Rae G. Whitley is the founder and director of the Museum of The Horse Soldier, which he opened in 2011. The museum is a tribute to the U.S. Military mounted services from inception to the present, which also includes mules. He is a fascinating man with a vast knowledge of the history of horse (and mule) soldiers. We were fortunate to be the only ones there on this particular day, so we got a personal tour. He explained and showed us all about saddles, how the soldiers cared for the horses, and military protocol in relation to the soldier and his horse.
On display he showed us the only compete Rough Rider uniform in the US, belonging to Wallace Nutting Batchelder. Rae explained why this is the only one in the Country, as well as who was Wallace Batchelder.
He spent over an hour talking to us, and we were spellbound.
The McClellan Cavalry Saddle was designed by Captain George McClellan. It was adopted as the official troop saddle of the U.S. Army in 1859. The McClellan saddles were used from the Civil War through World War II. Simple, lightweight, durable and inexpensive to manufacture, the saddle was ideal for Calvary use.
All McClellan saddles have a deep gullet and a large open slot in the saddle tree. Do you know why?