A Glossary of Horse Saddle Accessories (Ultimate Guide)

By Zunnun Ahmed •  Updated: 12/23/22 •  10 min read

Horse riding is more challenging than it seems. 


You will need different horse riding equipment to enjoy the sport. Otherwise, your horse will not make a single move. Yes, talking about Horse saddle accessories- those items that help you enjoy every minute of equestrianism.

What are horse saddle accessories called?

Stirrups, saddlebags, breastplates, saddle covers, pads, etc., are a few common tacks attached to the horse saddle. You have to buy the right one as per your preference. 

11 Must have saddle accessories you will need for a pleasant horse riding journey

First, let us clarify something……This is a general list of saddle accessories. 

Don’t consider it as an ultimate horse riding saddle gear list. Having these accessories will make your horse riding time safe and memorable.  

Accessories NameWhy do you need them?Price Range
StirrupsTo support the feet of a rider20-80$
Stirrup leathersTo prevent more swings in the leg30-200$
Saddle padscreates friction on the back70-250$
GirthsSave the saddle to go on forward, backward, or slip sideways200-4000$
Breastplates or martingalesFor safety from going backward100-300$
SaddlebagsHelp in carrying different items300-200$
Hoof picksSave the hoof from dirt5-100$
Mane combTo comb the mane5-500$
Grooming kitTo clean and care for the horse’s skin, hooves, and coat50-300$
Saddle coverSave the saddle from damage50-100$
Saddle standTo store the saddle safely50-200$

#1. Stirrups

Horse Stirrups

Stirrups are hung loops on a horse saddle. 

What is the purpose of stirrups?

It supports the feet of a rider. Plastic, metal, or even wood is used to manufacture the loop. Riders use a wide range of stirrups nowadays. 

A rider can easily balance them with the help of stirrups when horse riding. Moreover, stability is ensured for it. Furthermore, you can control the horse’s direction since it allows the rider to perch over the horse’s center of gravity for improved efficiency. 

Generally, broader stirrups are popular among western riders. On the other hand, English riders prefer narrower stirrups that are also known as “irons.”

#2. Stirrup leather

The stirrups loop is attached to the saddle using leather or nylon. This part is called stirrup leather. It goes directly under the rider’s leg. Usually, they are designed to be wider. For its wide design, it creates more friction between the saddle and the leather. Thus, it prevents more swings in your leg. 

Ok, I know what you are thinking…….Do stirrup leathers make a difference?

Besides, stirrup leathers come with an adjustability feature. A rider can easily adjust them to the leg’s length for optimum comfort. Remember, proper adjustment is mandatory when riding a horse. The reason is, controlling depends a lot on the stirrup leathers.

This saddle accessory has 2 styles: 

Major differences between the normal and traditional stirrup leather are unavailable, except the bottom of your foot is 2” wider. While the least bulk is available under the leg of slim saddle stirrups. 

#3. Saddle pads

Weaver leather saddle pad

You already guessed what it could be, right?

Saddle pad or saddle blanket, or saddle cloth refers to the pads, blankets, or clothes inserted under a saddle. 

It’s not a brainer!

But the question is why the heck will you spend $$$ on this thing?

Well, here is why:

The saddle creates friction on the back of the horse when it comes directly into contact with the horse’s skin and back. Saddle pads protect the horse from this friction.

Plus…….the pad keeps the saddle to stay clean. 

If you ride without a saddle pad, the saddle will absorb sweat and lots of dust from the horse’s back.  

You will find saddle pads made of different materials such as synthetic felts, woven, wool, gel packs, air bladders, etc. Wool saddle pads are the best choice as they protect the horse from overheating and collapsing from exhaustion. Related articles you should read:

#4. Girths

horse girths in leather and synthetic materials

Girths are a crucial accessory for the saddle as the saddle is of little use without them.

You’re probably wondering why.

By confirming proper tightness of girth, your saddle will not go forward, backward, or slip sideways. It is a broad strap built of cotton, leather, or other materials that go around the horse to ensure the secure mount of the saddle on the back of your horse. 

Here is the kicker:

Girths’ should be made of such material that breaks easily over time. At the same time, they should be comfortable for horses. 

In addition, choosing the right-sized girth for your horse is essential. Girth size depends on 2 factors; 

So please Measure your horse’s stomach before choosing a girth.

Related: Learn how to calm your nervous horse while in the saddle! Our 7 easy steps will help you and your horse feel more relaxed and comfortable.

#5. Breastplates or martingales

Is your saddle sliding off frequently, and looking for a way to get rid of it? 

A breastplate will be your lifesaver in this case. 

It is solely designed to stop the saddle from sliding backward. The other name of this saddle accessory is martingales. 

Additionally, it benefits horses with flat rib cages and large shoulders. The reason is that such body structure can force a saddle to slip back regardless of the tightness. 

And guess what?

A breastplate also performs as safety equipment. 

When the saddle girth or billets break accidentally, the cavalier will have enough time to stop and dismount the saddle before it is wholly slipped off. 

#6. Saddlebags

horse saddle bags

From the name itself, it is easy to understand saddlebags are smaller portable pouches attached to the behind of the saddle. 


Saddlebags can be mounted in different positions, such as the front of the saddle, sides, or back. A saddlebag will be of utmost help if you need items to be accessed frequently when riding a horse.

Depending on the saddlebag’s size, you can carry a water bottle, rain gear, lunch, or other important items. These bags come in various types, including dual saddle bags, rear, cantle, etc.

#7. Hoof pick

Enough of your safety accessories now comes to the well-being of the horse.

Let’s pick a Hoof pick– a hooked tool made of metal (well usually).

It is an important tool for the care of your horse’s feet. It allows you to clean mud, snow, rocks, dust, debris, and other items from your horse’s hooves. Hoof maintenance is vital as it prevents the growth of bacteria and fungi and other infections. 

Don’t think that hoof pick can hurt your horse. 

In fact, there is no nerve ending in the hooves. So your horse will not feel pain when hoof picking. 

#8. Mane comb

The horse got debris & tangles too!!!!!

And Mane comb is used to brush the mane and tails of horses to loosen any knots. This saddle accessory looks quite similar to a hair comb.

It also removes that pesky debris and tangles easily. But it is more decorative and ornate than common hair combs. Besides, this item will be significantly helpful if you want to shape, thin, finish, or create a hand-stripped look to your horse’s mane. 

A humble request to you…….

When using a mane comb on the horse’s hair and tail, be gentle and avoid rushing. Sensory nerves are available on the hair follicles; rush pulling can create pain and discomfort for your horse.

Yup, just like your hair.

#9. Grooming kit

Horse grooming kit

We believe every horse owner should have a separate grooming kit for their horses. 

Grooming kits are for cleaning and caring for the horse’s skin, hooves and coat. This kit helps spread different diseases and infections.

You will find different items in a grooming kit such as-

Not to mention, all horse grooming kits don’t have the same items. 

Choose a grooming kit for your horse by looking at the kit list and according to your preference. 

#10. Saddle cover

No matter what they say, the horse saddle will lose its shine over time.

It can damage or lose its effectiveness if you don’t take care of it properly. And that’s why the saddle cover was designed.

A saddle cover will keep the saddle damage-free from different elements when you don’t ride your horse. 

Different materials are used to manufacture saddle covers. 

Some are made of fleece, while others are cotton constructed. When choosing a saddle cover, make sure it has a waterproof outer. This way, you can use them in many situations. 

#11. Saddle stand

Saddle stand

You can’t store your saddle here and there.


 Just because of this reluctance, it minimizes its effectiveness. 

Avoid storing your saddle on the ground or in any unsafe place. Keeping the horse’s saddle in proper condition is only possible when you have a saddle stand. In fact, a saddle stand aims to protect the saddle from being broken or torn when you are not using it.

Saddle stand material can be iron, wood, etc. Also, make sure they can be folded easily for convenient storage. 

You will find some saddle stands that can be modified based on the Western and English saddle styles. Some models feature portable wheels, allowing you to carry the saddle easily.


What is the difference between a bridle and a Headstall?

The bridle is a headgear to guide a horse and carry reins and bits. On the other hand, the headstall is a part of the bridle, fitting over the head of the horse and supporting other elements.

What tack goes on first on a horse?

The term “tack” is used to describe the riding equipment of a horse. Horse riding equipment can be stirrups, saddles, saddlebags, girths, breastplates, martingales, etc. The saddle is the first tack that goes on first on a horse.

Should I tilt my saddle down?

Tilting your horse saddle down will only sometimes be beneficial. However, tilting your saddle forward will help relieve the strain on specific areas of your horse’s back. But it would be best if you positioned the horse saddle according to your and your horse’s comfort level.

Final notes

There are lots of horse saddle accessories available on the market. That doesn’t mean you should buy everything. Focus on what saddle components are necessary for you. Buying many items can waste valuable money, effort, and time.

The reason is all things are not suitable for every horse. Also, the horse tack accessories list depends on the riding habit. 

Most importantly…….

Always focus on the protection, comfort, and safety of you and your horse before buying the saddle items. Overall, you don’t need lots of tacks for horseback riding. Know your requirements first. 

Zunnun Ahmed

We are a group of horse enthusiasts. We want to provide information and tips to help others learn more about horses, how to care for them, and how to enjoy them.

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