my little sketch of what various horse trainers of the XIX century perceived as the 'Comanche war bridle' ( the Lords of Southern Plains texasindians.com/comanche ), just a rope and nothing else...
1830s, Texas still in Mexico, Comanche warriors Comanches de Texas Occidental
Catlin's ( georgecatlin.org/ ) Comanche Osage duel - Comanche_Osage
Greeting the Anglo-Americans ( George Catlin did this scene in 1834, when he went with the United States Dragoons to Indian Territory ) catlin's comanche chief horsemanship
Catlin - Comanches' horsemanship
- and little original description by the artist : ...amongst their feats of riding, there is one that has astonished me more than anything of the kind I have ever seen, or expect to see, in my life: a stratagem of war, learned and practiced by every young man in the tribe; by which he is able to drop his body upon the side of his horse at the instant he is passing, effectually screened from his enemies’ weapons as he lays in a horizontal position behind the body of his horse, with his heel hanging over the horses' back; by which he has the power of throwing himself up again, and changing to the other side of the horse if necessary. In this wonderful condition, he will hang whilst his horse is at fullest speed, carrying with him his bow and his shield, and also his long lance of fourteen feet in length, all or either of which he will wield upon his enemy as he passes; rising and throwing his arrows over the horse's back, or with equal ease and equal success under the horse's neck. .... I was continually frustrated, until one day I coaxed a young fellow up within a little distance of me, by offering him a few plugs of tobacco, and he in a moment solved the difficulty, so far as to render it apparently more feasible than before ; yet leaving it one of the most extraordinary results of practice and persevering endeavours. I found on examination, that a shorthair halter was passed around under the neck of the horse, and both ends tightly braided into the mane, on the withers, leaving a loop to hang under the neck, and against the breast, which, being caught up in the hand, makes a sling into which the elbow falls, taking the weight of the body on the middle of the upper arm. Into this loop the rider drops suddenly and fearlessly, leaving his heel to hang over the back of the horse, to steady him, and also to restore him whau he wishes to regain his upright position on the horse's back. fragments form Catlin Letters and Notes vol. 2)
Comanche war party http://americanart.si.edu/images/1985/1985.66.596_1a.jpg
Some good books I have read and own on the pre-Anglo invasion Comanches and their society
G. Betty, Comanche Society: Before Reservation
D. Weber, Barbaros, Spaniards and their 'Savages'
J. Barr et al, Peace came in the form of a woman
P. Hämäläinen, Comanche empire
B. De Lay, War of the thousand deserts
more on the Comanche warriors and horses in the near future