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In a world where Ponies are one of the dominate lifeforms and who are, for the most part, not a subservient to others, why do ponies wear saddles?  Saddles do not inherently have any clothing or warming factors, in our world they were designed one race (i.e. humans) to be able to RIDE another (i.e. horses and ponies).  I would imagine that if the Ponies of Equestria had originally designed saddles as a function of protection like humans developed their clothes, I would expect that ponies would have more clothing derived from coats and blankets, not saddles.

So far we've seen them used as simple fashions and for warmth, for example:

rarity__s_saddle_and_bridle_by_sircxyrty100040-saddle-twilight_sparkle-scarf-vec

So either, Ponies had some other race many, many, many moons ago that introduced the concept of 'saddles' (and thus riding on ponies) which has since lost its original meaning, or the Ponies have some a really weird and twisted (or possibly sick - depending on how you want to look at it) sense of humor.

So what theories are there for why ponies in Equestria would design (and wear) saddles in the first place?

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There might have been another race before.
It makes me think about this scene in A Dog And Pony Show where Spike rides Twilight as a knight coming to rescue Rarity. If Spikes acts that way it must mean that he maybe saw pictures, read or heard stories about ancient knights who used to ride ponies.

I don't know '-'

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I personally think initially they were developed for rescue ponies to properly and safely carry anyone that was too injured to walk but still not too injured to need full blown stretches and could thus ride on the rescue pony's back. Or at least saddles initially were developed for work related purposes and slowly and eventually migrated into the world of fashion. I mean jeans were originally created as work clothes, not casual wear. Lot of things we wear today were often initially created for different purpose.

 

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All good comments - I have to agree, there is definitely a history of beings and things riding on ponies.  Sir Spike being a shining example here.  So maybe the origin of 'the saddle' isn't as dark as I was imagining.

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I personally always saw the saddles (from my pony perspective) as a garment, similar to a vest. And a bridle as a type of jewelry. As for Spike riding Twi, as well as the diamond dogs jumping on the other ponies' backs and putting bridles on them (and then bucking them off), my thoughts were always that another species (or race?) discovered that they can use the pony "jewelry" to control them. Perhaps up to and including riding them. Seems the ponies were all familiar with this, especially given Twi's annoyance at Spike putting her in an inferior position.

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Well this sort of question always beckons back to the old theory used in some Lyra fan fiction.
That there's some conspiracy going on that not many ponies notice. That their world wasn't designed by them and many objects and tools were clearly invented by some race overseeing them. Like, watching them on TV.
It's us, humans made them. It's the Truman show.

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They're used for fashion but I haven't seen ponies use bridles and saddles for a long time now in the show. That was mainly early on. Frankly, I'm glad of that.

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Why saddles? Because the show artists don't have time to reinvent several centuries of technological and cultural evolution that make sense for an equine race. They didn't have time to invent a new universe down to the nitty gritty of "What kind of gadgets or accessories would these ponies have developed out of necessity?". They simply took preexisting things we've developed and adapted them to their needs. If you take a good look at the show nearly everything is taken from our world. Few things are completely invented from scratch, those that are are usually of the magical variety. Things like Axes, shovels and eating utensils are all designed with hands in mind, not hooves. The staff can't afford to spend time reinventing everything to fit ponies and from a psychological standpoint they don't really have to. The viewers of the show, both target demographic and the fanbase, all have, at the very last some, preexisting notions of the world that stop you from instantly questioning things like: "How is a Pony supposed to use that axe without opposible thumbs?", or "Why do they wear things like Harnesses or Saddles?".

 

Equestria only has one species that's physically capable of using a pony as a mount the same way a Human might, and the Diamond Dogs lack the consent required to have spent enough time riding ponies and warrant the riding aid of a saddle. From a lore and historical standpoint these saddles have absolutely no use and should not even exist. But from our outside standpoint where we have all the context of our Human world, it's history and people, these things existing makes perfect sense. Then again, what screams "Horse" or "Pony" more than a saddle?

 

And that's where things like Saddles come from.

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4 hours ago, Skyrazer said:

Because the show artists don't have time to reinvent several centuries of technological and cultural evolution that make sense for an equine race.

And that is why we have fan fiction.

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