German Military Bridle

I’ve just received a really nice email from someone seeking information about a German military bridle. I’m hopelessly ignorant about military equipment, so I thought I’d throw the question open to those who are far more knowledgeable on the subject.

German military bridle

Detail of German military bridle

Detail of German military bridle

Detail of German military bridle

Detail of German military bridle

Detail of German military bridle

Detail of German military bridle

Detail of German military bridle

Photo of German drummer

My name is Nick and I live in Oklahoma City, U.S.

I have recently obtained a horse bridle with reins and decorative neckpiece for a horse that was originally obtained overseas during World War 2 when the German officer who had the tack on his horse was shot and killed. The American soldier who brought the bridle and neckpiece back passed it down to his son, who then sold it to me.

I am looking for any information as to what type of German unit would have used this type of tack, what rank of officer might have had it, age, maker, etc. Any information that you could provide would be greatly helpful. The story is very intriguing and the bridle itself is even more intriguing. It appears to be a Napoleonic-style bridle as it makes an “X” across the horse’s forehead with a silver medallion in the middle of the forehead. The browband is leather with chain-link overlay, and the noseband is leather with silver-toned conchos. All metal on the bridle is silver-toned. The neck piece consists of a thick leather band, approximately 8 inches long with sheepskin underlining and heavy chain link draped across the top and secured to the leather. The chain itself is approx 2.5-3 feet long and comes together at a crescent-moon medallion that has a face on it. Hanging from the crescent moon is a horse-hair tassel that is dyed red, white, and black. I have been researching to find what type of tack the German/French/Polish cavalry used during WWI and WWII, but have not had much luck.

Again, any information would be much appreciated. I have attached pictures of the bridle and neck piece to this e-mail. I have also attached pictures of a German SS drummer whose bridle is very similar and also has the crescent moon pendant with horse hair tassle hanging below the horse’s throat.

Thank you so much for your time

I couldn’t identify the bridle, but please look at the images & see if it rings any bells.

By the way , the extraordinary pictures of the German drummer come from “War in Pictures” on the Pictures History blog ( you can find it here , I fear days may pass exploring those images). Please do scroll down to the fantastic picture of the drummer at the bottom of this page

German drummer
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2 Responses to German Military Bridle

  1. N Evans says:

    This is a beautiful bridle – it reminds me of the tack used by the Queen’s Cavalry and the Blues and Royals in England.

    I can’t tell you what kind of German regiment would have used tack like this, but from what I can see, the bit is not original to the bridle. It appears to be a fairly typical bit that would have been used on an American Western-style bridle. Not a design that was commonly used in Europe, especially not on “official” cavalry equipment.

  2. Mearaj says:

    I’m sure many people will give me TD but if your’e not hersoy’, I know you don’t have the patience for traditional tack cleaning. So here’s my advice:Pick a warm, sunny day and start in the morning. Put the saddles on a split rail or plank fence. Lightly hose the saddles down with a garden hose on a very fine mist, but strong enough so you’ll power out any grime from any tooling or stitching. Avoid saturating any of the saddles, and try to avoid wetting any suede or fleece. Wipe down with a terry cloth towel and let dry in the sun. Do the same with any bridles. You can saturate them a bit more, but be sure to dry with a terry towel. Be sure to let all dry thoroughly in the sun.Next, take a cup of olive oil and a 1 paint brush. Lightly coat the tack with olive oil. Use your hands to rub the oil in any spot where it’s not soaking in. Now, remove the tack to a clean, dry area. Like a dry cement floored-garage. You should be able to examine the tack for any brand logos. On english tack you want to look for Crosby, or Crump or Pessoa, or other popular brand names. On western tack look for Circle Y, or Simco. Point is, if you google any of the brand/ logos you find, you should get a good idea of the baseline quality of the tack you have. However, you’ll be at a disadvantage because it’s been neglected for so long. Just be honest about how you came to own this tack when you sell it. Old tack can be dangerous if it’s not reconditioned properly. Best of luck. ..BA: Let me know what you’ve got once you get it all cleaned up. Always in the market for bridles saddles. Thanks