General Miles once told the author that the handsomest man he had ever seen came dashing into their camp in a cloud of alkali dust; having ridden right through bands of hostile Indians which surrounded the camp, he dismounted, took off his saddle and threw it on the ground, put the bridle bit, girth, etc., inside the saddle, put the saddle-cloth over it, then he calmly stretched himself out in front of the campfire. "Thatman,"saidGeneralMiles,"was Bill Cody, Buffalo Bill!"
When Cody put the saddle on the ground he placed it on its side (Fig. 206); in placing the saddle in this position it preserves the curve of the skirts, and thus the form of the saddle is not destroyed and the reins and the stirrup straps are protected; at the same time the saddle makes a good pillow, and if it should rain at night the saddle blanket is the only thing, besides the rider, which gets a ducking, unless the latter has a good waterproof sleeping-bag.
So manage the saddle that with one swing it will 'light on the horse's back with the pummel towards the horse's head (Fig. 207). Grasp with your right hand the horn of the saddle, and as you swing the saddle on the horse with a graceful sweep, use your left hand to push the further skirt outward and thus prevent it from doubling up on the horse's back. Be careful to throw the girth far enough so that it will hang down so as to be easily reached under the horse. I once had an English farm hand who put a western saddle on a horse with the pummel towards the tail, and was very indignant when I told him that a pummel should face the bow of a craft; he told me he knew more about horses than I did, which is possibly true, as I am not a horseman; he also said that in the "hold country" he used to ride to "the 'ounds," all of which goes to prove customs are different in different countries. Here we put the pummel of the saddle towards the horse's head; we won't argue about it; we may be wrong, but it is a matter of custom, and right or wrong is the rule the reader must follow in America, even though the reader may have ridden to the "'ounds" while abroad. Do not misunderstand me, some of the best horsemen in the world are English, but this fellow was not one of them.