ca. 1903 US ARMY CAVALRY EXPERIMENTAL HALTER
BRIDLE – EXTREMELY RARE EARLY 20TH CENTURY
SPECIMEN: There is no overstating the rarity
of this ca. 1903 US Army Experimental Halter Bridle.
Appearing in the first years of the 20Th
Century, the army regarded the concept of combining the
halter and bridle in one unit as experimental and
labeled it as such, not only in the initial Ordnance
Department drawings, but continued to do so some fifteen
years later when Ordnance Manual 1719 was published in
1917. While known to exist from the Ordnance Department
records and manuals, finding one of these early pieces
on the loose is considered by some in the cavalry
equipment collecting community as being neigh
While showing signs of use, age, and issue this Halter
Bridle is complete with all the straps, buckles, and
full length billets. It has the correct early pattern
sheet copper brow band ornaments featuring the coat of
arms of the United States - a matched pair that have
always been on this halter-bridle. The brow band is
legibly marked "ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL" and dated "1903",
as well as having two sets of unit applied inventory
stamps. The proper Model 1902 Cavalry Bit is present as
well as the Model 1903 Curb Chain with the leather safe
intact. More important than the bit and curb chain,
BOTH of the special iron curb chain hooks are present.
These hooks are almost as rare as this halter-bridle and
are impossible to find on the loose. Once they were
separated from the bits they became so much scrap iron
and disappeared into the recycling furnaces. While the
leather shows use and age, it is solid. The surface of
the leather is crazed and there is some minor flaking,
but with a little TLC and the proper display where the
leather is adequately supported and the bit doesn't pull
against the leather in the future, this set will last a
very long time.
I have included a copy of the Ordnance Manual photo of
this Experimental Halter-Bridle for clarity's sake.
When you're photographing such a piece that is brand new
and the leather is still stiff, it is relatively easy.
When the leather ages and relaxes, it is like
photographing a bowl of hot spaghetti - nothing wants to
sit still and cooperate. I have provided good
representative photos of the various components, but in
addition to the overall photos of the entire unit, I
felt the photo from the manual would be helpful.
This is a very good specimen of an extremely rare US
Army Halter Bridle and it is one that you would find
very difficult to upgrade. (0107) $1250