Tucson, Arizona

Day 620

     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?

Technical Stuff:

Las Cruces, New Mexico to Tucson, Arizona: 261.1 miles

4 hours 54 minutes

10.9 MPG

Diesel: $2.76

One thought on “Tucson, Arizona

  1. Wow! None of my reader’s knew about the McClellan Saddle. Back in the 1800’s, when this saddle was invented, it was not unusual for the Army Calvary to have to ride long distances in the West. Although the soldiers carried food for them, they were not capable of carrying enough for the horse. As a result, the horses became emaciated. As the horse’s weight dropped, the saddle would rub and cause sores on the horses’s back. The McClellan Saddle adjusted for this weight loss, with the center space to allow for the horse’s backbone.

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