Write What You Know: Horses III // Saddles & Bridles

If you want to see the last two horse-related WWYK posts (Horse Girl Quirks and Equestrians) they're here.

What's tack? The gear. Saddle, bridle, etc. Well actually mainly just saddles and bridles, which is probably the LEAST helpful thing I could write about, but it's super late so that's what we're going with.

There are different TYPES per different STYLE. The two main categories are Western seat and Classic seat.

Western saddles are stock saddles. They probably remind you of cowboys or rodeos. They were developed for tending cattle and long days in the saddle. The classic seat is used in show jumping, dressage, etc. (IDK where to put the Australian saddle...it's kind of its own thing. It's a stock saddle, but it looks a lot like a classic seat saddle. Look it up. It's cool.)

If you're trying to write a medieval fantasy, I suggest you base your saddles off the classic seat. (That is unless you want to actually research saddles from the 1600s.) The classic seat is a better saddle to base it off of because they have similar stirrup styles, amongst other things. Really you don't need to go into too much detail when describing the saddles since is it actually important to the story? No. (Probably no. I mean, it's your story, not mine.)

There are some things that bother me about medieval fantasy sometimes when it comes to horses an gear, but since it's easier to just go with it instead of explaining how it actually works, it's probably just fine to leave it.
Like creaking leather. Yes. Leather creaks a little. (Some leather will moan under pressure, like when someone is mounting.) And saddles are probably likely to be a little creaky, especially if it belongs to some woodman who's been out in the weather. (When leather gets wet, it gets dry and then it squeaks/creaks.) But please don't make your bridles creak. Please. Never in my life have I heard a bridle's leather creak. And I've seen/repaired some pretty dry and gross leather bridles and halters. (Other horse people: Let me know your experience with creaking leather!)

To sum up: Saddles may creak (but a well taken care of one shouldn't squeak excessively.) Don't do it with bridles. (Unless maybe your MC is hanging off a cliff by a bridle? You'll have to research this one yourself. I have dangling by nothing but a bit of leather. Let me know how it works out if you try it.) 

Another thing is when people tie up their horse by the reins. 1.) Horses spook. At everything, at anything. Sometimes at imaginary things. 2.) When they do and they jerk back, they'll either break the bridle or hurt themselves or both. 3.) If it's my horse, he'd probably chew through the reins because he's destructive and then I'll have to buy new ones and boy oh boy are they not cheap.

In real life, the horse probably has a halter or something under their bridle and can safely be tied. I know, it's super annoying. Because then you have to explain what the horse is wearing and while everyone knows what a bridle is, not everyone knows what a halter is. (Is that right? Horse nut here. I may be confused and you all understand what I'm saying.) So you have to explain that the horse is wearing some sort of a halter under their bridle. And then you just explained this random piece of gear and NOW you have to explain WHY the horse has the dumb thing on and why you didn't just have the character tie the horse by the reins.

Tip to fix it? Don't. Just don't say that the character tied the horse by the reins. He tied up the horse. He tied the horse to the post. He left the horse out front. Or even better? He trained the horse to ground tie. (Basically: To stay.)

Final note: I meant for this to be longer, but then I forgot to write it until really late the night before it was posted. Oops. Also, I am kind of sick and just trying to get it finished. If there is anything in here that you would like explained in more detail or you want a term explained, let me know in the comments!

(Or, you know, google it.)



  1. Hey! Let's all pretend this is a half way decent post and ignore the time stamp.
    (Oh wait, I'm a genius and you can't see when I posted this! A ha)

    1. Except you can totally see the time I commented.


      Really shot myself in the foot with that one.

  2. Almost every saddle squeaks. I do have one that doesn't squeak much. I don't like squeaky saddles I try to oil them to stop the squeak. ;)


    1. I heard someone say to put baby powder on squeaking saddles and DO NOT DO THAT IT WILL JUST DRY OUT THE LEATHER MORE OH MY WORD.

      Neatsfoot oil. Saves lives! (Or at least my sanity, lol)

  3. Saving this post so I can reference it later.
    Thanks for sharing stuff like this.

    1. You're welcome! I'm just happy I actually posted something useful for once, lol.

  4. This is GREAT!! I actually ride Australian, lol. Have one Ausssie (but with a horn), and one Aussie/Western hybrid and they're both sooooooo comfortable. I had a traditional Aussie saddle but I traded it for a horse. XD

    And I had one western saddle that was handmade and it squeaked CONSTANTLY and you couldn't hear anything else. And then I had an endurance saddle that has a TON of rings to clip things to, and they're were ALWAYS jingling. (Notice I "had" these saddles, not "have" lol)


    1. I had a friend who rode Australian and she offered to let me try it, but her horse was low-key crazy (like sometimes kicked people when mounting) so I passed it up.

      And you traded a saddle for a horse? That's amazing!

      I have an older (and absolutely beautiful!!!) tooled western saddle and it used to squeak so bad! But I used neatsfoot oil and got it to the point where I could use it in a ninja stealth raid. I also have an all purpose classic seat saddle and I clean it after basically every ride and it's such a pain. (But at least I don't have to clean it with a tooth brush.)