Definitions and functions of saddle parts in English

Have you ever wondered what a part of your horse’s saddle is called or what function it serves? This article will provide you with easy-to-understand highlights of the parts of an English saddle, from the pommel to the rail and everything in between, arranged alphabetically. The bullet points below each item provide a high-level summary related to that item.


  • The part of the saddle frame that runs horizontally along the horse’s back.


  • Straps used to fasten the girth (also called girth straps)
  • Attached to the saddle tree webbing under the saddle flaps
  • There are generally three billet straps per saddle which allow for backups in case of wear.
  • Each strap has multiple holes to allow for girth adjustment
  • Billet straps can be long or short.
  • Long straps attach to the webbing under the saddle flap and reduce bulk under the rider’s leg.


  • The raised rear section of the saddle seat that connects the saddle post bars
  • Provides cyclist safety


  • The space between the panels at the bottom of the saddle


  • Metal “D” rings that attach with leather panel to the seat post towards the front of the chair
  • D-rings allow the rider to attach additional gear to the saddle
  • D-rings should not be used to attach breastplates as they tend to be weak.


  • The open area between the panels that extends from the pommel to the ridge at the bottom of the chair.
  • It ensures that there will be no pressure from the saddle or rider on the horse’s spine.


  • The stainless steel part of a stirrup where the rider’s foot rests.


  • Each saddle has two panels.
  • The panels are attached to the saddle frame and run horizontally along both sides of the horse’s spine.
  • The panels provide cushioning for the horse’s back and allow the rider’s weight to be more evenly distributed.
  • The panels are usually filled with wool, foam flocking, or sealed air pockets.


  • The raised part at the front of the saddle that provides space for the horse’s withers, also known as the head.

saddle flap

  • The large section of leather on both sides of the saddle.
  • The size and angle of the fins are determined by the intended use of the saddle and the position of the rider’s legs (i.e. the fins on a bridge saddle are cut farther forward than a dressage saddle to allow for stirrups shorter)


  • The lowest part of the top of the saddle where the rider sits


  • The small pieces of leather near the front on both sides of the saddle that go over the stirrup bar
  • Prevents the rider’s leg from rubbing against the buckle of the leather strap that joins the stirrups


  • Metal rings that securely attach to the seat post towards the front of the chair.
  • Cleats are much stronger than D-rings and are used to attach items to the saddle, such as breastplates.


  • The stirrups are where a rider places their feet while riding
  • The stirrups are attached to the saddle with leather stirrup straps.
  • Stirrups provide the rider with more safety and control while riding

stirrup bar

  • The stirrup bars are attached to the saddle tree under the saddle skirt.
  • Stirrup straps connect to stirrup bars

Stirrup Leather Guardian

  • A loop (similar to a belt loop) or slot that is added to the saddle flap to attach the end of the stirrup leather strap and keep it secure.

Sweatshirt with flap

  • Large flaps at the bottom of the saddle that fit between the horse and the billets
  • Prevents horse from being pinched by buckles and girth
  • Protects the outside of the saddle from horse sweat


  • The saddle frame
  • Traditional saddle trees are made from quality wood.
  • Modern trees can be made of wood or synthetic materials such as polyurethane or fiberglass.
  • Some mounts are made with spring steel that runs front to back between the bars. The spring steel provides additional flexibility to the tree and is appropriately called a “spring tree”.


  • The narrow part between the piping at the front of the seat.

Saddle designs and materials vary greatly. A well-fitting, quality saddle is essential to ensuring a healthy, happy horse and horse satisfaction. Enjoy the trip!

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