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ca. 1903 US ARMY CAVALRY EXPERIMENTAL HALTER BRIDLE EXTREMELY RARE EARLY 20TH CENTURY SPECIMEN:   There is no overstating the rarity of this ca. 1903 US Army Experimental Halter Bridle.  Appearing in the first years of the 20Th Century, the army regarded the concept of combining the halter and bridle in one unit as experimental and labeled it as such, not only in the initial Ordnance Department drawings, but continued to do so some fifteen years later when Ordnance Manual 1719 was published in 1917.  While known to exist from the Ordnance Department records and manuals, finding one of these early pieces on the loose is considered by some in the cavalry equipment collecting community as being neigh impossible.   

While showing signs of use, age, and issue this Halter Bridle is complete with all the straps, buckles, and full length billets.  It has the correct early pattern sheet copper brow band ornaments featuring the coat of arms of the United States - a matched pair that have always been on this halter-bridle.  The brow band is legibly marked "ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL" and dated "1903", as well as having two sets of unit applied inventory stamps.  The proper Model 1902 Cavalry Bit is present as well as the Model 1903 Curb Chain with the leather safe intact.  More important than the bit and curb chain, BOTH of the special iron curb chain hooks are present.  These hooks are almost as rare as this halter-bridle and are impossible to find on the loose.  Once they were separated from the bits they became so much scrap iron and disappeared into the recycling furnaces.  While the leather shows use and age, it is solid.  The surface of the leather is crazed and there is some minor flaking, but with a little TLC and the proper display where the leather is adequately supported and the bit doesn't pull against the leather in the future, this set will last a very long time.   

I have included a copy of the Ordnance Manual photo of this Experimental Halter-Bridle for clarity's sake.  When you're photographing such a piece that is brand new and the leather is still stiff, it is relatively easy.  When the leather ages and relaxes, it is like photographing a bowl of hot spaghetti - nothing wants to sit still and cooperate.  I have provided good representative photos of the various components, but in addition to the overall photos of the entire unit, I felt the photo from the manual would be helpful.   

This is a very good specimen of an extremely rare US Army Halter Bridle and it is one that you would find very difficult to upgrade.  (0107)  $1250



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