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DRAGOON SADDLE HORSESHOE POUCH – VERY NICE SPECIMEN:  In very nice condition for such an early piece of horse equipment, this Horseshoe Pouch is one of the very rare accessories which are necessary to complete any of the saddles issued to the United States Dragoons in the 1840’s and 1850’s such as the Model 1844 Ringgold or Model 1847 Grimsley Saddles.   

These Horse Shoe Pouches were first specifically mentioned in the description of the Model 1841 Dragoon Saddle – “Two SHOE POCKETS, attached to the rear of the side bars of the tree with the same thongs that hold the chapes for the crupper buckles.” 

Samuel Ringgold provided no description, but he did include these pouches in his list of equipment necessary to fully dress his Model 1844 Ringgold Saddle, “…….two horse shoe pouches……..complete the equipment.”  

Thomas Grimsley did not provide any more information, but the pouches were still important enough to specifically cite the points for attaching the pouches on his Model 1847 Grimsley Dragoon Saddle, “…Iron rings and staples on the cantle end of side-bars for attaching shoe pouch and crupper.” 

There is no doubt the Horse Shoe Pouch was a necessary and important accessory to the dragoon’s saddle, especially when you consider that the dragoons patrolling the western trails were far away from supply depots and the blacksmith shops of the frontier forts.  Carrying a full set of four horse shoes which had been pre-formed to his horse’s hooves, readily at hand should his mount lose a shoe, meant the difference between a sound or lame horse, and the dragoon being afoot hundreds of miles from another set of shoes.   

The Dragoon Era Horse Shoe Pouches have been noted in at least three different variations which differ only in the shape of the leather buckle chape on the rear of the pouch, the type of buckles used – iron, brass, brass faced, horseshoe shaped, roller, however all of these surviving specimens are roughly the same size and design.  Two of the variations are shown in Figures 27-28, on page 27 of The American Military Saddle, 1776-1945, which were in the authors’ research collections, and this pouch represents a third variation.  No doubt that over the length of time these pouches were in use, and that they were manufactured within the army’s arsenal workshops as well as being provided under contract by civilian manufacturers, this sort of variation in the minor details is to be expected.    

This specimen is in very good condition, featuring a smooth bright finish to the leather surface and all of the seams are intact.  The upper suspension buckle and billet are fully intact and full length.  The closing billet is present and full length, but does show some evidence of age.  The closing buckle which was attached to the front of the pouch body is missing.  Given the upper buckle is the more easily found iron roller buckle, this missing buckle could be matched and restored with a minimum of effort.   

As with all of the early Dragoon equipments, these pouches are difficult pieces to find and they are seldom offered on the open market.  This is an opportunity to make a significant addition to your Dragoon Saddle era saddle.  (0361)  $750



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