I have talked about my friend Kirsty’s collections before, but have found a few new friends thru the magic of Facebook who agreed to let me share more photos here. Above are a few photos shared by various people of special harness decorations etc.
One woman described how she and her husband had started their collection of Circus Brasses when their neighbors invited them to go to the Milwaukee Circus
Parade: A guy from Wisconsin started making and selling them at the parade and
I have 2 sets now. Chris makes them just like they did in England. I think he called it sand cast? Sadly to say there is no longer a Circus Parade in Milwaukee so the collection ended. These were designed to be kidney drops, he said they were put on the harnesses to
protect the horses kidneys in battle. Every year he made a new design and mine
are only a single disc on a leather strap. I have often thought about having
him design a brass for our farm and using it on our harness:
Here is the greatest source of information to be had about horse brasses:
Wikipedia has a good enough page:
Throughout history the brass pieces have been very useful for different reasons. The program ‘Collectors’ on ABC TV in Australia recently featured a collection of pub paraphernalia, included in this were horse brasses. The collector stated that horse brasses were used by carters as a delivery list. Brasses had the emblem of the pub on them, cross-keys, kings head, etc. and the carters would know where to deliver without being able to read. So for advertising, royalty commemoration, status symbols, or simply beautiful decorative “bling” the horse brass has a long and rich tradition.
The photographer, Tony Golding, has documented many pictures of the richness of the look that brass adds to a parade harness, with his pictures from Shire Horse and draught show activity in UK. These are a few of my favorites: