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Elves and Saddles

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Thuriniel



Joined: 29 Jul 2003
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2005 3:21 pm    Post subject: Elves and Saddles Reply with quote

Panneth is going to kill me for raising this topic It wasn't me , but this question has been playing in the back of my mind for too many months now.

So apparently elves don't ride on saddles. We can assume this by the way Legolas acts when he's presented Arod. However, there is this passage in FotR concerning Glorfindel:

"Suddenly into view below came a white horse, gleaming in the shadows, running swiftly. In the dusk its headstall flickered and flashed, as if it were studded with gems like living stars." FOTR 221-222

So the horse has a headstall on ...

Let's keep on reading ...

"'You shall ride my horse,' said Glorfindel. 'I will shorten the stirrups up to the saddle-skirts, and you must sit ... "

Asfaloth had saddle AND stirrups AND headstall ... AND saddle skirts!

So what's the deal ... do elves ride with or without saddle? Or is it only wood-elves that prefer to ride bareback? Or is it that Glorfindel presumed that Frodo would need his horse and used a saddle to accomodate the hobbit?

Insights Wink ?

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Panneth



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2005 3:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You are a bad, bad person. Have you done this on purpose?

My personal theory on this is that Glorfindel knows that Aragorn is out there and in trouble. Therefore I think that he has chosen to take saddles and stuff for Aragorn and it just happens to come into use for Frodo.

We should also take into account what Gandalf says about Shadowfax when refering to riding without a bridle and a saddle as the elven norm.

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Thuriniel



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2005 3:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah ... I'm just trying to stir the neurones out there after all the New Year Partying Laughing !

I'm twisted, I know Twisted Evil !

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Panneth



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2005 3:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Please leave my neurones out of it, they're needed for my exams Wink
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inglor



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2005 6:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

but what did they do when they needed to pack? , did they use a saddle w/bags or what?. Also what about Cavalry? I now this is a nit pick and the answer may be obvious but I wanted to get a second opinion befroe I dove off into anything.

Inglor

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SpaceWeavil



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2005 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also what was the norm then in Numenor? Since they were very horse-y and copied the elves a lot?

Doesn't sound very practical to me, given the distances in ME. Long journies...you would need stuff. And stuff has to go somewhere. Cool

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PhantomsChristine



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2005 6:32 pm    Post subject: Re: Elves and Saddles Reply with quote

Thuriniel wrote:

So apparently elves don't ride on saddles. We can assume this by the way Legolas acts when he's presented Arod. However, there is this passage in FotR concerning Glorfindel:

"Suddenly into view below came a white horse, gleaming in the shadows, running swiftly. In the dusk its headstall flickered and flashed, as if it were studded with gems like living stars." FOTR 221-222

So the horse has a headstall on ...

Let's keep on reading ...

"'You shall ride my horse,' said Glorfindel. 'I will shorten the stirrups up to the saddle-skirts, and you must sit ... "

Asfaloth had saddle AND stirrups AND headstall ... AND saddle skirts!

So what's the deal ... do elves ride with or without saddle? Or is it only wood-elves that prefer to ride bareback? Or is it that Glorfindel presumed that Frodo would need his horse and used a saddle to accomodate the hobbit?


Well, if the Elves have saddles, and headstalls and everything else needed for riding a horse so Glorfindel could bring it in anticipation for Frodo, you would think they would use saddles at least occasionally. Glorfindel would not just be keeping the saddle for use by Frodo or Aragorn...

If they do ride bareback, for leisurely trots through the forest or whatnot, they would still need a headstall/reins.

Anyone who has ridden a horse before, knows the difficulty of manuevering a creature of that size even with reins and stirrups. I know we're talking about Elves and Elvish horses here in a fantasy world, but to ride into battle or at exceptioanlly high speeds, I would think even the Elves would need a little more control over/on their horses and a saddle provides that.

That's just my two cents worth.

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Last edited by PhantomsChristine on Tue Jan 04, 2005 5:05 am; edited 1 time in total
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Ilmatar



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 04, 2005 4:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

First I must say that I have never ridden a horse in my life, so I really do not know anything about it.

I am writing a fic where elves ride a lot, so I it is really interesting to follow this conversation. Personally, I have always thought that some elves use saddles and some don´t. Same goes with the reins. Just like some people prefer manual gears and some don´t. I imagine it would be a matter of personal preference. As for controling the horse (of which I know nothing Very Happy ) I have always thought that it is not something that would cause problems to elves. But then again I see them as these magical creatures who are capable of almost anything.
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inglor



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 04, 2005 9:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm going to go out on a limb here, I don't think the elves had control issues with the horses (elf "magic") being better "in tune" with the critters, and were athletic (for lack of a better word) enough that they didn't need saddles. The Souix and other Native American horse cultures didn't either and went to war without them (saddles).
Since no one seems to know for sure and the Prof never went in to detail for us, I'm going to assume that for longer trips where stuff had to be carried, they had some kind of harness/tack/contraption to store stuff which may have included a saddle as an anchor point.

Inglor

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Viv
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 04, 2005 1:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glorfindel aside, I think there's something very sex-ay about elves riding au naturale. Er, I mean without saddles. Very Happy

Except, what about girl elves? Did they ride astride? That could be complicated in those flowy skirts and stuff. Or did Tolkien intend to have ellyth (sp?) trot around in leggings or trousers etc?
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PhantomsChristine



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 04, 2005 2:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

inglor wrote:
Since no one seems to know for sure and the Prof never went in to detail for us, I'm going to assume that for longer trips where stuff had to be carried, they had some kind of harness/tack/contraption to store stuff which may have included a saddle as an anchor point.


I would have to agree, and also have to agree about the saddle issue being there to help control the horse. After I posted yesterday, I did some research on saddles... and well, since Elvish horses are supposed to 'magical' and their riders are better in tune with them, it would be completely plausible that they would ride saddle-less.

I think it would probably boil down to this: the usage of saddles was often a matter of personal preference. Or as Inglor pointed out, as a way to transport things.

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Panneth



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 04, 2005 2:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've not got my books with me but as far as I remember Legolas asks that saddle and bridle are taken off Arod
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JayofLasgalen



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PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2005 5:44 am    Post subject: Re: Elves and Saddles Reply with quote

Thuriniel wrote:
So what's the deal ... do elves ride with or without saddle? Or is it only wood-elves that prefer to ride bareback? Or is it that Glorfindel presumed that Frodo would need his horse and used a saddle to accomodate the hobbit?

Insights Wink ?



I've had this same discussion in another group. The riders there assured me that it is far more comfortable for both horse and rider to use a saddle. For the purposes of my stories, the wood-elves like Legolas do not use saddles, those from Imladris do.

There's a scene in a soon-to-be-posted chapter where Legolas is challenged to ride using a saddle for the first time.


Jay
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Thuriniel



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PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2005 8:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's the Legolas passage:

"Legolas asked them to take off saddle and rein. 'I need them not,' he said, and leaped lightly up, and to their wonder Arod was tame and willing beneath him, moving here and there with but a spoken word: such was the elvish way with all good beasts."

Inglor wrote:
I'm going to go out on a limb here, I don't think the elves had control issues with the horses (elf "magic") being better "in tune" with the critters, and were athletic (for lack of a better word) enough that they didn't need saddles. The Souix and other Native American horse cultures didn't either and went to war without them (saddles).


I would say that this corraborates your thoughts about elves and horses. Arod was not an elvish horse and Legolas was still able to guide it without the common gear. And even the Rohirrim, who we all know were great horse masters, showed their puzzlement.

As for any type of gear that the elvish horse may have ... I think they would still use some sort of blanket, or, as you said, something to carry their gear for long journeys. I have an acquaintance who rides bareback ... her boyfriend was talking the other day about her riding this way (and I wish I would've paid more attention rather than making dirty jokes in Spanish about them with hubby ... Rolling Eyes ).

Anyways, I believe he said that when she rides without any type of cover on the horse, she gets a lot of the horse's hair stuck to her clothing. Smell is another turn off to not have any sort of protection ... although with cowboys I would think they wouldn't care Laughing . I'll have to ask when I see them next.

I personally think that Elves rode bareback. As Inglor pointed out, some of the Native American nations went to war bareback ... and what a sight that must've been. Why not the elves?

My take on Glorfindel and the saddle is this: The professor gave him a saddle in order for Frodo to be able to ride Asfaloth, even though Elves ride bareback. JRR probably thought that the little detail would be overlooked ... for who on all earth would discuss Elves and saddles?

Ah ... little did he know Very Happy !

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inglor



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PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2005 10:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glorfindel also needed a place to put all the jangly bells so the hobbits and Aragorn could hear him coming
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