The Mcclellan Saddle
The first McClellan saddle, named after its designer, George B. McClellan, came into being in the late 1850s. McClellan formulated his design after visiting European countries and studying their cavalrys weaponry and equipment. It is said to be modeled after Hungarian saddles used in the Prussian Service. In 1859, the U.S. War Department adopted this saddle for its cavalry.
This saddle was not the most comfortable for the rider as the seat was made from rawhide instead of leather. When it would wear out and begin to split, it would be very uncomfortable. It was, however, much more bearable for the horse. It was lighter and contoured better to fit the horse. For this reason, the Confederate army began issuing them when their horses became lean and weak from lack of sufficient food.
In addition to its rawhide seat covering, the McClellan featured leather covered wooden stirrups, a thick leather skirt (except during the Civil War. Leather being scarce, it was often made of canvas), and a girth strap made from wool yarn. Of course, the normal accessories were available such as a lariat, curry comb, feed bag, and saddle bags.
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