McClellan saddles ? - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 18 Old 07-13-2012, 10:43 PM Thread Starter
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McClellan saddles ?

So I have this thing for History from 1800's -1950's . Anyway, I saw a Stonewall saddle on an Arabian in the Trail Riding forum on here . And it's got my wheels turning about Cavalry and McClellan saddles .

Are they really uncomfortable on long distances ?

I want to know as mush a possible ,because like I said I have a thing for the Civil War period .

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post #2 of 18 Old 07-17-2012, 04:21 PM Thread Starter
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Bump?????

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post #3 of 18 Old 07-17-2012, 04:24 PM
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Your best bet is to find a reenactors website, and ask them. Nobody here rides in old McClellan or vintage cavalry saddles.

You want the truth? You can't HANDLE the truth!
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post #4 of 18 Old 07-17-2012, 05:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoWithTheFlow View Post
So I have this thing for History from 1800's -1950's . Anyway, I saw a Stonewall saddle on an Arabian in the Trail Riding forum on here . And it's got my wheels turning about Cavalry and McClellan saddles .

Are they really uncomfortable on long distances ?

I want to know as mush a possible ,because like I said I have a thing for the Civil War period .
The McClellan is not the most comfortable saddle you'll find, but I've ridden saddles that I liked less. Something as simple a a folded blanket will do wonders. Especially if you're going to ride 20+ miles a day for a few days.

The tough thing about McClellans is that you have to find a horse that will fit the saddle. I've found that they tended to be too narrow for our horses. We rode mostly QH and some TW. Would be even worse for the horses I'm currently working with.

I'd certainly check the fit before ever using a McClellan on one of my horses. What's odder is that the US even adopted McClellan's saddle design. The Brits had already developed the earlier version of what became the Universal Pattern which was a supperior saddle to the McClellen both in terms of fitting the horses, displacing weight and being more comfortable for the rider. It was used by the mounted troops of the rest of the English speaking world . Todays Troopers are a more modern evolution of the UP saddle.
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post #5 of 18 Old 07-17-2012, 05:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Speed Racer View Post
Your best bet is to find a reenactors website, and ask them. Nobody here rides in old McClellan or vintage cavalry saddles.
I know some here that do.
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post #6 of 18 Old 07-17-2012, 05:09 PM
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Originally Posted by its lbs not miles View Post
I know some here that do.

Good, then point 'em to this thread!

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post #7 of 18 Old 07-17-2012, 10:44 PM
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The Army adopted the Mclellan because Mclellan was the General in chief of the Army.
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post #8 of 18 Old 07-18-2012, 01:45 AM
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I'm with Joe on this one. Personally though I also think it was a bit of a power play. Since the war was such a recent event I have a hunch that it might have been a power play as well. I mean think of it this way, adopt the saddle idea of a Yankee and make it the universal design for everyone, even the Southern states? Seems like a bit of a smack to the face to me...

But yes, they are odd to ride in. I rode one recently at our frontier army days at Fort Lincoln and have ridden in more comfortable and less comfortable saddles. There are definitely better choices for long distance riding :) Like if you do want to go Civil War I would look into a plantation saddle. Classy, comfortable, and designed for long hours of use. Also, after the war, ladies were no longer the only ones riding aside, many men that lost legs or sustained leg injuries rode aside because riding astride was no longer possible.

I know a place where you can get a custom built McClellan for a decent price. It won't be vintage, but it will fit your horse. It will also not be so awfully uncomfortable, and once you put your blankets and bed rolls on you probably wouldn't have enough people looking close enough to notice that you are actually more comfortable then them

Here is a link to the McClellan I mentioned...
http://www.sycamorecreeksaddles.com/MAC010-A.jpg

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post #9 of 18 Old 07-18-2012, 08:29 AM
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Mclellen is also the source for the oft quoted out of context 20% rule. Basically a man well known for loving horses and hating men. The saddle was designed for horse comfort. I imagine it fit the narrower morgans and whatnot in use with the federal cavalry. The saddle was adopted before the War of Northern aggression though.
Army takes forever to change and once something is adopted its pretty much written in stone. Any one ever look at Army pistol training ? Up until the 1980's they were still training techniques best suited for shooting off a horse. SInce cavalry were generally the only ones using handguns in combat.
That one hand hold arm extended out to the side head turned to the right pose still used by some bullseye shooters ? Yeh that was developed for horseback. One hand because the other was holding reins. Out to the side to keep from hitting your horses head. The Army kept teaching the exact same thing for years after the horses were gone.
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post #10 of 18 Old 07-18-2012, 09:32 AM
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My husband rode a reproduction Mclellen saddle for years, both reenacting and trail riding. He swears it is the most comfortable saddle he'd ever used, and really liked the fact it was so light. The attached pic is from a trail ride several years ago (I know the saddle is way too far forward, don't know why, other pics from the same day show it in the correct position, but this is the best shot of the saddle itself). A little off topic, the mare is the same mare I just brought home after pulling her out of what I THOUGHT was going to be a good home. If you're interested in the difference a few hundred lbs makes in a horse take a look at my thread under horse nutrition.
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