AskDefine | Define crupper

Dictionary Definition

crupper n : a strap from the back of a saddle passing under the horse's tail; prevents saddle from slipping forward

User Contributed Dictionary



Anglo-Norman cropere, from Old French cropiere, from the same Germanic base as croup.


IPA: /'kɹʌpə/


  1. A strap used to stop a saddle from slipping.
    • 1882: I sought among the mules one with a mild expression of generosity and gentleness in its eyes, and found it in a white mule with a crupper adorned with arabesques. — Edmondo de Amicis, Morocco: Its People & Places, tr. C. Rollin-Tilton
  2. The buttocks or rump, especially of a horse.
  3. A piece of armour covering the hindquarters of a horse.

Extensive Definition

A crupper is a piece of tack used on horses to keep a saddle or surcingle from sliding forward, by tethering it to the root of the horse's tail. It consists of a buckle to attach to the back of the saddle, an adjustable strap to set the crupper's length, and a padded strap that passes around the root of the horse's tail.
Cruppers are used in most harness for driving, and more rarely for riding.
For riding they were traditionally part of the standard equipment of cavalry horses, but were largely abandoned by cavalry regiments in the 19th century upon the development of better-fitting mass-produced war saddles. Cruppers continue to be part of the ceremonial tack for some cavalry regiments and tent pegging teams, and are also used on overweight ponies or mules, where the animal's shape allows the saddle to slipforward.

Putting on the crupper

The skirt of the tail is doubled over and slipped through the rounded strap, avoiding catching any tail hair under the tail piece of the crupper. The buckle-end strap attaches to the middle ring on a surcingle, to a harness saddle, or to a ring on the back of a riding saddle (to which a ring may need to be added by a saddler, as most modern riding saddles are not made with a D-ring on the cantle). A crupper needs to be snug enough to keep the saddle in place, but not so tight that the horse is irritated or the skin of the tail is damaged.
The tail piece of a crupper is kept very clean, to avoid abrading the skin under the tail. A dirty or poorly adjusted crupper can cause discomfort or sores on the horse's dock.
A riding horse may often be lunged before first riding it in a crupper, so it can get used to the feel of it under the tail.
Cruppers are useful on riding horses when the terrain is varied, they can keep the saddle from sliding forward onto the horses withers. They are more commonplace in endurance riding or trail riding, when hills are part of the ride.


Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

back band, backside, backstrap, bearing rein, behind, bellyband, bit, blinders, blinds, breeching, bridle, butt, buttocks, caparison, cavesson, checkrein, cheekpiece, chinband, cinch, collar, croup, crownband, curb, gag swivel, girth, hackamore, halter, hames, hametugs, harness, haunches, headgear, headstall, hind end, hip straps, jaquima, jerk line, lines, martingale, nates, noseband, pole strap, posterior, rear, rear end, reins, ribbons, rump, saddle, shaft tug, side check, snaffle, surcingle, tack, tackle, trappings, tug, winker braces, yoke
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