SADDLE. The English saddle is highly improved within the last twenty or thirty years, not only in respect of symmetry, fitness, and beauty, but of ease, both to the rider and the horse. The saddle is secured by two girths only, and those placed exactly one over the other, appearing as if single. The surcingle is out of fashionable use, except upon the turf, and saddle-cloths are at present laid aside. As for the crupper, nothing is deemed more unsportsman-like and awkward. When the horse has a good shoulder, and the saddle fits him, a Crupper is totally unnecessary ; but I cannot commend the taste or prudence of those, who, to avoid the unfashionable appearance of a crupper, will submit to the risk of riding upon their horse's neck, or the trouble of dismounting every four miles to replace their saddle. When it is absolutely necessary to submit to be cruppered, observe that the strap be very broad and soft, that it may not chafe the horse's rump; and that a candle be sewed up within that part which goes within the tail. For horses that are in danger of slipping through their girths, it is necessary to provide a breast-plate, which is fastened to the saddle.
In the earlier ages the Romans used neither saddle nor stirrups, and hence the Roman cavalry were subject to sundry maladies in the hips and legs from the want of some support for their feet. Hippocrates observes that the Scythians, who were much on horseback, were incommoded by defluxions in the legs from the same cause. In less remote times, the Romans placed upon their horses a square pannel.or species of covering which enabled them to sit less hardly. This they termed ephippium.
The saddles now chiefly in use are:—
1. The hunting saddle, the parts of which are two bands, fore bolsters, pannels, and saddle straps. The great saddle has in addition corks, hind bolsters, and a troussequin. The pommel being common to both.
2. The running saddle is a very small one with round skirts.
3. The Burford saddle has the seat and skirts both plain.
4. The pad saddle is of two sorts, some made with burs before the seat, and others with bolsters under the thighs.
5. The French pad saddle, in which the burs entirely surround the seat.
6. The portmanteau saddle has a cantle behind the seat, to keep the portmanteau from the rider's back.
7. The war saddle has a cantle and a bolster behind and before; and also a fair bolster.
8. The pack saddle, a saddle upon which loads may be carried.
Harewood, Harry. A Dictionary of Sports. London: T. Tegg and son, 1835.
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