Miller observed that Indian women liked to ride as much as the men and that “to have a horse & full equipment is in short an Indian Girl[‘]s Heaven on Earth, & what with hawk’s bells innumerable & tags of tin fastened to fringes, the motion of her horse creates an abundance of music with which she is delighted.” Miller described the horse’s gear as well:
The ornament attached to the crupper is made of brightest red or blue cloth attainable, bordered with porcupine quills executed with great neatness,–the work of her own hands;–streamers of the same material are pendant from the horse[‘]s ears,–The saddle itself is a wonder to look upon, from its construction & ornamentation.—Attached to it is a “possible sack” in which are carried a small mirror,–any work she may have on hand, beads, &c.
Her feet rest on stirrups of a peculiar form and make, well brought up. The effect of the whole “turn out” being extremely picturesque to an artist’s eye. (Troccoli, 1990, p. 38; Ross, 1968, text accompanying plate 72)
However, Miller probably overdressed the rider in this colorful watercolor study. Claiming that, “like her sisters of civilized life, the Indian girl is extremely fond of dress & ornaments, never having heard of the Poet’s sentiment of ‘Beauty unadorned,’ she goes to the other extreme & is lavish to excess in brilliant colors….” But it is not likely that she would have gone riding in such a full ceremonial costume. (Troccoli, 1990, p. 38)
UR: Full Equipment of an / Indian Girl (Sioux)
The artist; [?]; Thomas Gilcrease, Tulsa, OK; present owner by gift