HORSE FURNITURE 1881-1902
UNIFORMS, ARMS & EQUIPMENT - HOUSEHOLD CAVALRY
Understandably, the horse furniture of the three regiments of Household Cavalry was very different to that of other line cavalry. Each regiment had uniquely different shabracques almost entirely based on historical preference. Because they were household troops, the directive that abolished shabracques did not apply. All three regiments had shabracques with origins in the 1830s; the 1st Life Guards had holster covers harking back to the late eighteenth century. The patterns carried in 1881 were unchanged since the 1860s. The ones shown here include the battle honours “Egypt, 1882” and “Tel-el-Kebir,” awarded in 1883 but included in the regulations of that year. By 1903, all of them added battle honours for the South African War.
In 1922, when the 1st and 2nd regiments amalgamated, they adopted the shabracque of the 2nd Life Guards which is the one carried today, albeit with many more battle honours.
The dress regulations of 1883, 1891 and 1900 go into great detail in their description of the horse furniture. For the Shabracques they are as follows:
1ST LIFE GUARDS
Blue cloth, 41 inches long at the bottom and 28 inches deep, with the fore and hind quarters pointed; 3 stripes of gold lace all round, showing ¼ inch of scarlet cloth between the stripes, the centre stripe 2 ½ inches wide, the others 5/8ths inch. On each hind corner, a crown, scrolls bearing the word “Dettingen”, “Peninsula”, Waterloo”, “Egypt, 1882” and “Tel-el-Kebir,” and reversed cypher LG embroidered in gold and a Garter star below. Holster covers of Blue cloth 23 inches deep and 15 inches wide, laced to match the shabracque, with the crown and regimental cypher with one above embroidered in gold: black bearskin caps. Doeskin seat. White web surcingle. The saddle had a white leather cover.
2ND LIFE GUARDS
Blue cloth, 48 inches long at the bottom and 32 inches deep, with the fore and hind quarters rounded; A scarlet cloth border 4 ¾ inches wide from the edge of the shabracque; a stripe of gold lace 2 ½ inches wide ¾ inch from the edge of the scarlet border. . On each hind corner, the royal crest, scrolls bearing the word “Dettingen”, “Peninsula”, Waterloo”, Egypt, 1882” and “Tel-el-Kebir,” and a laurel wreath embroidered in gold; within the wreath, a Garter star and 2 below. On each fore quarter as on each hind quarter, except that the number 2 is omitted. Brown leather surcingle.
ROYAL HORSE GUARDS
Scarlet cloth, 50 inches long at the bottom and 35 inches deep, with the fore corners rounded and hind quarters pointed; 2 stripes of gold lace all round showing ¼ inch of blue cloth between the stripes, the outer lace ¾ inches wide and the inner 1 inch. On each fore and hind quarter On each hind corner, a crown, scrolls bearing the word “Dettingen”, “Peninsula”, Waterloo”, Egypt, 1882” and “Tel-el-Kebir,” and laurel leaves embroidered in gold, with a Garter star below. Black patent leather surcingle.
All three regiments had virtually the same insignia on the fore part of the shabracque as on the hind. There were some very small differences. The 1st Life guards had a "1" above the crown on the fore part (nearly always obscured by the bearskin). The 2nd Life Guards omitted the "2" and the insignia of the Royal Horse Guards was somewhat smaller on the fore part.
The bridles were black patent leather for all three regiments with brass buckles.
1st Life Guards: Brass scales with silver stars for head pieces and on front with brass Garter star on ends. Royal cypher on brass bit bosses. Brass boss as on bit on breast plate.
2nd Life Guards: Brass scales on head piece with white buff leather front. Regimental bit boss bearing the royal crest encircled with the words “Peninsula” and Waterloo” on the ring. A silver Garter Star on the breast plate.
Royal Horse Guards.
Double row of scales on head piece with brass shield ends. Leather front with brass shield. Standard badge on breast plate.
FULL DRESS AND REVIEW ORDER