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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 relative safety.   

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.   SOLD



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