HOME
        TheInfoList






The saddle is a supportive structure for a rider or other load, fastened to an animal's back by a girth. The most common type is the equestrian saddle designed for a horse. However, specialized saddles have been created for oxen, camels and other creatures.[1][2] It is not known precisely when riders first began to use some sort of padding or protection, but a blanket attached by some form of surcingle or girth was probably the first "saddle", followed later by more elaborate padded designs. The solid saddle tree was a later invention, and though early stirrup designs predated the invention of the solid tree. The paired stirrup, which attached to the tree, was the last element of the saddle to reach the basic form that is still used today. Today, modern saddles come in a wide variety of styles, each designed for a specific equestrianism discipline, and require careful fit to both the rider and the horse. Proper saddle care can extend the useful life of a saddle, often for decades. The saddle was a crucial step in the increased use of domesticated animals, during the Classical Era.

Etymology

The word "saddle" originates from the Proto-Germanic language *sathulaz, with cognates in various other Indo-European languages,[3] including the Latin sella.[4]

Parts of an equestrian saddle

Parts of an English saddle
The tree of a western saddle
  • Tree: the base on which the rest of the saddle is built - usually based on wood or a similar synthetic material. The saddler eventually covers it with leather or with a leather-like synthetic. The tree's size determines its fit on the horse's back, as well as the size of the seat for the rider. It provides a bearing surface to protect the horse from the weight of the rider. The solid saddle tree raises the rider above the horse's back, and distributes the rider's weight, reducing the pounds per square inch carried on any one part of the horse's back, thus greatly increasing the comfort of the horse and prolonging its useful life.[5][page needed]
  • Seat: the part of the saddle where the rider sits, it is usually lower than the pommel and cantle to provide security
  • Pommel or Pomnel (English)/ Swells (Western): the front, slightly raised area of the saddle.
  • Cantle: the rear of the saddle
  • Stirrup: part of the saddle in which the rider's feet are placed; provides support and leverage to the rider.
  • Leathers and Flaps (English), or Fenders (Western): The leather straps connecting the stirrups to the saddle tree and leather flaps giving support to the rider's leg and protecting the rider from sweat.
  • D-ring: a "D"-shaped ring on the front of a saddle, to which certain pieces of equipment (such as breastplates) can be attached.
  • Girth or Cinch: A wide strap that goes under the horse's barrel, just behind the front legs of the horse that holds the saddle on.
  • Panels, Lining, or Padding: Cushioning on the underside of the saddle.

In addition to the above basic components, some saddles also include:

  • Surcingle: A long strap that goes all the way around the horse's barrel. Depending on purpose, may be used by itself, placed over a pad or blanket only, or placed over a saddle (often in addition to a girth) to help hold it on.
  • Monkey grip or less commonly Jug handle: a handle that may be attached to the front of European saddles or on the right side of Australian stock saddle. A rider may use it to help maintain their seat or to assist in mounting.
  • Horn: knob-like appendage attached to the pommel or swells, most commonly associated with the modern western saddle, but seen on some saddle designs in other cultures.
  • knee rolls: Seen on some English saddles , extra padding on the front of the flaps to help stabilize the rider's leg. Sometimes thigh rolls are also added to the back of the flap.

History and development

There is evidence, though disputed, that humans first began riding the horse not long after domestication, possibly as early as 4000 BC.[6] The earliest known saddle-like equipment were fringed cloths or pads used by Assyrian cavalry around 700 BC. These were held on with a girth or surcingle that included breast straps and cruppers.[7] From the earliest depictions, saddles became status symbols. To show off an individual's wealth an

The word "saddle" originates from the Proto-Germanic language *sathulaz, with cognates in various other Indo-European languages,[3] including the Latin sella.[4]

Parts of an equestrian saddle

Parts of an English saddle
The tree of a western saddle
  • Tree: the base on which the rest of the saddle is built - usually based on wood or a similar synthetic material. The saddler eventually covers it with leather or with a leather-like synthetic. The tree's size determines its fit on the horse's back, as well as the size of the seat for the rider. It provides a bearing surface to protect the horse from the weight of the rider. The solid saddle tree raises the rider above the horse's back, and distributes the rider's weight, reducing the pounds per square inch carried on any one part of the horse's back, thus greatly increasing the comfort of the horse and prolonging its useful life.[5][page needed]
  • Seat: the part of the saddle where the rider sits, it is usually lower than the pommel and cantle to provide security
  • Pommel or Pomnel (English)/ Swells (Western): the front, slightly raised area of the saddle.
  • Cantle: the rear of the saddle
  • Stirrup: part of the saddle in which the rider's feet are placed; provides support and leverage to the rider.
  • Leathers and Flaps (English), or Fenders (Western): The leather straps connecting the stirrups to the saddle tree and leather flaps giving support to the rider's leg and protecting the rider from sweat.
  • D-ring: a "D"-shaped ring on the front of a saddle, to which certain pieces of equipment (such as breastplates) can be attached.
  • Surcingle: A long strap that goes all the way around the horse's barrel. Depending on purpose, may be used by itself, placed over a pad or blanket only, or placed over a saddle (often in addition to a girth) to help hold it on.
  • Monkey grip or less commonly Jug handle: a handle that may be attached to the front of European saddles or on the right side of Australian stock saddle. A rider may use it to help maintain their seat or to assist in mounting.
  • Horn: knob-like appendage attached to the pommel or swells, most commonly associated with the modern western saddle, but seen on some saddle designs in other cultures.
  • knee rolls: Seen on some English saddles , extra padding on the front of the flaps to help stabilize the rider's leg. Sometimes thigh rolls are also added to the back of the flap.

History and development

There is evidence, though disputed, that humans first began riding the horse not long after domestication, possibly as early as 4000 BC.[6] The earliest known saddle-like equipment were fringed cloths or pads used by Assyrian cavalry around 700 BC. These were held on with a girth or surcingle that included breast straps and cruppers.[7] From the earliest depictions, saddles became status symbols. To show off an individual's wealth and status, embellishments were added to saddles, including elaborate sewing and leather work, precious metals such as gold, carvings of wood and horn, and other ornamentation.[8]

The North Iranian Eurasian nomads known in Europe as Scythians and in Asia as Saka developed an early form of saddle with a rudimentary frame, which included two parallel leather cushions, with girth attached to them, a pommel and cantle with detachable bone/horn/hardened leather facings, leather thongs, a crupper, breastplate, and a felt shabrack adorned with animal motifs. These were located in Pazyryk burials finds.[9] These saddles, found in the Ukok Plateau, Siberia were dated to 500-400 BC.[7][8] Iconographic evidence of a predecessor to the modern saddle has been found in the art of the ancient Armenians, Assyrians, and steppe nomads depicted on the Assyrian stone relief carvings from the time of Ashurnasirpal II. The Scythians also developed an early saddle that included padding and decorative embel

There is evidence, though disputed, that humans first began riding the horse not long after domestication, possibly as early as 4000 BC.[6] The earliest known saddle-like equipment were fringed cloths or pads used by Assyrian cavalry around 700 BC. These were held on with a girth or surcingle that included breast straps and cruppers.[7] From the earliest depictions, saddles became status symbols. To show off an individual's wealth and status, embellishments were added to saddles, including elaborate sewing and leather work, precious metals such as gold, carvings of wood and horn, and other ornamentation.[8]

The North Iranian Eurasian nomads known in Europe as Scythians and in Asia as Saka developed an early form of saddle with a rudimentary frame, which included two parallel leather cushions, with girth attached to them, a pommel and cantle with detachable bone/horn/hardened leather facings, leather thongs, a crupper, breastplate, and a felt shabrack adorned with animal motifs. These were located in Pazyryk burials finds.[9] These saddles, found in the Ukok Plateau, Siberia were dated to 500-400 BC.[7][8] The North Iranian Eurasian nomads known in Europe as Scythians and in Asia as Saka developed an early form of saddle with a rudimentary frame, which included two parallel leather cushions, with girth attached to them, a pommel and cantle with detachable bone/horn/hardened leather facings, leather thongs, a crupper, breastplate, and a felt shabrack adorned with animal motifs. These were located in Pazyryk burials finds.[9] These saddles, found in the Ukok Plateau, Siberia were dated to 500-400 BC.[7][8] Iconographic evidence of a predecessor to the modern saddle has been found in the art of the ancient Armenians, Assyrians, and steppe nomads depicted on the Assyrian stone relief carvings from the time of Ashurnasirpal II. The Scythians also developed an early saddle that included padding and decorative embellishments.[7] Though they had neither a solid tree nor stirrups, these early treeless saddles and pads provided protection and comfort to the rider, with a slight increase in security. The Sarmatians also used a padded treeless early saddle, possibly as early as the seventh century BC[10] and depictions of Alexander the Great depict a saddle cloth.[7]

Early solid-treed saddles were made of felt that covered a wooden frame. Asian designs appeared during the Han dynasty approximately 200 BC.[7] One of the earliest solid-treed saddles in the west was the "four horn" design, first used by the Romans as early as the 1st century BC.[11] Neither design had stirrups.[7]

The development of the solid saddle tree was significant; it raised the rider above the horse's back, and distributed the rider's weight on either side of the animal's spine instead of pinpointing pressure at the rider's seat bones, reducing the pressure (force per unit area) on any one part of the horse's back, thus greatly increasing the comfort of the horse and prolonging its useful life. The invention of the solid saddle tree also allowed development of the true stirrup as it is known today.[12] Without a solid tree, the rider's weight in the stirrups creates abnormal pressure points and makes the horse's back sore. Thermography studies on "treeless" and flexible tree saddle designs have found that there is considerable friction across the center line of a horse's back.[13]

The stirrup was one of the milestones in saddle development. The first stirrup-like object was invented in India in the 2nd century BC, and consisted of a simple leather strap in which the rider's toe was placed. It offered very little support, however. The nomadic tribes in northern China are thought to have been the inventors of the modern stirrup, but the first dependable representation of a rider with paired stirrups was found in China in a Jin Dynasty tomb of about AD 302.[14] The stirrup appeared to be in widespread use across China by 477 AD,[15] a

The stirrup was one of the milestones in saddle development. The first stirrup-like object was invented in India in the 2nd century BC, and consisted of a simple leather strap in which the rider's toe was placed. It offered very little support, however. The nomadic tribes in northern China are thought to have been the inventors of the modern stirrup, but the first dependable representation of a rider with paired stirrups was found in China in a Jin Dynasty tomb of about AD 302.[14] The stirrup appeared to be in widespread use across China by 477 AD,[15] and later spread to Europe. This invention gave great support for the rider, and was essential in later warfare.

Accounts of the cavalry system of the Mali Empire describe the use of stirrups and saddles in the cavalry . Stirrups and Saddles brought about innovation in new tactics, such as mass charges with thrusting spears and swords.[16]

Middle Ages