Mamluk bit

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on March 16th, 2015 in General

A specimen from the collection of Muhammad Saoud al-Tahawi, who is looking for a catalog of Mamluk bits, if you know which Museum has published one.


One Response to “Mamluk bit”

  1. Edouard: thats’ a wonderful version of what is called a Spade bit, here in the U.S.. The spoon- port in the middle is designed to press against the horses palate and ask him to stretch his forehead and poll further out which telescopes his neck out into the final phase of true collection. I wonder how common these kind of bits were in the cradle countries? I was under the impression that the Bedouin mostly used just a loose halter to ride.. However what we call the ,’hackamore,’ was an adaptation of a camel halter as was the bosal. Our U.S. school of the bosal and the spade bit was developed by the Spanish in California who got it from the Iberian horsemanship school, which of course was developed by the Arabs who lived in Spain for 700 years. its my understanding that the Tahawy were allied with some branches of the Anaeza. I think it would be safe to say then the school of thought which developed and used the spade bit was culturally difused all across the arab world.. Did you guys in Lebanon use these bits and the slow painstaking horse training program which started the horse in the bosal or snaffle then moved him gradually up into the two rein- bosal and finally the spade bit to end up in the straight up bridle horse? Years ago one of my most influential teachers Jim Rowe showed me the several spade bits he had gotten in North Africa when he was there in W.W. 2..So theres’ample evidence that the spade bit school was in north Africa and consequently in Spain. Whats’ tremendously exciting about this is that it shows cradle country Bedouin also used the slow gentle horsemanship school. Also these bits were preferred for use in close quarters combat wherein the rider fought with a curved saber and had to stop hard and fast and do spins to out maneuver his opponent. In California and of course in spain the spade bit school was used to work cattle. To give you an idea of the kind of finesse and skill riders with spade bits developed its worth noting that after the Spanish colonists got the cattle industry thriving, thus providing a new and fun food source for the grizzly bear population it was found that the flintlock muzzle loading firearms they had could not kill a bear. So the Californios started mounted hunting parties wherein they would rope a bear, drag him back to town for a fiesta and chain him to a wild bull. Then the whole town would turn out and watch the two animals fight to the death. By our standards today this was of course very cruel, but in their day and age it helped reduce the bear population. Using horse to roundup bears demonstrated superhuman horsemanship, way beyond anything we can dream of today..
    beat wishes
    Bruce Peek

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