Saddle of French hussars in Napoleonic wars

Generally, light cavalry of all armies through whole Europe used the same style of horse equipment. Those were similar kind of saddle trees as well as specific components of harness. However we can find smaller or bigger differences among particular components in different countries. So with right amount of information it is possible to specify the look of a saddle of each particular army quite exactly. If we speculate that the saddle of Hungarian hussars is a basic model for other armies, we can easily find differences in the whole shape and construction details on the French saddle tree itself. Angles of fork and cantle and also their shaping is clearly different from any original Hungarian saddle which I’ve ever seen.

For most of the leather parts is used white alum-tanned leather in period sources mentioned as cuir de Hongrie – Hungarian leather.

Stirrup strap – etriviére is reinforced by the second layer of leather in place of going through the loop of the stirrup – etrier.

Bags for horseshoes – poche a fer are laced on both sides of tree under panels of buckles which serve to fix of crupper – croupiere.

Breastcollar – poitrail with loops for fixing of holsters – fontes is pull on on a horn of cantle – pommeau. A distinctive sign of French hussars was brass heart budge on central point of the breastcollar, often with the number of their regiment engraved on it.

Both holsters are separately laced on a horn by a long lash that is characteristic way just for French. The lower part of the holster is inserted to the loop on the breastcollar.

A long string on the front of a bar fixes the holster on the right place.

A string on a horn and other strings on loops fixing the holster are assigned for tying of rider’s cloak.

On the right side of a saddle is buckled strap with tube – botte porte-musqueton for muzzle of carried carbine. The neck of stock is buckled to the place by a brown strap - dragone du mousqueton which is fixed on the horn.

The saddle itself is covered by white fur – schabraque. Through slots on fur passes carbine’s strap in front and on back two straps for valise - portmanteau and rear horn of tree - troussequina where the third valise’s strap is situated. Side straps are passed by loops which create string which fixes the panel with crupper’s buckles.

Schabraque is fixed by harness with one wide strap – surfaix going over saddle and under belly of horse and the second narrow strap – courroie de guidage going under a rear horn and over the holsters and the cloak in front.

View on right side of saddle with carbine fixed in transporting place. When trooper sits in saddle the weapon is laid by the stock on his thigh. Schabraque is decorated along edge by shaped wool cloth in particular colour belonging to each regiment. Here is black for hussards de la Morte from the period of French revolution.

For building of this saddle set I’ve used information from French reglemans Reglement arreté par le Roi 1786 and Manuel de l’administration et de la vérification des masses d’habillement et de harnachement et ferrage 1801 and 1812 and from a few pictures of preserved original trees . And I must mention Mr. Emmanuel Depauw from France who was very helpful in work on this set.