Unusual UP saddle, your opinions, please!

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centaurfemale
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue May 26, 2015 9:19 pm
Last Name: Seward

Hello. My name is Candace, and I have an addiction to saddles. I found this saddle on Facebook, and had to have it. At $60, how could I not? I've not seen one like it, the bars at the back are usually covered in leather. After poking around this site, I'm gathering it's possibly manufactured in India. Also, before I cleaned the saddle, the stirrup leathers were hooked up underneath the saddle flap; which I am assuming was in error, as it would certainly pinch the horse's sides.

Thank you in advance for any opinions!

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Larry Emrick
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Posts: 537
Joined: Wed Dec 06, 2000 6:11 pm
Last Name: Emrick
Location: Canada

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HI Candace: Congratulations. You have what appears to be a 1902 Pattern universal trooper's saddle, in not bad condition - rideable even with the care and consideration for a saddle that is probably 100 years old. Unless you find a date somewhere it will be difficult to date it precisely because the pattern is similar from its inception in 1902 to the present day. The ceremonial British Household Cavalry still rides in UPs.
The d-ring on the sidebar is unusual on a trooper saddle and more familiar on a driver's saddle,which does not have a spoon -the projection on the back of the cantle - but again, who knows what uses were made of it in its long history. There are plenty of photos with drivers of artillery, wagons and such with saddles with and without spoons.
The idea was that spoons were not necessary on drivers' saddles because drivers could carry their kit on their vehicles rather than secured to the spoon, as cavalry and mounted rifles would do.
The stirrup leathers should be on the outside of the saddle flap.
As to using it, if all the stitching is secure and the billet straps sound and securely attached, you could try it out on a gentle horse - repeat gentle horse - well saddle-blanketed. However you must use a surcingle, a long belt-like strap that goes over the seat and and under the horse's belly. It is only lightly tightened - not like the girth.The bulges on the sides of the seat indicate that the saddle has been ridden without a surcingle, which pinches the rider's thighs, and flattens the seat. You can use a modern English girth, preferably the elasticized kind. Don't expect too much of it. I would stick to a walk and try not to put too much weight or stress on it and only tighten the girth as much as you need to keep the saddle on . As I said, it's probably 100 years old.
It could be of Indian origin but just as likely English, Canadian, Australian or US. Look it over closely for any marks and keep us posted. Cleaned up and kept warm, dry and oiled up it's well on its way to its second 100 years.

Larry
centaurfemale
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue May 26, 2015 9:19 pm
Last Name: Seward

Thank you so very much, Larry, for all your observations. The tip about the surcingle is brilliant.

Candace
stephen
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Feb 20, 2016 12:57 am
Last Name: Bennett
Location: Odense, Denmark

Great find - congratulations :thumbup:
PBH
Posts: 24
Joined: Sun May 16, 2004 5:20 am
Location: United Kingdom

I agree that this a 19102 UP. Possibly of Indian manufacture. However, if restored and put back in use, it must be used with the correct felt numnah pads, in addition to the folded blanket which Larry mentions. I suspect that the two dee rings on the offside were added after the felts wore out and were abandoned by a previous owner. They should be removed as part of any restoration work.
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