This saddle belonged to Cornet James Gape, who was just 16 years old at the Battle of Waterloo.
A Cornet was usually a young officer that was responsible for looking after the regimental flag, known as the Colours, in battle. During the Battle of Waterloo, Gape was fired at by the French from a distance of only twenty yards. The musket ball struck his cloak, which he had rolled up in front of his saddle, and passed through the cloth before digging into the leather. A second ball also struck the seat of the saddle. Gape survived the battle and retired as a Captain in 1833.
The saddle’s design was based upon those used by the Prussian Cavalry, who were considered to be part of one of the most technologically advanced armies in the 1790s.
Cavalry officer’s saddle, 2nd Royal North British Dragoons (Royal Scots Greys)