''On seats and saddles: bits and bitting ...'' (1868)By Francis Dwyer, hussar officer of the Austrian cavalry
''How the bearing-strap* of the saddle should be exactly laced will depend altogether on the " plenitude " or " poverty " of the seat of honour of each individual rider. A very full-sized sitting part requires the lacing to approach that shown at a in order to make the rider sit like c; a very spare man, on the contrary, will require something like b for the same purpose : for most young men it will do best as at c''
* The bearing-strap of the seat is best made of a piece of good girthing-web, doubled together so as to form, with its central portion, a collar to embrace neatly the hinder knob of the saddle, the two branches being sowed by their edges together down the middle of the seat, and ending, the one with a strap, the other with a buckle, which, when united, form a corresponding collar for the front knob. Brass eyelet-holes stamped into the outer edges at certain intervals should be an improvement. Of course a movable strap covers this bearing-strap, the lacings and the side plate of the saddle, as far down as the tops of the girth at each side, but it is on the length of the hearing-strap, and the way in which it is laced, that the form of the seat will depend. Of course all the edges of these wooden saddles must be nicely bevelled off.
More interesting thoughts:
On Cavalry horses versus hunting horses
On Hungarians and surcingle
''The Hungarian Puszta rider, or cattle-herd, and most Orientals, never use anything but a surcingle, the great advantage of which is that, having loosed it to let their horses graze, they can tighten it with one pull, and are in the saddle and well under way whilst one of us is still fumbling at a multiplicity of straps: and moreover, his saddle remains where he put it; ours seldom does so except by chance.''
But this brings us to the stirrup. Riding was certainly invented and practised before saddles existed; and it is nearly equally certain that the first saddles, pads, or whatever they were, had no stirrups, these contrivances having been subsequently invented for the purpose of giving the rider further aid in addition to that derived from balance and friction. Even nowadays many a man can ride bare-backed to hounds or in the melee without stirrups ; and this very short statement of facts ought, we think, to go far to prove that stirrups are very subordinate in value to balance and friction taken together, which is precisely why we have used the term stirrup-riding in an opprobrious sense.''