A Quick Look at Different Types of Saddles

A quick look at different types of saddles will reveal not only a number of such devices intended to make horseback riding easier but also a generally-interesting history of development and use. At its most basic, a saddle supports a rider on the back of a horse. Typically, a saddle is fastened to the back of the animal by means of what's known as a girth.

Nowadays, a particularly-ubiquitous kind of saddle seen on most horses is the one intended for use in equestrian horse riding competitions. It's also called an equestrian saddle, by the way. There are other types made for other kinds of animals, including camels, which means that a saddle – while fairly simple and construction and design – is extremely versatile and quite common everywhere.

In history, many experts maintained that the saddle first made an appearance about 800 BC, though they were fairly crude and usually just made up of one or two padded blankets and a cinch – called a surcille – that kept the pads attached to the back of a horse. Gradually, the saddle began to improve and by 200 BC a special saddle tree was added to it. By 380, stirrups made their first appearance as well.

Generally speaking, almost all of the various kinds of saddle available today date their genes to the 1700s and 1800s. Today, most such riding tools have been built specifically for one sort of equestrian or horse riding discipline or another. These include the classic cowboy, or Western, saddle as well as the sleek and minimal equestrian riding tool used in Olympic or other competitions.

It's the case that, with proper care and maintenance, a good saddle can last for many years, even several decades or more. Many men and women out West have a saddle that has been handed down to them from generation to generation and so on. These saddles are classic examples of horse riding technology, and are not all that different from the 19th century versions.

Today's modern saddle is a result of a branching-off of two different saddle types; the classic Western saddle and the equally-classic English saddle. In terms of the English version, a couple of different variants exist, including one used in equestrian dressage. One notable variant of the cowboy saddle is the famous McClellan US Army cavalry saddle, which is still popular today.

Saddles and horses go together like peas and carrots, to quote one very famous movie character. They are as ubiquitous in the American Southwest as is John Wayne in any number of famous cowboy movies. They can come in a great many styles and are built to serve many different purposes. The famous equestrian saddle is often seen on the back of many an Olympic-caliber horse, as well.