MODEL 1874 CAVALRY BRIDLE – COMPLETE SET w/ ALL
THE COMPONENTS - HEADSTALL, SHOEMAKER BIT, REINS, CURB
STRAP, & LINK STRAP – A RARE SET IN VERY NICE CONDITION:
This is the same Cavalry
Bridle Set issued with the Model 1874 Horse Equipments
as described and shown in Ordnance Memoranda No. 18, was
the bridle used by Custer’s troops at the Little Big
Horn, and was continued as the standard cavalry bridle
until the adoption of the Model 1904 Bridle.
Complete with all the components as issued, this bridle
set includes the Model 1874 Headstall with the bullseye
rosettes, a Model 1874 Shoemaker Cavalry Curb Bit, a set
of Model 1874 Reins, a Model 1874 Curb Strap, and a
Model 1874 Link Strap. Save for the underlying halter,
this set represents the full set of equipment which the
Custer-era cavalry horse wore on its head.
The Model 1874 Headstall is complete with the crown
piece, brow band with both bullseye rosettes, both cheek
pieces and the throat lash. The crown piece ends in two
billets on both sides – one billet is for the cheek
piece that attaches to the bit and the other billet is
for the throat latch that passes under the horse’s jaw -
and all four of the billets are full length. Complete
with all the proper brass frame buckles, the bridle is
supple and pliable, the leather surfaces are overall
smooth and shiny, with only minimal flexing apparent.
The top of the crown piece is stamped “Rock Island
Arsenal”, the stamp still partially legible, and there
are several unit inventory numbers stamped, as well as a
company letter. The throat lash, often found to be
missing on these headstalls, is full length with both
correct buckles intact.
The Model 1874 Shoemaker Cavalry Bit is an excellent
example of this famous cavalry bit. This specimen is a
No. 1, indicated by the ˝” high arch in the mouthpiece.
It is plainly stamped “ROCK ISLAND” on the off side side
branch, indicating it was manufactured at the arsenal.
The bit is in excellent condition with no damage, nor
any sign of heavy wear or use. Both of the original
brass “US” bosses are present.
The Model 1874 Cavalry Reins are full length with both
full length billets intact and both brass buckles
present. The reins, made of two equal lengths of
leather strapping were originally sewn at the center
point, providing a continuous loop for the soldier to
control the horse. The soldier who used these reins
carefully removed the stitching and knotted the two
ends, perhaps to provide both the knot to prevent the
reins from slipping through his grasp, and a knotted
lash to encourage the horse when needed. Both lengths
of the reins are stamped “61”, a unit inventory number.
The leather is supple with no breaks or weak points and
the surface is very good with only minor flexing.
The Model 1874 Cavalry Curb Strap, which served to
retain the Model 1874 Shoemaker Bit in the horse’s
mouth, is complete with both brass buckles, and both
billets are full length. In excellent condition, all of
the stitching intact and the supple leather has a smooth
surface with no crazing.
The Model 1874 Cavalry
Link is intact, full length and is complete with the
brass buckle and iron snap. The leather is supple and
the surface is overall smooth with some minor crazing.
Issued to each cavalryman as part of his standard saddle
equipment, the link strap provided the means of
gathering the horses of dismounted cavalrymen forming a
skirmish line, and removing them behind the lines in
This excellent specimen of the Model 1874 Cavalry
Bridle, complete and fully intact, is a scarce offering
that will complement your Indian War Cavalry
collection. (0531) $2550