Horn : The major innovation during the process of modifying the Spanish….

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Silver plated necklace with horse shoe Horses-store.comHorn : The major innovation during the process of modifying the Spanish….

FIGURE 5.—An estradiota saddle from the Mexican Indian codex “Baranda,” of the mid-1500s, showing a rump cover, breast band, saddle skirt, and massive stirrup that predicts later wooden types. Indian learn European ways that the proclaimed laws were futile; forbidding Indians from learning to ride suggests that they were already doing so.

The land itself made previously unencountered demands on riders and equipment.

Probably in the 1600s, the vastness of the Mexican terrain began to modify Spanish riding practices and gear.

Additional labor, including mestizos and Indians, were needed to handle the increasing numbers of sheep and cattle on the open range, a task that could be accomplished only on horseback.

At the same time, Spanish combat saddles had to be made more useful to Mexican range work, which demanded long hours of riding and intense activity of a sort different from that of the mounted soldier and even from that practiced by the herdsmen of Spain.

A saddle with elements borrowed from both the estradiota and jineta must have been developed by 1700.

Protective leather housing was being adapted to rangeland brush and dust.

The rump cover (la anquera), the saddletree covers (la coraza, la mochila) and a forward piece (las armas defensas, later las chaparreras) , all descendants of Spanish estradiota trappings, were extended by colonial Mexican saddle traditions into our Southwest.

Also, the long stirrups and high dished cantle derived from the estradiota-type saddle provided a comfortable style of riding for long hours on the ranching frontier.

The familiar, horizontal swelling of the pommel on western American saddles apparently did not occur to Mexican saddlemakers.

In Mexico, the persistence of the traditional slick fork, perhaps coupled with disdain for the personal security suggested by a swelled pommel, contrasted with an Anglo-American attitude of progressive improvement through experimentation.

By the third quarter of the nineteenth century.

American saddlemakers were exploring a wide variety of shapes for pommel shoulders, even devising attachments such as the bucking-roll.

Nevertheless, the overwhelming influence of stock saddle design NUMBER 39 II in 1596.

We learn that Oiiate had gathered personnel and equipment near the mines of Santa Barbara in Chihuahua.

A representative of the government in Mexico City, Lope de Ulloa y Lemos, undertook an exhaustive inventory of the expendition, as required by law.® The totals reveal about 400 persons, some 83 wagons of different types and more than 7000 cattle.i” Of the 200 soldiers, 171 declared “complete armor for himself and horse.” We may surmise that horse armor included, indeed would have been useless without, a saddle.

Counting these 171 saddles and the leader’s 14 saddles, the expedition was prepared to march, or rather ride, north.

The 14 saddles owned by Don Juan included the three basic types brought to Mexico from Spain.

First, there were six “sillas estradiotas,” the heavily armored cavalry saddle.

Of these estradiota saddles, which featured high curved bows and long stirrup leathers, five had been equipped with stirrups, girths, and cinches, poitrels or breast bands, and cruppers.

Next, there were six “sillas jinetas,” the lighter cavalry or riding saddle with less high bows but with little leather armor and shorter stirrups.

Its trappings included spurs and poitrels, stirrups, caparison, and saddle coverings.

The third type of saddle owned by Captain Onate numbered only two and was a heavy war saddle known as “silla de armas” or “silla bridona.” It displayed a very high front bow or pommel covered in steel and probably possessed a full set of leather armor.

Only one other bridona saddle was listed among all the expedition’s equipment.

Additional references suggest the importance of the leather armor for the saddle and horse.

Some “300 saddle maker’s needles,” “18 sets of buckskin horse armor and 10 hides to make more,” horses “armored in buckskin, bullhide or calfskin,” including a “headpiece for the horse” are noted.^^ But despite the carefully constructed inventory, the expedition was delayed another year due to political rivalries.

Records of the second inspection, this one under Juan Frias de Salazar in 1597, provides nearly the same total of saddles: 186.

Here, however, are five un-typed “saddles,” four of the arma or bridona type, 13 brida, 27 estradio- in nineteenth-century North America was from Hispanic Mexico to the United States.

The major innovation during the process of modifying the Spanish combat saddle to produce the Mexican range saddle was the vertical extension of the pommel into a crooked neck, or horn.

This structure was developed for holding the lariat (el lazo), coiled or stretched out to a stubborn steer that enjoyed the untrammeled freedom of the open range.

Mexican cowboys (vaqueros) had developed saddles to their taste and needs by the mid-1700s.

It was across the immense ranchos that spread 2000 km north and west from central Mexico that these horizons of the western saddle materialized.

The mixed cultural traditions that made up Spanish saddle horizons in early colonial Mexico, as well as the new horizons of the saddle that developed there spread gradually, penetrating the northern borderland of missions and mines, scattered settlements and presidios of leather-clad soldiers in New Mexico.

Saddle Horizons in the Southwest The appearance of Hispanic saddle types in what is now the southwestern United States took place only 21 years after their arrival at Vera Cruz, Mexico, in 1519.

From ample documentation, we know that Spanish saddles and related gear entered New Mexico with the Coronado Expedition in 1540.

The captain’s own equipment included “tres o quatro aderezos de armas de la brida y de la gineta,” three or four sets of brida and jineta arms.”^ These “arms” included European brida or estradiota, and Arabic-Spanish jineta saddles.

Hispanic-Mexican saddles.

Served later expeditions to New Mexico in the 1500s, but their continued presence was not assured until settlement was established by the Oiiate Expedition of 1598.^ From that time on, Hispanic-Mexican saddles are documented in colonial New Mexico.

Sadly, only the paper references survive today.

Beginning in 1595, a wealthy creole living in Zacatecas, Juan de Onate, undertook the settlement of the northern province, Nuevo Mexico.

Seeking the necessary permission from the crown and local authorities to proceed required more than a year.

The first inspection took place 12 SMITHSONIAN STUDIES IN HISTORY AND TECHNOLOGY ta, and 137 jineta.

Two heavy spurs (las espuelas bridonas) and one set of light cavalry spurs (las espuelas jinetas) are noted, as well as short, tightly-reined bridles (los frenos jinetas) and long reined, loose-in-the-mouth bits and bridles (los frenos de la brida or bridona).

Again, horse armor is recorded, including “some . . .

For flanks, breast and forehead,” and “one complete set of buckskin . . .

Lined with rawhide” which also covered “head and neck.” Other equestrian equipment mentioned are “three pack saddles with ropes, girths and lariats,” halters and, perhaps for a woman of rank, “sidesaddles and bridles of ocelot skin.” ^^ With this listing, a distinctive pattern may be suggested for saddle usage on the frontier of New Spain by 1600, a pattern that varies from the earliest days of combat in central Mexico, namely a three-to-one dominance of the lighter jineta saddle over the more massive combat types.

This pattern resulted from the type of saddle required for day-after-day expedition riding, as opposed to brief combats against well-armed warriors.

The continued presence of the heavier estradiota-type saddle, however, must not be ignored.

The wide-spread occurrence of the estradiota saddle in the 1500s as special presentations to the Spanish ruler and as combat equipment (the latter recorded in New World codices) ,^^ indicates that the heavy type was associated with the power and prestige appropriate to kings and conquistadors.

As concerns the next hundred years, the 1600s, the search for horizons of the western saddle reveals a great void.

There are no documented examples of combat, parade, or range saddles from seventeenth-century Mexico, old or New.

Even the illustrations of lively activities in the 1500s do not continue into the next century, except on painted screens (los biombos) where the lack of detail and the romanticized approach result in their being records not fully to be trusted.

Only the range of sizes in saddle housings and the variation in leg positions hint at the presence of several saddle types in mid-colonial Mexico.

This break in the literary and artifactual evidence for Mexican saddle types is not difficult to understand.

The illustrative arts of seven- teenth-century Mexico ran a narrow range, from religious subjects and official portraits to decorative passages.

As for the saddles themselves, such useful artifacts were simply worn until exhausted, and then broken down into metal and leather scraps for the repair of new saddles.

By the 1700s, however, New Mexican inventories list a variety of saddle elements, but too few to suggest an evolution for the missing examples themselves.

Personal saddle equipment appears as “aparejo . . .

Silla y armas”; ^* “una silla buena de montar . . .

Un fuste pelado sin fierros ni corazas y sin estribos”; and “una silla de montar completa” ^^ (saddle fittings, . . .

Saddle and leather housings; a good riding saddle, . . .

A plain saddletree without iron fittings, without covers or stirrups; and a completely equipped riding saddle).

Goods presented to Indian allies included “cojinillos . . .

Anqueras . . .

Frenos” (small saddle pads or cushions, rump covers, and bridles),^^ but no saddletrees.” By contrast, equipment accompanying 114 saddletrees (fustes) at the presidial company in Santa Fe included, and are duly recorded as, “mochilas, cojinillos, estribos, frenos, jaquimas, cabestros, botas, maletas, and guardapolvos” (saddle covers, saddle pads, stirrups, bits, halter headstalls, halters, lower leg guards, valises, and dust guards) .^^ Saddle types in colonial New Mexico are seldom identified in extant documents, except for infrequent references to the jineta.

They appear by that name in civil court records, especially in estate settlements with inventories: [1704] I leave to Don Alonso [son] the two jineta saddles [1711] 12 pesos . . .

A well-made jineta saddle as [debt] security [1727] an old jineta saddle with stirrups for its use [1737] a jineta saddle (of) saddle cover, pad, rump cover, saddletree, cinch and stirrups of “back” [leather?] 19 After about the first quarter of the eighteenth century, we note in the inventories an increasing lack of the specific terms estradiota and jineta in preference for the more general silla de montar (1732) or silla de andar (1761).^’^ From such meager evidence, we may speculate that the traditional form of the jineta saddle NUMBER 39 13 was on the wane, but that elements of leather armor borrowed from the estradiota-tyipe saddle were still in wide use.

There is one interesting reference in the will of Antonio Martin of Abiquiu (1770) to “an old cowboy-type saddle (la silla vaquera) with iron stirrups.” 21 The identification of a wellused range or stock saddle in a remote frontier village at this date indicates that the evolutionary process from conquistador saddle types to a cowboy saddle had occurred by late colonial times.

The iron stirrup could have been either an imported European military type consisting of a simple arch, or it could have been the Mexican parade type in the form of a large, flanged cross (Figure 6).

By the time the first census was taken in New Mexico in 1790, only one saddle-maker was listed, a mulato from Mexico living in Albuquerque.

This complex craft was not widely known, and with the scattered population the professional saddle maker had to stay on the move to make a living.22 Although we are not in a position to reconstruct completely the evolution of the western saddle from Mexican combat through vaquero types, we can propose a model comprising major horizons in sequence: from the sixteenth-century estradiota and jineta to the eighteenthcentury vaquero to the nineteenth-century westem stock.

Both negative and positive evidence exists for this generalized drift in saddle ty-pology, if not for each regional and temporal variation.

Admittedly, some scholars propose the thesis that the sequence originates essentially in the jineta saddle.

This model’s rejection of the jineta type as the sole ancestor of the Mexican vaquero and western U.S.

Stock saddles is based on the jineta’s form and use.

The jineta’s less-high bows, short stirrup leathers, and relatively light tree do not lend themselves to the hard, daily usage on the range that includes cutting out and roping cattle. FIGURE 6.—Cross-form stirrup (el estribo de cruz) from Mexico (upper) and a flanged arch found in southern New Mexico (lower), both probably dating after 1700.

These were symbols of status, largely used for show riding.

The cast form and decoration recall carved leather and stamped metal work from the Near East.

The stirrup tread often was covered with interlaced leather work. 14 SMITHSONIAN STUDIES IN HISTORY AND TECHNOLOGY In support of the estradiota-vaquero ancestry of the western range saddle, there has already been an accounting (based on the codices and New Mexican inventories) of the lingering, diagnostic elements of leather housings that descended from heavy medieval European horse armor.

The popularity of estradiota elements in the conservative Hispanic-American culture is also documented elsewhere.

Indians at La Purisima Mission in southern California were making armas for four to six pesos through the late colonial period (1820).^^ And armitas, or chaparreras, had evolved from larger forms of leather armor by 1840.

As alluded to previously, not all historians of equestrian affairs grant this much centrality to the estradiota heritage.

Although noting the characteristic swelled fork and rounded cantle of the western stock saddle, Arthur Woodward states that “the light Persian saddle . . .

Is in effect the prototype of all present day Mexican and American stock saddles.” ^4 And Charles Colley, another serious student, supports the Persian/Moorish jineta origin of the western stock saddle’s “high pommel and cantle, high fork, and center fire rigging.” ^s Colley states that Aztecs “eliminated the swell in the la jineta saddle” and “capped the pommel.” Sadly, we lack any such examples of Mexican roping saddles securely dated before the 1830s.

A few early illustrations, however, reveal an estradiota-tyj^e saddle in northwestern Mexico in the 1760s.

A Jesuit missionary from Bohemia, Ignacio Tirsch, reached Baja California in 1761.2® In an ink and watercolor rendering of his ranch near San Jose del Cabo, Father Tirsch depicts two massive, heavily bowed saddles, one with a large housing in place (Figure 1, upper).

Another of his sketches reveals estradiotalike equipment: a rump cover, a mochila-type housing, and long stirrup leathers supporting high cross-form stirrups (los estribos de cruz).

In our quest for an evolutionary stage from estradiota to vaquero saddle, we must carefully examine this drawing (Figure 7, lower) of “the way a majordomo catches a bull” (by the tail).

The elegant rider has dismounted, and details of the working saddle are clearly seen.

In front is a leather container and behind, a small. scalloped rump cover (la anquerita).

Next, two leather housings lie over the saddle tree.

A smaller leather covering like a mochila, snugly covers the tree.

Next there is a larger, fringed covering.

An even larger, third item, perhaps a saddle pad (el cojin) appears under the previous arrangement.

Between this third item and the larger covering hang long leathers, weighted down by the cross-form stirrups.

Finally, the bull-catcher’s saddletree can be studied, and it looks familiar! The cantle is high and curved, and the equally high pommel ends in a large, forward-turned horn.

One cannot see if the shoulders swell, but shadowy lines, apparently stitching, suggest a conformation other than a “slick” slope.

This rendering of a late-colonial, estradiota-tyi^e saddle from northern Mexico may be regarded as the earliest known illustration of the Mexican vaquero saddle, at least in its norteno variation.

There are some other illustrations of saddles from the northern frontier of Mexico that move our study from the colonial era into that of independence.

In the Vinkhuisen Collection at the New York Public Library, there is a series of undocumented Mexican watercolor sketches probably dating 1775-1800.

They include a “military volunteer” from the “back country.” His riding equipment appears to be a saddle with a high front bow covered with a mochila or coraza, a crupper and long stirrups, and he sports large-rowelled spurs.

All of these features were associated with estradiota-iy^Q saddles in the early colonial period.

An 1803 drawing (Figure 8), preserved in the Archives of the Indies and published by Joseph Hefter,^’^ illustrates a dragoon of the “Internal Provinces,” wearing a seven-layered, leather vest.

The saddle of this dragoon is even more suggestive of the estradiota-tyipe than that of the “volunteer.” The neck of the pommel on the dragoon’s saddle rises into a volute that resembles a roping horn, and the cantle is very high and dished.

The enlarged pommel and cantle are called “fustes delantero y trastero” (literally fore and aft trees, in recognition of their branching form).

There is also a mochila, long stirrup leathers, wooden box-sided or leather covered (pig snout?) stirrups, forward rigging and spurs with very large rowels.

To- FIGURE 7.—Saddles in Baja California, as rendered by the Bohemian Jesuit, Ignacio Tirsch, about 1765: upper, heavy, estradiota-type saddles appear piled together in the lower left corner in this portion of a painting; lower, depiction of features known on western saddles a century later: the bulbous horn, stitching over the pommel shoulder, leather housing, pad and extended stirrup leathers. / 16 SMITHSONIAN STUDIES IN HISTORY AND TECHNOLOGY FIGURE 8.—A “leather-vested dragoon of the Internal Provinces of Mexico, 1803” rides a saddle with “bows fore and aft,” “pockets for water and food,” and “stirrups of wood.” He carries a round shield (la rodela) and wears “‘leather leggings and spurs.” gether these elements indicate conservatism, a retention of medieval European military riding traditions.

Even the round shield (la rodela) is quartered with Spanish arms long out-ofdate.

The work is signed “fecit Raymundus a Murillo.” Before the turn of the century, artists with a scientific expedition illustrated Mexican saddles in Alta (upper) California.

The extended (1789-1794) Spanish naval exploration commanded by Capt.

Alejandro Malaspina made landfall at Monterey in 1791.

At the Mission of San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo, the Franciscan padre, Fermin F.

De Lasuen, offered assistance, perhaps suggesting local subjects to the expedition’s artists, Jose Cardero, age 25, and Tomas Suria, about 30.

In one rendering entitled “Method of Fighting California Indians,” Suria pictures a charging lancer protected by a shield, tapaderas, and scalloped armas; the saddle includes an anquera, mochila, and a roll of material lying over and, unfortunately, hiding the pommel.

Another study, this one “invented and drawn by Joseph Cardero,” does reveal two pommels, both slick and horn-less.

In this “View of The Friary, Church and Indian Settlements of Carmel Mission” (Figure 9), the two saddles are depicted with an ornately carved anquera and a large saddle cover apparently not slit so as to slip over the bows, a heavy saddle pad, and open, wooden stirrups.

Finally, in a shadowy sketch, indeed NUMBER 39 17 FIGURE 9.—Detail from a watercolor by Jose Cardero, 1791, showing Hispanic architecture, costume, and transportation devices in upper California, as well as native building and dress. a copy of the French original by Gaspard Duche de Vancy of the “Reception of La Perouse at Monterrey [sic],” one pen stroke suggests a high protrusion of the pommel.

But is it a roping horn ? ^s While the intended use of the saddles pictured at Monterey’s Mission is uncertain (perhaps they were for ceremony and travel rather than working cattle), drawings by Cardero and Tirsch do reveal a variety of saddle types in northwestern Mexico near the end of the eighteenth century.

Certainly not all displayed a prominent pommel surmounted by a horn.

There is only the one sketch “at Monterrey” that even vaguely suggests a horned saddle north of Baja California before 1800.

Was roping from the saddle not yet a practice of California ranching? These observations give rise to the speculation that the pattern (model) of evolution of the western saddle occurred more than once in the vast ranching regions of central Mexico.

These parallel, but not synchronous, developments spread north, and probably had entered New Mexico, Texas and, later, California before 1800.

The horned saddletree of Mexican manufacture was well established in these territories prior to the political upheavals in the decade after 1836.

Numerous illustrations of horsemen from the era after independence was achieved by Mexico in 1821 are in existence and do provide some evidence of saddle evolution.

Unfortunately, the famous lithographs by the European Claudio Linati (1828) are not very helpful for the study of saddles.

A Mexican artist, Lino Sanchez y 18 SMITHSONIAN STUDIES IN HISTORY AND TECHNOLOGY Tapia, however, provides some clues in the watercolors he rendered in the service of a border commisison from 1827 to 1831.2** In the representation of both military and civilian riders in northeastern Mexico, including southern Texas, the use of elaborate housing, long stirrup leathers, and stirrup covers (las tapaderas) are recorded.

Furthermore, five renderings reveal a saddle horn resembling a hemisphere, perhaps a forerunner of the bulbous horn common to some northern Mexican stock saddles after 1840.

The cinch of the “rancher from Nuevo Leon” is set well forward, while the “ranch foreman” (el caporal) and the dashing “Mexican rider” (el charro) appear to be using a center-rigged saddle.

Other cinch locations are not shown or are hidden by the extended, forward position of the rider’s legs.

The “Texas rancher” with his jacket, rifle case, and leg-covering armas, all fringed, closely resembles the “Mexican presidial soldier.” Does this similarity of civilian and military riding dress reflect a smilarity in choice of saddle type? Certainly by 1830 the Mexican vaquero saddle was present in the Texas region where it could influence saddle usage by incoming Anglo-American military and ranching populations.

Without doubt, in the generation preceding 1860, properly termed “before the cowboy” by James Hutchins, the vaquero saddle of northern Mexico (Figure 20) was established in the southwestern United States.

Woodward has noted that although the Mexican vaquero saddle’s pommel horn began to spread out like a plate after 1860, the saddles of upper California retained the earlier, slender horn and sloping pommel. ^^ The best Mexican saddles, made in Leon and Puebla, were “mere skeletons,” according to contemporary comment.^^ For both military and vaquero use, unpadded open saddletrees with a minimum of permanently attached leather trappings were common in Mexico.

In this skeletal form or as a part of a saddle with complete leather housings, the “Spanish tree” became, through trade and war, familiar to Anglos in the Southwest and beyond.

This tree was the foundation of all Mexican stock saddles from later Spanish colonial times to this day.

Its presence in the United States by 1830-60 only documents the reliance of American military and western stock saddles on some Mexican prototype; the ubiquity of the Spanish tree does not confirm or deny the sequential model suggested here, a model that credits the estradiota-type with contributing as significant elements as the jineta to the vaquero (and perhaps a northern variant, the “norteno”), from which our western stock saddle emerged after 1860.

From our review of New Mexico inventory terminology and illustrations from California and Texas, all prior to 1830, we can only be certain that the Mexican vaquero saddle with leather housings, pommel horn, long stirrup leathers, and high, dished cantle—largely estradiota elements—was available as a prototype to the western saddle.

Whether through a norteno variant of the vaquero saddle, or more generally from many variations of it, the modern western saddle that appeared after the Civil War clearly displayed structural and decorative elements that were Mexican in origin.

By the third quarter of the nineteenth century there had appeared the horizon of the “western saddle” itself.

Drawing on several traditions (at least Mexican, English, and continental European) and adapted to local conditions, it was a product peculiarly of the western United States.

Although it has exhibited many variations—regional, temporal, utilitarian, and artistic—it may be identified as a type that displays: a high, forward-hooking horn emerging from a pommel with swelled shoulders; a high dished cantle; the enclosing of the tree by the permanent installation of certain leather work deemed essential (eg, seat and relatively short skirts) ; rigging that balances the stress on the horse near the center of the saddle (ie, either single center or double rigging) ; and long stirrup leathers suspending uncovered, generously scaled stirrups.

The presence of the more typically Mexicanstyle saddle in the Southwest, however, persisted long after the Civil War.

Drawings made about 1876 in Texas by William Alexander Bowie,32 show a saddletree with an enlarged, flat horn on a thick neck, encircled by rigging straps for a front-fired cinch; an open seat, the rear of which is covered by a cushion; and NUMBER 39 19 stock saddle surely fulfill the criteria suggested by Kubler for survival and perfection of a form: strong surfaces constructed from ample quantities of raw materials; simple, underlying structure; and “often-repeated performance” in both creation and usage.

Ultimately, the historical development, time’s perfection, of the modern western saddle from Mexican types is important to our recognition of its cultural significance.

The fact of the Mexican working saddle’s continental diffusion from the colonial period to the present suggests the capability of certain “ideal” forms to satisfy a variety of human tasks and social values within a continuously extended environment. fancy fenders tied onto long, wide stirrup leathers.

Likewise, we know of Mexican-made trees and charro saddles purchased in California well after 1900.

The trade continues today, diminished, however, in proportion to the role of the working saddle in an automotive culture.

It may be worthwhile to note that Mexican working saddles, like so many other Hispanic craft objects, gradually evolved into, or rather were resolved into, ideal forms that George Kubler terms “time’s perfection.” ^^ The solution was a mestizo product, Spanish in origin but thoroughly Mexican in realization, satisfying both craftsman and consumer.

Both the Mexican vaquero saddle and the U.S.

Western Notes 1.

Tamara Talbot Rice, The Scythians (London, 1957), plate 30. 2.

Fernando de Sommer D’Andrade, A Short History of the Spanish Horse and of the Iberian “Gineta” Horsemanship (Lisbon, 1973), pages 24-33. “Based on the exhaustive work . . .

Of Dr.

Ruy D’Andrade.” The preferred spelling of “jineta” will be used throughout. 3. “Harness and Saddlery,” Encyclopaedia Britannica, 15th edition (London, 1972), volume 11, page 119; also, “Horsemanship and Riding,” volume 11, page 712. 4.

Alfredo Chavero, ed., “Lienzo de Tlaxcalla,” AntigUedades Mexicanas (Mexico City, 1892). 5.

Christoph Weiditz, Das Trachtenbuch . . .

Von seinen Reisen nach Spanien, 1529, reprint edition edited by Theodor Hampe (Berlin, 1927). 6.

Francisco del Barrio Lorenzot, Ordenanzas de gremios de la Nueva Espana (Mexico City, 1920), pages 103, 296. 7.

Arthur S.

Aiton, “Coronado’s Muster Rolls,” American Historical Review, volume 44 (April 1939), page 560. 8. • George Hammond and Agapito Rey, translators and editors, Don Juan de Onate: Colonizer of New Mexico, 1595-1628, 2 volumes (Albuquerque, 1953). [Compilation of public records from archives in Spain and Mexico.] 9.

Ibid., volume 1, pages 94-168. 10.

Ralph Emerson Twitchell, The Leading Facts of New Mexican History, 2 volumes (Albuquerque, 1963), volume 1, pages 303-311. 11.

Hammond and Rey, op.

Cit., volume 1, pages 45, 138, 150, 154. 12.

Ibid., volume 1, pages 215-301. 13.

Albert F.

Calvert, Spanish Arms and Armour (London, 1907).

Illustrates estradiota saddles presented to Philip II (1556-98) from Germany, Austria, and Italy, plates 172, 174.

Also, see Guia ilustrada real armeria de Madrid (Madrid, 1956), page 8; and Francisco Xavier Hernandez, Carruajes, sillas, jaeces . . . (Mexico City, 1948), page 6. 14.

Microfilms of the original Spanish documents were consulted in the New Mexico State Records Center and Archive (SCR), Santa Fe, In this paper they are organized by year and document number to coincide with Ralph E.

Twitchell’s two-volume reference, The Spanish Archives of New Mexico (Cedar Rapids, 1914).

Cited here is document 187, dated 1713, in Twitchell’s Spanish Archives, volume two, by means of the notation: SRC, SA 11-187 (1713); volume one of Twitchell is cited as SA I.

Other collections at the State Records Center are given by name, proceeded by SRC. 15.

SRC, SA 11-369 (1732); SA 11-624 (1767) ; SA 11-889 (1784). 16.

SRC, SAII-1670a (1703). 17.

By 1783, however, “a saddle, saddletrees, bridle and spurs” were given to Indian men by the missionaries in Texas whenever necessary.

See Fr.

Benedict Leutenegger, OFM, “Report on the Status of the Mission of Espiritu Santo de la Bahia,” in the San Jose Mission Archive, San Antonio, Texas, unpublished document 3-3481, and his Guidelines for a Texas Mission (San Antonio, 1976), item 43. 18.

SRC, SA 11-1799 (1805). 19.

SRC, SA 1-1027 (1704), folio 3, “dejo a d’^Alonso de Vargas las dos sillas jinetas”; SRC, SA 11-168 (1711), frame 331-343, “12p^ . . .

En prenda una silla gineta es hiza buena”; SRC, SA 11-344 (1727), frame 519, “una silla jineta bieja con estribos aluso”; SRC, SA 11-422 (1737), frame 985, “una silla gineta, coraza, bastes, enguera, fuste, sincho y estrivos de lomo.” 20 20.

SRC SA 11-369 (1732) “una silla buena de montar . . . ^0 ps. [pesos]”; SRC, SA 11-556 (1761) “Una silla de andar a caballo.” 21.

SRC, Wills and Hijuelas: Antonio Martin, 1770, page 4. 22.

SRC, SA II-1092b (1790), frame 320, lists Jose Ramirez; interview with Oscar Carvajal, Jr., saddle maker in San Antonio, Texas, June 1977. 23.

Arthur Woodward, “The Evolution of the Cowboy Chaps,” Los Angeles Museum Quarterly, volume 8, numbers 3-4 (spring 1951), pages 5,10. 24.

Arthur Woodward, “Saddles in the New World,” Los Angeles Museum Quarterly, volume 10, number 2 (1953), page 1. 25.

Charles C.

Colley, “La Jineta, the Art of Moorish Horsemanship in the New World,” El Palacio, volume 74, number 2 (summer 1969), pages 31-35.

Especially page 34, based on Arnold R.

Rojas, The Vaquero (Santa Barbara, 1964), pages 29-30.

In The Ranch in Spanish Texas, 1691-1800 (El Paso, 1969), page 2, Sandra L.

Myres credits the “Moorish saddle” [read jineta from Spain] as “forerunner of the Mexican charro saddle and the Western stock saddle.” She also refers to a Mexican work saddle, la silla de campo, but no specific examples are cited. 26.

Ignacio Tirsch, The Drawings of Ignacio Tirsch, a Jesuit Missionary in Baja California, translated and SMITHSONIAN STUDIES IN HISTORY AND TECHNOLOGY edited by Elsbeth Schulz-Bischof (Los Angeles, 1972).

The originals are in the State Library of Czechoslovakia, Prague, listed as XVI B 18. 27.

Joseph Hefter, “Cronica del traje militar en Mexico del siglo XVI al XX,” Artes de Mexico (Mexico City), number 102 (1968), page 51. 28.

Donald C.

Cutter, Malaspina in California (San Francisco, 1960); and Donald C.

Cutter and Mercedes Palau de Iglesias, The Malaspina Expedition (Santa Fe, 1977), pages 19-41. 29.

Richard E.

Ahlborn, European Dress in Texas, 1830, American Scene, volume 13, number 4 (1972), 20 pages, illustrated. 30.

Woodward, “Saddles,” pages 2-3.

Also see Jean Roemer, Cavalry: Its History, Management, and Uses in War (New York, 1863). 31.

Domingo Revilla, “Los Rancheros,” El Museo Mexicano (Mexico City, 1844), volum.e 3, page 553. 32.

Ellen Bowie Holland, Gay as a Grig: Memories of a North Texas Girlhood (Austin, 1963). 33.

George Kubler, “Time’s Perfection and Colonial Art,” Spanish, French and English Traditions in the Colonial Silver of North America (Winterthur, Delaware, 1969), pages 7-12.

Kubler explores the problems of style and seriation in his provocative work.

The Shape of Time (New Haven, 1962). — e * • ^ % ‘ ^ — • . The insistence of municipal authorities, from a very early date, on a system of branding was of the greatest importance to the development of a new national saddle form.

As the first stockmen were soon to discover, the problem of branding stock on unfenced ranges required the ability to rope from the saddle, a requirement that in turn demanded a saddle horn on which the rope could be snubbed, a sturdy sad- dle frame that could withstand the strain imposed by the lassoed animal, and stirrups sufficiently long to permit the rider to brace himself against sudden stops and sharp turns.

The need for a saddle with new characteristics was made more acute by the amazing rapidity with which grazing ranges were extended out from Mexico City.

Estancias, land grants given by the royal crown, became crowd- NUMBER 39 25 fifty pesos.

Veterinary services as well as stables and caravan compounds had to be established and supervised.

There was also a public demand for establishments where horses could be sold and traded.

As early as 1532 the authorities in Mexico City were obliged to establish a brokerage (correduria) office for the selling and trading of horses.

The first broker, Diego Lopez Gordillo, paid the municipality seventy-five pesos for the right to hold the office of concessionaire for one year.

Rigorous but doomed efforts were made to prohibit the subjugated Indian populace from owning cattle or riding horses.

The Elizabethan English adventurer Henrie Hawks, who visited New Spain in the sixteenth century, observed that “the Spaniards keepe the Indians in great subiection.

They may haue in their houses no sword nor dagger . , .

Neither may they ride upon any horse, nor mules, in any saddle nor bridle.,..” ” ^ With the increasing use of Indians as stock handlers, however, it was soon necessary to grant licenses to Spanish owners of sheep and cattle estancias so that the Indians could ride, first mules and, eventually, horses.

One license granting Indians permission to ride was discovered in the “Instrucciones y ordenes de gobierno a los corregidores y alcaldes mayores” dated by an official in 1619. Gabriel de Tapia, procurator for the Jesuit College here, has indicated to me that the college owns a ranch for sheep and goats called Santa Lucia [with] 100,000 head . . , there are 20 Indian ranch foremen [capitanejosl assigned to different pastures, and it is necessary for them to ride horseback, using saddle, bit and spurs; were it possible to give them permission . . .

No one would . . .

Accuse Tapia of breaking the law. ed with cattle as the first conquistadors and other grantees began to devote themselves to stock raising.

As extensive fields having ample pasturage and water and lying near the capital were quickly exhausted by the rapid increase of cattle and horses, officials ordered the first land grants extended westward.

Estancias became located ever farther from the central valleys.

Torquemada describes the ranching situation in 1610: The cattle having increased their numbers greatly and vast lands having been discovered, the ranchers determined to move into more extensive and comfortable places.

Many ranches in the valleys of Tepepulco, Zumpango and Toluca were depopulated when ranchers went out to settle new lands.

At this time, taking all the ranches together these lands extended more than [500 miles] beyond the valleys called “de Guadiana,” now Durango, and including all the Chichimeca lands.^ Thus, by the early seventeenth century, cattle raising had reached the semiarid northern plains of Mexico and moved into the areas that would later become Texas and New Mexico.

The entire process of extending the activity of ranching throughout colonial Mexico was dependent on the development of new skills and a style of riding suitable for the rugged condition of the advancing frontiers, and on the adaptation of Hispanic horse equipment to the new environment of open-range ranching.

POPULARITY AND CONTROLS.—The horse soon became immensely popular with all classes in colonial Mexico.

To meet the demand for horses without relying on uncertain imports from the Caribbean and Spain, Mexican authorities sought to encourage horse breeding even to the extent of taking steps in 1526 to reduce the number of mules on the grounds that they were nonreproductive animals.

Mule owners were required to possess at least an equal number of horses.

A lack of investigative personnel, however, made it difficult to enforce this regulation.

Whatever the effect of governmental action may have been, the number of horses in Mexico City grew rapidly, and their prices rose proportionately.

Corresponding increases were found in the number of horse-related services.

Christopher Ruiz contracted with the municipality of Mexico City to serve as the first official farrier or blacksmith (herrero) for an annual wage of The noted aficionado of Mexican charreria, Leovigildo Islas Escarcega, has pointed out the extent to which the sixteenth-century priest and agriculturist Sebastian de Aparicio helped to teach the Indians the difficult task of domestication and proper use of animals for plowing and transport and later for riding.

With the failure of the royal prohibitions aimed at keeping the native Mexican populations from owning cattle or riding horseback, all social classes became involved in forging new equestrian traditions.

A new saddle form was already evolving during the early seventeenth — the general lines of its development can be guessed at by comparing a model of a sixteenthcentury Spanish combat saddle (Figure 17) with a later Mexican ranch saddle whose tree is one of the oldest extant examples of its type (Figures 18, 60).

By the early decades of the nineteenth century, the Mexican stock saddle had assumed the general appearance (Figure 20) of the stock saddle that was to become the standard in the western part of the United States, another vast region where further regional modifications would continue to take place.

Concurrent with the modification of the jineta saddle form into the Mexican stock saddle, parallel adjustments in riding techniques emerged during the colonial era.

As stirrup leathers of the new saddle form were lengthened, Mexican stockmen began to assume the posture of the mexicana riding style (informal, nonacademic, and adapted to range use) used in modern 32 SMITHSONIAN STUDIES IN HISTORY AND TECHNOLOGY FIGURE 18.—A Mexican ranch saddle built on an early tree (1800?) but with later nineteenth-century details. NUMBER 39 33 saddle that had an all-wood tree lined with parchment-like sheepskin and a large, fullbodied horn set on a thick neck.

By the early seventeenth century, the modified jineta saddle utilized by the first colonial Mexican stockmen had evolved into a distinctive national form: la silla vaquera mexicana.

It became famous in the mid-nineteenth century in the western United States as the vaquero saddle or Mexican cowboy saddle.

This form displayed many variations, some regional and some occasioned by the taste and uses of its owner.

One variety was sometimes called la silla charra, or charro saddle (Figure 64), The vaquero saddle was also the precursor of the “Texas” saddle (Figure 20), which included such modifications as double rigging.

Another FIGURE 20,—A Mexican stock saddle, after 1850, with many similarities to a type common then in Texas. FIGURE 19.—A modern Nicaraguan saddle adapted from a Spanish jineta saddle. charreria, as can be noted in late nineteenthcentury paintings.

The Spanish jineta riding style and saddle continued in Mexican cities, where horsemen wished to display their fine trappings and outfits in parades and festivals, and in Algeria ^^ and Nicaragua (Figure 19).

The modified jineta saddle that developed in these settings had a rather low silhouette to its tree, with a pearshaped knob or horn (la perilla) in front and a low-rising cantle sloping backwards.

The metal perilla was sheathed with a strong and resistent vellum, a construction technique still used in Central America.

Thus, the modified jineta saddle differed from the working stock 34 SMITHSONIAN STUDIES IN HISTORY AND TECHNOLOGY FIGURE 21.—Stock saddle from Sinaloa, Mexico, probably after 1900; note the estradiota features of high bows and leather housing. variant featured a metal horn and was much like modern stock saddles from Sinaloa and Sonora in northern Mexico (Figure 21), The one major change within the range of forms typical of the Mexican saddle occurred after 1875 as a result of the efforts of groups of charros—Mexican horsemen devoted to the art of the mexicana riding style who were anxious to preserve the traditions and skills of authentic Mexican horsemanship. (As a result of their efforts, charreria was organized into a national sporting event and is now a traditional part of the Mexican culture.) The plate-shaped horn used on many saddles had grown to exaggerated sizes during the third quarter of the nineteenth centry.

In the succeeding quarter-century the movement for a return to earlier forms brought a reduction in the size of the horn used on charro saddles although it still remained larger than the earliest “dinner-plate” horn of the mid-1800s. The saddletrees made in Colima and in Silao, Guanajuato, acquired a full hemispherical horn.

Because of their overall quality and high finish, the saddletrees that originated in Colima, Nayarit, Jalisco, Guanajuato, and Michoacan spread throughout Mexico.

At present, the most popular form of tree is called the “Zaldivar” after the famous charro Don Juan Zaldivar; the Zaldivar tree has been popularized in the paintings of Don Ernesto Icaza, who is said to have designed it.

The Mexican saddle differs from those developed in other parts of the world.

Fundamentally, it is made for the rough work of stock raising and general rural use.

The unique pommel, with its characteristic structures of horn, neck, and shoulders, was designed to anchor the lariat by which animals were roped by a mounted rider.

The Mexican saddle also allows the horseman to set himself for whatever kind of movement he wishes.

Although it is somewhat heavy, it is comfortable for long trips and is excellently adapted to the activities of daily life in all rural areas of Mexico.

SADDLE PARTS.—The saddle used for the mexicana style of riding conists of four major systems of parts, each incorporating a range of variation in the details of its execution and in the naming of its parts: (1) the wooden saddletree (el fuste), which provides the basic structure; (2) the cinch (la cincha) and leather straps (las reatas and los Idtigos) connected by iron rings (las argollas) that secure the saddle to the horse; (3) the skirts (los faldones) and leather ties (los tientos) attached to the tree; and (4) the stirrups (los estribos) and stirrup leathers (los arciones). [Figure 83 is helpful in understanding ths parts of the Mexican saddle.

R.E.A.J 1.

The first system of saddle parts, the tree (el fuste), is made in several elements: (a) the pommel (la campana), which includes the horn (la cabeza), the neck (el cuello), and the shoulders (los hombros); (b) the cantle (la teja); and (c) the sideboards (las tablas), which run back past the cantle in rear extensions (las pajuelas).

The structure and function of the major elements of the saddletree are as follows: a.

The pommel (la campana): a wooden fork, whose shoulders support the horn and neck and which arches in such a way as not to NUMBER 39 35 albarda).

The cinch measures about 90 by 10 cm and terminates in metal fittings: usually an off-side ring and an on-side buckle, although both fastenings may be buckles (Figures 18, 21, 62d).

These metal fastenings may be tied to the band by “pig knots” (los nudos de puercos). 3.

The third system of saddle parts is less complex but equally functional and more decorative than the rigging and cinch system.

The skirts are two pieces of leather lined inside with rawhide, sheepskin, or felt.

They serve to protect the horse’s fianks from scratches in timbered country (Figures 20, 60a).

Their length varies according to the size of the saddletree; the width is about 53 cm.

The skirts (los faldones) are suspended from the sides of the tree with leather thongs (los tientos), which also are useful in tying on personal equipment such as a serape or lariat (el lazo).

Thongs are often made of chamois.

Usually there is one on each side of the pommel, and three are placed on each sideboard extension.

Leather rosettes and/or metal disks (los chapetones or las conchas) with two slits secure the saddle ties and add decoration, 4.

The fourth system of parts assists the rider in maintaining a secure seat during any action, and provides more opportunity for decoration.

The stirrup leathers (las arciones) measure about 300 by 10 cm.

Each leather is connected to a sideboard of the tree and forms a loop from which the stirrup is suspended.

Often the arcion is twisted in such fashion that the stirrup hangs at right angles to the saddle (Figures 64a, 83).

The arciones hang outside of and unconstrained by the rigging system that secures the saddle on the horse.

The stirrups (los estribos), formed of iron or wood, square or triangular in shape, dangle from the loops of the stirrup leathers to support the feet of the horseman.

The sides and fronts of the stirrups are sometimes covered with curved and carved leather hoods (las tapaderas) (Figures 20, 60a,h,i, 66).

By the late 1800s, a rich variety of wooden stirrup forms were known in Mexico, but few influenced AngloAmerican taste (Figure 22).

In addition to these essential parts of riding equipment, there are other pieces of leather saddle gear of historic importance to Mexican touch the horse, thus preventing the weight of the rider from irritating the withers and allowing both horse and rider complete freedom of movement. [A sample of the variety of shapes that the structures of the fore ward fork of the Mexican saddle may exihibit can be discerned in Figures 20, 60, 62-65, 83.

R.E.A.] b.

The cantle (la teja): a semicircular piece of wood about 4 cms thick, of concave curvature to support the seat of the rider, set onto the sideboards about 35 cms back from the pommel.


The sideboards (las tablas): two wooden boards, about 50 cms long, each set into a different shoulder of the pommel and running back to notch into the cantle. 2.

The second system of parts consists of leathers, rings, and cinch.

Leather rigging straps (los enreatados or las reatas) wrapped around the pommel are connected by a rigging ring (la argolla) on each shoulder of the pommel to leathers that, in turn, are secured to the cinch.

The second set of leathers in this system (el contraenreatado) consists, on the near side, of a strap (el Idtigo) that passes through the cinch buckle (el hebillon or hebijon) and, on the off-side, of another strap (el contraldtigo) that is secured to the cinch ring (la argolla).

In addition, there may be rear rigging straps (las contrareatas) that pass behind the cantle and are connected either to the rings joining los enreatados to el contraenreatado or to a second set of rings for an additional, rear cinch (la barriguera). [Various ways in which the forward rigging may be suspended from the front fork of Mexican saddles may be seen in Figures 60, 63, 66, and 83.

Examples of Mexican saddles rigged for a single forward cinch are portrayed in Figures 60, 63, 64, and 83; double-rigged types appear in Figures 20 and 66.

Single center rigging is not common on vaquero saddles.

R.E.A.] The forward rigging straps measure about 65 cm in length while the rear ones run up to 95 cm.

The near or on-side Idtigo may be as long as 200 cm, passing the cinch buckle more than once.

Most of the leather straps measure about 5 cm in width.

The cinch is a sturdy band of hemp, wool, cotton, or pigskin that runs under the belly of the horse to secure the saddle, whether it is a riding saddle (la silla de montar) or a packsaddle (la a A.” ‘%; ^/•’•”j( — 15.

PERALTA, Tractado.

Also Alvarez refers to the Spanish writer Luis Bariuelos y de la Cerda, regarding the deterioration of jineta riding. triales de la Nueva Espana (Mexico City, 1923), page 80 17.



DUMAS, The Art of Riding “a la Jineta,” cited by Alvarez, op.

Cit,, page 7.

Also ROMERO DE TERREROS, El Libro del charro mexicano (Mexico City, 1946), page 7, cites “General Daumas.” [Probably E.

DAUM’AS, Les Chevaux du Sahara et les mores du desert (Paris, c. 1851) ; republished as The Horses of the Sa/iara (Austin, 1968).

R.E.A.] 18.

GERARDO MURILLO, Artes populares de Mexico (Mexico City, 1922), volume 2, pages 237-281. Western Saddles before the Cowboy James S.

Hutchins It is probable that a large proportion of modern Americans, if put to the test, would identify an example of the western riding saddle on sight as a “cowboy” saddle.

Should this prove to be the case among a people of whom by far the greater number have never had real contact with the horse or equestrian equipage, then much of the credit must go to Hollywood.

Most of our notions about the cowboy and his appurtenances have come from the “westerns” of motion pictures and television.

And, from the day of William S.

Hart down to that of the Cartwright clan, the filmsmiths have rarely if ever failed to insert the western saddle between the cowboy and his galloping steed.

In that respect, at least, the present-day image of the American cowboy is true to history.

From a historical viewpoint, however, it is not correct to view the cowboy as either the only one among American equestrian species to use the western saddle or, indeed, even the first to do so.

Although men were engaged in the cowboy’^s craft in Texas for years before 1865, it was only after that date—as open range ranching commenced its spread from Texas throughout the Great Plains—^that the American cowboy emerged as a distinct occupational type.

Although it is a fact seldom noted, during four decades leading up to 1865, Americans in a variety of callings—trappers and traders, soldiers and explorers, homeseekers and goldseekers—used the western saddle in one form or another as they ventured into the vast unknown, the “Great American Desert,” that lay beyond the Mississippi Valley frontier. James S.

Hutchins, The Dwight D.

Eisenhower Institute for Historical Research, National Museum of History and Technology, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. 20560. What we term the “western” saddle, Americans of the first half of the nineteenth century generally referred to as the “Spanish” saddle.

Thus they showed their awareness of its place of origin.

Americans of that time commonly used the term “Spanish” to distinguish whatever related to New Spain—Mexico and her provinces to the north: Texas, New Mexico, and California.

And within the locus of the New World, it was specifically in Mexico during her long centuries under Spanish rule that the western saddle originated and underwent a very great deal of its development.

By the outset of the nineteenth century the saddle used by the horsemen of Mexico was founded upon a saddletree incorporating practically all the elements of design by which the western tree is distinguished even today.

As Arthur Woodward and others have shown, the Mexican caballero strove always to combine the practical and, insofar as his purse would allow, the elegant in his riding equipment.

Although his saddle trappings had to protect him and his horse amidst rough country and from bad weather, they had, at the same time, to enhance his appearance.

Mexican practice was to place large removable leather housings—the mochila and the coraza—over the saddletree.

Back of the saddle extended a leather tailpiece, the anquera, which covered the rump and sometimes the flanks of the horse.

Such horse apparel was often embellished with gay embroidery and embossed leatherwork.

In wide use also were armas, long leathers that dangled from the saddle horn for the purpose of being drawn, apron-like, over the rider’s thighs in case of rain or as a protection against brush.

Nearly lost to view beneath such layerings was the saddletree, the article from which the 39 40 SMITHSONIAN STUDIES IN HISTORY AND TECHNOLOGY H.* …I •«. . .

T 1- ., , .X- FIGURE 23.—In this watercolor of a caporal de hacienda (“a keeper of horned cattle on a great estate”) are to be seen nearly all the major elements of early nineteenthcentury Mexican horse equipment.

This is one of a series illustrating frontier types of northeast Mexico, done by Lino Sanchez y Tapia during the middle or late 1830s.

Here is seen the saddle housing known as the mochila, with its openings through which protrude the horn and cantle of the saddletree.

An anquera projects rearward from the cantle. horse equipage of Mexico took its great excellence.

It was a model of simplicity and durability.

Four wooden parts made up the whole: two bridges, known as the fork (or pommel) and the cantle, and two lateral supports, termed sideboards.

These were joined together by means of mortising, wooden pegs, and glue.

The entire tree was covered with rawhide, applied wet and stitched fast with rawhide thongs.

The rawhide sheath, drawing up tight as it dried, NUMBER 39 41 FIGURE 24.—A mid-nineteenth century representation of the “Spanish” tree, as it was known to Americans. contributed much to the overall solidity.

From atop the work there projected upward a horn, capped by a knob.

The horn functioned as a holdfast or snub for the lariat in the business of roping, that quintessential act in the craft of the Mexican vaquero and his pupil, the American cowboy.

Approved practice in the early and middle nineteenth century was to fashion fork and horn out of one solid piece—a Yshaped tree crotch—as insurance against the wrenching shock when a roped steer yanked the lariat taut.

In marked contrast to the riding saddle of Mexico was the English type in general use in the United States, Produced in a variety of styles, including what was apparently an offshoot called “American,” this saddle was in all essentials the one that was brought over from England in the early colonial times.

Unlike the Mexican saddletree, which itself comprised the substance of a rider’s seat, the tree of the English riding saddle was but a light skeleton upon which to shape a seat.

The tree was of wood, generally reinforced with iron plating at stress points.

The fork and the cantle were low in comparison with their Mexican counterparts.

Over this skeleton tree went webbing, padding, and finally leather, all neatly tucked and tacked and stitched into place to build up a smooth, flat seat.

On either side of the tree were small skirts (jockeys) and, beneath them, larger rounded flaps.

Padding attached to the undersurfaces of the tree served to protect the horse’s back.

The girth was attached to the saddle at a FIGURE 25,—The English saddle, in general use in the settled United States in the early nineteenth century, as it was pictured in an engraving done as an illustration for a military drill manual prepared in 1826 and published at Washington, D,C., in 1834. single central point.

Open D-shaped stirrups, commonly of iron, completed the English saddle.

There is little upon which to form even a conjecture as to when Americans first were aware of the Mexican saddle.

Some may have been acquainted with it much earlier than we can now imagine.

It is interesting to note that in 1805, as he and his partner in discovery, Capt.

Meriwether Lewis, toiled westward across what is now Montana, Capt.

William Clark recognized as “Spanish” a saddle that he saw in the hands of a Shoshoni Indian.^ On the other hand, Lewis and Clark’s contemporary in exploration, Capt.

Zebulon M.

Pike, does not appear to have been familiar with the Mexican saddle before he penetrated the borderlands of Mexico in 1807.

Although he thought the saddle a clumsy looking affair indeed, Pike was not slow to perceive its advantages.

In discussing the equipment of native troops with whom he travelled through northern Mexico, he described in effect the riding gear in general use: The equipments of the horses, are to our idea, awkward; but I believe them superior to the English. . . .

The 42 saddle is made . . .

With a high projecting pommel (or, as anciently termed, bow) and is likewise raised behind: this is merely the tree: it is then covered by two or three covers of carved leather and embroidered workmanship, some with gold and silver in a very superb manner.

The stirrups are of wood closed in front, carved generally into the figure of a lion’s head, or that of some other beast, are very heavy, and to us present a very clumsy appearance.

The horseman, seated on his horse, has a small bag tied behind him, his blankets either under him, or laying with his cloak between his body and the bow, which makes him at his ease.

Thus mounted it is impossible for the most vicious horse ever to dismount them.2 SMITHSONIAN STUDIES IN HISTORY AND TECHNOLOGY 22), On this point Josiah Gregg, an American trader who lived much in New Mexico and Chihuahua between 1831 and 1840, is enlightening. The estribos or stirrups are usually made of either bent or mortized wood, fancifully carved, over which are fastened the tapaderas or coverings of leather to protect the toes.

Formerly the stirrups constituted a completed slipper, which superseded [sic] the use of tapaderas.^ Mexican stirrups, however, were not always as Pike found them, closed in front (Figure — FIGURE 26,—”Catching Wild Horses,” by William Ranney, 1846.

During the latter 1840s and early 1850s William Ranney (1813-1857) produced numerous paintings depicting life on the prairies.

Long neglected, he is now regarded as a significant interpreter of the Western scene.

As far as is known, easterner Ranney’s only personal contact with the West came in 1836, when he went to Texas and bore arms in the struggle for independence from Mexico, From that experience, some think, Ranney may have drawn inspiration for later work such as the one seen here.

As it stands, we can only wonder whether the style of saddle depicted here in such detail, represents the sort of thing that came under the artist’s own eye in the West. NUMBER 39 43 FIGURE 27.—Thornton Grimsley, St.

Louis saddler from 1822 to 1861. open stretches west of the ninety-eighth meridian, where rivers were few and, apart from the Missouri, unnavigable, Americans had to resort to horse or mule.

Amidst the Great Plains environment the Mexican saddletree offered marked advantages.

There it was a vital necessity that all of one’s equipage be of a sort that could endure, with relatively simple maintenance, the prolonged exposure, endless pounding, and inevitable accidents that were part of life on the trail.

To all of these conditions the Mexican tree was, from the manner of its construction alone, far better suited than was its English counterpart.

Again, in terms of design, the deep seat of the Mexican tree offered much greater security than the flat English variety to a rider traversing jumbled country, careering after the shaggy buffalo, sticking out the buckjumps of a fractious mustang.

To whatever extent they may have known of it before the 1820s, certainly more and more Americans became acquainted with the saddle of Mexico as a result of the Santa Fe trade, established in 1821, Sojourning in New Mexico and in Mexico itself, American traders saw the article in daily use.

And outlanders in need of riding gear in those regions had little choice but to acquire the native version.

Thus George C.

Sibley, United States commissioner for the survey and marking of the Santa Fe trail, bought at Taos, New Mexico, in 1825, “Spanish riding saddles” to outfit a party of homeward-bound employees,* And so, through use by returning Americans and also, to be sure, by Mexican merchants who braved the trail, the Mexican saddle made its appearance in the Missouri settlements.

It may be that, as has occasionally been asserted, some traders hauled quantities of Mexican saddletrees or saddles entire up from New Mexico with a view to selling them in Missouri.

I do not know, however, of any proofs to that effect and what little evidence I have seen suggests that such importation, if it did take place, could hardly have been very profitable.

Apparently by the middle 1820s, certainly in the latter years of that decade, at least one American saddlemaker, Thornton Grimsley,^ was producing at Saint Louis, Missouri, a saddle termed “Spanish.” Although this saddle seems seems to have differed markedly from the Mexican article in most respects, its tree was patterned on that of Mexico, horn and all.

Records of the Saint Louis-based Western Department of the American Fur Company show that as early as 1828 the company occasionally acquired the locally-made Spanish saddle for use by members of its field units.

At that time the firm would obtain Spanish saddletrees and sometimes complete saddles from Jesse Pritchett, an American maker who lived not far from Saint Louis, possibly in Saint John’s Township, Franklin County, Missouri.

The trees it acquired from Pritchett the American Fur Company would turn over to Grimsley to be fitted out.

In the middle 1820s, according to Thornton Grimsley, American trappers took the Saint Louis-made Spanish saddle into the fur trade of the Rocky Mountains.

It was then that William H.

Ashley and Jedediah S.

Smith, his lieutenant, turned away from the Missouri River, the traditional route to the mountains, and showed the practicality and utility of taking caravans of mounted men and supply-laden pack animals 44 • The Scottish sportsman Capt.

William Drummond Stewart along with Miller (18101874), a young American artist in his employ, travelled west over the Oregon Trail with the American Fur Company’s annual spring caravan to the Rockies in 1837.

The many field sketches Miller made during that journey constitute a momentous pictorial record of the mountain men, the Indians, and the scenery of the Far West, In the example shown, the artist has caught the essence of life on the trail.

Note the high horns of the saddles lying in the grass in the foreground. overland from Missouri direct to the central Rockies.

In a letter to Maj.

Joshua B.

Brant, army quartermaster at Saint Louis, dated 24 April 1833, Grimsley stated that Ashley had been the first to take the locally produced Spanish saddle into the fur trade and that he had supplied the saddles Ashley used (see Appendix, this paper).

Grimsley said, too, that he had furnished saddles of the same kind to Smith and two other Ashley associates, David E.

Jackson and William L.

Sublette, after they bought out Ashley in 1826 to operate together in the mountain trade, as they did until 1830.

There seems to be no reason to doubt Grimsley’s claims.

From 1822 he had been engaged continuously in the saddlery trade at Saint Louis.

As records show, Smith, Jackson & Sublette did order from Grimsley, through Ashley, substantial amounts of saddlery in 1829 and 1830.

Grimsley’s statement, moreover, was made in an effort to obtain an army supply contract.

As he surely realized (and, indeed, must have hoped) his letter was practically certain to be examined by officials of the War Department in Washington, D.C.

And there Ashley, who was then a member of Congress, could be reached easily for verification.

Although the American-made Spanish saddle was surely used in the fur trade of the Rockies, the extent to which it was employed is uncertain.

Wintering in New Mexico as some American trappers often did and ranging as far as northern Mexico and California, numbers of them were thoroughly exposed to authentic Mexican saddlery and some may well have come to prefer it.

Some, on the other hand, seem to have taken up Indian-made horse equipage.

In any case, such were the lives of mountain men that, whatever their preferences, many must often enough have found themselves using NUMBER 39 45 the express use of those who served it.

In such cases the Spanish saddle was a clear favorite.

In the late summer of 1831, for an extreme example, company representative Lucien Fontenelle, about to depart from Saint Louis with supplies for the firm’s trapper brigades in the Rockies, received Spanish saddles for all thirty of the mounted men in his caravan.

Although direct evidence is scanty, the preference of mountain men who served other firms was probably little different from that of American Fur Company employees when outfitting in and near Saint Louis.

It is known that in 1834 Nathaniel J.

Wyeth, already experienced in the mountain trade and then readying for an all-out effort to conquer a place in it, instructed his outfitters at Liberty, Missouri, to procure “riding saddles, Spanish,” for him and all his party.^ St.

Louis was not the only place within America’s western boundaries where Spanishtree saddles were being made.

At least by the early 1830s, trees on Mexican lines were being made in southwestern Louisiana and, it appears, at least the capability to produce them was then widespread in the Mississippi Valley.

In 1833 when cavalry soldiers (termed dragoons) were about to join the ranks of the United States Army for the first time since the War of 1812, Lt.


Stephen W.

Kearny and Maj.

Richard B.

Mason, both of whom had been stationed on the western frontier, recommended as best suited for service there a saddletree patterned on that of Mexico.

Presenting to War Department oflficials a specimen horned tree, one which had been made, they said, in Louisiana’s Attakapas region, the two officers remarked that trees such as this could be turned out “in any part of the Western country.” ^ ‘ By the late 1830s Spanish-tree saddles were being turned out at various places in the West and were also being manufactured in steadily growing volume in eastern cities such as Philadelphia and Newark, New Jersey, destined for sale as “ready-made” articles in saddlery shops and general stores in the West and South.

It was, as he noted in his journal, astride a borrowed army horse wearing a “Spanish saddle with holsters” that John James Audubon set out from the steamboat Omega to visit a camp of United States dragoons beside the upper Mis- — longer and better proportioned for the Horses of the US than those constructed in the spannish country would be: for the simple reason that in the latter case NUMBER 39 47 FIGURE 30 (left).—The teamster’s saddle that the U.S.

Army adopted as part of regulation wagon harness in 1854, as sketched in a draft of army harness specifications prepared in 1864.

FIGURE 31 (right).—An enlarged portion of a photograph taken of a Union army camp at some time during the Civil War, in which can be seen with a fair degree of clarity the army wagon saddle of that time with its Attakapas tree.

They are calculated for small horses and mules and are made very narrow which renders them unsafe and even useless for the horses in this country unless they are so low in flesh as not to be in a usable condition. Aside from this, Grimsley continued, the two trees were alike even to the solid fork and rawhide cover, “so strong that no horse or mule can when exerting his utmost strength brake them in any part.” Army wagon harness specifications of the 1840s and 1850s throw light upon the configuration of the American-made Spanish tree of that time.

Part of the “jerk-line” harness employed in wagoning of the heavier sort was a riding saddle, termed a wagon saddle, for the use of the wagoner or teamster.

Up to 1845 the wagon saddle used by the army had a tree on English lines.

In that year (very soon, it is strange to note, after dropping the Spanish tree from dragoon horse equipment) the military adopted a wagon saddle built, as the official specifica- tions ran, “on Spanish tree.” ^^ The change was made for increased durability, to withstand the very worst that men, mules, and nature could mete out.

From a crude sketch (Figure 30) of the new wagon saddle, included in a draft of harness specifications drawn up in the oflfice of the Army quartermaster at Philadelphia in 1846, we obtain a fairly good idea of the Spanish tree, noting its tall, slender horn, and high, steep-pitched cantle (and the absence of an English style padded seat).

The tree was to be covered with “leather partly tanned,” that is, rawhide.^2 In 1858, for reasons unknown, the army ceased referring to the tree of its wagon saddle as Spanish.

According to harness specifications which were issued in that year and which went unchanged through the Civil War and beyond, the saddle was to be “on Attakapas tree.” ^^ In an enlarged portion of a photograph of a Union army camp during the Civil War (Figure 31), 48 SMITHSONIAN STUDIES IN HISTORY AND TECHNOLOGY the Attakapas-tree wagon saddle is visible upon the near wheel animal of a six-mule team.

Upon comparing this photographic view with the sketch in Figure 30, one is led to believe that the only difference between the tree the army knew as Spanish in 1845 and that which it termed Attakapas in 1858 was one of terminology (see also Figure 24).

It also seems likely that the saddle tree that the army designated as Attakapas in 1858 was directly related to the tree that, a quarter of a century earlier, the two army officers, Kearny and Mason, had presented at the War Department—one made, as they said, “in the Atakapas, Louisiana, but can be made in any part of the Western country.” In the Spanish saddle as produced at Saint Louis, English influence seems to have run for a long time so strong that, apart from the shape of the tree, with its high cantle and horned pommel, the article bore probably little resemblance to western saddles of later times.

The impression is one of a saddle with a tree modelled on that of Mexico but characterized otherwise by a padded seat and padding under the tree as in the English riding saddle, by flaps and girthing in the English mode, and by the D-shaped metal stirrups common to saddles used in English-speaking America from the earliest times.

One can but theorize as to why, if this concept is accurate, so many English features were retained.

It can hardly be that Mexican saddle furnishings were wholly unknown in Saint Louis.

For a time in 1828 Thornton Grimsley advertised in the Missouri Republican a “schabbrack saddle,” by which he meant a saddle with a removable housing known as a schabrack covering the tree.

That Grimsley’s “schabbrack” was in reality a form of the Mexican mochila is shown by his letter of 24 April 1833 (see Appendix), wherein he described it as a “leather cover exactly on the spannish plan.” The seeming persistence of English influence in the Saint Louis-made Spanish saddle may be accounted for partly in that the ways of the saddlemakers of that city, pivot of Far Western trade though it was, tended to remain those of settled America.

As newspaper advertisements attest, the Spanish saddle and the English saddle were made side by side in Saint Louis shops.

There, and especially in the 1820s and 1830s, when the numbers of Americans journeying into the Far West were relatively slight, the makers must surely have regarded the Spanish saddle as almost a novelty, an article with appeal to only a very small proportion of the market.

With the possible exception of Thornton Grimsley, they probably saw little reason under the circumstances to change of their own volition any more than was necessary from the tried and true.

In addition to the conservatism of saddlers, another factor perhaps contributing to the apparent character of the Saint Louis-made Spanish saddle was the outlook of the men who bought it.

Many of them must have been altogether accustomed to the English saddle and only recently or newly concerned with Far Western travel.

Having come to believe in the superiority of the Mexican tree, they accepted it, innovation though it was.

On the other hand, they probably saw nothing to be gained by adopting outright the whole of Mexican saddle trappings, which must have been strange and cumbersome in their eyes.

In the Spanish saddle as made at Saint Louis, English characteristics seem to have endured well into the middle years of the nineteenth century.

In the Missouri market deep-seated preference for the English style could affect even the Spanish tree itself.commencing probably in the late 1830s there appeared a saddletree in which, while the horn was still prominent, there was a combination of elements of the Spanish and English trees.

This hybrid was called “half Spanish,” in contrast to what was then sometimes referred to as the “full Spanish” tree.

Once fully aware of the realities of Plains travel, American horsemen appear to have dispensed with certain English features of the Saint Louis-made Spanish saddle.

Under hard use, seat padding and underpadding were apt to fall quickly into disrepair and, leagues from any saddler’s shop, were troublesome to restore.

In the Spanish saddles used by the United States dragoons, seat padding was omitted from the outset in spite of Thornton Grimsley’s recommendation that it be adopted.

Upon his arrival in Saint Louis in June 1833 with full authority to settle all design details of the service saddle, Lieutenant Colonel Kearny insisted —whether because of personal experience or NUMBER 39 49 I.

L i A i \ D l S , IViain MiMct, SI.

I.oiiis, (Three doors Hhove he Biinkof the ESPECTI-ULLY inform their fiiendsand th«publie in general, that they have commenced the SAD> DLE, HARNESS & TRUNK business, between the Union and Missouri Hotels^ Main street..

St<.Louis, Mo.1 sign of the Spanish Saddle.

They intend carrying it on.

In all its various branches, and keeping a constant supply of gentlemen’s Spanish and American Saddles,, both quilted and plain.

Also,Ladies Saddles,consisting ofqudted,.

Quilted fare pieces, buck skin, plush and plush ives, gig, coach and dearbon hari?esS(Of every description, plialed, brass or black mounting, black and fair leather bridles a»cl martingales, all kinds of travelling, fancy and hair trunks, saddlebags, valieces, carpet bags and portmanteaus.

Dray, wagon and cart harness, blind bridles, collars, haimes, and every other awticle in their line, coach*.

Gig and loaded whips of every description, and switch whins of the best quality..

All orders in their line thankfully received^ and punc tttally attended to.

July jis. R Thomas — D—mn a mule, any how.” FIGURE 33.—”Damn a mule, any how!” quoth Private James Peacock, of the First Missouri Mounted Volunteers, striving to get his refractory beast underway for another day’s march.

Thus a comrade saw Peacock on the morning of 6 May 1847, with an American military expedition deep in rugged northern Mexico.

The western saddle saw much use by American mounted volunteer soldiers in the conflict between the United States and Mexico. arrived there on American-made Spanish saddles.

They marveled at the New Mexicans’ feats of horsemanship and lusted for the fancy leatherwork and rich metal fittings with which saddles were embellished there.

Adventuring in Taos in 1847, youthful Lewis H.

Garrard was moved to purchase from one Le Fevre a saddle from below the Rio Grande. “It came,” he recalled, “from Chihuahua originally—high cantle and pommel, with ponderous, fancifully carved wooden stirrups.

It suited me well, and I paid a high price for it, though I thought it cheap.

It was certainly worth nine dollars, and the sight of Le Fevre’s daughter made me consider the remaining nine as nothing.” ^’^ The Americans who thronged into California in 1849 and after in quest of gold found the Mexican populace there, just as in New Mexico, using the saddle of their motherland.

Among the Californios saddle decoration had attained, it is said, a magnificence unmatched elsewhere in Mexico’s border regions.

Americans took to much of the native horse equipage with enthusiasm.

In the riding qualities of the California tree they found such excellence that within a few years its fame had spread far and wide over western America.

As Arthur Woodward points out, the mochila gained special attention through its use by the almost legendary Pony Express riders in 1860-61.

Where speed NUMBER 39 51 FIGURE 34.—A nice specimen of the Mexican saddler’s craft, this saddle was brought home by Franklin Pierce (destined to become fourteenth President of the United States) upon his return from service, 1847-1848, as a brigadier general in the war between the United States and Mexico.

The leather parts are embellished with stamping and silver embroidery.

The horn and pommel are encased in lustrous white metal and the cantle has a molding of the same material.

A non-Mexican addition, doubtless installed by an American saddler at the request of Pierce or another, are plain flaps with knee-pads, one of which is visible in this off-side view.

FIGURE 35.—Jefferson Davis (later president of the Confederate States of America) used this western saddle on active service, 1846-1847, as colonel of the First Mississippi Rifles, in the war between the United States and Mexico.

The back of the cantle is marked “BLUNN and WALKER.

Saddlers / Austin.” This is the earliest Texas-made saddle of which we have knowledge.

The stirrups were made by Davis himself. 52 SMITHSONIAN STUDIES IN HISTORY AND TECHNOLOGY FIGURE 37.—This illustration from a handbook for travelers to the West depicts the California saddle as the one used by many over much of the American West during the 1850s and 1860s.

The author, drawing upon his quarter century of experience on the western frontier, recommended it as possessing “at least as many advantages for rough frontier service as any other pattern that has been invented.” The leather loop depending from the horn was a means of carrying a rifle (see Figure 33). FIGURE 36.—The tree of this much-worn saddle was made at Sacramento, California, about 1856.

Breakage of the rawhide cover has made visible a paper label pasted to the wood of the cantle and imprinted “BUDD & L E H M A N / (Late D.

RANSOM),/ SACRAMENTO.” Duke Ransom operated a saddlery and harness shop in Saint Louis during most of the 1840s.commencing evidently in 1854 Ransom produced saddletrees in Sacramento.

Budd and Lehman succeeded to his tree-making business in 1856.

Note the stirrup, carved from a solid block of hardwood. FIGURE 38.—”A Forty-niner,” by John Woodhouse Audubon, 1849.

The artist, a son of the celebrated naturalist, led a company of gold seekers on a grueling journey overland from the Rio Grande across northern Mexico to California in 1849.

A skilled artist in his own right, young Audubon made a number of pencil drawings and watercolors along the way.

In this one we see a member of the party and two of their horses.

Although both the saddles certainly qualify as western saddles, they differ from one another in many details.

As this picture denotes, the party went well armed. FIGURE 39.—”Don Jose Andres Sepulveda,” by Henri Penelon, 1856.

The subject is portrayed on horseback—a pose befitting the lordly owner of Rancho San Joaquin, resident of the Pueblo de Los Angeles, and devotee of fast horses and elaborate dress.

The artist appears to have taken special pains with the lavish embroidery on the mochila, anquera, and tapaderos.

The horn and cantle of the California saddle are embellished with white metal as is the bridle. 54 SMITHSONIAN STUDIES IN HISTORY AND TECHNOLOGY NUMBER 39 55 FIGURE 41.—Trustworthy in its details is this contemporary depiction of a Pony Express rider by the accomplished California pioneer artist, Charles C.

Nahl (18191878).

Entitled “Swimming the Storm-Swollen Stream,” it appeared as an illustration in Hutchings’ California Magazine of July 1860. FIGURE 40.—Very few mochilas appear to have survived the wear and tear of the years.

This example, stamped “T.


LOUIS, MO.” in six places, dates no earlier than 1850.

In that year Thornton Grimsley was associated with his son John J.

Grimsley and his son-in-law George L.

Stansbury under the firm of T.

Grimsley & Company.

The mochila is of thick board-like leather, finished black.

Overall dimensions are 28% by 48 inches (73 x 121.9 cm). was vital, this leather housing could be snatched from one man’s saddle and clapped upon another in a matter of moments.

The Pony Express men used a mochila fitted with four pockets—cantinas—one in front of and one behind each of the rider’s legs.

In the cantinas, under lock and key, rode the mail.

When we compare the saddles illustrated in Figures 42 and 43, we gain a vivid sense of the apparent transformation in saddlery tastes that took place among American equestrians in the — NUMBER 39 57 FIGURE 43.—Made by Edward L.

Gallatin, this superbly decorated saddle, seen here without its mochila, was presented to Col.

Jesse H.

Leavenworth, of the Second Colorado Volunteers, by his officers and friends at Denver, Colorado, on 4 December 1862. 58 SMITHSONIAN STUDIES IN HISTORY AND TECHNOLOGY FIGURE 44.—Tooled in each corner of the skirts and atop the horn of this saddle is the Lone Star emblem of Texas.

Stamped in capital letters between the points of each star is the word TEXAS.

The saddle belonged to Robert E.

Lee and was used by him, according to family recollection, “just before the Civil War.” As lieutenant colonel of the Second U.S.

Cavalry, Lee was stationed in Texas during much of 1856-1857 and again in 1860-1861.

The saddle is marked “E.


Hopkins.” Present with the saddle is a martingale, decorated with a heart-shaped device of brass. NUMBER 39 59 of which, it must be acknowledged, is a ‘fancy price.’ ” 20 Just when the Hope saddletree came into being, why it was called as it was, and whether its place of origin lay in Texas or elsewhere, all have yet to be determined.

Americans, present in Texas continuously from the 1820s, were, in that environment, exposed quite early to Mexican saddlery.

Their own saddles obviously took on Mexican features eventually but there is little to suggest how soon this began or the rate at which it progressed.

By 1840, according to Walter Prescott Webb, there existed on the Mexican border a considerable trade between Texans and Mexicans and among the wares that the latter brought to San Antonio were saddles.

From 1836 to 1845, when Texas was an independent republic, its mounted rangers used, according to an authoritative memoir quoted by Webb, the “Mexican saddle, improved somewhat by the Americans.” ^i What was true of the Texas Rangers must also certainly have been the case with other frontier Texans of the 1830s and 1840s.

Ferdinand Roemer, a Gernian geologist who managed to see a good deal of Texas during a sojourn of eighteen months in 1846 and 1847, noted that the “Mexican type of saddles with high pommel and high backs” were in common use among the settlers.22 By mid-century, then, a great many American users of the western saddle had come to regard it with a degree of sophistication.

Certainly, the old all-encompassing term, Spanish saddle, could no longer suffice.

Foreshadowing a steady proliferation of western saddle styles in the century’s latter decades, there were the California saddle and the Hope (or Texas) saddle and the distinctions between them, now not altogether clear, were well understood then.

The primary difference between the two lay unquestionably in the configuration of their trees.

In 1860 both sorts came under the appraising eye of Sir Richard F.

Burton, the British explorer and orientalist, as he made the long trek between Saint Joseph, Missouri, and San Francisco.

Burton’s observations provide at least a clue to the distinctions between saddle types. “The civilised saddle,” he found, “in these lands varies with every region.” With great detail he observed: Far West in the middle 1800s.

Undocumented though it is, the saddle in Figure 42 (see Figure 67 for additional views) is unquestionably of American manufacture and was turned out probably during the 1850s.

Only in its stirrups and tree covering (coarse cloth, much simpler to apply and so cheaper than rawhide) does this example depart from the seeming characteristics of the Spanish saddle as produced at Saint Louis.

The seat padding, underpadding, and girthing all follow English lines.

The Leavenworth presentation saddle shown in Figure 43 (see also Figure 69 for additional views) was turned out in 1862 at Denver, Colorado, by Edward L.

Gallatin.^^ It is founded, as its maker recounted, upon “the California saddle tree” ^^ and it shows much of Mexican influence throughout.

Especially when seen, as in Figure 43, without its mochila, Gallatin’s product of 116 years ago bears in the overall a strikingly modern look when viewed side by side with the saddle in Figure 42.

Although both, in that they have horned trees, are of the western saddle type, and despite a probability that they are nearly contemporaneous in their dates of manufacture, these two saddles stand clearly an age removed from one another in terms of design.

The California saddletree unquestionably was popular in the West but it was not without a competitor, however, at least so far as Texans were concerned.

This competition came from a horned tree known generally to Texans by the term “Hope”; non-Texans appear to have called it, more often than not, simply the “Texas” tree.

Its devotees would hear of no other.

In the mining regions of California in 1851, Sam Ward—later to gain fame as “King of the Lobby” in the national capitol—found Texans singing the praises of the incomparable Hope tree.

As Ward put it, among the diggings, “the saddletree consisted . . .

As in Mexico, of four pieces—a loggerhead [fork]), two side plates and a crupper [misnomer for cantle].

This style of saddle pervades even Texas, where, as in the Golden State, the work of certain masters is more highly prized than the goblets of Benvenuto Cellnini. . . .

The two rivals in public estimation were Hope of Texas and Graham of Santa Clara, whose naked trees would command from one to three ounces [of gold], either 60 SMITHSONIAN STUDIES IN HISTORY AND TECHNOLOGY The Texan is known by its circular seat; a string passed round the tree forms a ring: provided with flaps after the European style it is considered easy and comfortable.

The Californian is rather oval than circular; borrowed and improved from the Mexican, it has spread from the Pacific to the Atlantic slope of the Rocky Mountains, and the hardy and experienced mountaineer prefers it to all others. . . .

The tree rests upon a “sweat-leather,” a padded sheet covering the back, and it is finished off behind with an “anchero” of the same material protecting the loins.

The pommel is high, like the crutch of a woman’s saddle, rendering impossible, under pain of barking the knuckles, that rule of good riding which directs the cavalier to keep his hands low. . . .

The whole saddle is covered with a machila, here usually pronounced macheer, two pieces of thick leather handsomely and fancifully worked or stamped, joined by a running thong in the centre, and open to admit the pommel and cantle.

If too long, it draws in the stirrup leathers, and cramps the ankles of any but a bowlegged man.

The machila is sometimes garnished with pockets, always with straps behind to secure a valise, and a cloak can be fastened over the pommel, giving purchase and protection to the knees. . . .

The advantages of this equipment are obvious; it is easier to horse and man probably than any yet invented.

On the other hand, the quality of leather renders it expensive: without silver or other ornaments, the price would vary from $25 at San Francisco to $50 at G[reat].



City, and the highly got-up rise to $250 = 50£.

For a saddle! If the saddlecloth slips out, and this is an accident which frequently occurs, the animal’s back will be galled.

The stirrup-leathers cannot be shortened or lengthened without dismounting, and without leggings the board-like leather macheer soon makes the mollets [calves of the legs] innocent of skin.

The pommel is absolutely dangerous: during my short stay in the country I heard of two accidents, one fatal, caused by the rider being thrown forward on his f o r k . . . . [The] stirrup is sensibly made of wood.

In the Eastern states it is a lath bent somewhat in the shape of the dragoon form, and has too little weight: the Californian article is cut out of a solid block of wood, mountain mahogany being the best, then maple, and lastly the softer pine and cotton-wood.

In some parts of the country it is made so narrow that only the toe fits in, and then the instep is liable to be bruised.

For riding through bush and thorns, it is provided in front with zapateros [misnomer for tapaderos] or leathern curtains, secured to the straps above, and to the wood on both sides; they are curiously made, and the size, like that of the Turk’s lantern,23 denotes the owner’s fashionableness; dandies may be seen with the pointed angles of their stirrup-gfuards dangling almost to the ground.

The article was borrowed from Mexico—the land of character dresses.24 FIGURE 45.—The McClellan saddletree, regulation for United States horse soldiers from 1859 down to World War II, bore—apart from its lack of a horn—a decided resemblance to the western saddletree of the middle 1800s.

The example seen here (now lacking the standard rawhide cover) was made during the Civil War. (cf.

The “Spanish” tree, Figure 24.) In 1856 the firm of Rice & Childress, then producing the Hope saddle at San Antonio, Texas, sought to have it tried by the Second United States Cavalry, which had recently taken station on the Texas frontier.

In support of this effort there arrived at the War Department missives in which numerous Texans recited personal experiences with the Hope saddle.

These documents, comprising an interesting chapter in the history of the western saddle, are quoted in the Appendix.

The War Department, already considering the merits of several saddles proposed for cavalry use, purchased about 400 Hope saddles from Rice & Childress in 1857-1858.

The Second Cavalry used them in hard field service, was delighted with them, and said so.

For all that, it was not the Hope saddle that the War Department finally settled upon in 1859.

The saddle adopted for United States cavalry in 1859 was one that a promising young captain, George B.

McClellan, had submitted for trial.

In 1855 the War Department had sent him overseas to observe the Crimean War and to ascertain the best features of European cavalry equipment.

Back in America in 1856 McClellan obtained permission to have made, under his personal supervision, a new saddle, one which he claimed, and everyone expected, would embody the most advanced features of European design.

Just how it came about remains obscure (McClellan was close-mouthed about it afterward) but the saddle that he produced. NUMBER 39 61 FIGURE 46.—Like many Civil War cavalrymen, North and South, Private Luther H.

North, of the Second Nebraska Volunteer Cavalry, here pictured on his horse Billy, used a western saddle.

The photograph was made on 6 March 1863 (North’s seventeenth birthday) at the Pawnee Indian reservation on the Loup River, Nebraska Territory.

Late in life.

North recalled that the saddle he used on this occasion was “probable borrowed, as I afterward used one of the heavier Mexican or California type.” Note the anquerita, a diminutive form of the anquera. 62 SMITHSONIAN STUDIES IN HISTORY AND TECHNOLOGY which the War Department went on to adopt, bore little direct resemblance to anything in use across the Atlantic.

In the form of its tree (except for lack of a horn), its rigging, and its bent-wood stirrups complete with tapaderos, the army’s new cavalry saddle bore to the western saddle a resemblance so striking that it can scarcely be ascribed to sheer coincidence.

The McClellan saddle, as it has always been known, proved a tough, durable article, well suited to the rough and tumble of field service.

Often the butt of grim humor (President Grover Cleveland is said to have opined—probably contemplating those abrupt seat lines—that it seemed to have been constructed especially for the enlargement of the pension list),^^ the saddle nevertheless served American soldiers well, enduring as the principal element of United States cavalry horse equipment from the Civil War down to World War II.

In the Civil War the western saddle in various forms was used by numbers of cavalrymen, North and South, sometimes through necessity but more often through preference.

At the outset of the war, when the McClellan saddle was not yet in full production, Union authorities grabbed for anything with which to outfit the hosts of volunteer cavalrymen coming into service.

In the summer of 1861 a Union purchasing agent was glad to obtain from Betts, Nichols & Company several thousand western saddles such as that New York house had been producing for export to Texas.

These, dubbed “ranger” saddles, were hurried to cavalry camps in the East and Midwest.

They were only issued, however, as an emergency measure, and were generally replaced by the McClellan pattern at the first opportunity.

Union volunteer cavalry units raised in California in 1861 scorned to use any kind of saddle but the California variety, to which they were accustomed.

It was obtained for them, complete with mochila and anquera, from Main & Winchester and other firms in San Francisco.

Many of the California troopers still bestrode the California saddle in 1865 despite the hard use to which they had put their equipment in Arizona and New Mexico since 1862 and although the McClellan saddle had come into increasing use among them as the war progressed.

To men in need of leather the expansive mochila afforded temptation sometimes too much to resist.

As an officer of the First California Cavalry complained from a remote New Mexico post in 1864, “Private G.


Wiley says he cut up his machere to make mocasins for his horse. . . .

Private G.


Parker says he lost his machere . . .

Alledges it was stolen.” ^e In 1863 Lt.


Sir Arthur James Lyon Fremantle of the British army’s Coldstream Guards crossed the Rio Grande into Texas for an unoffficial tour of the Confederate States.

Finding a Texas cavalry regiment encamped by the border, he paused to look it over.

To Fremantle the Texans’ approach to soldiering was a source of astonishment.

None of them, he discovered, could ride in an English saddle.

Neither could any of them jump a fence, as their colonel had to confess, no doubt wondering to himself why anyone should ask such a question in unfenced Texas.

Despite such shortcomings the Texans were, Fremantle had to concede, “in their peculiar fashion . . .

Beautiful riders.” All of them used, he noted, saddles “nearly like the Mexican.” ^^ Among Southern cavalry units raised west of the Mississippi, especially those formed in Texas, a great many of the men brought their own western saddles with them into the ranks.

The Eighth Texas Cavalry, known generally as “Terry’s Texas Rangers,” and Lieutenant Colonel R.


Gano’s Battalion of Texas Cavalry, both of which served in eastern theaters almost throughout the war, used the western saddle in all their campaigns.

Gano’s Texans were merged into a Kentucky cavalry regiment in 1862.

Later on, when saddlery supplies were very scarce in the Confederacy, several of the Texan troopers who had been saddletree makers at home made many western saddles for use by their comrades, both Texans and Kentuckians.

Shortly after the end of the Civil War, resourceful Texas ranchers began driving cattle out of their impoverished state toward markets in the North and the Rocky Mountain West.

Along the flanks of the dusty columns of longhorns headed for the new railheads rode hardy young men, some still in tattered Confederate gray, sitting deep in their western trees, coiled lariats hung ready beside the fork.

At hand was the day of the American cowboy, to last as NUMBER 39 63 HAH at WIHCHSSTBX’S 8ASDLEBT AHS EABVSSS WASEHOITSB: 214 AHD 218 BATTEST BTBBET, SAS 7KAXCIBC0. FIGURE 47.—Charles Main and Ezra H.

Winchester prospered from the time they went into business together as importers and manufacturers of saddlery and harness in San Francisco in 1849.

This view of their establishment appeared in the California Farmer and Journal of Useful Sciences of 12 September 1862.

Before the picture could be published a fourth floor had been added to the brick and granite structure.

Main & Winchester furnished many of the western saddles used by California volunteer troops on duty in the Southwest during the Civil War. — long as the vast ranges and the huge cattle herds of the West lasted. “Oh, a ten-dollar boss and a forty-dollar saddle, and I’m goin to punchin’ Texas cattle,” ran a stanza in one of his songs.

To the American cowboy that western saddle was, indeed, both a vitally necessary work tool and a highly cherished possession.

To many it will probably always be known as the “cowboy” saddle.

By any ordinary standard that would seem to be distinction enough.

In view of its history, however, it would seem to merit a title carrying a much broader meaning.

As has been described, long years before a great range-cattle industry on the Plains was even dreamed of, this saddle was serving Americans well as they rode forth to fulfill a diversity of roles in the stupendous, untamed land that was the trans-Mississippi West.

It can be called, with great justice, the western saddle, which is to say the saddle of western America. NUMBER 39 65 Appendix Letter from Thornton Grimsley to Major Joshua B.

Brant, Quartermaster, United States Army, proposing to furnish saddles for the First Regiment, United States Dragoons, 1833.^^ St.

Louis 24th Apl 1833 Dear Sir In obedience to your request of this morning I herewith enclose you a description of the saddle on which I proposed to mount the U S Dragoons ordered to be raised for the defence of our fronteere.

The tree which may be termed the foundation is constructed of solid timber dressed to suitable thicknesses from the forks of treese selected for this purpose, and in shape is a complete moddle of the much admired spannish saddle, and is covered with raw hide which is put on them wet, and contracts by drying so as to confine every part of the tree compactly together, and renders it so strong that no horse or mule can when exerting his utmost strength brake them in any part.

No difference is perceivable to those who are not practical mechanics at the saddling business between the shape of the saddle above mentioned and the real spannish saddle accept that those which I manufacture are longer and better proportioned for the Horses of the U S than those constructed in the spannish country would be: for the simple reason that in the latter case they are calculated for small horses and mules and are made very narrow which renders them unsafe and even useless for the horses in this country unless they are so low in flesh as not to be in a usable condition.

The construction of the seete and pad of the sample which I have made is similar to the common american saddle though the seete combines advantages of ease to the rider and affords facilityes for repaires which the common ammerican saddle does not possess.

A leather cover exactly on the spannish plan is thrown over the whole saddle which forms the scorts [skirts] and affords a complete protection to the under seete which is made of soft leather and linnen and is stuffed with wool, and it is on this [ie, the cover] that the Holsters, and other apparatus necessary for the accommodation and convenience of the Dragoon is attached.

This cover or schabbrack as it is called is made of thick heavy leather and protects the whole body of the saddle from the wet.

The head [horn] and cantle of the tree passes through this cover and of course holds it snug in its place.

On each side behind the holsters the stirrup leather passes through it; so that the rider has from the senter of the seete to the extream lower edge of the scort a perfect smooth surface of leather to ride upon.

The saddle treese now proposed to be used vv^as first taken in to the trade to the mountains by Genl Ashley, and has since been continued by his successors: Smith Sublette and Jackson all of whom have tendered and would if I had deemed it necessary have given certificates of there great superiority over any other saddle Tree now in use for constant service.

The greate advantage to be gained by the government in the adoption of the above mentioned saddle . . .

Is; first there durabillity and safety to the horses backs as they have in many instances been rode and packed to the mountains and back again without any pad but simply using a blanket or a bairskin under t h e m . . . .

I remain as every yours Truly T.



Brant Thornton Grimsley’s contract to furnish saddles for the First Regiment, United States Dragoons, 1833.^’-> Articles of agreement made and concluded at Saint Louis, Mo, the twenty seventh day of June Eighteen hundred & thirty three, by & between Major J.


Brant Q’-Master U.S.

Army of the first part, and Thornton Grimsley of the said city of Saint Louis of the second part. —Witnesseth.— 1^* . . .

That the said Thornton Grimsly of the second part, for and in consideration of the covenants and agreements hereinafter stipulated, promises and agrees by these presents, to furnish and deliver at Saint Louis, Mo, Seven hundred and fifteen Saddles for the service of the U.S.

Dragoons, to be made in a workmanlike manner and in strict confirmity to the one described in the annexed document dated 27 June 1833 and signed “Thornton Grimsley”, said Saddles to be delivered as follows, viz: 200 on the 1«* of September next ensuing, 200 on the IS*** of September next ensuing, 200 on the ISti’ of October, 200 on the 15^^ of November and the remaining 115 on the 15*^ of December 1833;— the several parcels to be inspected by two disinter- 66 SMITHSONIAN STUDIES IN HISTORY AND TECHNOLOGY ested persons mutually chosen by the parties to the agreement, who shall certify whether the Saddles are conformable to the one described in the above mentioned document, and whether they are executed in a workmanlike manner. 2″And the said Major J.


Brant of the first part, for and in behalf of the United States, promises and agrees to pay to the said Thornton Grimsley or his assigns, for each Saddle furnished and delivered as above, the Sum of Ten dollars, on his or their producing the Certificate of the Inspectors setting forth the due performance of the first article of the agreement.

In testimony whereof the parties have hereunder affixed their hands & seals the day & years first above written.

Witness John Haraty W.


Worthington —Copy— J.


Brant T Grimsley [Seal] [Seal] The above I believe to be a complete description of the saddles agreed for by yourself, and intended for the U.S.

Dragoons, and I have no hesitation in saying that they are equal if not superior for the service for which they are intended to any Saddle now in use in any part of the world.

For the information of the heads of the War Department, I will at an early date make a sample agreeably to your request which you can forward to Washington for their inspection.

I remain very respectfully Your ob* Servt (Signed) Thornton Grimsley Major J.


Brant ( QrMaster U.S.A.

F A true Copy of the original on file in this office Q’Masters Office Saint Louis June 27.1833.



Brant QrMr Know all men by these presents that we Thornton Grimsley, William Carr Lane and Bernard Pratte S” are held and firmly bound unto the United States of America in the penal sum of Three thousand five hundred dollars, lawful money of the said United States, for which payment well and truly to be made, we bind ourselves, our heirs, executors & administrators firmly by these presents, sealed with our seals and dated this Twenty seventh day of June One thousand eight hundred and thirty three.

The condition of the obligation is such, that whereas the above bounden Thornton Grimsley has this day entered into an agreement with Major J.


Brant Q” Master U.S.

Army, to furnish and deliver Seven hundred and fifteen Saddles for the use of the U.S.

Dragoons, now, if the said Thornton Grimsley shall furnish and deliver the said Saddles according to the true intent and meaning of said said agreement, then and in that case the obligation to be null and void, otherwise to remain in full force and virtue.

In testimony whereof we have hereunto set our hands and seals the day & year above written.

Signed, sealed & delivered in presence of \ (‘ Duplicate Saint Louis 27^^ June 1833 Dear Sir, You here have a full description of the U.S.

Dragoon Saddle as adopted by L* Col.

Kearney and contracted for by yourself.

The tree is composed of four pieces of timber put together, and in shape is an exact model of the much admired Spanish saddle tree.

It is covered with untanned hide, which binds every part of it completely together & forms the high reputation which the Spanish saddle tree has for strength and durability.

The tree is then skirted and padded, th« skirt protects the dragoon’s legs from the horse, and the pad for the more effectual preservation of the horse’s back.

Two iron staples with loops in a triangular form is on each side & receive the stirrup leather.

Three iron staples are put behind the saddle and clenched through the cantle of the tree for the crupper and coat pad.

The coat pad is of the usual form with two straps & buckles by which the Dragoon attaches his coat or any other baggage which the nature of his service may require.

A girth strap 1^4 inches wide is placed on each side of the tree resting on a small flap or skirt which is calculated to keep the buckle and girth from wearing on the lower edge of the pad.

Two leather loops is placed in front of the tree on each side to receive the breast plate [band] & two small straps with buckles nearly in the same place by which the holster pipes are to be confined to the saddle. — considered essential because women commonly placed a folded buffalo robe over the saddle and rode upon it.

There were regional variations in the forms of the pommels and cantles of women’s saddles.

The large disk-shaped projections were most characteristic of the women’s saddles of the northern plains and of the horse-wealthy tribes of the (Columbia Valley, such as the Cayuse and Nez Perce.

Women’s saddles among the Comanche and Kiowa of the southern plains, however, had pommels and cantles that simply curved outward near the tops and were concave in section.

Women loved to decorate their saddles.

Some were painted and ornamented with rows of round-headed brass tacks.

Many women’s saddles from the northern tribes had long triangular flaps pendant from the disks of both pommel and cantle, which were colorfully decorated in geometric designs in beadwork (Figure 73).

Many of the most elaborate saddles were made by the Crow Indians of the Yellowstone Valley, a tribe rich in horses, whose wom- 80 SMITHSONIAN STUDIES IN HISTORY AND TECHNOLOGY FIGURE 56.—This drawing by a Blackfoot Indian artist shows how the people of his tribe gave their first instruction to a small child learning to ride alone some 100 or more years ago.

The child is tied into a high-horned woman’s saddle on a gentle horse, and can hold on to the pommel to steady himself.

The horse is led slowly around the camp by a man on another horse. women, like boys and men, became expert in riding and managing horses.

White artists who knew Plains Indians at first hand before 1850 pictured women chasing buffalo, lassoing wild horses, and even charging the enemy on horseback.

There are accounts of several women who were active participants in, even leaders of, war parties.

Some artists exaggerated the height and curves of the horns of women’s saddles, as did Alfred Jacob Miller, who saw Crow and Shoshoni women at and near the annual rendevouz of the mountain trappers in present-day Wyoming during the summer of 1837.

Even later artists did not always seem to understand that the high-horned wood saddle was a woman’s saddle among the Plains Indians.

Such famous pictorial interpreters of earlier Indian life as Frederic Remington and Charles M.

Russell sometimes pictured male warriers using women’s saddles.

Doubtless they had examples of women’s saddles in their studio collections, and thought of them as the Indian type of saddle.

William R.

Leigh’s dramatic painting of the Custer battle (Figure 58) is flawed by the rendering of feathered and breechclouted warriors astride and falling from high-homed women’s saddles.* A third type of Indian saddle employed by Indians of the plains appears to have been a modification of the woman’s saddle.

It may not have come into common use until the middle decades of the nineteenth century.

George Bird Grinnell, famed writer on the Cheyenne Indians, considered the framed saddle with lowarched horn, pommel and cantle a comparatively NUMBER 39 81 FIGURE 57.—”The Smoke Signal,” by Frederic Remington.

In this 1905 oil painting, by the renowned western artist, a woman’s saddle is shown on a riderless horse presumably the mount of one of the two men on the ground.

This was a not uncommon error in the works of some very able painters of the western scene who sought to picture Indian life in an indefinite but presumably earlier past than the period of their own first-hand observation. modern invention of the Kiowa.^ If so, the type appears to have spread rapidly to other plains tribes.

Its sideboards and girthing were like those of the woman’s saddle.

The Blackfoot referred to this type as a “prairie chicken snare saddle.” In making this saddle (Figures 76, 77) a woman softened two sections of antler from fresh-killed elk or blacktail deer in warm water to rend them pliable.

The sections were then bent and cut to the desired shape, one for the pommel and the other for the cantle.

Some women burned holes near each end of the section of antler for tying it to the wooden sideboards; others made two horizontal grooves and passed the tie strings through these grooves and holes burned in the sideboards.

The saddle was then covered with green rawhide and protected from warping while the rawhide was drying by the same methods used in making all-wood saddles.

This type served both as a riding and a pack saddle.

It was the nearest approach to an Indian-made all-purpose saddle known to the plains tribes.

After a buffalo hunt, butchered animals were packed on it.

It served as a pack animal’s saddle in moving camp.

Some people sewed D-shaped rawhide flaps to the centers of the pommel and cantle.

They punched holes in these flaps, and after the load was in place, passed a rawhide line back and forth over the pack and through these holes, then tied it to keep the load securely in place.

Older men, children, and some women used this type as a FIGURE 58.—”Custer’s Last Fight,” by William R.


In this lively painting, an interesting reconstruction of the historic 1876 conflict by a twentieth-century artist, the Indian warriors are shown riding women’s saddles, and the saddle on the riderless horse at the right is depicted as being fitted with a pommel pin at the rear of the cantle as well. riding saddle.

Young men preferred it for long journeys.

It could be made more quickly than either the pad or wood saddle and it was less expensive in trade.

These factors encouraged its wide use in the waning decades of buffalo days among the horse-using tribes of the Great Plains and Rockies.

Women were skilled workers in rawhide, and consequently made the majority of bridles as well as the saddles used by the plains tribes in buffalo days.

Some were a single length of rawhide, others braided of three strands.

The single, continuous piece of rawhide was cut from a buffalo hide.

Simply looped about the horse’s lower jaw in two half hitches, it provided a two-reined bridle for the control of the horse.

Horse raiders carried one or more of these bridles in their packs when they journeyed on foot to capture horses from enemy camps. — (New Haven, 1923), volume 1, p a g e 207. 10.

DAVID T H O M P S O N , ” D a v i d Thompson’s N a r r a tive of his E x p l o r a t i o n s in W e s t e r n A m e r i c a , 1 7 8 4 1812,” edited b y J , B.

T y r r e l l (Champlain Society Publication, n u m b e r 12, Toronto, 1916), p a g e 371. 11.

E D W I N T , D E N I G , Five Indian Tribes of the Upper Missouri, edited b y J o h n C.

E w e r s ( N o r m a n , Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma P r e s s , 1961), p a g e 95. 12. 13.

C O M M I S S I O N E R OF I N D I A N A F F A I R S , Annual HUGH LENNOX SCOTT, Some Memories of Rea port, 1858, p a g e 438.

Soldier ( N e w York, 1928), p a g e 57. Description of Saddlery in the Renv\^ick Exhibition Ann Nelson Terminology used herein in descriptions of saddle parts has been standardized, with full recognition that the saddles represent three vast and non-exclusive cultural complexes: the Hispano-American, the Anglo-American, and the American Indian.

Figures 83 and 84 present pictorial identification of these terms and the glossary defines them.

In this catalogue the term “rosette” denotes a circular device with or without ties; when the rosette is a metal piece, the term “concha” is used. “Metallicthread embroidery” refers to the employment of a thin tape or wire of silver or other metal alloy wrapped around silk thread.

When referring to saddles of the Plains Indians the terms “left” and “right” are used in place of “on-side” and “off-side,” the designations employed with all other described saddles.

This is occasioned by the fact that Plains Indians customarily mounted from the horse’s right side.

Measurements (expressed to the nearest 0.5 cm) have been defined as follows: length (L) : from the foremost point of the pommel to the top of the arc of the cantle width (W) : the cantle at its widest point depth ( D ) : from the highest point of the pommel, often the horn, to the base of the skirts, or if skirts are lacking, to the base of the tree horn height (HH) : the distance from the top front of the pommel to the highest point of the horn Two Smithsonian laboratories prepared reports on the artifacts in the Renwick exhibition.

The six Indian saddles and associated horse gear, all from the Department of Anthropology Ann Nelson, Utah Museum of Natural History, versity of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah 84112.

Uni- in the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), were successfully treated by Bethune M.

Gibson, supervisor of the Anthropology Conservation Laboratory (ACL).

The ACL reports on all of these items are identified by the artifact’s NMNH catalogue number, given here with the item’s description, and are preserved by the Department of Anthropology.

The 11 remaining saddles, Mexican and western in origin, were referred to the Smithsonian’s Conservation Analytical Laboratory (CAL).

Seven of these saddles were borrowed from outside the Institution and four from divisions in the National Museum of History and Technology (NMHT).

Each saddle was subjected to laboratory procedures.

It was carefully studied and its condition recorded.

Basic cleaning and preservation was then carried out and recorded.

The reports generated by these procedures were given CAL report numbers, which appear here with the saddle descriptions.

It should be noted that the cleaning and preservation treatment applied to individual artifacts was the result of first-hand study and professional judgment; there is no “formula” treatment for saddles in general.

The Institution cannot be held liable for the results of any application by other parties of the procedures and materials described in the laboratory reports.

Some procedures extend into scientific processes not previously reported for the examination of saddles.

Radiograms and stereo-xrays of the saddle from Toluca, Mexico, suggest the usefulness of those procedures in structural analysis.

The joining of parts and the placement of nails reveal not only the craftsmanship of the individual saddler but also his attitude 85 86 SMITHSONIAN STUDIES IN HISTORY AND TECHNOLOGY toward “hidden” construction versus surface finish. L I S T OF D E S C R I P T I O N S : 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. Mexican Saddle (owned by Barbabosa family) California Saddle (made for F o r s t e r ) Mexican Saddle (awarded to H a r n e y ) Mexican Presentation Saddle (for Sheridan) C h a r r o Saddle (by Rodriguez) C h a r r o Saddletree (by Gonzales) Vaquero Saddle (acquired by Bourke) Hybrid Saddle (from Missouri River region) Stock Saddle (by Meanea) Anglo P r e s e n t a t i o n Saddle (by Gallatin) W e s t e r n Sidesaddle Sioux P a d Saddle for a Man Sioux P a d Saddle for a Boy Crow Saddle for a Woman Cheyenne Saddle for a Child I n d i a n P r e s e n t a t i o n Saddle (for Whipple) Sioux Packsaddle Cheyenne Saddle Forks Sioux S t i r r u p Crow S t i r r u p s Crow C r u p p e r Cheyenne Rope Sioux Quirt 1.

Mexican Saddle F I G U R E S 18, 60 DATE.—Tree, about 1800(?) ; housing, about 1825 to 1850.

ORIGIN.—Mexico. MAKER.—Unidentified. MATERIALS.—Wood, rawhide, tanned leather, copper and silver alloys, iron, animal hair, natural fibers.

DIMENSIONS.—L, 47 cm (I8I/2″) ; W, 36 cm (14″) ; D, 52 cm (201/2″) ; HH, 12 cm (4%”).

LENDER.—El Museo de la Charreria, Toluca, Estado de Mexico, Mexico.

REFERENCE NUMBERS.—Renwick Loan, TL. 20.1974.22; CAL Reports, 1789, 2562.

DETAILS.—The wooden saddletree is partially covered with stitched rawhide, the horned pommel with stitched fine-grained black leather, and the cantle with coarse-grained black leather.

The pommel is covered with a black leather piece adorned with embroidered silver florets and stamped grid design that functions as part of the forward rigging (las reatas).

The upper housing consists of three pieces stitched to- gether: a quilted seat-cover of black leather with forward extensions shaped to close around the base of the horn; and two rear pieces (each with a small jockey) joined behind the cantle.

Silver-thread embroidery runs behind the cantle, across the forward extensions of the seat cover, and around the jockeys.

The square skirts are carved and embroidered in floral patterns, lined with fine-grained black leather, and laced together behind the cantle.

Two rosettes with ties flank each jockey and two appear on each side behind the cantle (on-side ones missing).

Two rosettes and ties are indicated for each pommel shoulder (some are missing).

The single forward rigging consists of replacement latigos (pierced for cinch buckles) and leather-covered latigo rings that hang from wide rigging straps, which are adorned with silver- and brass-thread embroidery and are attached to the pommel cover and behind the cantle by a strap (la contrareata).

The cinch is missing.

Replacement stirrup straps are threaded through rectangular cuts in the tree under the jockeys and buckled (Figure 60/).

Stirrup leather buckles have a ferrous body plated with nickel.

Holding the top of each fender to a loop through which the replaced stirrup strap passes are two-pronged fasteners of the same metals (Figure 60/).

The carved black leather fenders, embroidered with silver thread, are attached at the bottom to the straps by replaced loops (Figure 60h).

The wooden stirrups, covered with fine-grained red leather, hang by round wooden bars.

Stamped and carved black leather stirrup covers are bordered with silverthread embroidery in the same floral design used on the fenders (Figure 60a,h,i).

Replacement rosettes on the stirrup covers anchor hide ties.

The animal fur (goat?) ornament is lined with suede and textile.

On the upper side it FIGURE 60.—Mexican saddle owned by B a r b a b o s a family: a, on-side; b, top view; c, d.

X-rays of pommel and cantle construction; e, pommel, off-side; / , off-side stirr u p leather p a s s i n g t h r o u g h sideboard of s a d d l e t r e e ; g, underside of h a i r o r n a m e n t (vaquerillo), see F i g ure 18 for u p p e r side, h, on-side s t i r r u p cover (tapadera); i, r e a r of off-side s t i r r u p ; j , underside. NUMBER 39 87 NUMBER 39 89 ^ ‘*fh^-^ — FIGURE 61 DATE.—About 1830 to 1860. ORIGIN.—Southern California? MAKER.—Unidentified. MATERIALS.—Wood, rawhide, tanned leather, silver and copper alloys, iron, natural fibers, textile. DIMENSIONS.—L, 49.5 cm (I91/2″); W, 33 cm (13″); D, 60 cm (231/2″); HH, 9 cm (131/2″).

LENDER.—Jerome Forster, lone, California.

REFERENCE NUMBERS.—Renwick Loan, TL. 20.1974.4; CAL Reports, 1713, 2582.

DETAILS.—The wooden saddletree is covered with stitched rawhide.

Engraved and chased silver trim is screwed to cap of horn and rim of cantle; stem of horn and faces of cantle are covered with tanned black leather; silver garland ornament and two plain conchas are screwed to back of cantle.

The stuffed and quilted removable seat pad of tanned maroon leather and mattress ticking is tied to the rear rigging straps.

The tanned black leather mochila (Figure NUMBER 39 91 Qlc,d) is made from two separate pieces, now secured by replacement lacing, adorned with stitched, stamped and carved leaf and flower designs, and lined with fine-grained maroon leather; a center suede piece that crosses the seat flares at the base of the cantle.

Silverthread embroidery in leaf and flower designs appears in front and rear scalloped reserves.

Twenty-six small silver buttons, of two different styles, are attached to the mochila’s edge by FIGURE 61.—California saddle made for John Forster: a, on-side, with mochila; b, onside, without mochila; c, mochila, top; d, mochila, underside; e, off-side view of rigging, stirrup strap (rear strap is incorrectly hung behind the rigging straps), and fender on saddletree; /, underside; g, off-side stirrup from rear; h, off-side stirrup cover (tapadero). 92 SMITHSONIAN STUDIES IN HISTORY AND TECHNOLOGY — 94 .&l/!^^ltLl-&W.^i SMITHSONIAN STUDIES IN HISTORY AND TECHNOLOGY NUMBER 39 95 3.

Mexican Saddle FIGURE 62 means of a single hide lacing (Figure 61rf); two plain conchas (larger than the buttons) with leather ties occur over each pommel shoulder and behind the cantle; each corner bears a large scalloped and chased silver medallion, the front ones being of one design and the rear ones of another.

The corners are terminated by balltipped silver corner plates.

The components of the three-quarter single rigging are as follows: a forward strap that crosses the pommel just in front of the base of the horn and is nailed in place; a rear strap that passes over the sideboards behind the cantle and is nailed to the rear of each side board; a metal latigo ring on each side through which the rigging straps are threaded and then secured with metal fasteners.

The latigos and cinch are missing.

The carved and stamped tanned-leather fenders, lined with fine-grained maroon tanned leather, are attached to the stirrup leathers at the top with metal fasteners and at the bottom with leather loops; the stirrup leathers pass around the side boards of the tree and are secured with laces (Figure 61e).

Single-piece taps (tapaderos) of tanned leather are decorated with carved leafy designs, silver corner trim, and two conchas with leather ties (Figure 61g,h).

Pear- or lyre-shaped bent-wood stirrups employ round wooden suspension bars (Figure eifir).

HISTORY.—This saddle was made (in California?) for John (Don Juan) Forster, an early settler in the Capistrano Valley and has been in the continuous possession of the Forster family since the time of its manufacture.

It shows ample evidence of wear but its mochila marks it as primarily an ornamental rather than a working saddle.

The saddle shares characteristics of those used by other prosperous hacendados in the horse-oriented culture of Hispanic California, including the removable mochila, the slender horn, and the use of finely crafted leather carving and silver trim and embroidery.

Meticulous workmanship, artistry, and pride in the manufacture of equestrian equipment was a Hispanic tradition in California that influenced incoming Anglo saddlemakers. DATE.—About 1835 to 1845.


MAKER.—Unidentified. MATERIALS.—Wood, rawhide, tanned leather, silver and copper alloys, gold, iron, natural fibers. DIMENSIONS.—L, 47 cm (I8I/2″); W, 35.5 cm (14″) ; D, 48 cm (19″) ; HH, 7 cm (234″).

LENDER. — Division of Military History, NMHT.

REFERENCE NUMBERS. — NMHT Catalogue and Accession, 5,664 and 22,920; Renwick Loan, TL.20.1974.19; CAL Report, 1745.

DETAILS.—The saddletree is wood, covered with stitched rawhide.

Chased yellow metal coverings are screwed to the narrow-horned pommel and cantle rim.

Cantle surfaces are covered with black leather.

Two white metal (silver alloy) medallions are screwed to the base of the cantle and two to its outer plane, where screw holes in the metal trim of the rim indicate a missing ornament or name plate.

There are short, stamped leather skirts; the sideboards are covered by tanned and padded leather.

The boldly carved, tanned black mochila (Figure 62b), which laces behind the horn is made up of a padded seat panel stitched onto a larger, embroidered under-panel.

The seat panel is decorated with stitchery of florals; the national emblem of Mexico (eagle holding serpent, perched on cactus), a Liberty cap, bow, arrow, and drum.

Metallic-thread embroidery appears in leaf designs behind the cantle, and in a national emblem on the shoulders of the pommel.

Outlining trim of metallic thread ends at the front in laurel sprays.

There is piercing over the pommel for strings to attach the missing pistol holsters.

Single forward rigging is used.

Rigging straps bearing an oval metal latigo ring hang from the forward fork; a rigging strap is nailed to each sideboard behind the cantle.

Leather tabs on the ends of the cinch hold the buckles and are adorned with metallic thread embroidery resembling work on the Barbabosa saddle (Figure 60). 96 SMITHSONIAN STUDIES IN HISTORY AND TECHNOLOGY FIGURE 62.—Mexican saddle awarded to Brig.




Harney: a, on-side; b, top view; c, off-side rigging seen with mochila raised; note untied mochila thongs run through padded “underseat” that covers the Mexican tree (not visible); d, cinch; e, rear. NUMBER 39 97 98 SMITHSONIAN STUDIES IN HISTORY AND TECHNOLOGY Tanned black leather stirrup straps thread through black leather tabs on the sideboards.

Pear-shaped stirrups of embossed metal employ metal suspension bars and stamped leather foot pads.

Yellow metals on stirrups, horn, cantle, and embroidery threads are gold-plated copper alloys.

HISTORY.—This type of militarized stock saddle was used in the mid-nineteenth century by Mexican officers.

Documents accompanying this saddle indicate that it was a battlefield presentation.


William Selby Harney was brevetted Brigadier General in 1846 for his actions at the battle of Cerro Gordo, the battleground on which he acquired this saddle.

It was donated to the Smithsonian Institution by Mrs.

Mary Harney in 1890. 4.

Mexican Presentation Saddle FIGURE 63 DATE.—About 1865. ORIGIN.—Mexico City MAKER.—”Fusteria de Felipe del Aguila[r], Calle de la Buena Muerte, . . .

Ra D.

Mexico” (inscription stamped in ink on front of cantle).

MATERIALS.—Wood, rawhide, tanned leather, silver and copper alloys, iron, natural fibers. DIMENSIONS.—L, 52 cm (201/2″); W, 35 cm (133^”) ; D, 30 cm (12″) ; HH, 20 cm (8″).

LENDER. — Division of Military History, NMHT.

REFERENCE NUMBERS. — NMHT Catalogue and Accession, 35,293 and 89,849; Renwick Loan, TL.20.1974.18; CAL Report, 1674.

DETAILS.—The wooden saddletree is covered with stitched rawhide.

A chased and embossed silver cap in floral and geometric designs is nailed to the “dinner-plate” horn.

The center of the cap is engraved: “L.

Galvan to Maj.




Sheridan / Feb. 20th, 1866.” Grooved and embossed floral designs in silver trim are nailed to the cantle rim and screwed to the gullet rim.

Embossed silver medallions in floral design are mounted on leather discs on the pommel shoulders.

Incised, tanned leather with metallic thread embroidery covers the sideboards just in front of the cantle.

Tanned leather pads are nailed to the underside of the NUMBER 39 99 sideboards.

Two plain silver conchas with rawhide ties are aflfixed to each sideboard behind the cantle; an embossed silver concha mounted on a leather disc with rawhide ties is attached to the front edge of each pommel shoulder.

Single forward rigging is used.

Stamped leather rigging straps bearing floral silverthread embroidery hang from the pommel and carry incised metal latigo rings with decorative silver plating.

The tanned-leather latigos are pierced for a buckled cinch.

The tanned-leather breast band stuffed with horsehair is attached to the latigo rings.

Incised and embroidered tanned stirrup leathers run over the side bars, through the open seat, and are laced together.

Metallic embroidery appears in a medallion design above each stirrup.

The box-shaped stirrups with round wooden suspension bars have metal plates with embossed floral design screwed to the outside FIGURE 63.—Mexican presentation saddle for Maj.




Sheridan: a, on-side; 6, top view showing elements of silver bridle below saddle; c, underside. 100 SMITHSONIAN STUDIES IN HISTORY AND TECHNOLOGY of their surface; their stamped-leather foot pads end in metallic-embroidered, lunetteshaped flaps.

The metallic tape wrappings of the silk thread used for embroidery on this saddle are “almost pure silver with traces of copper, zinc, gold and lead detected” (CAL Report 1674).

The silver-thread embroidery is often raised into relief, similar to stump work.

HISTORY.—This saddle has many components duplicated in the richly adorned saddles used by gentlemen riders of Mexico after 1850.

The exaggerated shape of the horn; exposed frame; single forward rigging, stirrup leathers of wide, decorated bands; and metal covered box-shaped stirrups with leather foot pads are elements frequently repeated in written descriptions and artistic renderings of the late 1800s.

Characteristic of that era is the assemblage of the splendid efforts of the woodworker, silversmith, and leather carver in the construction of Mexican equestrian equipment demonstrated by this saddle.

According to an entry in the Army and Navy Journal, 24 March 1866, this saddle, “valued between two and three thousand dollars,” was presented to Maj.


Philip H.

Sheridan by a friend in Mexico—a wealthy gentleman who was a great admirer of General Sheridan.

Sheridan commanded a military division along the Texas coast of the Gulf of Mexico between 1865 and 1867.

During this unsettled period in Mexico’s history, liberals were engaged in struggles with the troops of the French-imposed emperor, Maxmillian, and occasionally received support from United States troops.

The saddle was donated to the Smithsonian Institution by Mrs.

Philip H.

Sheridan in 1926. 5.

Charro Saddle FIGURE 64 DATE.—About 1905 to 1935.

ORIGIN.—Mexico City. MAKER.—”. . . [Fustes?] de Dionysio Rodriguez . . .

Calle del Topacio, 3 . . .

Mexico” NUMBER 39 lOI a FIGURE 64.—Charro saddle by Rodriguez: a, on-side; b, mark of maker Dionysio Rodriguez on cantle face; c, silver-horn cap; d, stirrup turned back in leather strapping; e, underside. 102 SMITHSONIAN STUDIES IN HISTORY AND TECHNOLOGY NUMBER 39 103 sheepskin and fitted with borders of twiningrose designs embroidered with silver thread on stamped and scallopped leather panels; the same motif of embroidered panels is repeated on the pocket flaps of the tanned-leather saddle bags.

Four silver-alloy conchas of chased spiral design are attached with suede ties to the saddle bags immediately behind the cantle.

A larger spiral concha with suede ties appears on each flap.

On each side of the saddle a concha of the smaller size appears (with ties) at the front of the pommel and two others of the same size are employed in the fastening of the reatas.

On the off-side, the pommel concha and the lower concha behind the cantle, hold a leather tab and loop for accoutrements such as a sword, quirt, or rope.

The components of the single forward rigging are: embroidered tanned-leather rigging straps (las reatas) hanging from the pommel; blued-iron latigo rings with silver inlay, each with a dee loop (welded to the upper rear of the latigo ring), which secures the embroidered rear rigging straps (las contrareatas); and tanned-leather latigos, pierced for the cinch buckles.

The cinch is missing.

Tanned and embroidered stirrup leathers run over each sideboard, and are stitched together with rawhide lacing.

Box-shaped, iron stirrups employ a round, wooden suspension bar and an inner facing of leather; embossed lyre and rosette elements are rivetted to the outer surfaces (Figure 64d).

HISTORY.—In the last quarter of the nineteenth century, skilled, well-to-do Mexican horsemen (charros) banded together in organizations with the purpose of preserving traditional Mexican riding practices and equipment.

This saddle incorporates most elements of charro saddles made from 1870 to 1920.

These elements include the squat, domed horn; flattened cantle; exposed, single, forward rigging; open seat boxlike stirrups; squared rear saddle bags (cantinas); and eleborate silver ornamentation.

The maker’s stamp on the cantle of this saddle gives notice that the saddle shop of Dionysio Rodriguez won prizes at Milan in 1884-5, Paris in 1889, and St.

Louis in 1904.

This saddle has been in the collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History since 1937. (from the inscription stamped in ink on the front of the cantle; see Figure 64b).

MATERIALS.—Wood, rawhide, tanned leather, copper and silver alloys, sheep’s wool, natural fibers. DIMENSIONS.—L, 53.5 cm ( 2 1 ” ) ; W, 33 cm (13″) ; D, 53.5 cm (21″) ; HH, 15.5 cm (6″).

LENDER.—^Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, Los Angeles.

REFERENCE NUMBERS. — Los Angeles Museum, A.5933.50-74; Renwick Loan, TL.20.1974. 1; CAL Reports, 1747, 2564.

DETAILS.—The wooden saddletree is covered with parchment-like rawhide.

Domed horn, pommel shoulders, gullet, and grooved cantle rim are trimmed with silver-alloy plates embossed in floral designs and screwed to the tree.

Square, tanned-leather skirts are lined with 104 SMITHSONIAN STUDIES IN HISTORY AND TECHNOLOGY 6.

Charro Saddletree FIGURE 65 DATE.—About 1950. ORIGIN.—Jalapa, Mexico.

MAKER.—Manuel Gonzales.

MATERIALS.—Wood, animal glue. DIMENSIONS.—L, 49 cm (51/2″). (191/2″); W, 30.5 cm (12″); D, 23.5 cm (9^4″); HH, 14 cm LENDER.—Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, Los Angeles.

REFERENCE NUMBERS.—Los Angeles Museum, L.2100.53-197; Renwick Loan, TL.20.1974. 3; CAL Reports, 1714, 2583.

DETAILS.—The wooden saddletree is made of carved and fitted parts, dowelled and glued together.

The circular, flattened horn with a bevelled perimeter and swelled shoulder are shaped from a single piece of wood.

Separate pieces form the front of the pommel and bracings down to the side bars.

The sideboards are notched for stirrup leathers.

Surface sheen is created by glue sizing.

HISTORY.—This saddletree was purchased in Zapotlanejo, a village east of Guadalajara, Mexico, in 1950 for the Los Angeles County Museum.

Its cost was 25 pesos, slightly less than three dollars at that time.

The tree incorporates most of the charro chacteristics of the late-nineteenth century, demonstrating the enduring popularity of the type.

The use of a single piece of wood for the horn and forks displays awareness of the strain put on the tree by the single forward rigging.

The availability of this unrigged tree emphasizes the fact that saddles are composed of distinct parts.

Each element is manufactured separately, and may be assembled to conform to individual taste within a single regional tradition. 7.

Vaquero Saddle FIGURE 66 DATE.—About 1860 to 1890. ORIGIN.—Northern Mexico. MAKER.—Unidentified.

FIGURE 65.—Charro saddletree by Gonzales: a, on-side; b, on-side from rear; c, underside. MATERIALS.—Wood, rawhide, tanned leather, copper alloys, iron, natural fibers. N U M B E R 39 105 FIGURE 66.—Vaquero saddle acquired by Bourke; a, on-side; 6, top view; c, on-side from front. — SMITHSONIAN STUDIES IN HISTORY AND TECHNOLOGY DIMENSIONS.—L, 51 cm ( 2 0 ” ) ; W, 35 cm (133^”) ; D, 48.5 cm (19″) ; HH, 17 cm (63/4″).

LENDER.—Department of Cultural History, NMHT.

REFERENCE NUMBERS. — NMHT Catalogue and Accession, 165,092 and 26,024; Renwick Loan, TL.20.1974.20; CAL Report, 1673.

DETAILS.—The wooden saddletree is covered with stitched rawhide.

The wide, flat horn sits on a short, narrow stem; there is no swell to the pommel shoulders.

The low cantle displays a grooved rim.

The rectangular, tanned-leather “jockeys” are attached to the pommel with rosettes, and laced together behind the cantle.

Two leather rosettes are affixed to the “jockeys” NUMBER 39 107 and 1893.

During this period, Bourke was engaged in punitive operations against Mexican bandidos led by Alberto Garza, from whom he took this saddle.

Its anglicized elements probably appeared after this change in ownership.

By 1896, Bourke, himself a pioneer ethnologist in the Southwest, donated this vaquero saddle to the Smithsonian Institution. on each side behind the cantle.

There are two rectangular leather pieces that serve the functions of a skirt and of a pad (el basto) under the tree.

These leather pieces are lined with canvas and appear to have been stuffed originally; each rear corner is fitted with nickelplated brass trim decorated by chased edging and an embossed star (off-side corner trim missing).

A separate tanned-leather piece that covers most of the seat opening in the tree is nailed to the sideboards.

Double rigging features front rigging straps, one passing over the front of the pommel, the other wrapped around the horn, both nailed in place and running beneath the jockey to the forward, leather-covered latigo ring.

A similar rear latigo ring, attached to the rear jockey, is joined to the forward ring by another strap.

The tanned-leather forward latigo is pierced for a tongued buckle.

The off-side latigo, both rear latigos, and the cinches are missing.

Tanned-leather fenders and stirrup leathers are threaded through a slot in each sideboard.

Iron stirrups employ a round wooden suspension bar.

Snouted tapaderas are stamped with spiraling border designs and are adorned with embossed brass medallions on the sides and leather rosettes in front (some of the rosettes missing).

HISTORY.—In its combination of elements, this vaquero saddle is an excellent example of the anglicized Mexican saddle used on both sides of the Rio Grande in the later part of the nineteenth century.

The exposed tree fitted out in leather parts that are easily added or removed, the wide “dinner-plate” and the tapaderas are typically Mexican in character.

Double rigging and leather pieces serving the function of jockeys have been identified as Anglo-American in origin.

This saddle displays in its present form an ingenious innovation in the leather component that combines the functions of jockeys and rear rigging suspension.

Originally the saddle may have been without this feature, depending solely on single forward rigging.

It may also have sported Mexican-type silver trim.



John G.

Bourke of the Third United States Cavalry Regiment commanded the cavalry post at Fort Ringgold, Texas, between 1891 8.

Hybrid Saddle FIGURES 42, 67 DATE.—About 1840 to 1860. ORIGIN.—Probably in the Lower Missouri River Region. MAKER.—Unidentified. MATERIALS.—Wood, rawhide, tanned leather, copper alloys, iron, animal hair, natural fibers. DIMENSIONS.—L, 46 cm (18″); W, 31 cm (12l^”); D, 75 cm (291/2″); HH, 6.5 cm (21/2″).

LENDER. — Southwestern History Museum, Arizona Historical Society, Tucson.

REFERENCE NUMBER. — Arizona Historical Society, ST 1120/7879; Renwick Loan, TL.20. 1974.23; CAL Reports, 1763, 2565.

DETAILS.—The wooden saddletree is covered with sized fabric.

The upright, horned pommel and deep, squared cantle and seat are covered with fine-grained, tanned black leather.

The seat is quilted in star and spiral designs, stuffed with cotton and attached to the saddletree with copper-alloy and iron tacks in the following places: around the perimeter of the cantle; two tacks on the horn; and seven at the front base of the horn stem.

The round-cornered rear inner skirts are of blue fabric, woolen weft-faced with cotton warp.

They are edged with red leather piping and trimmed with dark brown tanned leather behind the cantle.

Two leather tabs appear on the leather trim behind the cantle.

Beneath the tree is a saddle pad of leather lined with fabric and stuffed with Rocky Mountain mule deer fur.

Outer skirts of coarsegrained, dark brown tanned leather are screwed and tacked to the upper surface of the sideboards beneath the edge of the quilted seat (Figure 61b). 108 SMITHSONIAN STUDIES IN HISTORY AND TECHNOLOGY FIGURE 67.—Hybrid saddle from Missouri River r e g i o n : a on-side from f r o n t ; b, a t t a c h m e n t of on-side s t i r r u p l e a t h e r ; c, back of s t i r r u p ; d, u n d e r s i d e ; e, off-side from rear. NUMBER 39 109 110 SMITHSONIAN STUDIES IN HISTORY AND TECHNOLOGY — DATE.—About 1875 to 1900. ORIGIN.—Cheyenne, Wyoming Territory. MAKER.—Frank Meanea. MATERIALS.—Wood, rawhide, tanned leather, copper alloys, iron, sheep’s wool, plant fibers. DIMENSIONS.—L, 54 cm (2114,”) ; W, 34 cm (I31/2″) ; D, 50 cm (193^”) ; HH, 10 cm (4″).

LENDER.—Wyoming State Archives and Historical Department, Cheyenne. REFERENCE NUMBER.—Wyoming State Museum, 69.180.00; Renwick Loan, TL.20.1974.2; CAL Reports, 1744, 2584.

DETAILS.—The saddletree of wood is covered with stitched rawhide.

Tanned leather covers the horned pommel, cantle, and seat; the jockeys, fenders, saddle bags, and stirrup leathers are also of tanned brown leather.

The pommel displays a high, slick fork with a prominent gullet.

The high, upright horn stem is wrapped with a buckled leather strap.

The high arched cantle is dished.

The leather covered seat, slit for stirrup leathers, terminates in oval jockeys.

Light border stamping of parallel lines and florets appears on the edge of sheepskin-lined skirts and on the fenders.

Rounded saddlebags, each with a double leather rosette with leather ties, are affixed to the flank skirts by means of hide lacing.

A double rosette with ties occurs at the bases of the pommel and the cantle.

Detachable leather bucking rolls, stuffed with sheep’s wool, are fitted across the rear base of the pommel and are attached by two double rosettes (Figure 68c).

Copper rivets are used on these rolls and in the rigging leathers.

Double rigging (Figure 68e) features leathercovered forward and rear latigo rings and a latigo pierced for a tongued cinch-buckle (the cinches and three latigos are missing).

The attachment of front and rear rigging straps is covered by the jockeys.

Fenders are incorporated in the stirrup leathers, which are crossstitched together with hide lacing and pass beneath the seat jockeys and around the sideboards.

There are narrow, curved, pierced-iron stirrups with iron suspension bars (Figure 6Sd).

A maker’s mark is stamped into the lower rear corners of the skirts, beneath each saddle bag and on the seat.

HISTORY.—The maker of this saddle, Frank A.

Meanea of Cheyenne, was one of a group of saddlemakers working in Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, and Utah in the latter part of the nineteenth century.

These men formed an extended family, with ties of blood or apprenticeship, including Theodore Meanea, John S.

Collins, John Francis and S.


Gallup, John Landis, R.


Frazier, and Edward L.


Their innovations and adjustments made their wares particularly popular with horsemen in the northern plains and mountain states. N U M B E R 39 111 FIGURE 68.—Stock saddle by Meanea: a, on-side; b, front view; c, back of pommel with bucking rolls; d, front of stirrup; e, on-side riggring for cinches. 112 SMITHSONIAN STUDIES IN HISTORY AND TECHNOLOGY NUMBER 39 113 they are laced together across the seat with hide cord that runs through metal eyelets.

It is carved and stamped with floral and leaf designs, a scalloped border trim, and a portrait of George Washington surmounted by an eagle.

The border braid is made of gold-plated copper wire wrapped around cotton thread.

The rear corners are trimmed with red leather under silver alloy plates engraved with vines and pierced with a design of bars and stars.

A silver, interwoven “2R” monogram appears above this corner trim (Figure 69^).

The front and side jockeys and the seat are made from a single leather piece carved in floral design that is laced together down the length of the seat with hide cord run through metal eyelets.

The rear jockey is nailed to the sideboard of the tree in front of the cantle (Figure 69e).

The skirt is squared at the rear corners and rounded at the front.

Two silver conchas with rawhide ties occur on each of the front and rear jockeys.

The metal-tipped leather pistol holsters are sewn to leather pockets that are covered with leather shield-shaped flaps, bordered with gilded copper-on-cotton braid (Figure 69/).

These pockets are laced together in such a way that the pair may be slipped over the horn. [Figure 69a shows these holsters incorrectly pointing backward.

R.E.A.] A cylindrical valise intended to be fastened on behind the cantle is carved with the motto “E Pluribus Unum” and an eagle on the lid.

The valise and the padded leather crupper are secured by two metal tipped buckled straps that pass through metal staples on the rear of the cantle (Figure 6^e,g).

Single center rigging is employed.

The forward rigging strap is wrapped once around the stem of the horn (the off-side end passing through a slit in the strap centered over the forward base of the horn) and nailed to the base of the fork; the rear rigging strap is an extension of the rear jockey (Figure 69c).

The leather covered latigo ring and the unpierced latigo hang beneath the fender.

The buckled stirrup leather and carved fender are of one piece.

An extension of the lower end of the fender passes under the suspension bar of the stirrup and is terminated with a buckle.

The upper end of the fender passes under the seat, over the sideboard of the tree, and through a The invention of detachable bucking rolls, devices designed to hold the rider firmly in his seat, is often credited to Frank Meanea.

The function of these rolls paralleled that of swelled pommel shoulders.

Other innovations, sometimes patented, such as rolled cantle handholds, deeply dished upright cantles, and the use of metal in saddletrees, changed the look of the western stock saddle in the late nineteenth century.^ This saddle, which shows evidence of long use, was purchased by stockman John Shephard Day in the late 1880s in Wyoming Territory.

It was donated to the Wyoming State Museum in 1959 by the heirs of Mr.

Day. 10.

Anglo Presentation Saddle FIGURES 43, 69 DATE.—1862. ORIGIN.—Denver, Colorado.

MAKER.—Edward L.


MATERIALS.—^Wood, rawhide, tanned leather, silver and copper alloys, iron, natural fibers. DIMENSIONS.—L, 52 cm (201/2″); W, 30 cm (12″) ; D, 75 cm (291/2″) ; HH, 10.5 cm (4″).

LENDER.—State Historical Society of Colorado, Denver, Colorado.

REFERENCE NUMBERS.—Colorado State Museum, CH 546; Renwick Loan, TL.20.1974.5; CAL Reports, 1269, 2577, 2578.

DETAILS.—The wooden saddletree is covered with stitched rawhide.

Chased silver trim fits on the rim of the cantle, and a circular silver horn cap bears thirteen raised, gold-colored stars, an eagle, and the inscription: “Col.



Leavenworth / 2nd Regt.


Volunteers / Presented by his / Officers and friends at Denver City / 1862.” Thirty-two similar stars encircle the rim of the horn.

The cantle and pommel are covered with stamped and carved tanned black leather; the housing (mochila), seat, jockeys, basto, crupper, valise, holsters, fenders, cinch fittings, and stirrup covers are of similar leather, many lined with fine-grained tanned red leather.

The mochila (Figure 69/) consists of two pieces of leather that are joined together in front of the horn and behind the cantle (each of these joinings covered by a leather tab) and 114 SMITHSONIAN STUDIES IN HISTORY AND TECHNOLOGY FIGURE 69.—Anglo presentation saddle by Gallatin: a, on-side with mochila; b, on-side from front without mochila; c, detail of on-side of seat; d, front of cantle; e, on-side rigging, fender folded back at top, stirrup strap folded back at left; /, mochila; g, valise and crupper; h, rear, off-side corner of mochila; i, English lock on valise; j , holsters with one flap removed for back view, double straps pierced for buckles of martingale projecting from under each holster; k, front of on-side stirrup; I, rear of on-side stirrup; m, outer side of cinch; n, underside of cinch; o, underside; p, martingale; q, detail of bit; r, bridle and reins. NUMBER 39 116 116 SMITHSONIAN STUDIES IN HISTORY AND TECHNOLOGY — SMITHSONIAN STUDIES IN HISTORY AND TECHNOLOGY slit in the skirt.

Narrowed to normal stirrup strap width, it emerges from under the basto and is pierced to receive the buckle just above the stirrup (Figures 43, 696,e,o).

Leather stirrup covers or tapaderas are adorned with silver star and shield medallions; the leather covered, pear-shaped wooden stirrups employ a wooden suspension bar.

The cinch is made of a woven band of twisted horse hair terminating in carved leather tabs; these tabs are joined on the outer side of the cinch by a buckled strap; and the leather covered cinch rings are mounted on the outer side of the tabs (Figure 69 m, n).

The carved leather straps of the martingale are fitted with ivory rein rings, and are joined in a shield of red leather under a silver plate pierced with a pattern of stars and bars (Figure 69^).

Finally, the bridle has silver fittings of “2R,” square slides, and rounded tips, all chased, bossed, and set with stars and shields.

The plated branches of the arched bit, imported from England, are decorated with boar’s heads (Figure 69q [cheek plate hook should not catch curb, R.E.A.]).

HISTORY.—It was not uncommon for United States cavalry officers in the West to use the western stock saddle, militarized to a greater or lesser degree.

This type of saddle frame was referred to by Gallatin as a “California tree,” a form that enjoyed great popularity with western horsemen in the mid-nineteenth century.

The heavy mochila, a device of Mexican origin, displays the sophisticated shape of European and American dragoon saddle skirts.

The cylindrical valise represents another European military convention in America.

In civilian life, saddlebags would have fulfilled the same purpose.

The saddlemaker worked with great effectiveness in combining Mexican stock and Anglo military elements in this massive and decorative presentation piece.

This saddle was commissioned by members of the Second Regiment of Colorado Volunteers for their colonel, Jesse A.


It was purchased from Edward L.

Gallatin, a noted Denver saddlemaker, for $350.

The Leavenworth presentation saddle was donated to the State Historical Society of Colorado in 1942 by Mrs.



Leavenworth. 11.

Western Sidesaddle FIGURE 70 DATE.—About 1860 to 1890.

ORIGIN.—Western United States.


MATERIALS.—Wood, rawhide, tanned leather, copper alloys, natural fibers, textiles. DIMENSIONS.—L, 54 cm (2114.”) ; W, 30 cm (II3/4″); D, 68 cm (2634″).

LENDER.—Department of Cultural History, National Museum of History and Technology.

REFERENCE NUMBERS. — NMHT Catalogue and Accession, 6,554 and 65,484; Renwick Loan, TL. 20.1974.21.

DETAILS.—The wooden saddletree is covered with stitched rawhide.

It is probably a typical Mexican tree from which the horn was removed to permit the modifications necessary for a sidesaddle.

The interior of the horns and seat are finished with green fabric while tanned leather, carved and stamped in floral design, is nailed to the interior of the cantle and underside of the horns.

The on-side leather skirt is carved and stamped with floral, butterfly, and bird motifs.

The floral design is repeated on both kidneyshaped side jockeys, affixed to the tree with brass-headed nails, and on the rear jockey, which appears only on the on-side.

The on-side skirt of sheep skin is lined with fabric and continues across in front of the pommel to conclude in a flap secured below the off-side horn.

The deep, curved off-side skirt is stamped and carved with a scene of a woman riding sidesaddle beneath trees with birds.

Two conchas are set at the base of each horn, one (on-side) with ties.

Single center rigging is employed: forward and rear rigging straps are nailed to the side boards; the round latigo rings hold unpierced latigos.

The cinch is missing.

A buckled stirrup leather hangs from a hole cut in the lower edge of the on-side sideboard, and passes out through a slit in the skirt and beneath the jockey.

There is a slipper stirrup of fine-grained red moroccan leather.

HISTORY.—Fabric seats are frequently seen on ladies’ western-style sidesaddles of the late NUMBER 39 121 nineteenth century; carpet seats were a feature of mail-order sidesaddles available in that era.

The slipper stirrup was probably obtained from an eastern United States source; it is not unique.

The double horns, elaborately and individually carved skirts, and an absence of silver trim characterize this and other women’s saddles manufactured in the western United States during the nineteenth century.^ Apparently, this saddle was manufactured in the West, as it bears an ink inscription: “Laramie, Wyo. [or Takoma, Wash.J . . .



Witters [or Walters] Agent.” Despite this uncertain reading, the character of the saddletree and the carving of the housing support the assumption of the sidesaddle’s western origin.

It was donated to the Smithsonian Institution by Miss Forrest M.

Grosthwaite in 1920. piece of hide painted red and green to which are attached cinch straps of commercially tanned leather, pierced to receive the metal buckles of the cinch.

The cinch is of commercial cotton webbing.

Triangular holes in the painted hide piece indicate the previous attachment of stirrup leathers.

HISTORY.—The pad saddle is one of the oldest forms of equestrian equipment found among the Plains Indians, possibly developed prior to 1800.

Despite individual variations in girthing and ornamentation.

Plains Indian pad saddles display considerable uniformity of size and construction.

This saddle was collected by Lt.

Gouverneur Kemble Warren, the author of the first comprehensive outline map of the trans-Mississippi West.

It has been in the Smithsonian Institution since 1866 and thus is one of the earliest documented Plains Indian saddles in the collections.^ 12.

Sioux Pad Saddle for a Man FIGURE 71 DATE.—About 1840 to 1860. 13.

Sioux Pad Saddle for a Boy — DATE.—About 1870 to 1890.

ORIGIN.—Southern Great Plains region.

MAKER.—Cheyenne Indian.

MATERIALS.—Wood, rawhide, tanned leather, sinew, copper alloys, textile, natural fibers. DIMENSIONS.—L, 28.5 cm ( I I 1 4 ” ) ; W, 22 cm DATE.—About 1888.

ORIGIN.—Minnesota. MAKER.—Sioux (or Menominee)^ Indian.

MATERIALS.—Wood, rawhide, tanned leather, sinew, copper alloys, iron, natural fibers. DIMENSIONS.—L, 77 cm (301/2″) ; W, 23.5 cm (183^”);D, 28.5 cm ( I I I 4 ” ) .

LENDER.—Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History.

REFERENCE NUMBERS. — NMNH Catalogue, 165,906; Renwick Loan, TL.20.1974.14; ACL Report, by catalogue number.

DETAILS.—The wooden saddletree is covered with rawhide, stitched together with sinew on the underside of the sideboards and forks.

The forks terminate in outwardly curved, flared ends, painted red; they are adorned with brassheaded tacks and a fringe of twisted fabric.

A rawhide-covered wooden peg projects from the forward fork.

Over this peg is incorrectly knotted a crupper of rawhide with a padded center section.commercially tanned leather pads are secured on the underside of the tree with rawhide lacing through holes in the sideboards.

Single center rigging is employed.

Front and rear rigging straps are affixed to the tree by hide ties that run through holes in the ends of the sideboards; the left side rigging straps are knotted together; the narrow rawhide cinch is knotted directly to the right side rigging straps, and tied to the left side rigging straps in what may not be the original arrangement for the Indian habit of cinching and mounting from the horse’s right side. [The crupper appears to be incorrectly attached to the peg projecting from the front bow.

R.E.A.] HISTORY.—Children often learned to ride by being tied in their mother’s saddles (Figure 56).

This small saddle, however, was designed specifically to be used by a child.

Children became expert riders at an early age in the horseoriented Plains Indian culture.

This saddle was collected by the Reverend H.


Voth, a Moravian missionary to the Southern Cheyenne Indians in the Indian Territory (now Oklahoma).

It has been in the Smithsonian Institution since 1893. (19i4″);D,83cm (3234″).

LENDER.—Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History.

REFERENCE NUMBERS. — NMNH Catalogue, 415,511; Renwick Loan, TL.20.1974.17; ACL Report, by catalogue number.

DETAILS.—The wooden saddletree is covered with stitched rawhide.

Tanned black leather covers the pommel, cantle, and side bars, and comprises a seat (center missing), skirts, and rigging straps.

The horn is carved as a horse’s head (ears missing) with brass-tack eyes.

A wooden peg (broken) projects from the forward fork.

The cantle curves out and narrows to a blunt end.

Brass-headed tacks outline the cantle and pommel, various red-painted design motifs and the remnants of the slung seat.

Rectangular holes in the skirts expose the iron dees suspended by leather loops that are nailed to each sideboard with iron tunnel rivets.

Curved, tanned leather pieces are nailed to the underside of each sideboard.

Rigging straps are nailed to the outer face of the sideboards and support cinch rings. [Large, tanned leather coverings that came with the saddle are not shown as their use is undocumented.

It is supposed that the left side originally had an outer skirt like that on the right side and that this was subsequently cut away.

R.E.A.J Single center rigging is employed.

Front and rear rigging straps are nailed to the saddletree at the base of the fork and in front of the cantle and support a narrow iron latigo ring.

A tanned leather latigo is pierced to receive the cinch buckle.

The cinch is leather.

The stirrup leathers (originally hung from the dee rings) and stirrups are missing.

HISTORY.—The saddle displays a combination of widely disparate elements.

The saddletree recalls a Mexican type, but obvious Indian construction methods may be hidden under the leather covering; certainly the carrying peg is an Indian innovation.

The tanned leather skirt NUMBER 39 129 FIGURE 74.—Cheyenne saddle for a child, right side. 130 SMITHSONIAN STUDIES IN HISTORY AND TECHNOLOGY FIGURE 75.—Indian presentation saddle for Whipple: a, left side; 6, right side. — la acion, las a^iones (stirrup leathers) : 83 la adarga (shield, oval) : 16 lower los aderezos (trappings) : 11 la albarda (packsaddle) : 35 amulets [las higas, los coscojos”]—metal nodules used to decorate border of horse’s rump cover \la anquera’]: 37 anchero (rump cover) : 60 la anquera (rump cover) : 9, 37, 39; 23, 37 la anquerita (rump cover) : 9, 14; 4-b, 6b, 7b apishamore, apishemeau [from Ojibwa apishamon] —a saddle blanket, sometimes a saddle cover: 50 drabe (Arabic) : 11 Arabic [drabe, adj.]—designation of an object, such as a stirrup, that displays Arabic or Moorish 137 design: 11 la arcion, las arciones (stirrup leathers) : 34, 35 la argolla (cinch ring, right; latigo ring; rigging ring) : 34, 25; 21 las armas [lit., arms] (armor of horse; saddletree covers) : 9, 10, 16, 18, 37, 39 las armitas (armor of horse) : 14 armor of horse [las armas, las armitas, la barda]— protective leather coverings of varying sizes for a combat horse; later, heavy waterproof leather pieces hung across rider’s legs [las armas defensas, las armas de agua]: 11 Attakapas tree [from Choctaw hataka^apa referring to native group in southwest Louisiana; other variants are attacapas or atakapan tree]—a saddletree from the southern Louisiana-Texas region: 47 138 SMITHSONIAN STUDIES IN HISTORY AND TECHNOLOGY EL FUSTE (saddletree) LAS TABLAS (sideboards) LA CABEZA (horn) LA TEJA (cantle) LA CAMPANA (pommel) LAS REATAS (front rigging straps) LA CONCHA (rosette) LAS CANTINAS (saddlebags) LA ARGOLLA (ring for rigging straps) EL BASTO (inner skirt or padding) LAS CONTRAREATAS (rear rigging straps) LOS FALDONES (skirts) EL CONTRALATIGO (off-side cinch strap) LA ARGOLLA (ring for the cinch) EL HEBILLON (cinch ring buckle) EL LATIGO (on-side cinch strap) LAS ACIONES (stirrup leathers) EL ESTRIBO (stirrup) LA TAPADERA (stirrup cover) — LA CINCHA (cinch) LOS TIENTOS (ties) FIGURE 83.—Parts of a Mexican stock saddle, about 1930, built on a Chihuahua tree. (Drawn by Paul A.


Stock saddle, about 1930, built on a Nelson tree. (Drawn by Paul A.

Rossi.) 140 SMITHSONIAN STUDIES IN HISTORY AND TECHNOLOGY la barda (armor of horse; riding styles; saddletree covers; saddle types) : 8, 28 la barriguera (cinch) : 35 la bastarda [lit., bastard] (riding styles) : 28 el baste, el basto (saddle pad) : 19, 37, 107, 60e, 6Ae, 83 billet [el Idtigo, la abrazadera]—the pierced end of a strap t h a t fits into a buckle; or loop for holddown the end of a s t r a p : 84bit [el brocado del freno]—metal mouthpiece on a bridle: 5, 120, 15, 69q,r Ins bolsas (saddle bags) : 37 border [el ruedo]—ornamented edging such as that on a rump cover [la anquera]: 37 la bota (lower leg guard) : 12 bow [el arzon de silla, el fuste de silla]—either of the two arching pieces t h a t connect the sideboards in a saddletree: 5, 14 breast band; breast strap [la antepecho, la pechera, el pretal, el petrol]—leather strap or poitrel, sometimes decorated, that passes around the animal’s chest and is attached to the front sides of the saddle: 26, 37, 79, 99; 83a la brida (bridle; riding styles) : 26, 27, 37 bridle [la brida, el freno]—the head harness for a horse, basically consisting of the headstall, bit and reins, but at times including also a brow band, nose strap, and throat latch: 12, 37, 82, 120; 69q,r bridle types el freno de la brida or bridona—heavier bridles used with longer, looser r e i n s : 12 el freno jineta—lighter bridles used with shorter, lighter r e i n s : 12 bucking rolls—a pair of small, stuffed ovoid cushions attached behind a “slick” pommel to help hold the rider in place: 110,113; 68a-c cabestro (halter) : 12 cabeza [lit., head] (horn) : 34; 83 campana (pommel) : 34; 83 cantina, las cantinas [lit., canteen, saloon] (saddle bags) : 37, 55, 103; 64, 83 cantle [el arzon trasero de la silla; la teja ( M e x . ) ] — arched, often dished portion of saddletree connecting rear of sideboards: 34, 40 76; 84 cantle roll—rounded or curved outer edge of the cantle: 84 center fired, center rigged (girthing types) : 14, 18 las chaparreras (chaps) : 9, 10, 14 el chapeton (concha) : 35 chaps [las chaparreras, los chaparejos]—long, loose leather pieces belted together and attached around the legs of a cowboy: 9 el la la la charro saddle (la silla charra) : 19, 20, 33 cinch [la cincha] (also: g i r t h i n g t y p e s ) — a leather or fabric band (or g i r t h ) t h a t is t h e portion of the g i r t h i n g system t h a t passes under the horse’s body; usually it is fastened t o leather straps (latigos) t h a t hang from t h e r i g g i n g on each side of the saddle; if the saddle is double rigged there is both a front (or forward) cinch [la cincha] and a rear (flank or jerk) cinch [la barriguera]: 34; 5^ la cincha (cinch) : 34; 83 cinch buckle [el hebijon, el hebillon] (also: halfbreed buckle)—tongued r i n g on t h e near or on-side end of cinch: 35, 86 cinch ring, r i g h t [la argolla]—metal r i n g on offside ( r i g h t or far) end of cinch, opposite cinch buckle: 35 cinch tie—a strap connecting the forward and rear cinches on a double rigged saddle: 84 coat pad [la grupera]—a leather piece, also called “coat pillion,” with buckled straps on some cruppers, to hold a coat or other g a r m e n t : 66 el cojin, el cojinillo [cushion] (saddle pad) : 12, 14, 74; 7 concha [la concha, el chapetdn]—a metal disk, often of silver, set on a leather rosette t h a t secures saddle thongs [los tientos]: 8 5 ; 84 la concha [lit., shell] (concha) : 3 5 ; 83 el contraenreatado (latigos) : 35 el contraldtigo (latigos) : 35 las contrareatas (rigging straps) : 35, 103; 60f la coraza (saddletree covers) : 9, 10, 39 los coscojos [lit., Kermes berries] (amulets) : 37 croata (riding styles) : 26 cross-form stirrup [el estribo de cruz]—an iron Mexican type with wide flanges and long, pendant plates, often ornamented: 13, 14; 6, 7 lower crupper [la ataharre, la baticola, la sotacola]—broad leather strap t h a t r u n s under the horse’s tail and over the rump to the back of the saddle to prevent its sliding forward; sometimes feat u r i n g a pad [la grupera] for t h e attachment of a coat or other bundle: 11, 66, 79, 113, 134; 69g, 80 el cuello (neck) : 34 dee—a metal D-form r i n g from which s t i r r u p leathers or other straps a r e often h u n g : 110, 128; 84 dinner-plate horn—a horn terminating in a wide, circular flat projection, found on many Mexicantype saddles: 34, 107 double rigged or rigging (girthing types) : 33, 35, 107; 20 NUMBER 39 dust guard [guardapolvo]—leather piece, such as a lower leg guard [la bota] tied to riding boot, or a larger piece covering p a r t of the rider or saddle: 12 los enreatados (rigging straps) : 35 epishemore (apishamore) : 50 la espuela bridona [bridona-type spur]—heavy, metal spur used in bridona riding style (q.v.) : 12 la espuela bridona [bridona-type spur]—heavy, metal cavalry spur used in jineta riding style (q.v.) : 12 la estradiota (riding styles; la silla estradiota) : 8, 12, 26,; 11 upper, 14 left el estribo ( s t i r r u p ) : 34, 35, 4 2 ; 21 el estribo de cruz (cross-form s t i r r u p ) : 14 el estribo de lomo (wooden s t i r r u p ) : 19 las faldas (skirts) : 9 las faldones ( s k i r t s ) : 34; 83 fender [el alero, la defensa, la orej(et)a, la ala]— leather piece projecting back from stirrup leather to protect the rider’s legs from the animal’s sweat and d i r t : 18, 37, 86, 95, 107; 84 el fierro (iron) : 22 flank cinch, [la barriguera] (cinch) : 84 flank cinch latigo (cinch; latigos) : 84 foot pads ( s t i r r u p tread) : 100 fork (bow) : 14, 34, 40, 47, 60, 70, 132; 84 forward rigged (girthing types) : 14 86 forward rigging straps [los enreatados, las reatas] (rigging straps) : 35 el freno de la brida or bridona (bridle types) : 12 el freno jineta, (bridle t y p e s ) : 12 front cinch (cinch; g i r t h i n g t y p e s ) : 84 front-fired cinch (girthing types) : 18 el fuste [saddletree, bows of saddletree] (saddletree) ; 12, 14, 34; 83 la gineta (la jineta) : 19 girth, girthing, g i r t h strap [la cincha] (cinch; girthing types) : 8, 11, 66 74 girthing types double rigged—two cinches, one forward and one behind the s e a t : 8, 35, 107, 110 single rigged—one cinch center fired, center rigged—cinch suspended under the center of the s e a t : 8, 14, 18, 35, 110 forward rigged—cinch suspended from any point forward from the center of the seat: 8, 14, 35, 86 front fired, full forward rigged—cinch suspended beneath the pommel: 8, 18 three-quarter rigged—cinch suspended from a point between the pommel and the center of the s e a t : 8, 95 141 Graham tree—saddletrees made by the Graham firm of Santa Clara, California: 59 el gremio (guild) : 26 guild [el gremio]—an organization of artisans created to promote, protect and regulate their craft, such as the guild of saddlemakers [el gremio de silleros or de talabarteros]: 26 la gualdrapa ( t r a p p i n g s ; h o u s i n g ) : 9 el guardapolvo (dust guard) : 12 gullet [el interior del arzon]—inside of the pommel or the front edge of the forward arch (bow) of the saddle: 70, 98; 84 half-breed buckle [el hebijon, el hebillon] (also: cinch buckle)—a type of tongued cinch ring used on many western saddles: 84 half martingale [la media gamarra]—strap from breast band to bridle, to keep horse’s head down: 37 halter [el cabestro]—rope or strap, usually with a headstall [la jdquima], for holding an animal: 5, 12 headstall [la jdquima]—a band or rope t h a t fits behind the horse’s ears, as part of a bridle or halter: 12 el hebijdnCM.ex.), el hebillon (Sp.) (cinch buckle; half-breed buckle) : S5; 83 las higas (amulets) : 37 holster [la funda]—a case, usually of leather, to carry a pistol or a rifle, on a person or saddle: 113; 69a,j los hombros (shoulders) : 34 Hope (saddle types, western U.S.) : 59, 67 horn [la cabeza] (also: dinner-plate h o r n ; pearshaped h o r n ) — t h e projection, often bent forward, above the pommel: 35, 41, 79; 84 horn cap—a small leather or metal cover, on western saddle h o r n s : 84 housing [las armas, la barda, la coraza, las faldas, los faldones, la gualdrapa, la mochila]—ornamental and protective leather pieces attached to the saddle or coverings laid on i t ; in the plural, it also means trappings (q.v.) : 10, 113 iron [el fierro]—device heated to burn or brand owner’s mark onto animal’s hide: 22 la jdquima (headstall) : 12 jerk cinch [la barriguera] (cinch) : 84 la jineta (riding styles; la silla jineta): 27; 11 upper, 14 right, 17 jockeys—separate leather pieces, front and rear, that lie over the larger skirts of western U.S.

Saddles; attached to the saddletree, side jockeys cover the upper stirrup leather, but other arrangements are known: 84 142 SMITHSONIAN STUDIES IN HISTORY AND TECHNOLOGY lariat [el lazo]—a long rope (also called “lasso” or ” r i a t a ” ) , of braided rawhide or hemp, with a loop [la gaza; el nudo (Mex.)] in one end through which the other r u n s ; distinct from a “macardy” [el mecate], a rope of braided horseh a i r : 12, 35, 41 el Idtigo (latigos) : 34, 3 5 ; 83 latigo carrier—leather piece with slit, attached by rosette to front of pommel, to hold end of latigo billet: 84 latigo r i n g [la argolla]—metal ring suspended from rigging s t r a p ( s ) from which a latigo is h u n g ; also known as a “rigging r i n g ” : 86, 95 latigos [el contraenreatado]—leather straps to which the cinch is secured, each suspended from a latigo ring (or rigging r i n g ) , one on the near or on-side [el Idtigo] and one on the off-side [el contraldtigo] of a single rigged saddle; on a double-rigged saddle there are also flank cinch q.v.) latigos: 75, 86; 84 el lazo (lariat) : 35 leggings—protective covering worn over the rider’s legs: 60; 8 loggerhead—term used in nineteenth-century California for the front fork or pommel of a saddle; it may reflect New England usage of the term for the upright post on a whaleboat used to slow the run of the line: 59 lower leg guard [la bota]—in Mexico, a protective, often decorative, piece of tanned leather tied beneath the knee of the rider and falling to the instep: 12 machere, machila (mochila) : 60, 62 la maleta (valise): 12 martingale [la gammara]—strap from the (front) cinch to the bridle, or ending in two rings through which the reins pass, to keep the horse from throwing the head: 120; ^4^, 69p la media gamarra (half martingale) : 37 mexicana riding style (riding styles) : 31, 34 mochila [la mochila, el telliz]—a loose, tanned leather covering for the saddletree, with openings for the pommel and cantle; in the American west, often equipped with pouches: 9, 37, 39, 50, 90, 9 5 ; 23, 40, 61a,c,d Mother Hubbard—a large, square leather covering attached to some saddletrees, as distinct from the separate mochila, based on the loose fitting clothing of a character in an 1805 nursery rhyme by English writer, Sarah C.

M a r t i n : 9 neck [el cuello]—^post between head of saddle horn and pommel: 34 el nudo de puerco (pig k n o t ) : 35 opishomo (apishamore) : 50 packsaddle [la albarda]—simple wooden framework with crossed ends placed on animal’s back to carry loads: 12, 35, 74, 132 las pajuelas (sideboard extensions) : 34 pear-shaped horn [la perilla]—saddle horn shaped like a pear, used on some Mexican saddles: 33 la perilla (pear-shaped horn, pommel) : 33 Persian saddle—early, light-weight cavalry saddle used in Persia, whose form suggests western stock saddles: 14 pig knot [el nudo de puerco]—knots shaped like a pig’s head, often used in Mexico to tie strands of cinch band to cinch r i n g s : 35 pig-snout (stirrup c o v e r ) : 14; 66 poitrel (breast band) : 11 pommel [la campana, perilla de arzon, fuste delantero de la silla]—forward, arched portion of saddletree linking the sideboards: 10, 34, 40, 78; 84 el pretal (breast band) : 37 quirt [la cuarta (Mex.)]—short, leather s t r a p ( s ) , often attached to a handle, to whip the horse for speed: 136; 82 rear cinch [la barriguera] (cinch; g i r t h i n g systems) : 35 rear rigging straps [las contrareatas] (rigging straps) : 35 ios reatas (riggings straps) : 34, 35, 103; 83 rein [la rienda]—strap or cord (in pairs) t h a t runs from the bridle bit around the horse’s neck, held by the r i d e r : 13 riding styles (also: saddle types) : 26 barda—used for travel in sixteenth-century Spain: 28 bastarda—popular in Spain and F r a n c e ; used by Spanish Riding School in Vienna: 28 brida—of Italian derivation, favored by working horsemen and by society riders for display, also called de rua: 26 croata (riding styles, estradiota) : 26 estradiota—ancient, straight-legged style appropriate to European forms of warfare, jousting, and gentlemanly display: 26 jineta, gineta—^bent-knee style suited to speed and close-quarter maneuverability, introduced by Arabs into Turkey and Spain: 8, 27 mexicana [Mexican]—informal, non-academic style adapted to range use in Mexico: 3 1 , 34 rigging (also: girthing s y s t e m ) — a r r a n g e m e n t of leather straps t h a t secure the rigging (latigo) ring (q.v.) ; location of these rings determines NUMBER 39 143 saddle types, Mexican or Spanish (la silla . . . ; also riding styles) saddle types, western U.S.

American (saddle types, EngHsh) : 41, 65, 67 California—a single-rigged saddle, often with long stirrup covers, curved skirts, wrapped horn and carved leather, all in contrast to a doublerigged Texas type: 62 dragoon—the 1833 Grimsley design for the U.S.

Cavalry based on the skeletal Mexican (“Spanish”) saddletree, equipped with skirts and padding; or refers to later military, types: 66, 68, 120 English [la silla inglesa]—light, low-profile hunting or racing type introduced to America in colonial times from England: 41, 48, 62, 67 Hope—a San Antonio, Texas, tree, very popular in Texas, furnished briefly (1857-1858) to the U.S.

Military: 60, 67 Indian—any non-western or non-English type thought to be used by native Americans: 45 McClellan—a design, largely derived from Mexican and western saddles, adopted by the U.S.

Cavalry in the late 1850s; it had no horn, but retained forward rigging and bent-wood stirrups with leather covers: 62 Mexican (la silla vaquera) : 34, 59 pad—an early.

Plains Indian, treeless type, appearing by 1830: 73, 74, 75 prairie chicken snare—the Blackfoot name for a packsaddle modification of the Plains Indian woman’s saddle: 81, 132 ranger—a New York-made type produced for use in Texas; also used by the Union Army in 1861 until McClellans were available: 62 Spanish—the skeletal tree imported into the U.S.

From Mexico, and probably made here by the 1830’s; served as the foundation of many early western stock saddles: 39, 43, 45, 46, 65 Texas (Hope): 67 wagon—a heavy, military type, built on a “Spanish” tree after 1845, used by teamsters; it had a tall, slender horn and a high, steep cantle: 47 wood—^the Blackfoot name for the Plains Indian woman’s light, open saddle framework covered with rawhide, the slender ends rising high and spreading into large, horizontal disks: 76 schab(b)rack (also: mochila)—a removable covering proposed for the dragoon saddle by Grimsley: 65 shield, oval [la adarga]—Spanish type with indented top and bottom: 16 lower shield, round [la rodela]—Spanish type also used in America: 16; S shoulders [los hombros]—outer edge of pommel, type of girthing system (eg forward rigged, double rigged) : 86 rigging dee (dee): 5^ rigging ring [la argolla] (latigo ring) : S5; 84 rigging straps—the leathers attached to the saddletree that support the latigo rings; forward ones [las reatas, los enreatados] are usually wrapped around the pommel in Mexican saddles; rear ones [las contrareatas] pass behind the cantle: 35, 90; 60f la rodela (shield, round) : 16; 8 rosette [la roseta]—a circular design; on western stock saddles, a small leather disk with two slits for thongs or ties (q.v.) to pass through, securing skirts to saddletree: 35, 76, 85; 84 rowel [la rodaja, la estrella]—the pointed disk or star set in the end of the spur’s shaft or post [la espiga], which turns as the rider’s heel rakes the horse’s flank: 5, 8; 14 left el ruedo (border) : 37 rump cover [la anquera, “anchero”]—fitted leather covering, protecting and decorating the horse’s rear quarters; used also in an abbreviated form [la anquerita] : 10 saddle [la silla]—seat type device set on an animal to facilitate riding it: passim saddle bags [las bolsas, las cantinas]—large leather piece with attached pockets, placed over the rear extensions [las pajuelas] of the saddletree: 37, 103, 110; 64a saddle cloth (also: saddle pad)—heavy, blanket-like piece placed under the saddle: 60 saddle pad [el cojin, el baste, el basto, el sudadero] —flat cushion, usually separate, under the saddle, to protect it from dirt and to fit it to the animal’s back: 12, 107 saddle strings [los tientos]—narrow strips of tanned leather, usually in pairs, that lace through the saddletree or coverings, and are held on surface by rosettes; the long ends are decorative and also serve to tie on ropes, and other pieces of equipment: 84 saddle ties (saddle strings) : 34; 84 saddletree [el fuste de silla, el asiento de barras, el arzon]—framework, often of wood covered with rawhide, consisting of two side-boards connected by two forks for the pommel and cantle; the conformation of these parts gives the saddle its characteristic shape and name: 5, 12, 19, 34, 39; 84 saddletree covers [la coraza, la mochila, la barda, las armas, el telliz]—loose leather pieces of various sizes and locations: 10 144 r a n g i n g from flat (“slick”) to rounded (“swelled”) form: 34, 104 sideboards [las tablas]—two horizontal pieces, also called “side bars,” under and joining the two forks to form the saddletree [el fuste]: 34, 40, 50, 76; 83 sideboard extensions [las pajuelas]—ends of saddletree projecting behind the cantle: 34 sidesaddle [la silla de senora, el sillon]—a device for women to ride with both legs on one side, based on English saddle type (q.v.) : 9, 12, 120; 70 la silla [ l i t , seat] (saddle; la silla . . .) : passim la silla de andar [riding saddle]—any non-specialuse riding saddle: 12 la silla de armas [saddle with a r m o r ] — a combat saddle with high pommel and protective leather housing: 11 la silla barda—successor to la silla jineta in Spain, longer stirrup leathers than la jineta: 28 la silla bridona (la silla de armas) : 11 la silla de campo [country saddle]—non-specific term for any saddle used for working on the open r a n g e : 20 la silla charra [charro saddle]—a type of Mexican cowboy saddle [la silla vaquera] with a full forward cinch, often double rigged, developed by gentlemen riders [charros] into a display saddle with a large horn and decorations of chased silver and carved leather: 33 la silla de esqueleto [skeleton saddle]—a light Mexican saddle with open seat, short skirts, and stirrup fenders: 37 la silla estradiota (also: riding styles, estradiota) — the heavily armored, medieval European saddle: 1 1 : 26 la silla jineta (also: riding styles, jineta)—a light cavalry saddle introduced by Moors to Spain and carried to America: 1 1 ; 2c la silla de montar [mounting saddle]—any riding saddle: 12, 35 la silla vaquera [Mexican cowboy saddle]—a class of early Mexican range or stock-working saddles, relatively rough, with simple stirrup leathers and no covers; later developed into the charro and western U.S.

Saddles: 13, 33 el sillon (sidesaddle) : 9 single center rigged (girthing types) : 18 skirts [las faldas, los faldones]—large leather panels attached to the saddletree, under the jockeys on western U.S.

Saddles, to protect the rigging and give form to the saddle: 9, 34, 35, 6 5 , 1 0 3 ; 54 slipper stirrup—type with enclosed toe and flat sole, used on sidesaddles: 120; 70 right SMITHSONIAN STUDIES IN HISTORY AND TECHNOLOGY la sotacola (crupper) : 11 Spanish tree (saddle types, western U.S.) : 18, 46, 66 spike or prick spur—a medieval type with a rowelless post [la espiga]: 5, S; 11 upper, 14 left, 16 spur [la espuela] (also: la espuela bridona; la espuela jineta; rowel; spike spur)—U-shaped device attached to rider’s heel to goad t h e animal to greater speed, or to make a horse buck: 11 staples—U-shaped metal pins t h a t attach rings for the s t i r r u p leathers to the saddletree, or provide attachment points on the back of the cantle for extra equipment: 66, 113 stirrup [el estribo] (also: cross-form s t i r r u p ; slipper s t i r r u p ; wooden s t i r r u p ) — a device hung from each side of a saddle to receive the rider’s foot: 5, 8, 34, 35, 41, 42, 50, 60, 79, 99, 120, 133, 134; 22, 84 stirrup cover [la tapadera]—leather piece fitted over the front of the s t i r r u p ; in western U.S., the long, loose, pointed type is called “tapadero,” the blunt, up-turned type, “pig-snout,” but all are ” t a p s ” : 60h,i, 61g,h, 66 stirrup leathers [el acion, los aciones (Sp.) ; el arcion, los arciones (Mex.) ] — adjustable straps that suspend the stirrups from the saddletree: 34; 83 stirrup straps (stirrup leathers) : 86 stirrup tread [la pisa]—inner face where the foot rests, often protected by a leather piece: 84 el sudadero [sweat p a d ] — a heavy piece of leather or fabric, often lined, placed under the saddle: 37 surcingle [el sobrecincho]—a kind of girth or cinch fastened over the saddle: 49, 70 sweat-leather—the fender (q.v.) on the s t i r r u p leather; or a padded piece (sweat pad, el sudadero) placed under the saddle: 60; 84 swells—bulging of the shoulders of the pommel: 84 las tablas ( s i d e b o a r d s ) : 34; 83 el talabartero [saddler, harness maker]—Mexican craftsman trained in making saddles: 26 el talle [sic], el telliz—any covering or appurtenance for a saddle: 9 la tapadera ( s t i r r u p cover) : 18, 35, 42, 107, 110, 120; 83 tapadero ( s t i r r u p cover) : 62, 9 5 ; 37, 39 taps ( s t i r r u p cover) : 95 la teja (cantle) : 34; 83 Texas saddle (saddle types, western U.S.) : 33 Texas tree (saddle types, western U.S.) : 59 thongs (saddle strings) : 35 NUMBER 39 145 tenance usually made of goat skin, with the hair remaining on the outside and with pockets added on the under side; placed behind the cantle on some Mexican-type saddles: 37, 90; 18 vaquero saddle [la silla vaquera]: 14, 18, 33 wooden stirrup—either the eastern U.S.

Bent-wood type, or the Mexican and southwest U.S.

Type carved from a block: 92; 14 Zaldivar tree—popular type of charro tree named for the noted Mexican gentleman-rider, Don Juan Zaldivar: 34 three-quarter rigged (girthing types) : 8, 95 los tientos (saddle strings) : 34, 35; 83 ties (saddle strings) : 34 trappings [los arreos, los aderezos, los jaeces]—all the equipment that is normally associated with a saddle, including housings [las faldas, los faldones, la gualdrapa] and armor or coverings [las armas, la barda, la coraza, la mochila]: 11 tree [el fuste] (saddletree; bow) : 14, 18, 42, 65 valise [la maleta]—a container secured behind the cantle: 12, 60, 120; 69a,g,i el vaquerillo—a protective and decorative appur- ILLUSTRATION CREDITS (If a n illustration is a reproduction of a photograph m a d e by t h e S m i t h s o n i a n I n s t i t u tion, the negative number a p p e a r s in p a r e n t h e s e s )

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    Horses-Store.com and Horn : The major innovation during the process of modifying the Spanish….
    Horses-Store.com - Horn : The major innovation during the process of modifying the Spanish….