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The UP 'angle iron arch' saddle was one of the first (1) all metal arched saddle in British military service. It has several unique features that show both innovation and a clear lineage to previous Cavalry saddles. Primarily for strength, the angled construction of the iron (2) arches also incorporated mounts for other saddlery and accoutrements. This version of the UP saddle retained the older style of girth attachment staple (fig.2). The staple was later removed and replaced with a newer vee attachment.

According to the Military Artificers Manual of 1899, a strengthening plate was added to the angle iron front arch across its crown, secured with four iron rivets. This plate extended just over the sidebars and is the location you can expect to find the size marking of this saddle. Saddles were issued in four sizes, with numbers 2 and 3 being most common.

This UP saddle had a lower cantle than previous wooden arched saddles. The cantle spoon was also absent, but was to be incorporated in subsequent versions. Also noteworthy are the saddle flaps which appear to be dimensionally smaller on the angle iron arch UP saddle. The exact designation for this saddle is unknown, see footnote one below.







The UP 1890 and UP 1890 Mk.III 'steel arch' saddles were introduced in 1890 / 1898 respectively complementing existing stores of iron arch UP saddles.

Drop forged steel arches replaced iron, changing the overall dimensions of the saddle. Principally the seat spanned 17¼ inches with the steel arch, 16¾ inches with the angle iron arch.

The forward arch of the saddle has a channeled cross section, benefiting from the inherent rigidity of this design. Note the front arch extends over the timber burrs, a feature that was to disappear with the later UP saddles. Again the forward arch is the likely location of the saddles size (the Military Artificers Manual of 1899 suggests either the near side of the front arch or the center of the front arch). The rear arch re-introduces the cantle spoon and is strengthened by a steel strut on either side (inset, fig.4).

Attachment of the girth to the saddle is via a new design known as 'V-attachment for Girth, Marks I and II'. Mark I used a tinned iron 'Dee' to join the Vee straps to the two girth attach points. Mark II simply used a brass plate as shown (fig.4).

The stirrup leathers were attached to the Mk.III UP 1890 via an iron link with a brass roller. The link and roller assembly was mounted on the side bars with an iron plate.






UP1890 in Canadian Service.
Girth 'vee' attachment.
From the collection of Mr L Emrick.
UP1890 in Canadian Service.
Troopers string girth.
From the collection of Mr L Emrick.
UP1890 in Canadian Service.
UP1890 sideboards. Note the front arch extensions.
From the collection of Mr L Emrick.
UP1890 in Canadian Service.
UP1890 nearside.
From the collection of Mr L Emrick.



Handbook for Military Artificers, Her Majesty's Stationary Office, 1899.

Chappell, Mike. British Cavalry Equipment's 1800 - 1941, Osprey Men-at-Arms, 1983.

Higgins, Raymond. Engineering Metallurgy, English Universities Press, 1960.

Skennerton, Ian. List of Changes in British War Material Volume III 1900 - 1910, Published by Ian Skennerton , 1987.

Stringer, Michael. Australian Horse Drawn Vehicles, Rigby Limited, 1980.


1. Mike Chappell in his book British Cavalry Equipment's 1800 - 1941 indicates the all metal arch UP saddles evolved from 1872 to 1890. The first, the UP 'flat iron arch' was introduced in 1872. The second, the UP 'angle iron arch' in 1878 and the third and final saddle (another angle iron arch) was released in 1884. The Handbook for Military Artificers 1899 refers to only two Universal Pattern saddles - an angle iron arch and a steel arch saddle. Presumably the 1884 angle iron UP saddle is one and of course the UP 1890 steel arch saddle is the other.

2. Iron and Steel differ in their chemical make up and production process. Steel only became economical to manufacture in the mid 1800's.


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