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 Post subject: Grimsley saddles in the fur trade.
PostPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2016 2:21 pm 
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Reading back again over the Thorton Grimsley saddle sold to the government, I realized that it's use "was 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". Hard use of the saddle in the west by the fur companies, validated it for use by the dragoons. I wish we had better photo to see what the actual "seet" was on the enlisted model shown below. It would seem to very much like the typical "Sante Fe" saddles that most of us are familiar with....i.e. rawhide covered wood tree with a leather "mochia" thrown over the whole affair. However the photo seems to show a bit less than this. The officer's saddles would no doubt had fancy "schabbrack" but the description given, applies to enlisted and suggest that the actual cover is "quilted" with wool stuffing......perhaps not as large as the typical Mexican mochia.

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 [i.e., 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 was 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 them….

This photo shows an exact version described. It would have to have been taken at the very earliest in the late '30's or early 40's......though clothing to me looks later in the 40's...or 50's. In any case the only individual who looks like he could be the rider is a man in the background wearing what looks like a white canvas shell jacket which was often issued in warmer climates or more southern regions.....the brimmed hat would be a non regulation addition.
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"Nope!....If I gotta choose.....I'll ride the mule and pack the horse!" WD Bennett


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 Post subject: Re: Grimsley saddles in the fur trade.
PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2016 9:22 pm 
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Location: Yosemite
This Picture is in Time Life Book "The Scouts" page 65.

This is a picture of Dr. Samuel Woodhouse (nearest the pony's head). He served as surgeon and naturalist with the "Topographical Engineers" during the 1850 surveys of Creek and Cherokee Indian Territories in 1850. This picture is of their camp on the Red Fork of the Arkansas River. One year later, Woodhouse joined the "Sitgreaves Expedition" in the Southwest, led by famous scout Antoine Leroux.

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