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The regional interactive encyclopedic portal «Bashkortostan»
Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Bashkortostan State autonomous institution of science of the Republic of Bashkortostan Bashkir encyclopedia


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HARNESS, equipment for a horse used for horseback riding or cargo transportation. The Bashkir tradition of H. manufacturing was conditioned by the needs of nomadic economy, the formation and development of soldiering (ref. Bashkirs’ Military service). Wood, leather, and metal were widely used for the manufacture of H. Basic elements of H. used for horseback riding were a halter consisting of a headband, a muzzle and a long lead, a bridle with rods, a saddle, a saddle pad, a saddle girth, stirrups, a poitrel and an undertail, straps, and whips. Halters and bridles in steppe areas of Bashkortostan were made of a belt or braided horse hair, in mountain‑forest areas — inner bark. The bridles were decorated with carvings and embossement, silver metal patches, plaques (plaques in the form of a yurt silhouette), sometimes with inserts of glass and stone, and decorative tassels made of thin straps. Birch cap was used for the manufacture of saddletrees and bows; there were saddles made of solid wood. The saddles differed in the shape of the bows, the saddletrees and the designs: the cantles were made higher, sometimes carved in the form of the head of a bird, an animal or a snake, often installed vertically, the hind bows were lower and more inclined. There were saddles for men, women and children. Stirrups were made of iron, sometimes they were ornamented with silver notching, some were carved from knar (solid heartshaped or bent triangular with rounded corners at the base). Felt, leather, wool and others materials were widely used in the manufacture of saddle pads and saddle cloth. The ladies’ sadle cloth was decorated with appliquйs, embroidery, etc. Saddle girth, breast plate, crupper and whips were made from a belt or woven from hemp or inner bark. For transportation of goods they used special pack saddles, which were large. The horse harness can be per single‑horse and per a pair of horses, arc and arcless.

Publication date: 06.07.2020
Last updated: 25.03.2021