Saturday, March 15, 2014

1928 McClellan Saddle

The greatest change was the addition of a saddle skirt and "english" type girth webbing and straps. To accomplish this, the seams on the outer edges of the saddle were opened. The skirt was nailed to the surface of the tree, after which the girth webbing was nailed down. The straps, three in number, were usually sewn and riveted to this webbing. At this point the cover seam was resewn. This may have been done to retain the strength in the seam and save time. Later modifications also replaced the sheepskin linings with hard felt pads, sewn on as were the previous sheepskin linings

This 1928 WW2 McClellan saddle follows the original specifications, original tree used, or a new wide 1904 style. New russet leather cover, correct side skirts, wool covered underbars on tree, cavalry model US covered stirrups,brass hardware, six coat straps. English style rigging

And the 1904 headstall and reins

Monday, March 10, 2014

American Mustangs on the Frontlines of Freedom

USMC Color Guard - Mounted on BLM Mustangs

Immigration enforcement and drug smuggling continue to be top priorities for the Department of Homeland Security, and the Border Patrol's budget has swelled accordingly.

increasing from just $262,647 in 1990 

They've added more agents, more technology, and higher fences.

Despite such progress, human smugglers and drug traffickers have simply pushed further into mountainous, difficult terrain to avoid detection.

That's where horses come in.

Since the Border Patrol was founded in 1924, horseback patrols have been widely utilized. In fact, mounted patrols are said to have begun as early as 1904, in El Paso, where men on horseback policed against Chinese immigrants. Horse patrol units now exist along the border in various sectors, through California, Arizona, and Texas

Horse patrols are specialized work. Of the 2,600 or so agents in the border patrol's San Diego sector, only 18 work in the horse unit. That's a big change since the Border Patrol began in 1924. Horses were then its primary mode of transport.

The region is isolated and mountainous. Agents say horses have several advantages over vehicles, including lasting longer, better visibility and greater accessibility on difficult terrain. Ranchers in the area often prefer horses on their land to trucks or ATVs.

And agency-wide, the use of horses is apparently on the rise. According to statistics on the Customs of Border Patrol website, in 2011, there were 334 horse units in the Border Patrol. That's a 33 percent rise from 2008.

In the San Diego sector's horse unit, just 10 of the 75 agents who recently applied to join the horse unit were accepted for training, Cluff said, and eight graduated.


"You can go into an area at night on horseback and practically go undetected, which is a big advantage in what we do," said Jaime Cluff, a supervisory Border Patrol agent.

Bolstering border security, including horse patrols, is a key part of the comprehensive immigration reform bill debate in Congress. The San Diego sector's planned expansion of its horse unit is not part of that bill, but future expansion hinges on its fate in Congress.

In June, the Senate passed a bill calling for $46 billion more over 10 years for border security. The money would support hiring more agents and horse patrols, using 24-hour surveillance systems and building 700 miles of fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The Border Patrol's annual budget for fiscal 2012 was $3.5 billion.

And more U.S. citizens than ever before are now being caught smuggling, according to the Center for Investigative Reporting. In fact, 75 percent of people caught with drugs by the Border Patrol are U.S. citizens, according to the report. It examined 40,000 seizures and suspect information, and drew the conclusion that 80 percent had involved U.S. citizens. The rate has increased every year from 2005 until 2011.

Peter Nunez, a former U.S. attorney in San Diego, says that border security should remain a priority. Nunez attributes the drop in arrests to the recession and its effect on the job market.
"There are still hundreds of thousands of people coming to this country illegally every year," Nunez said, calling drug smugglers and terrorists part of the problem. "So, the border's not secure, and there's plenty of work to do."

OROVILLE, Wash. - Astride sturdy mustangs named Okanogan and Spurs, US Border Patrol agents Darrel Williams and Justin Hefker ride quietly along a ridgeline above the Similkameen River valley.

The mustangs are among a dozen the Border Patrol's Spokane Sector has bought to patrol a 308-mile-long section of the US-Canadian border from the crest of the Cascade Range in Washington state to the Continental Divide in Montana.

"The reason we went with the horses was to get into those hard-to-reach areas," said the patrol's assistant chief of the region, Agent Lee Pinkerton.

The Border Patrol, a division of the Department of Homeland Security's Customs and Border Protection service, routinely uses horses on the southern border with Mexico. But the mustangs owned by the Spokane Sector are the first to watch the northern border, said Pinkerton.

The Border Patrol's "Operation Noble Mustang" adopts horses from the US Bureau of Land Management's wild horse and burro program, blending today's technology with yesterday's law enforcement traditions, the agency said.

On a recent day, Richard Graham, agent-in-charge of the Border Patrol station in Oroville, rides along as his agents patrol a small section of the border. The avid horseman sings the praises of mustangs and their ability to patrol the border with minimal environmental damage.

In the valley below, aspen, cottonwoods, and a few pine flank the river that flows from Canada into the United States. Along the river is a Prohibition-era dirt "whisky trail" that shows recent activity from modern smugglers bringing different contraband, most likely potent "B.C. Bud" marijuana, from Canada.

The mustangs' big bones and large hoofs give them a sure-footedness that makes them a perfect fit for scaling the steep hillsides and thick forests along the border, Graham said. They also have less of an impact on the fragile wilderness ground than motorized vehicles, he said.

"These horses are truly American. They are a product that's unique to the United States, and we are putting them in a position to help us protect the US," Pinkerton said. "There's something inherently right in doing that."

The BLM Freeze Brand
The patrol contracts with local ranchers to board and feed the animals. Because they are owned by the government, the agency saves money it used to spend on leasing horses from local ranchers, Pinkerton said.

The mustangs were rounded up in the BLM wild horse adoption program, broken by inmate wranglers at a Colorado prison, then sent to the Border Patrol's Colville station in Washington state for final training.
Graham's station is responsible for an 80-mile stretch of border that includes about 50 miles of the Pasayten Wilderness Area, a 529,477-acre tract where motorized vehicles are prohibited and there are few roads.

Along the Spokane sector, agents also patrol the smaller Salmo-Priest wilderness of northeastern Washington state, as well as Montana's Glacier National Park, where it abuts Canada's Waterton Lakes National Park.

Graham's station has four mustangs, as well as three mules and a handful of horses leased from local ranches. Others are assigned to stations in Metaline Falls and Curlew in Washington state, as well as Whitefish, Mont.
Law enforcement aircraft have limited use in the wild, Pinkerton said. It is difficult to see people hiding beneath the tree canopy, and wilderness laws limit how low aircraft can fly, he said.

"We're going back to the 1800s style of doing this because it is successful," he said. "On the ground, a horse is going to be the best mode of transportation in those areas."

Agents on horseback look for signs of border crossings and watch for low-flying aircraft that drug smugglers are increasingly using.

The drawbacks are the heavy snow that keeps horses out of some high country areas for months at a time during winter, and the spring runoff, which makes some creeks and streams impassable, Pinkerton said. But those natural hazards also keep smugglers out, he said.

The need for the mustangs became more urgent after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Graham said. Previously, the Border Patrol's focus in the area was rounding up illegal workers in orchards. Now the threat of terrorists sneaking in is a bigger concern.

Command Sgt. Maj. David Hudson, right, and Lt. Gen. H Steven Blum, chief of the National Guard Bureau, and the chief's senior enlisted advisor, ride Border Patrol horses during a visit to the U.S. border with Mexico near Columbus, N.M. Photo by Sgt. Jim Greenhill, USA 

 Sources for this thread:

Saturday, March 8, 2014

In th Rider's Grove

Here’s a test you can try. 
Ride ‘injun’ style for a couple of weeks to get in practice –
 and it dogone sure takes practice. 
Figure where you ride best; first at a walk,
 then at faster gaits until you can go wide open across rough country.
Can you ‘get with him’ best in the 'Rider's Groove' ...
... or there in Figure 5? 
Figure 5 kinda looks like a border country woodchopper on a burro!
I possible, have pictures or video taken so you can study them later.

In Figure 6, at a slow lope you’ll find the photographs look similar to this.

Some people bow their backs while riding,
but if they do it puts more weight on their seats, 
making it harder or the horse to carry them.
In Figure 7 - Keep the fact in mind that when you run you will naturally have to lean forward to say in balance with him – and that’s the way he can carry you best.
The steadier the horse goes the less need for security by grip.

In figure 8 – Now, consider the average stock-saddle rider.
He’s a pretty far back from the horse’s balance, isn’t he?
Even when he stands up in his stirrups,
which are 8 to 10 inches behind, where the horse carries him best,
 he still can’t get far enough forward to help the horse like a jockey does.

In Figure 9 – Compare the bareback rider to the saddle passenger. How do you figure three race horses, equal in running ability, carrying the same total weight, would finish, if one was ridden with a stock saddle, another ridden with a race saddle and he third bareback for a distance of from a hundred yards to as far as they could go?
How would you place your bets?

The stirrups are hung directly underneath the pommel on the jump saddle; the knee flaps allow the rider to place his weight in front of his stirrups on the horse’s shoulders where jockeys , polo players and bareback boys go to get with ‘em; which happens not only to be the place where the horse can carry weight easiest, fastest and to handle best at speeds; he also can go cross country and jump higher and safer too! 

Compare the Poriani Jump and stock saddle as to placement of sturrups; see where it is impossible for the stock saddle rider to even use the part of the horse’s shoulder that gets ‘em the easiest and fastest.
The rigging of the two saddles are in the same place, as are the saddles on the horses.

The rider’s problem is to stay where the horse can handle his weight best. The type of saddle or the type of horse makes no difference. The horse’s loin (No.1) is the weakest part of his back. The rider must stay on the horse’s balance (No. 2)  through all movements for better results

On the break from the roping chute, the rider is caught behind the horse’s balance which slows them down. It’s not a good roping position, either! The rider needs to be up off his seat.

So we started moving the stirrups back, arbitrating between comfort or horse and rider –
 and the basic principles for better performance by getting closer to the ‘carry spot’, or ‘rider’s cruve’.

The Monte Foreman Balanced Ride Saddle
“The stirrups are now hung approximately the same distance
 from the front of the bars as on the U.S. McClellan – about four inches farther forward than on the majority of double-rigged saddles”

The 1928 McClellan Saddle

The testing for the proposed improvements to the M1904 McClellan began in 1923-4 and resulted in the adoption of the modification known as the Model 1928 McClellan. This saddle reflects the changes in the theory of horsemanship that took the military world by storm before the war. Based on the work done by Caprilli of Italy, the method was taught to many officers attending the Saumur riding school in France before, during and after the war. This theory, basically stated, emphasized a closer relationship between the movement and action of the rider and horse. In terms of equipment changes to the McClellan, it would require increased leg contact with the animal, which had never been very good to begin with, and shorter, lighter stirrups.
The actual changes in the saddle are quite noticeable. The old rigging was cut away at the edges of the saddle, with the quarter straps nailed down and sewn into the edge. The old stirrup straps were discarded and replaced with lighter weight straps, usually equipped with roller buckles.
The greatest change was the addition of a saddle skirt and "english" type girth webbing and straps. To accomplish this, the seams on the outer edges of the saddle were opened. The skirt was nailed to the surface of the tree, after which the girth webbing was nailed down. The straps, three in number, were usually sewn and riveted to this webbing. At this point the cover seam was resewn. This may have been done to retain the strength in the seam and save time. Later modifications also replaced the sheepskin linings with hard felt pads, sewn on as were the previous sheepskin linings. The girth was also changed during the 1930's, with the olive webbing being supplemented by a mohair cord girth. This latter girth was also issued with the M1936 Phillips officers saddle. 

This 1928 WW2 McClellan saddle follows the original specifications, 
original tree used, or a new wide 1904 style. New russet leather cover, correct side skirts, 
wool covered underbars on tree, cavalry model US covered stirrups,brass hardware, six coat straps.
English style rigging. No original girth available at this time
. Please check the current catalog for saddle prices, and the Saddle Gear we have to offer.
You will be completely satisfied with this WWII saddle.
1928 McClellan -New wide 1904 style tree. New leather covering, correct side skirts, wool covered under bars upon request. US embossed 4 ½” covered stirrups. Three down billets per side English rigged. Six coat straps, new brass hardware and reproduction girth .WWI034…...……
1928 Girth – Reproduction WWI040……….. …$70.00

* * * * * *
Boz Slick fork Western cut   Boz Swell fork English cut

Canine Corps -

By Shannon Collins

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND — As a loaded trailer pulls up with an overwhelming sound of barking, the son-in-law of a Richmond woman knows man’s best friend is about to transform from playful pooch to a military working dog on a mission.

Air Force federal employee Joshua Brock, whose wife, Lauren, is the daughter of Kelli Bigby, Millwood Pass Circle, Richmond, is a military working dog instructor in the Dog Training School here with the 341st Training Squadron, Department of Defense Military Working Dog Program. It’s the world’s largest training center for military working dogs and handlers, dating back to 1958. The DoD Military Working Dog Veterinary Service and the Lt. Col. Daniel E. Holland Military Working Dog Hospital — the largest of their kinds — are also located here.

Within the 341st Training Squadron, there are five courses with about 140 students, 107 staff members and nine teams with about 18 dogs each: the Dog Training School, Handler’s Course, Kennel Master’s Course, Specialized Search Dogs Course and Combat Trackers Dogs Course. In the Dog Training School, the dogs learn obedience, patrol techniques, drug detection and explosives detection in 120 days. The students will work with four different dogs to learn the different personalities and learn different ways to utilize the dogs. Most of what the students and dogs learn will be on the 3,000 acres of training areas during practical scenarios in mock airplanes, warehouses, dorm buildings and open fields.

The mission here is to provide trained military working dogs and handlers for the Department of Defense, other government agencies and allies through training, logistical, veterinary support and research and development for security efforts worldwide.

Brock said his favorite part about being a part of the DoD military working dog program is being around military members.

“I love still being around military members,” said the Air Force veteran. “It’s just something I’ll never lose and will always respect because I’ve been in the same situation.”

Brock said the most challenging part of the job is the different personalities of the dogs.
“Every dog is different, so your training is different,” he said.

The dogs are usually German Shepherd, Belgian Malinois, Labrador Retriever and occasionally a mixed-breed or other sporting or herding-breed dog. They range in age from one-year-old to 13 years old and include both males and females. They are spayed or neutered before being adopted into the military working dog program.

 They currently house more than 850 dogs at Lackland.

When the military working dog handler is assigned to a kennel at his duty station after completing training here, he or she is assigned to one dog and will deploy to war zones with that dog. They deploy as a pair and the bond they share is vital for them to be able to successfully accomplish the mission. Brock deployed to Afghanistan as a handler and said the bond is indescribable.

“The bond you build with a dog is indescribable,” he said. “I’ve deployed with my K-9, Kormi, and it was the best time. I’ve deployed both to Iraq and Afghanistan, one as a straight-leg cop and the other as a handler. By far my K-9 deployment was the best.”

The first Air Force sentry dog school was activated in Japan in 1952. The Army continued to train and supply sentry dogs to Air Force units in the U.S. until the Sentry Dog Training Branch of the Department of Security Police Training was established at Lackland in October 1958. By 1969, they adopted the patrol dog as the standard military working dog and added a drug detection course.

In 2005, they added a new type of detector dog to the Department of Defense inventory in response to the rising threat of improvised explosive devices attacks during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Aptly referred to as Specialized Search Dogs, these highly skilled counter-terrorist search assets are trained to detect arms, ammunition, and explosives — both of the conventional and homemade varieties. They differ from their standard Explosive Detector Dog counterparts in the fact that they are far more independent and work primarily off-leash via voice and directional commands issued by the handler. In 2010, the dog program here began assisting the Marine Corps in training Combat Tracker Dog Teams to recognize and follow suspected terrorists. Upon deployment, Combat Trackers assist unit commanders by tracking enemy insurgents, bomb makers and snipers. These special forces-like military working dogs are force multipliers that offer the abilities to both stop current attacks and prevent future ones. Military working dog handlers learn to work with the dogs of all specialties.

The Best Working Dog for Cattle

The Hangin’ Tree Cowdog breed was developed as a mix of Catahoula Leopard dog, Border Collie and Australian Kelpie. They are short or slick-haired dogs with bob tails that come in many different colors from black, reds, merles and unique blends of these colors.

The breed has the instinct to work with animals and can be trained to work cattle. A unique attribute is their characteristic to bite the head and heels of cattle.

Hangin’ Tree Cowdogs are known for their courage and ability to handle any kind of cattle, from weanlings to cow-calf pairs. They are also alert, loyal, and have the ability to work long hours in the field. It is their combination of stamina, trainability, and instinct to work cattle that has made the Hangin’ Tree Cowdog a prize breed for cattle ranchers.

The catahoula is  a medium to large sized dog.  they are well muscled yet trim, powerful but agile with great endurance.  They are independent, protective, territorial, and may show aggressive behavior.  Their head is powerfully built with well developed cheeks with short-medium length ears that are pendulous.  Their coat is short to medium length, and may come in any color imaginable.  The same goes for their eyes.


The most enduring dogs who will outwork and outfight all other breeds of stock dogs, especially when protecting their master, livestock, and property.  They are bred to handle wild cattle and hogs in the roughest, most remote country.  They are also used as bay dogs to hunt coon, bear, mountain lion.

Catahoula  have a wealth of herding instinct and natural drive but do require training to learn how to channel that drive and move cattle correctly.

1 - Start working with your Catahoula on simple obedience commands as soon as you bring the dog home. Teach the puppy the meaning of "sit," "lay down," "come" and "stay." Work the puppy in five-minute sessions three or four times a day. Keep a collar and leash on the dog during all training sessions to keep the dog close at hand. Catahoula are very focused and may ignore you in the field if they do not have a good obedience foundation.

2  Teach your dog specific herding commands, including "come bye," "walk on" and "away." To teach "come bye," hold the stock stick in your hand and point the tip off to the left. Tell the dog "come bye," walking your Catahoula in a wide arc to the left. Treat the dog to a small snack when it moves to the left consistently when you say "come bye."

3 - Reverse the process and move the dog to the right to teach the Catahoula "away." For the "walk on" exercise, walk forward with the dog, holding the stock stick in front of you. Loosen your grip on the leash, encouraging the dog to walk forward in front of you, telling the dog to "lay down" when it walks out approximately 20 feet in front of you. Call the dog back and praise with a treat.

4 - Move the dog to a small, enclosed yard and let a few ducks or geese loose in the yard. Drop the leash and tell the dog to "walk on," moving the ducks forward. If they stray left or right, call out "come bye" or "away" accordingly. Once the dog has pushed the ducks around the yard for five minutes, call the dog to you.

5 - Instruct the dog to lie down for a few minutes to rest, and then command the dog to "walk on" and work the ducks again. Catahoula  are very determined and will herd the ducks incessantly, so work the animals for no more than 20 minutes to prevent burnout. Repeat the duck herding exercises daily until your Catahoula is consistently moving the ducks according to your commands.

6 - Swap the ducks for cattle once the dog is confident moving smaller animals. Turn two or three cows loose in a small corral, and walk the dog into the pen, closing the gate securely behind you. Make the dog lie down in the center of the pen and walk toward the cows, calling the dog to "walk on" once you are within 10 feet of the cattle.

7 - Point the stock stick at the cattle, firmly giving the "away" and "come bye" commands to keep the cattle moving. As soon as your Catahoula is confidently moving this small herd, let the rest of the herd free to build your dog's confidence and experience herding cattle.

Of all the big game species hunted in the United States, the mountain lion is probably the least understood. These elusive carnivores are rarely seen because they travel mainly at night and are very sneaky. Even when they travel in broad daylight, few people ever see them. Since no one sees them, it is hard to know how many of the big cats roam North America. Even biologists who study the big cats aren’t sure how many cats there really are. Some experts in Colorado claim there are a few thousand cats running in the backcountry of Colorado, but they are so difficult to locate that determining how many there are is simply an educated guessing game.

One mountain hunter recently learned how elusive mountain lions can be when he headed west to chase them. His friend and him found a fresh tom mountain lion track that headed up the center of a driveway to someone’s secluded backcountry home. After talking to the homeowner and showing him the track, he was amazed. Although he knew mountain lions lived in the area, he had lived in the house for ten years and had never seen a cat strolling through the woods.

Once dogs have treed a mountain lion, they surround the tree and bark at the cat until the hunter arrives.
For many outdoorsmen who don’t know any better, mountain lion hunting appears to be an easy sport. Most people think you only need a couple good hunting dogs and a gun. After spending a week chasing the crafty wilderness cats, this mountain lion hunter can testify that chasing mountain lions is one of the toughest hunting sports out there.


Being a good lion hunter requires having good lion hounds. Most non-resident hunters hunt lions with a hunting outfitter because most of us don’t have a pack of well-trained lion dogs. Most serious mountain lion hunters use red bone, blue tick, or black and tan hounds. Leopard curs are also becoming quite popular. These breeds have incredible noses. Once they smell a fresh lion track they can follow it for dozens of miles if needed until they find a cat. They are also very high strung. One dog has more energy than ten people, and ten mountain lions for that matter! However, hound dogs don’t train themselves. 

Most lion hunters have at least two or three dogs and most houndsmen spend most of the offseason training dogs. They first train them to be good trackers. They do this by trapping live raccoons, dumping a healthy dose of cat urine on them, and letting them go. After they have been running for awhile, the hunter lets his dogs out and the fun begins. As soon as the dogs smell the track and catch the scent of the raccoon, the chase is on. Sometimes the dogs have raccoons running up trees in an hour; other times it takes longer to locate the unlucky raccoon. The goal is to get dogs to trust their nose and follow the track until they find the reward - the raccoon. This style of training gets the dogs ready to chase mountain lions. Houndsmen may go through this training exercise dozens of times during the summer and fall before the winter mountain lion season opens.

While they are training their dogs to tree raccoons they are also teaching them not to track other game like elk, deer, or other critter they may encounter while running a mountain lion in the winter.

Any houndsman will tell you that they pray for snow like a school kid does at Christmas. Fresh snow is the key ingredient to mountain lion hunting. When a fresh snow blankets the mountainside in the middle of the night before a hunt, hunters are given a major advantage. If a mountain lion passes through an area the night before the hunt starts, the hunter will know the track isn’t very old because the snow is fresh. A fresh track in fresh snow is easier for the dogs to track than a track on dry land or old crusty snow. 

Ideal hunting conditions are a new 3-8 inches of snow on the ground when a hunt begins first thing in the morning. When a fresh track is located, the hunter will know the track is probably less than 12 hours old, so the cat can’t be too far away.

When locating lions, it is not uncommon for hunters to travel several hundred miles over the course of a weekend. Once a fresh lion track is located in the snow, the dogs are turned loose.


Dave Carlson
PO BOX 606
Yarnell, AZ. 85362

Here’s what I offer to you, I can give your dog the opportunity to see if it has any potential for lion hunting and if it already has some skills, I’ll help to develop them. I make him part of a pack of dry ground hounds that can catch a lion when it’s catchable. You owe it to your dog to give him a good start and the opportunity to learn. They learn nothing on the end of a chain in your back yard. 


My only promise to you is your hound will hunt a minimum of 12 days a month and if and when it’s in shape up to 20. Can you hunt 12 days from your house for $400 at today's gas prices. I hunt an average of four days a week, this is all done on horseback in dry Arizona conditions, as you can see in the videos I sell this is rough country. Speaking of the videos they are made up from the report card videos I make and send to the owner clients so they can watch the progress of their hounds. I’m very fortunate I can hunt from my yard and have had lions kill deer in the yard twice, I have a wife who gets pleasure from seeing me happy and I’m happy watching the dogs learn. I may not be any more skilled then you at lion hunting but my life allows me to give your dog the time that most others just do not have to give.

If you send your dog for 60 days or more of hunting plan on spending at least a day here when you pick him up because I would like you to hunt for at least part of a day to see how he handles and what commands he has learned. [an Arizona hunting license is required.