time! 
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One of Jacquelynn's original Western Sidesaddles, made from scratch, nearly a decade after her first restoration, "Polly", pictured at the top of this page. 
Jacquelynn Holly and Rosy atop the removable cushion of a sheepskin hide on her personal Western Sidesaddle, an Ironbound. 
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