Confederate saddles of the Civil War, Part 1
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There were 5 main saddles used by the confederacy during the Civil War: the Jenifer, Morgan Muley, Buena Vista (Plantation), Texas (Hope) & the Confederate McClellan.
The Jenifer was a sleek, lightweight saddle with a vented seat adopted as the official Confederate military saddle at the outbreak of the war. Unfortunately, the saddle does not have an official wartime drawing or construction description, so all we have are the few surviving examples to know what they were like.
Patented in 1860 by Walter H. Jenifer, the saddle had a flat English-style seat & distinctive “duck tail” cantle. Used throughout much of the war, especially by the Eastern Confederacy, the saddle fell out of favor due to complaints that it tended to injure the horse’s back after continuous use in the field. However, that may have been because it wasn’t properly fit or adequately padded. Regardless, the saddle was not made after the war & the saddles are exceedingly rare today.
Morgan saddles were found mostly in the Central Confederacy & most examples were made before the war. The Morgan came in two styles: with horn or without. The horned Morgan is very similar to the Texas saddle with a fast rising pommel. The hornless or “muley” Morgan gave riders a solid saddle without the unnecessary horn, which was designed for working with livestock. Both types had a gently reclining cantle & continued to be popular long after the war. George Custer is known to have owned a Morgan Muley, which he used for racing.
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