Medieval Horse Saddle

Mediaeval horse saddle

The early medieval saddles resembled the Roman "Vierhornsattel" and were used without stirrups. Stirrups were the only difference to the Celtic horn saddle used by the Romans. Pictures of various types of medieval saddles, including those for pack and draught horses. More ideas about saddles, riding and armour can be found here.

Which kind of horse saddle did they use in the Middle Ages?

During the early Middle Ages (5th to 10th centuries) the saddle was made only of genuine hide with woollen or horsehair upholstery. Climbing irons were the only differences to the ancient Roman saddle with a bellows. Climbing irons were brief, so the drivers had bent their feet all the while.

In this way they could control their horse and turn around in the saddle. This was useful because the troops mainly battled with blades, mace, axe and spears, so the horsemen didn't have much range, but they had accuracy. East-European, Muslim and Asiatic horsemen used this type of saddle until the fourteenth centuries because it was the best for horse archery and sham retreats: they could turn around and shoot without altering the horse's heading.

At the end of the tenth centuries they began in Europe with calipers with a wood framework (called tree), pommel (front) and channels (back), with longer temples. The saddle offered the rider's agility and horsepower, but enabled better use of arm-length lances[1] and transmitted all the dynamics of the load.

Long spears hidden under the arms (hidden spear) were used in the twelfth centuries and the horse carriage mainly became a shocking power. Knobs and channels were higher, sometimes strengthened with reinforcing material, so that they could hold the horseman on the saddle even after an accident. Their height increased from the fourteenth to the end of the Middle Ages as the spears became longer and heavier:

Couriers, raiders, nobles who ride for fun, used easier saddles: Females either saddled themselves in the same saddle as men or, from the thirteenth centuries onwards, in specific side saddles: Though they should be more comfy than a regular saddle, they seem to be a pain in today's leisure activities after a long journey.

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