1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Saddlery and Harness

SADDLERY and HARNESS, two terms which embrace the whole equipment for the horse when used for riding or driving. “ Harness ”' (O. Fr. hameis, ~ mod. hafnais, Ger. H arnisrh, of unknown origin) was originally a general '-term for equipment, e.g. the body armour of' a soldier. It is now usually conined to the draught horse's equipment, “ saddle and bridle ” being used of that of the riding horse.

Saddlery is principally a leather trade, and the craft has been established in England as a separate trade since the 1%th century, when the London Saddlers' Company received its c arter from Edward -I. There is evidence also of its early prosperity at; Birmingham; the principal seat of the cheaper saddlery trade 'is now at Walsall. Saddler's ironmongery embraces the making of buckles, Chains, stirrups, s urs, bits, hames, &c., ' V The “ bridle " Foe. bridel for brigdel, from bregdan, to pull) is the combination of straps and buckles which fits on the horse's head, the headstall, to ether with the bit and reins which it keeps in position. The headstah consists of the headpiece passin behind the ears and joining the head-band over the forehead; the clneek-straps run down the head to, the bit to which they are fastened pin the driving bridle the “ blinkers, " rectangular or round leather flaps which prevent the horse from seeing anything except what lies in front, are attached to the cheek-straps; the nose-band passes round the; head above"the nostrils and the throat-lash from-the top of the cheek-straps underneath thehead. The f' rnartingale 7' passes between the horse's legs with one end fastened to the girth and the other to the bridle or noseband. It prevents the horse throwing uphis head. The bit is the metal contrivance inserted in the mouth to which the 'reins are attached. There are innumerable patterns of bits, but they may be divided into the “snalile ” (Du. smwel, horse's muzzle), the “ curb " and combinations of the two. The “ snafile " ' for the riding horse has a smooth jointed steel mouthpiece, with straight cheek-bars, the rings for the reins and cheek-pieces of the headstall being fixed in the bars at the junction with the mouthpiece. A severer snaflle has the mouthpiece twisted and fluted. The bars prevent the horse pulling the bit through the mouth. The snafiie without bars' is generally termed a “ bridoon.” The commonest form of 'bitused in driving is the double-ring snaffle, in' which the rings work one within the other, the headstall straps fastening to one and thereins to the other, or, if the horse is driven on the double ring, the reins are buckled to both rin s. The curb-bit (Fr. courbe, Lat. curvus, bent, crooked) is one to which a curb-chain or strap is attached, fastened 'to hooks on the upper ends of the' cheek-bars of the bit and passing under the horse's lower jaw in the chin- groove.. The reins are attached to rings at the lower ends of the cheek-bars, the leverage thus pressing the curb-chain against the jaw. The mouthpiece of t e curb-bit is unjointed and has in the centrea “ port, ” i.e. 'a 'raised curve allowing liberty for the tongue and bringing the ressure on the base of the horse's jaw. The curb-bit and the bridldonican be usedvtogether with separate headstalls and reins, , but thereare many combination bits, such as the Pelham. In this theknouthpiece, without port, is that of the snafile bit (it maybe jun jointed), with the rings fixed at the junction of the mouthpiece and cheek-bars; the lower ends have rein rings as in the plain curb-»bit. » Hiilt a, , b. c d e..

FIG I.-a., Bridoon or snaffle; e, Curb. Polo bits:-b, ~'?Rugby Pelham; c, Hanoverian with rubber mouth; d, Kerro Pelham. (From Messrs Champion and Wilton.) j t ime

FIG. 2.-Some Types of Driving Bits. (From Messrs. Champion and Wilton.) 1

The riding saddle is composed of the “ tree, " the framework or skeleton, the parts of which are the pommel or head, the projection which fits over the withers, and the side bars which curve round into the cantle or hind-bow. The tree in the best saddles is made of beechwood-split with the grain; thin canvas is glued over the wood to prevent splitting, and iron or steel plates then riveted on the head and on the cantle. Linen webs are fastened lengthwise and across, over which is nailed canvas and serge between' which the padding is stuffed.~ To the tree are fastened the stirrup-bars. The leather coveringvofthe tree should be of pig-skin; cheap saddles are made of sheep-skin stamped to imitate pig-skin. The various parts of the man's saddle are the seat, the skirt, i.e. the fold or pad of leather on' either side of the head, and the hanging flaps; kneel rolls are not used as much as they were, except where roughly broken-in horses are ridden. The saddle is cut straight over the withers with a square ended cantle, as in the hunting saddle, or cut back over the withers with a round-ended cantle, as in the polo saddle. The saddles in use on thecontinént of Europe still retain the high pommel and cantle and heavy knee-rolls discarded by riders trained in the British school and the hunting-field. The saddles of the East and of the Arabs 'keep their rimitive shape, and they are really seats in which rather than on which the rider sits. The Mexican saddle, with its silver adornments and embossed leather, is a characteristic type. It has a very high padded ommel and a round-headed project in cantle. The lady's side-saddl; when first fully developed had two headsvor pommels, between which the right leg was supported, the support for the left being the stirrup. The third pommel or “ leaping' head, " against which the left leg rests, was, it is said, invented as the result of a match between two gentlemen riders to ride a steeplechase on side-saddles; the winner had provided himself this sup ort.for hisleft leg. At first the “leaping head ” was only. usecil in the hunting-field and the double cow-horn was still retained; as its usefulness became apparent the second pommel practically disapeared.

Space forbids the discussion of the varieties of harness for the pair horse carriage, the four-horse coach, the farm wagon, &c, , or the different kinds of ornamentation that are or have been lavished upon it. The leather collar, heavily padded, passes over the head and

Fig.3—a, Side-saddle; b, hunting saddle; c, officer's regulation saddle (British army). (From models made by Messrs Champion and Wilton.)

rests firmly on the shoulders; the hames, linked pieces of metal, fit tightly round it and are fastened at the top by the hame-strap; they bear the traces, or straps which pass alon the horse's sides and the shafts and are attached by loops slipped over hooks in the body of the carriage. Where the collar is dispensed with, the traces are attached to a breast-strap against which the horse works. This breast harness is much used for the lightly harnessed American trotting horses, and for military draught horses. The saddle pad is a narrow leather cushion girthed under the belly and held in position by the crupper-dock and the crupper, a loop strap passing under the tail. The saddle supports the shafts by the back-band and its tugs and by the belly-band. The reins pass from the bit through “ terrets ” or rings on the hames and pad. The harness on the horse's hindquarters consists of the breaching, passing round behind the horse and helping in backing and stopping the vehicle, the hip-strap fastened to the breaching and passing over the hind-quarters, and the kicking strap falling across the loins and fastened to the shafts. The bearing rein, when used merely as a support to the head, or as an aid to the improvement of the paces, consists of a separate bridoon-bit with the reins passing through rings on the throat-band and thence slipped over a hook on the pad. The severer form, which brings the rein over the head-stall, keeps the horse's head up in a cramped attitude and the mouth continually working on the bit. A recent modification of the severer form is not attached to the bit.

Historical Sketch.—Questions as to the epoch in the history of mankind when the horse was first trained for draught and riding are for archaeologists and anthropologists to discuss (see Horse, § History). With the domestication of the horse came the development of the bit; first a halter of hide bound the muzzle, then a thong slipped into the mouth, finally replaced by wood or bone. Stone age objects have been found in lake-dwellings, such as that at Robenhausen, near Zürich which may have been bits; one is slightly curved, with two knobs grooved at either end for the reins. Bits from the bronze age and the iron age can be seen in most museums showing that the forms have changed little. The Scandinavian museums are particularly rich in early remains of harness and horse-trappings. An early bronze age bit of bone with horn cheek-pieces and with holes on the up er ends for the headstall, and on the lower ends for the reins, was found at the Corcelletes lake dwelling, and a twisted bronze bit jointed by interlocking rings with straight cheek-pieces and rings and loops for headstall and reins is in the National Museum at Zürich. In the late iron age burial of a Gaulish chief with his chariot at Somme-Bionne were found two horse's bits of the ordinary jointed snaflie type (see Archaeology, plate VI). A heavy snaffle unjointed bit with red and blue enamel ornamentation is illustrated in the British Museum Guide to the Late Iron Age. Assyrian and Babylonian monuments show the harness of the chariot horses and the bridling of the riding horse, cf. Babylonia and Assyria, Plate II, fig. 2.

In ancient Greece and Rome the bit and bridle were used during historic times, and allusions to riding without them refer to exhibitions of horsemanship. On Trajan's column the Numidians ride without bridles or bits, and various North African tribes trained their horses to obey their voice alone (cf. Claudian, Epig. i. 10, of the Gaulish essedarii, driving without bridle and reins). The locus classicus for the bridling and saddling of the Greek horse is Xenophon, Περὶ ἱππικῆς. The Greek name for the bridle bit and reins collectively is χαλινός (Lat. frenum), the bit proper is στόμιον; in Lat. frenum is also used of the bit itself. The headstall (κορυφαία) and cheek-straps (παρήϊα) were richly decorated. In Homer (Il. iv. 142) the latter are ornamented with ivory plates stained with purple, and such, have been found on the site of Troy (Schliemann, Ilios, 476, 631). The head-band also bore a crest (λοφός, crista), and in front the ἄμπυξ (frontale) might be extended down the face to serve as a defence, as in the medieval chaufrein. This frontal was a special subject of decoration. Of the two principal types of ancient bits, the unjointed and the jointed mouthpiece, the latter is the most common form. There are also other forms of bits; those with sharp points were called lupata (Virg. Georg. iii. 208). There is a Greek bit in the British Museum with revolving disks, a device which occurs in medieval bits, to give the horse something to keep turning in his mouth. The curb was also used: Xenophon distinguishes between the snaffle (λεῖος χαλινός) and the curb. The curb-strap or chain was termed ὐποΧαλινιδία or ψάλιον, which, however, may mean a muzzle. A bronze bit found at Pompeii has a twisted and jointed metal mouthpiece and a plain curved bar acting as a curb-strap. The cheek-bars of the bit take a variety of forms: straight bars, circles with rays, square or oblong plaques, triangles and the swan necked or S-shaped type are all found. In medieval times complicated and severe bits were used, and heavy bits with cruel mouthpieces and long elaborately curved cheek-barsiare still used by Arabs and the riders of Central and South America. The bit of the armed war-horse in the middle ages was sometimes provided with very long cheek-bars covered with sharp spikes to prevent the foot-soldier catching hold of the bridle (see R. Tschille and R. Forrer, Die Pferdetrense in ihrer Formen-Entwicklung, 1903, for illustrations of bits from prehistoric times to the 16th century.

The saddle was not used in Egypt; the Assyrian monuments (cf. the illustration noticed above) chiefly show decorated saddle-cloths rather than any form of the saddle proper. The harness of the chariots of Egypt and Assyria are also illustrated on the monuments (see especially Sir J. G. Wilkinson, Manners and Customs of the Ancient Egyptians). The ancient Greeks rode, bare-backed as in the Panathenaic frieze of the Parthenon or used a saddle-cloth (ἐφίππιον, Lat. ephippium; sella as applied to a saddle is quite late). Even the saddle-cloth does not appear to have been in use till the 5th century. A 6th-century vase, found at Daphnae, Lower Egypt (Flinders-Petrie and Murray, Tanis, 1888, ii. xxix.), shows a woman riding astride on a cloth, with fully developed headstall and powerful bit. A black-figured sarcophagus, now in the British Museum, from Clazomenae, shows a long pointed ephippium with a chest-strap. These indicate Asiatic influence, for Daphne was an Ionian and Carian settlement of the 7th century B.C. In Xenophon (l.c.) we find that the saddle-cloth had been adopted by the Athenian cavalry, and from his advice as to the seat to be adopted pads or rolls seem to have been added. There were no stirrups (till the time of the emperor Maurice, A.D. 602), and the rider mounted at a vault or by b1ocks; mounting by the spear used as a vaulting pole was also practised as an athletic feat. On a funeral monument of the time of Nero in the museum at Mainz is the figure of a horseman on a saddle-cloth with something resembling the pommel and cantle of a saddle, but the first saddle proper is found in the so-called column of Theodosius at Constantinople (usually ascribed to the end of the 4th century A.D., though it may be more than 100 years earlier), where two figures are riding on high-peaked saddles resting on embroidered saddle-cloths. In medieval times the saddle was much like that of the Oriental saddle of to-day with high peaks before and behind. In the military saddle of the 14th and 15th century the high front parts of the saddle were armoured and extended to protect the legs of the rider. The jousting saddle (cf. the example in the Tower of London) becomes almost a box into which the rider is fixed; the high cantle tits round the rider's loins and when charging he lifted himself into practically a standing position in the stirrups. The saddle for use on the road or hunting was much like the Arab saddle of to-day, and similar forms are in use in Europe and elsewhere where the British saddle has not been adopted. Women rode astride or on a pillion behind a male rider. The side-saddle is said to date from the end of the 12th century. For the harness of the ancient draught horse see Chariot.

Biography.—J. C. Ginzrot, Wagen u. Fahrwerke d. Griechen u. Römer, &c. (1817; Daremberg and Saglio's Dict. des antiquités grecques et rom., s.w. “ Ephippium," “ Frenum," &c.; Viollet-le-Duc's Dict. rais. du mobilier français, and the works referred to in the text. See also Driving, Riding and Horse.  (C. We.)