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The horse tack shown is a part of the almost typical horse-riding equipment used in the Republic of Poland by rich noblemen and magnates in the 17th and 18th centuries.
The tack consists of a saddle, a girth, stirrups and a bridle with szkofia and a breastplate. The shabrack with a pair of tassets also originates from Adam Sapieha's collection, though the previous owner is unknown.

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The horse tack shown is a part of the almost typical horse-riding equipment used in the Republic of Poland by rich noblemen and magnates in the 17th and 18th centuries.
The tack consists of a saddle, a girth, stirrups and a bridle with szkofia and a breastplate. The shabrack with a pair of tassets also originates from Adam Sapieha's collection, though the previous owner is unknown.
The saddle, with a pommel and a cantle, is fitted with a gold-plated silver sheet, decorated with Rococo floral motifs, engraved against a dotted background and carnelians encrusted with gold and imitation diamonds. Wooden bars, the seat and wings are covered with apricot velvet with a palmette motif, embroidered with a golden thread. The stirrup leathers are made from amaranthine tape lined with leather. The Turkish stirrups are made of gold-plated brass, an open-work star cut out in the foot.
The shabrack is made of red velvet hardened with hemp canvas and lined with a green-coated linen canvas. The edges are trimmed with a golden-threaded tape and tassels. The velvet has appliqués with motifs of acanthus leaves and palmettes embroidered on a cardboard with a golden thread and sequins. The red velvet tassets are ornamented similarly to the shabrack.
The bridle is made of a crimson tape sewn onto leather, adorned with ornaments made of a gold-plated brass sheet decorated with engraved motifs, carnelians and imitation diamonds. The headstall has a carnelian including a golden Pogoń (Pagonia) coat of arms placed on it, set with gold and encircled with smaller stones. The cartouche has gold-threaded tassels fastened to it. The top part of the headstall has a szkofia dating back to the 17th century. The calyx-shaped setting, made of gold-plated, engraved and nielloed silver is adorned with floral patterns and inlaid with a red stone and cut rock crystals. The setting has ostrich feathers attached to it. Both sides of the headpiece have pendants made of amaranthine and golden threads in a copper, gold-plated sheet setting, inlaid with carnelians, imitation diamonds and turquoises.
The breastplate made of a crimson tape, and sewn onto a leather padding, is covered with decorative elements identical to the bridle. In the middle, at the tape stitch, there is a decoratively cut-out cartouche with an oval carnelian, adorned with golden-plated ornaments and imitation diamonds.

Important terms:
Bridle — A leather strap harness on a horse's head;
Szkofia — The decoration for a man's hat, a silver eagle wing encrusted with precious stones, used in the 16th and 17th centuries;
Shabrack — A pad under the saddle protecting the horse's skin from being chafed (usually made of felt or linen);
Tasset — A piece of armour protecting the hips;
Carnelian — A red precious stone (its name originates from Latin, carnis — meat);
Stirrup leathers — Leather straps used to fasten a stirrup to a saddle;
Palmette — A decorative motif in the form of a stylised palm leaf;
Breastplate — A strap running through the horse's breast and used to keep the saddle in the proper position;
Pogoń — The coat of arms of the Great Duchy of Lithuania;
Girth — A strap running under the horse's stomach aimed at keeping the saddle in the proper position;
Cartouche — A decorative frame of the coat of arms;
Inlaying — A technique of decorating objects, mainly gold items and arms, by incrusting their surface with precious stones.

Elaborated by Piotr Wilkosz (The National Museum in Kraków), © all rights reserved

See also the Hutsul saddle tornycia from the collection of the Seweryn Udziela Ethnographic Museum in Kraków.

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Horse tack according to the family tradition after Hetman Stanisław Jabłonowski

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