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billet configuration on dressage saddles
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zuzana
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 Posted: Thu Sep 17th, 2015 07:29 pm
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Hi Dr Deb and all,

I am waiting on the saddle fitting video from Mr. Genadek, but wonder if this could be answered for me in the meantime?

What do you think about the "point billets"? - where the front billets come out of the front points of the tree.

I have one saddle with a point billet and a "y swing" rear billet - with the option of another attachment about half way between the two.

And another where the saddle (monoflap) comes with a point billet and a rear one - I had the manufacturer add a middle billet as I was undecided about the whole setup :) - but the middle billet is not half way between the 2 others, it's closer to the back.

I have experimented with attaching the girth in different combinations and it does not seem to make a difference - the saddle stays put (with a fairly loose girth) and the horses don't seem to change either.

- is that my answer? :)

Should the billets be done up to equal tension? - here I am thinking of a western saddle as discussed on this forum, and how the front cinch would be tighter than the rear ( although the rear would be snug)

Thank you very much for your help!
Zuzana

DrDeb
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 Posted: Fri Sep 18th, 2015 01:12 am
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Zuzana -- First, it would be helpful to know why you're asking about this. Did you feel that your saddle doesn't fit? Is your horse getting a rub someplace? The saddle doesn't "look right" to your eye? You're being pressured into buying another saddle by a commissioned salesperson who is masquerading as a girlfriend?

Second -- there is no one billet configuration that is peculiar to dressage saddles. It sounds from your description as if the saddle you have offers many options.

Third -- the object of a "Y-fork" configuration, or also of having more than one girth, is to equalize the pressure from front to back along the tree, so as to prevent you from overtightening the front girth in an effort to keep the saddle in place. Another purpose is to keep the rear part of the saddle from scrubbing left and right across the horse's back, which it will do even if it otherwise appears to fit, if you rely overmuch on the front girth. Using that rear cinch represents a horsemanship challenge for some people, who are afraid to make the rear cinch snug for fear of having their horse buck. The proper idea would be to get the horse educated regarding the rear cinch before trying to use it.

Most "English"-style saddles, however, do not feature two separate girths, but rather accomplish most or all of the same objectives by means of the "Y"-fork configuration. And it sounds like you have this available to you. So you adjust the "Y" on the tensioners provided, which will be above the fork of the "Y", until when you tighten the girth to the normal amount, it appears to your eye and your feel that the pressure under the points and that under the center of the saddle are equal. The pressure under the cantle should be a little less.

From this you can see that a "point billet" does no good at all -- indeed, it works against all good principles. From time to time and from year to year, there arise fads in clothing, tack, equipment, bitting, horseshoeing, training technique, breeds of horse, supplementation and feeding; experience, and contact with good horsemen, will teach you to ignore all fads. -- Dr. Deb

zuzana
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 Posted: Fri Sep 18th, 2015 02:15 am
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Thank you Dr Deb,

to answer your question as to why I am wondering about the billets:
it's because the point attachment doesn't really make sense to me, feels like a fad. :) the saddles just happened to come with them.

I think the saddles fit the horses that work in them and no-one is pressuring me to buy anything ;)

I will have to look for any tensioners above the Y and add the billet so I can attach the girth behind the points of the tree.

I think you have answered my question perfectly - thank you very much.

Zuzana

DrDeb
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 Posted: Fri Sep 18th, 2015 12:47 pm
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Zuzana, please wait until you watch Dave G's video before doing very much. I think things will be much clearer to you from that. Let us know after you view "About Saddle Fit" whether you have further questions. -- Dr. Deb

zuzana
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 Posted: Sun Sep 20th, 2015 07:03 pm
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Thank you Dr Deb,
I need to learn more patience :)

David Genadek
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 Posted: Mon Sep 21st, 2015 10:02 pm
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Here is a photo showing the three rigging configurations you will see on saddles. By using a rocking chair as a model you can get an understanding of what and how things are happening. The point billet as it is being used today goes back the fitting concepts of the west (meaning Europe) that they used in Jousting saddles. The idea is to stabilize the saddle using the front arch as a stabilizer. This will cause the front arch to dig into the Tapezius and depending on the design it may also effect the Latissamus too. Generally those that use the point billets will also design panel is a way that it will use the Latissamus as a weight bearing surface for the saddle. As much as I understand the history I can see no reason to ever under any circumstance use a point billet but I follow the fitting concepts that came from the East. The eastern concept puts the pressure on the Longissamus Dorso muscle and keeps it off the Trapezius and latissamuss.

Attachment: rigging configuration.jpg (Downloaded 276 times)

Kuhaylan Heify
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 Posted: Tue Sep 22nd, 2015 11:36 am
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Dave when do estimate you'll have your dressage saddles ready to sell to us?
best wishes
Bruce Peek

DrDeb
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 Posted: Tue Sep 22nd, 2015 11:59 am
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Bruce, as there is only one correct way to sit in a saddle, and there is no such thing as either "English" or "Western" as those terms are commonly used, I highly doubt that any of Dave's new designs will be "dressage" saddles. What they WILL be is saddles that no. 1, fit the horse; and no. 2, assist the rider to sit in the one correct position.

This "one correct position" is the position which, last time I saw you, I suggested you be working on finding and developing. Without it....there isn't a single human being on Earth who can be both effective and humane on horseback. -- Dr. Deb

zuzana
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 Posted: Tue Sep 22nd, 2015 06:48 pm
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Thank you David,
can't wait to learn more from your tape :)

Kuhaylan Heify
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 Posted: Tue Sep 22nd, 2015 08:04 pm
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dear dr. deb.. I'm chipping away on my sitting up straight and not flopping forward so as to throw the horse off balance and onto his forehand..I've also tweaked my physical therapy and core development exercizes.. At the saddle seminar in McMinnville Dave restuffed my saddle to improve it, and checked the fit of another saddle and recommended a certain saddler who could reflock my other saddle.. He had a prototype of a,' dressage,'saddle at the McMinnville event which had all the proper design features one would want with tons of flare so as to clear the horses shoulders. Compared to the several other types of saddles commonly seen Daves saddles are way better at fitting horse and rider.
As for the sitting up straight department when I'm sitting properly the horse can lift his back with what seems to me like just a thought on my part. Hopefully I'm on the right track now, which I would not be if it were not for your proper insight and advice. I thank you very deeply for your help!
best wishes
Bruce Peek

Shapleigh
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 Posted: Wed Sep 23rd, 2015 07:15 pm
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This is an interesting topic as I have been working on finding the best configuration for my pony with a saddle that has 4 billets, including point billets.

Thanks for the diagrams, Dave. I am however having difficulty understanding the difference between the force or pressure exerted by point billets and what would be the front billet for the double rigged saddle, or even the triangle rigged saddle. Both of those configurations use the front most area of the saddle tree.



~Shari

David Genadek
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 Posted: Fri Sep 25th, 2015 08:03 pm
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Shari, That is a very good question. The difference is that you also have a rigging element pulling down on the rear so combined they can be used effectively unfortunately in the real world they are rarely configured properly. Basically when you pull on the rigging you want it to hold the middle of the saddle down. I will post some pictures of the concept.

Attachment: double-rigging.jpg (Downloaded 211 times)

David Genadek
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 Posted: Fri Sep 25th, 2015 08:10 pm
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Here is what happens if you don't have the rear rigging element. This also occurs on English saddles if the billets are placed too far forward.

Attachment: norearcinchsm.jpg (Downloaded 209 times)

David Genadek
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 Posted: Fri Sep 25th, 2015 08:13 pm
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Here you can see where billets on an English saddle would be the most effective from an eastern saddle fitting perspective.

Attachment: center-rigging.jpg (Downloaded 214 times)

David Genadek
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 Posted: Fri Sep 25th, 2015 09:06 pm
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Here is a dressage saddle I have in to replace a billet. You can see that it has a point billet along with another billet that has a triangular configuration so that when you pull on the billet the force goes to where I have marked the red arrow. I have a also marked a center line so you can see that nearly all the pull of the rigging is going to the front half of the saddle.

Attachment: westernfitting1concept.jpg (Downloaded 218 times)

Last edited on Fri Sep 25th, 2015 09:07 pm by David Genadek


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