Sunday, November 23, 2008

Plateau Horse Gear

All of this work is original work, meaning I designed it myself, and did not make replica copy's of existing work. It is all based on 19th century Plateau Indian aesthetics. All material used in construction is what would have been used for period material; Brain tanned buffalo, moose, deer, antelope, elk and cougar hide. All beads used are antique Italian manufacture, and the beadwork is done using elk sinew. The cloth used is a combination of replica saved list stroud cloth, and some cloth used is antique square weave trade cloth. The bells on the martingale are old "school bell" style ones, often used on Plateau material. The complete set of gear includes two bridles (one a classic "key hole" design on buffalo rawhide) the other a more Western Plateau design of cloth applied onto leather, with brass buttons and silk ribbon attachments. The set also includes a Plateau style martingale of horse collar, which has a "bear claw slash" design on the straps (as opposed to the triangle designs on Crow style ones), and also a classic Plateau bandoleer bag (which also has bear claw slash design on the straps), which were often used by the Plateau people for martingales in the late 19th century. The Saddle is made using a cottonwood tree, covered in buffalo raw hide, and then a covering of brain tanned mule deer hide. The stirrups are bent cottonwood, covered in Buffalo rawhide and then painted. The saddle throw is Mt lion, and beaded with pony beads. The parfletche bags hanging from the rear of the saddle are a somewhat rare technique, which is incised rawhide. Buffalo rawhide was used, and the epidermal layer was cut away, leaving the white hide layer underneath to make the patterns. The image is a Western Plateau style I designed. And, last but not least the horse, "Medicine Cap Command" aka Cappy the Appy, is one that I bred his mother for, delivered, trained and ride in many events from cow horse competitions to dressage. And, he is a ham as well, so like's all of this dress up stuff! Best of all, his mother was a $230 slaughter house save, and went on to win me many a championship and paycheck as a cow horse. He got his good attitude from her.

Plateau Parade Outfit

That is the latest work I have done, and it took me just about a year to complete. I was told by Bill Holm (University of Washington), and Steve Grafe, from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage museum, that it is the most authentic and correctly done Plateau Horse gear outfit made since the late Nineteenth century. And, I also bred, raised and trained the horse it is on, so kind of a heart felt project for me. A.S.

Nez Perce' Horse Gear (Detail)

Plateau Keyhole bridle

Plateau Horse Gear Encised Parfletch

Plateau Horse Collar

Saddle Blanket I had to send this on its own. The lowly saddle blanket, that gets hidden under all that gear.

Photos supplied by Angela Swedberg.

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