Founded in 1974 by Charlotte Kneeland, the International Side Saddle Organization is one of the oldest groups devoted to aside riding. Mrs. Kneeland discovered side saddle while earning money by buying old saddles, refurbishing them, and selling them at a profit. A side saddle came into her hands, and she was swamped with calls when it came time to sell it. She began buying and selling more side saddles, eventually importing them from England. Realizing that she - like most in the United States - lacked proper knowledge of how to ride aside, she set out to obtain that knowledge and pass it on to others. Much of her learning came from the other side of a telephone from riders active in side saddle's heyday; riders such as Katherine Illoway, Rosamund Owen, Lida Fleitmann Bloodgood, Hope Scott and Mrs. Miles Valentine.
Mrs. Kneeland ran ISSO, edited and published the magazine Side-Saddle News, and operated The Side Saddlery from March 1974 until early 1996. In 2004, the World Sidesaddle Federation, Inc. merged into ISSO, forming a single non-profit organization. At that time, the magazine was re-named Aside World to honor WSFI's contribution to the organization.
As a 501(c)(3) organization, ISSO is devoted to educating all comers about riding aside. Our primary audience is horseback riders and saddlers, but we have also assisted authors, movie makers, artists, historians, and many others who find themselves wishing to know more about side saddle. According to our bylaws, our mission is "to create, stimulate, and maintain interest in the equine art of riding aside, by educating the public in this art, by providing information on riding aside by supporting those who engage in aside activities, and by formulating and coordinating the activities and interests of aside riders." We prefer to simply say "INFORMATION - EDUCATION - INSPIRATION"!!!