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The Saddle: Riding through History

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Rachel Companey

on 8 December 2015

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Transcript of The Saddle: Riding through History

The Saddle: Riding through History
The invention of the horseback riding saddle has changed in function, shape, and versatility over the many years it has been invented. Due to the evolving needs of riders throughout history.
The first saddle is said to have been invented in 365 AD. In the beginning, leather tanning was undeveloped. As the years passed, saddlers perfected the process, resulting in soft, supple, durable hides. The saddle’s tree, generally made from a carved piece of wood, evolved into wood covered rawhide, fiberglass, carbon fiber, and, most recently, a complete removal of the tree.
- Early horseback riders rode bareback, life on the go created a need for speed, and a necessity for a life of ease.
- Proud horsemen who used their horses in battle
-Saddle creations were brought back to Europe by the Huns.
-Once the saddle was created life became more comfortable for both the horse and rider.
- As riders’ demands changed from working to pleasure, and chosen mounts continue to evolve, the saddle has advanced, as well.
Keithley, Linda. Sitting Tall: Saddles and Saddlemaking in Idaho. Boise, Idaho: Idaho State Historical Society, 2000.
Ahlborn, Richard E. Man Made Mobile: Early Saddles of Western North America. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1980.
Beatie, Russel H. Saddles. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1981.
Custer, Elizabeth Bacon. Boots and Saddles Or, Life in Dakota with General Custer. Scituate, Mass.: Digital Scanning, 1999.
-Born on May 29th, 1853 in Herkimer County, New York
-Died on October 6th, 1896 in Washington DC
-Davis received little education but it did not stop him from becoming one of the leading agriculturists of Wyandotte County in Kansas. Although he had assisted his father in his various business ventures earlier, he became more engaged in general farming. He had become one of the prominent cattle breeders of Wyandotte County with 560 acres of land, 320 of which he used for his cattle breeding business. He also owned a mill in Leavenworth, Kansas and was also a postmaster for 16 years.
William D. Davis
Davis developed the springs for seat, which are an improvement upon the art as attained in Patents No. 90,990, dated June 8, 1869, and No. 3,353, dated November 24, 1843, in the combination of the end springs, which work horizontally, and the bottom springs, which operate vertically, in such a manner as to give adjustment, strength, and elasticity to the seat of the saddle.
Changes to the Saddle
Major Contributions
While Davis did not invent the use of springs on saddles, the type of spring, its longevity, and its placement were his own. Although never standard army issue, Davis saddles provided a smoother ride for cavalry, cowboys, and gentlemen riders.
The springs respond to the motion of the horse making the ride smoother and easier. It also made the saddle easier to adjust and more durable. Although it was not uncommon to use springs in saddles during that time, the placement and the type of springs used for his riding saddle were totally different than those existing saddles already in use. He filed a patent for his riding saddle in 1896.
Although the first saddle was created in 365 AD.The first person to put a patent on the equestrian saddle was William D. Davis. He created this invention to answer a need, like many inventors. The riding saddle has helped a vast majority of people over time, it has helped riders sit comfortably, and makes riding their horses far easier.
Coulter-Parker, Nancy. “Saddles.” Women's Sports & Fitness (1998): P.47

Wigelsworth, Jeffrey R. Science and Technology in Medieval European Life. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2006. 43-44.
Environmental Impacts
Overtime the environmental impact of the saddle has grown, although many people do not consider it, the usage of leather in a mass market has had a large followup. The primary environmental threat involves the dumping of solid and liquid waste that contains leftover chromium and other hazardous compounds. The environmental impacts harm not on the earth, but the people who handle the leather during the process.
-One of the largest consequences of the tanning of leather has been cancer, which is linked to Hexavalent Chromium which is one of the main chemicals used in the process. Hexavalent Chromium is the +6 oxidation state of the element, a purely manufactured form of the ore that is not found in nature
Riding Saddle (Oct 6, 1896) US 568939 A
Easy Mount Stirrup (Feb 22, 2000) US 6026633 A
There were two valuable patents put on the saddle in the course of its development. These include the saddle, and the stirrup we see today on the saddle.

The patent had an impact on the commercialization of the saddle. Though due to the invention dating back thousands of years there had already been a large amount of standardization of the horse back riding saddle. The patent on the invention seems to be more of a precautionary measure as far as who invented what part first.
Social Hindrances

Politics and Leather have had a long history, not as much locally as on a international scale. Mostly policies in India due to that large exportation of leather hide, and the general level of danger in mass producing such products. Policy has continued over the years, it also generated a set of institutional conditions, and constraints that have shaped the impact of government policy on this sector throughout the past decades.
Tewari, Meenu. "Trade Liberalization and the Restructuring of Tamil Nadu’s Leather Sector: Coping with Liberalization’s New Environmental Challenges and Lessons from Prior Episodes of Adjustment." University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2001.
This source formally extends and supports my original hypothesis because it follows that idea that the invention of the saddle made a large impact on the history, through leather making an impact. This does not seem to challenge my hypothesis, because I did not question the impacts of leather in society. This source seems to have currency due to the recent publishing of the information.This information is Relevant to this assignment, but did not seem relevant to the overall concept of my research. Authority and accuracy are questionably for this assignment, because there was limited information. And I could only find it on non-scholarly sources. The purpose of this information is to raise awareness for the danger of mass production of leather.
Due to the invention of the saddle becoming publicized before it hit the markets in the 1800’s with new patenting. There is not a large change in Herkimer, although the saddle did evolve over a long period of time. The daily life before, during, and after the saddle evolution just created an ease for those who were riding horses. It had less of an impact on a centralized area or group of people, but more on the ease and comfort of using a saddle while riding. The economy of the invention was centralized to people who had horses, and did not effect the local economy because the patent did not effect the city in which William D Davis was born and lived. Possibly if it was an invention that was created in his lifetime and patented in that same time there would be a bigger economy for it
Herkimer County
Tarantola, Andrew. "How Leather Is Slowly Killing the People and Places That Make It." Gizmodo. March 3, 2014. Accessed October 28, 2015.
This source is very accurate in extending and supporting my original thought, due to the gravity of the vast effects on the environment as I had expected before doing this research. This source does not challenge my original hypotheses because I did not state any discrepancies in environmental impacts.This source seems to have currency due to the recent publishing of the information.This information is Relevant to this assignment, but did not seem relevant to the overall concept of my research. Authority and accuracy are questionably for this assignment, because there was limited information. And I could only find it on non-scholarly sources. The purpose of this information is to raise awareness for the danger of mass production of leather.
Barker, William V. H. Early Families of Herkimer County, New York: Descendants of the Burnetsfield Palatines. Baltimore: Genealogical Pub., 1986.
-This book provided an extensive history of the county of Herkimer and the people who lived in the town. I took a greater understanding of the history of th town, and it supported and extended my thesis.
C: This information could be timeless, due to the early writing, and th current accuracy.
R: The relevance is great, beacuse it relates to the thesis.
AA:The authority and accuracy are related due to the trust in the author and current relevance.
P: The purpose of this book is to tll a history of Herkimer county.
Dorsey, R. Stephen, and Kenneth L. McPheeters. The American Military Saddle, 1776-1945. Eugene, Or.: Collectors' Library, 1999. C:Published 1999 R: It shows where the saddle comes from. A: The book is a legitimate source because of the fact it is a book that has been published. A: No errors or grammar errors. P: It is a teaching source.
"Patent US568939 - Riding-saddle." Google Books. October 6, 1896. Accessed October 22, 2015.
C: Due to the recent publishing of the text they are reliable means of information. R: It shows how the creation of the saddle evolved. A: A true source due to the publishing in an academic text. A: No grammatical accurate text. P: Clear because it is also a teaching source.
Personal Driving forces
"The object of my invention is, first, to render easy and comfortable riding while the horse is in a trot, however high-spirited the horse may be; second, to avoid downright jolting, which in many cases causes pain and soreness and many other disorders constantly complained of resulting from riding hardtrotting horses; and third, to relieve the cavalry-men and all others who travel long distances by horseback by providing a saddle which shall be both durable and adapted to the purpose." -William D. Davis
-He invented his saddle while serving as a buffalo soldier, African American soldiers serving either in the 9th and 10th Cavalry or 24th and 25th Infantry who manned the Western borders.
-The rides were rough so William Davis had an idea how to make these rides easier by modifying the saddle they were using. What he did was place springs under the seat and above the stirrups
Society and Progress
Problems that have been solved: The invention of the horseback riding saddle had essentially solved the problem of comfort, for traveling and nomadic tribes. When tribes or villages were still traveling, having horses ensured easier travel for the people, and for packing weight. The saddle created an ease of comfort to the horse and rider, for the long journeys.
Problems created: The creation of the saddle made the comfort of the rider seem more significant than the comfort of the horse. Many people started using saddles purely for their enjoyment and not for the animal. This problem in-turn, made horses more susceptible to injuries and back sores, due to lack of understanding on saddle safety.
It could be said that the poor did not get access, but they formed their own types of saddles. The main stream saddles, were expensive to make, making them even more expensive to buy.The poor did not have access, because the process of making a saddle is long and time consuming, making the artisans more inclined to charge higher prices for their work.
Spurred: This invention doesn't seem to have spurred any habits, I believe this to be true because the invention is one of leisure and not one of societies needs. In a way it has only made riding horses easier, and more accessible over time. The only possible habit I could think of is more time necessary to get ready for riding a horse, making it a more time consuming activity.
Suppressed: A habit that has been suppressed has been people riding bareback, for a long period of time people were riding without a saddle, which can be extremely painful over long periods of time. Mostly for the rider, but also for the horse, because there is not proper padding or cushion between the horse and rider.
Tull, Jethro. Horse Hoeing Husbandry, Fifth Edition. 5th ed. 571-572

Saddles range in price from a few hundred to thousands of dollars. Good used saddles can be purchased at very reasonable prices. Generally when buying new you get what you pay for. You can buy saddles for less than $500, but they are of overall poor quality—especially the leather and fittings. There are sometimes good reasons to buy a ‘cheap’ saddle. But for comfort, safety, and durability you’ll want to buy the best you can afford.
You can buy custom made saddles. Made by craftsmen who take casts of you and your horse, the fit of your saddle will be exact as possible and to your specifications. These saddles are priced in the thousands of dollars. If you have a difficult to fit horse, or are serious in pursuing a specific sport a custom made saddle may be worth the investment.
In the early times of the saddle being invented, the saddle cost about five dollars, and with all the harneses necessary, the price came to about 7 dollars.
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