All of the equipment for our horses is based on actual historical examples, or depictions from historical sources, such as manuscripts. At present we are shifting our focus more towards the 15th Century, and our equestrian gear needs to mirror that. From bits and bridles based on drawings, to saddles based on ones in museums, to the curry comb we use to brush them and pick out their hooves, we try and make our equipment as historically accurate as we can.
The right looking saddle is an important part of getting the right look. All our horses have custom fitted saddles made for them and their owners, based on historical examples, or from paintings/drawings from the time we are recreating.
Phoebus’s saddle is a reconstruction of the war saddle from Bucharest in the Muzeul Militar National. The original was probably manufactured in a German speaking region towards the very end of the 15th C. This example is constructed with a solid timber tree and red leather. The saddle steels are modeled on the few that are preserved with the original saddle. Being fluted, heat treated, spring steel with pierced and gilt borders. Underneath are wool covered felt pads which provide no contact over the spine of the horse.
Algernon’s saddle is based on manuscript drawings of late 14th C war saddles. It is made from a poplar timber core reinforced with hessian and covered with leather.
Ruby’s saddle is based on the A64 saddle in Vienna. The original saddle is covered with carved and painted bone pieces, but we didn’t go to that extent for her reproduction. Again it is a timber core, with hessian, covered with leather, and decorated with brass strips.
The bits we use are also based on historic images. This particular one is based on some lovely line drawings by Pisanello from around 1450. This reproduction is made from stainless steel to keep it from rusting, and features brass bosses. The first bits we tried were not stainless and even with careful cleaning after each ride, have rusted. So the newer ones are now in stainless. We realise this is not historical, but it does save us a lot of work, and replacement bits.