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Seat for a rider on the back of an animal, usually a horse. The leather saddle was developed between the 3rd century BC and the 1st century AD, probably by peoples of the Asian steppes, where the stirrup and the horse collar also originated. The saddle greatly improved a rider's ability to control a moving horse, especially in combat. Improvements made in medieval Europe were related to feudal battles among knights. Modern saddles are mainly divided into two types: the light, flat English or Hungarian style used for sport and recreation, and the sturdy Western style used originally for cattle roping and now also for recreation.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on saddle, visit Britannica.com.