The Queen’s . . . Saddlecloth?   Leave a comment

Brother Jim is a history teacher; and in his blogroll I discovered a site simply called The History Blog.  It’s faithfully updated, and has some truly fascinating entries.  If you are interested in history at all, that is!

Anyhow, a couple of days ago there was an entry about Queen Elizabeth I’s saddlecloth.  The first Queen Elizabeth, like the present one, was a notable horsewoman.  She loved to hunt, and go on progresses.  On a royal progress, the whole court packed up and traveled around the realm, guesting at different nobles’ homes.  This was a way of lettin the people see their monarch, and the nobles see her wealth and power.  Hosting Queen Elizabeth in style was no small feat, and could be very, very expensive.  Still, it was a great privilege.

One one of these progresses, in 1574, the Queen gave her hosts the saddlecloth she rode in on.  The family preserved it through the centuries, and now it’s going up for auction.  The question that interested me . . . exactly what is it?

The plaque describes it as a saddle; but as the History Blog points out, there don’t appear to be any fittings — or any provisions for them.  It looks as though it has no tree at all, lying perfectly flat.  It has a double horn or crutch, and a padded seat.  It’s certainly not a saddle blanket, to go under the saddle; but it’s not a saddle either.  The Blog’s best guess was that it went over the saddle.  I bet that’s right; probably over a bare tree.  You could switch out saddle covers quickly, in case the queen’s outfit for the day didn’t go with gold-fringed green velvet!  It must have been glorious when it was new.  It’s beautiful after . . . let’s see; 2012 minus 1574 . . . 438 years.

Also interesting; the shape of the crutches.  The right leg hooked over the right crutch; the left leg must have gone under the left one.  By squeezing the legs together, you would have a very secure seat.  I thought that was a style that didn’t come in for centuries yet.  Time for a little research.  Also, where did the stirrup hang?  There’s no sign of wear from a stirrup leather.  It must have gone underneath, which would be restrictive, but doable.  There appears to be a very faint rectangular shape under the left side; perhaps padding of some sort.

It’s supposed to bring about $16 — 18,000 dollars.  That seems pretty cheap to me.  It’s no doubt too fragile for use — but think of putting your bottom where Queen Elizabeth’s went!



Posted September 19, 2012 by stablewoman in Uncategorized

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