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zuzana
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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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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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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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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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Thank you Dr Deb,
I need to learn more patience :)

David Genadek
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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 273 times)

Kuhaylan Heify
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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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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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Thank you David,
can't wait to learn more from your tape :)

Kuhaylan Heify
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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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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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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 208 times)

David Genadek
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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 206 times)

David Genadek
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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 211 times)

David Genadek
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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 214 times)

Last edited on Fri Sep 25th, 2015 08:07 pm by David Genadek

David Genadek
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Now lets look a the shape of the panel on this saddle. You can see it is very narrow in the middle and the front is designed to take the pressure. This is the western concept of fit that started with Jousting saddles.

Attachment: westernfitting2concept.jpg (Downloaded 252 times)

David Genadek
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Now lets take a look at my classical equitation saddle that is designed on the eastern concepts of fit. You can see how the rigging will focus the pressure of the saddle on the middle.

Attachment: easternfittingconcept1.jpg (Downloaded 252 times)

David Genadek
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The panel is much wider through the middle and will distribute the forces of the Longissamus dorsi muscle rather than the Trapezius and lattissamus as the western concept does.

Attachment: easternfittingconcept2.jpg (Downloaded 253 times)

Kuhaylan Heify
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O.K. Dave, so 8 weeks from 3 and 1/2 weeks ago would be about early November or so- would be the date when your classical equitation saddle will be available.. Hope my math's close to correct.. best wishes'
Bruce Peek

David Genadek
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Bruce I am taking orders and we are a few weeks away from them being in stock.

Shapleigh
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Thank you for the visuals. This confirms what I thought was occurring regarding the direction of force produced by the billets, and certainly cleared up my misconceptions about using the point billet and last billet of a multi-billet English saddle. I was thinking it would be more like the triangle rigging of the western saddle, which is one of the reasons I invested in a multi-billet saddle. And thanks to Dave's educational video and this forum, my saddle does have wide the wide panels.

I did experiment last night with my English saddle using the very last two billet positions which are equivalent to the positions in your Equitation saddle, Dave. I did notice a difference in the movement of my pony for the better as well as a better centered seat.

Now another question if I may: If the tendency of the girth is to fall in front of the placement of the centered billets, does using an anatomical (curved) girth alter direction of the force of the billet? I ask this because when using the 'centered' billet options, the saddle did migrate forward a bit after riding. I have to note that my pony is broad- backed and mutton withered (and well sprung in the ribs).
~Shari

David Genadek
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Shari, It is hard for me to comment with out seeing the particulars of the a given situation. I design saddles to sit more forward so the notion if it being forward does not bother me. I view those curved girths as a gimmick whose basis is the notion that the girth should be in the "girth groove" so it is secured to the Sternum. You can see in the photo attached that it would be pretty difficult to attache the girth to the sternum. Why would you ever want to place a girth in an area where there is a ton of movement?

Attachment: sternum2.jpg (Downloaded 214 times)

David Genadek
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Lois the 14th understood girths.

Attachment: LoisXIVfrance1673.jpg (Downloaded 219 times)

Shapleigh
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I am not trying to place the girth where 'all the action is', it just seems to migrate to that area even when the billets are not parallel to the girth groove, but behind it. I actually have not tried a curved girth at this time.
However, I was researching historical photos these past few days and noted the wide girths used, such as in drawings of Baucher. Those girths are also placed fairly far behind the elbow. I am contemplating trying a multi-girth system, like the one pictured below, or those used with some side saddles. It looks like the Lois the 14th girth is the best from both of these types of girth systems. I will have to continue to try different ones to see what works best with my pony's build and current saddle.
~Shari

Attachment: greyhorsesaddled.jpg (Downloaded 197 times)

David Genadek
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Some horses have a pear shape that makes keeping the girth back near impossible. Mules are bad this way so they came up with a packer cinch.

Attachment: xcinch2.jpg (Downloaded 196 times)

David Genadek
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Here is what we use around here for the classical equitation saddles. We did a roper style English girth.

Attachment: english_girths.jpg (Downloaded 200 times)

snowdenfarm
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Hi, Dave. Will I need a long or short girth with my new XXXXXXXX saddle?

Thanks,

Cheryl
SE PA

Note from Dr. Deb: Please avoid mentioning saddles by brand name in this Forum. If it's absolutely necessary to mention the brand name in order to tender a sensible query, please write to Dave off list. Thanks -- Dr. Deb

Last edited on Thu Oct 1st, 2015 09:36 am by DrDeb

LynnF
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Because of the mule's "pear" shape, many mule riders keep the rear girth tighter than the front girth. Of course the 2 girths are connected and this keeps the rear girth from slipping back and the front girth from slipping forward.

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Bump as these are great images to be studied. :-)
Getting my eye in for saddle fit again.

DrDeb
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Judy, and everybody, I agree this thread is a wonderful contribution by our Institute friend Dave Genadek.

Recently he and I had some extensive telephone conversations around a series of three articles I was writing for Eclectic Horseman. I always check in with Dave when I'm onto this subject.

The three articles are all published by this point and if you're interested in saddle fit, I'd suggest you go get them from Eclectic Horseman mercantile/back issues, that is if you aren't already a subscriber.

Cheers -- Dr. Deb

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Excellent, my sub has finished so will check the back issues. :-)

JTB
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Hi Dr Deb and All,

I found this on You Tube and I hope it is okay to share Dr Deb as it has a few things on saddle history that really make it clear on what we are looking at when we look at Saddles today and trying to choose the right one for our horses.

I haven't gotten the back issues yet but I have the Inner Horseman on Saddle fit. :-)

If the weather holds I am off to play with shims today as I have a few questions about them but need to go see if I can answer my own questions first.

Kind Regards
Judy

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3aUre4i2-Js

DrDeb
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A session with our Institute friend Dave Genadek is always going to be empowering for you.

More: Get the last three issues of The Eclectic Horseman, in which I give the history, the background, the terminology, the anatomy, and practical help on how to choose and fit a saddle for your particular horse. -- Dr. Deb

David Genadek
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Here are a couple of videos that explain the concept of cantilevering. This is a really important concept in the world of saddle fitting. I believe you should place rider forward and cantilever the rider's weight backward over the entire rib cage. Others believe the saddle should be placed further back and the pressure should be cantilevered forward. The third group believes the saddle should have even pressure throughout the length of the saddle. Depending on which of these concepts a person believes in, different ideas of how and where to place billets will emerge.

https://youtu.be/u-uni3D2wNQ

https://youtu.be/jsEvAUNdhpI

Last edited on Thu Jul 4th, 2019 10:40 pm by David Genadek




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