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( Saddle.png
Name saddle
Appearance saddle
Base price 150 zm
Weight 200
Material leather
Monster use Will not be used by monsters.

A saddle is a item that appears in NetHack. It is a tool that is used to ride a monster, and is made of leather.


Like all tools, saddles are generated uncursed with the exception of bones or traps. Knights will always start the game with a saddled pony.

Horses, ponies and warhorses each have a 1% chance to generate wearing a saddle.


Applying the saddle to a pet that is eligible as a steed allows you to ride it. Doing so requires at least one free hand, and the saddle will become part of the pet's inventory. It is possible to saddle a non-tame monster, but this is more difficult than saddling a pet, and you will not be permitted to ride the monster until it is tamed. Riding boots give a bonus to successfully saddling a monster while worn.

To remove a saddle from a monster while not riding it, use the #loot command, a knock spell, or a wand of opening; the saddle will also be removed if the saddled monster is polymorphed into a form ineligible to be a steed. Cursed saddles cannot be removed via looting, and you cannot mount a monster equipped with a cursed saddle; if the saddle is cursed while you are riding, it will prevent you from dismounting as well.

Attempting to saddle a foocubus will produce a unique message and abuse wisdom.


Main article: Riding

It is recommended to bless your saddle before applying it to your steed—especially if pursuing atheist or polymorphless conduct.

If dealing with a cursed saddle and you do not want to risk polymorphing your steed, you can pray to have your god uncurse the saddle. You can also force yourself to fall off by riding downstairs while burdened or moving over ice with a non-flying steed; being engulfed by a monster or polymorphing yourself into something that can't ride (including eating a mimic[1]) will also remove you from your steed.

A spell or scroll of remove curse will not work, nor will cancellation, and you cannot dip a steed's saddle in holy water, because the saddle is part of the saddled monster's inventory. However, if you throw a potion of holy water down at your steed, there is a Luck-dependent chance that it will hit the saddle and uncurse it.[2]

Nymphs and foocubi may steal a monster's saddle when attacking them, which is especially dangerous if you are riding a flying steed over water or lava; this can lead to instadeath by drowning or dissolving. However, this can also be used to remove a cursed saddle, which can then be uncursed through normal means once retrieved.

If you or your steed have reflection, the saddle will be protected against disintegration rays.

The following information pertains to an upcoming version (3.7.0). If this version is now released, please verify that it is still accurate, then update the page to incorporate this information.

Per this commit and the general list of fixes for 3.7:

While riding, the saddle is considered part of your inventory as well; therefore, the spell and scroll of remove curse can now uncurse a cursed saddle that the character is stuck on. Also, removing a saddle via the spell of knock or wand of opening while riding will force the player off.


The saddle was first introduced in NetHack 3.3.0. The ability to remove a saddle from a steed was introduced in 3.3.1.

In NetHack 3.4.0, a bug was fixed that caused a shopkeeper to not take possession of the saddle if a saddled steed died while in their shop.[3]

In NetHack 3.4.3 and variants based on it, the saddle is subject to a few now-fixed bugs:

  • Disintegration breath hitting equipment carried by monsters, including saddles, is not handled properly, and is exacerbated if the monster has its life saved. Saddles in particular were especially troublesome—in one instance, a saddled ki-rin that was life-saved after being hit by a black dragon's disintegration breath would (correctly) no longer possess the saddle; despite this, the game still describing the monster as "saddled" in text. This is bug C343-176, and was fixed in May 2006.
  • If magical removal of a steed's saddle results in a character's death and leaves a bones file, the saddle may still be on the steed when the bones are loaded. This is bug C343-289, and was fixed in May 2007.
  • Attempting to saddle a cockatrice would immediately petrify the player, even if they were wearing gloves.


Shame on you!
You attempted to apply a saddle to a foocubus.



In SLASH'EM, minions given as sacrifice gifts cannot be saddled.

Slash'EM Extended

In Slash'EM Extended, several roles start with a saddle in some manner:


In dNetHack, human, vampire, and incantifier Nobles have the same starting pets as they do in Slash'EM Extended. In addition, Drow Nobles also start with pre-saddled pets—women get saddled giant spiders, while men get saddled small cave lizards.


In EvilHack, monsters that generate with mounts have a higher chance of the mount being saddled, making them more frequent—e.g., Knight player monsters can generate riding saddled steeds. If the player reaches the Astral Plane with a good enough alignment record, they are given the saddled Red Horse as a steed.


In SpliceHack, Dragonmasters start with a pre-saddled baby dragon. Like EvilHack, SpliceHack also has a higher frequency of riding monsters, and thus the chances of obtaining a saddle from one.


In FIQHack, random saddles are generated twice as often compared to vanilla.[4] In addition, when a character is gifted the artifact lance Dragonbane, they are also given a saddle and the riding skill is unrestricted.

Encyclopedia entry

The horseman serves the horse,
The neat-herd serves the neat,
The merchant serves the purse,
The eater serves his meat;
'Tis the day of the chattel,
Web to weave, and corn to grind,
Things are in the saddle,
And ride mankind.

[ Ode, by Ralph Waldo Emerson ]