I’d like to share some photos of some interesting 19th century “Texas” saddles I recently took from a private collection.
I should note that terminology is critical. Today, many of us often make the mistake of calling all horned saddles “Hope” saddles. This is incorrect. The fact is, the term “Texas” saddle was a very common term usually applied by “non-Texans” to most horned saddles of the war period. On the other hand, the “Hope” saddle was made by an early Texas family of saddle makers. They obviously made good saddles and of course, the name stuck but their work was not that well known outside of Texas. Our mistaken adaption of the term “Hope” to all horned saddles originated I believe, (unintentionally) by Randy Steffen in his great works.
Of course, other names for horned saddles were common in the (pre and) war time period as well, largely depending upon geographic area. For example, consider the “California” saddle which was a horned saddle with distinctive features originating in California. Also, the Attakapas was a saddle associated with southwestern Louisiana. According to noted historian James Hutchins its unique pattern was largely adopted by the US Army prior to the war for military wagon saddles. After the war “Morgan” saddles (with and without horns) was a very commonly applied name. Other names were sometimes applied however, in my opinion unless you are talking about a specific pattern or maker the term “Texas” is the proper term for most historians and reenactors to use when talking about mid-19th century horned saddles.
1. Representative of a Civil War period (1850's to much later) Texas saddle noting the padded seat, zinc Texas star ornamentation it was quarter-strap rigged under the leather covering.
2. Another similar Texas with a “Mochila”. Note the similar tree pattern to the first saddle. It is representative of the 1850's and later.
3. Interesting Texas type with some English influences (skirt & rollback). Probably a post war catalog saddle but a neat one!
4. My favorite. This early (??c. 1830's-1840's-1850's??) Texas pattern saddle has an interesting Spanish flavor (I am not sure if the stirrups are original).
Ken R Knopp