English Tack Terminology

English Horse Tack Terminology

*Click image for a larger view

A quick look at (& a brief description for) some of the basics.


Headstall – The strap that goes over the horse’s head just behind the ears (at the poll). This is generally the thickest strap of the bridle.

Browband – A thick strap of leather that runs across the horse’s brow. This piece runs through the browband on both sides just under the horse’s ears.

Cheek Piece – This is a thinner strap that attaches to the bit and runs up the horse’s cheeks.

Bit – The metal part of the bridle that rests on the interdental spaces in the horse’s mouth. The bit is attached to both the headstall and the reins & is the primary means for controlling a horse with the bridle.

Throatlatch – Generally a small strip of the headpiece which run from just underneath one ear to just underneath the other.

Reins – Reins are attached to both sides of the bridle by the bit and are used by the rider to control the horse.


This is an example of a standing martingale and it is used to control head movement. There is a main strap that spans the horse’s neck, it is attached to the girth on one side and the noseband on the other.


Pommel – The rise at the front of a saddle that accommodates the withers.

Seat – The area where the rider site and the lowest part of the saddle’s top line.

Cantle – The gentle rise at the back of the seat.

Gullet – The groove that runs down the middle of the saddle’s underside.

Flap – A wide flap of leather that covers the leathers, straps & buckles.

Leathers – A robust leather strap from which the stirrup hangs. Usually they have buckles to allow for adjustment.

Stirrups – Stirrups are used as balance for the rider.

Girth – A robust strap of leather that attaches the saddle to the horse. Generally they have one elastic side to stretch for fit.

More Info

Be sure to take a more in depth look at bridle terminology and stay tuned for more terminology to come.

3 Comments on “English Tack Terminology

  1. Diane Stellhorn

    May I have your permission to use your tack diagram picture for my children’s horse book, “Zig, Zag and Zoom through the Horse Alphabet”? I greatly appreciate your help. Diane Stellhorn.

Comments are closed.