McClellan Cavalry Saddle

Pictured here is a 1905 McClellan saddle that has undergone a complete restoration. At the end of this description, I will give some references on the history of the McClellan saddle for your further study.

To begin the restoration, the rawhide was removed from the tree, breaks in the tree were repaired and it was completely encased in fiberglass. Unless customers request it be done, I do not apply new rawhide to the tree as it adds nothing to the strength and makes unwanted seams that show through the new leather. Each piece of the McClellan tree is covered with leather; the leather is wet and is molded to actually become a second skin over the tree. Then the leather is hand stitched.

The next step is to put on the rigging which fastens the saddle to the horse. This rigging is adjustable in length in the front and back of the saddle. (There are many variations of types of rigging and ways it is attached to the saddle.

McClellan After Restoration

All hardware is solid brass. The way the brass is applied to the saddle depends on whether the saddle was used in the Cavalry or the Artillery. The saddle pictured here was a Cavalry saddle. On an Artillery saddle, there would be extra pieces of brass on the front and back that would be used with harness. The original brass from this saddle was in good shape; it was refinished and used in the restoration. In some restorations, new reproduction solid brass would be used.

This McClellan has the optional 1874 fenders and hooded stirrups with the US symbol embossed on the front.

Completing this restoration (but not pictured here) was a hand-made McClellan chest strap with a hand-made brass heart in the center. I also do a completely authentic headstall with brass rosettes and brass hardware. This can be ordered with a stainless steel shoemaker bit. To finish this package, you can order reproduction Calvary saddle- bags. They are made from a pattern that is taken from original 1905 Calvary saddle-bags that I own.

Pricing for this restoration as follows:
To restore the tree and cover it with leather - $600.00
Fenders, hooded stirrups, rigging and solid brass hardware - $700.00
Chest strap with brass heart - $195.00
Headstall without bit - $165.00
Bit - $75.00
Saddlebags - $350.00
Due to market fluctuations, prices may vary.

Now for some references on the history of military saddles:

From 1859 until somewhere close to 1940 when the United States Army did away with the Cavalry as it was then known, the McClellan under went several changes to the tree and the way the leather was applied to it. These variations and modifications are discussed in the book entitled Saddles by Russel H. Beatie, a professor at the University of Oklahoma. Professor Beatie discusses military saddles from the James Walker saddle of 1812 through the McClellan with all its modifications. This book is my personal favorite. Other informative titles are They Saddled the West by Lee Rice and Glenn Vernam and United States Military Saddles by Randy Steffen.

To call please see the Contact Us

<<Back to Saddle Restoration