Learning Resources

For Teachers, Pupils, Parents and more

  • Saddle

  • About

Weight: 3-5 kg


A medieval saddle was made up of a wooden structure called a tree, which was then padded, covered in leather and/or material, and decorated with embroidery, painting, and gold or silvered nails.

A knight’s saddle usually had plates called arçons in front and behind the rider, to protect and help support him in combat. The stirrups for your feet hung from leathers passed through slots in the saddle tree.

How was it used?

Medieval armoured horsemen could mount their horses perfectly well from the ground, as any other rider does. They certainly did not require a crane or any other assistance.

This was vital in battle: if a horse was killed, the rider would have to get on another one in a hurry.

Generally a knight would use the left or near side stirrup to mount his horse, although some young knights liked to show off their fitness by vaulting onto their horses in armour without touching the stirrups.