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View Full Version : Saddles Being Pulled Forward - Point Billets and Wither Gussets Not Helping



ytr45
Feb. 3, 2011, 08:50 AM
I'm curious if anyone else has noticed this or had a similar situation.

I bought a customizable dressage saddle - as opposed to an off the shelf saddle - for the express purpose of the wither gussets and point billets. We always hear that these features solve the problem of a saddle being pulled forward (downhill horse + dip behind the withers + forward girth channel).

I have noticed that the saddle gets pulled forward and jams up behind withers just as much as a saddle without point billets and wither gussets.

It seems that these features really don't live up to their claims, at least not when you have downhill horse + dip behind withers + forward girth channel.

In hindsight I wonder if I should have just bought a crupper, or not worried about the saddle jamming forward. Maybe all the hype about point billets and wither gussets is a scam :-)

Thoughts?

2tempe
Feb. 3, 2011, 09:22 AM
I have two of your problems; the dip and the girth channel. My fitter told me that point billets would not help and that my horse would "hate" them. We are in the process of tinkering w/ the fit of my saddle, but she recommends, in any event, a non-slip pad (Barnsby - it is non slip on both sides of pad) and an anatomical girth. These seem to help a fair amount. Note that the anatomical is different than just the contours; the former is designed with a forward curve so the curve sits in the girth channel and the billets then come down more correctly. Brace yourself, the most commonly discussed girths are $$: County Logic and Prestige. Ovation makes two that are less; one leather one synthetic. I'm considering ordering the synthetic as I prefer that material to leather in my girths.

carolprudm
Feb. 3, 2011, 09:22 AM
One of my mares had that problem. A Mattes Correction half pad helped

princessfluffybritches
Feb. 3, 2011, 10:13 AM
After trying various equipment, the only thing that ended up working was a crupper. I have the same problems, downhill and dip.

Valentina_32926
Feb. 3, 2011, 10:26 AM
When my Dutch mare developed the topline to support the FEI movements we were schooling, the saddle started moving forward. Had the Verhan representative out to look at the saddle. Besides a change in gullet and flocking he moved the billets so one cam down under the thigh blocks and the other stayed further back. More separation between the two billets and a proper fitting saddle means no more saddle sliding forward.

I'd have a saddle fitter (that knows what they're doing) adjust the saddle for your horse - mentioning to them about the movement forward. Then when they return the saddle ride in it and see if it still slips forward.

mbm
Feb. 3, 2011, 11:08 AM
point billets tend to restrict the horse and put too much pressure on the shoulders/withers.

a saddle that fits should not move.

you might try a foregirth they can work.

analise
Feb. 3, 2011, 03:58 PM
Had the saddle fitter out recently and she said the fit of my saddle was, actually, pretty good, but she didn't like my billets.

Mine are the sort that have a point billet up front that hangs straight down and then the billet in the back is "Y" shaped. The problem was that my horse has a pretty forward "groove" for where the girth wants to go and that meant that when girthed up, that back billet didn't hang parallel to the point billet but instead, the left "wing" for the "Y" would be a little loose and the right "wing" would be tight (basically creating a straight line from where that back wing attaches to the saddle down to the girth, if that makes sense). The sum total of this was it basically would tug my saddle forward into my horses wither and shoulders, making it uncomfortable.

What she did was change it so that back billet hangs off the top of the "Y" from a d-ring so it can slide to where it needs to be to allow it to hang straight and have even tension on both ends of the "Y". That, and she thinks adding some flocking to the front of my saddle would help but for now she said using a half pad would be fine.

I talk about the whole process over here:

http://adventuresinhorse-dom.blogspot.com/2011/01/had-saddle-fitter-out-today.html

Velvet
Feb. 3, 2011, 04:01 PM
After trying various equipment, the only thing that ended up working was a crupper. I have the same problems, downhill and dip.

I was going to suggest this too. When you've exhausted all other options (foregirth, etc), this really is the only viable one left--and it might be a super easy fix in the end (no pun intended on the "end" comment ;) ).

spirithorse
Feb. 3, 2011, 05:18 PM
My clinician had me start using a crupper and it has made all the difference.

horsebasket
Feb. 3, 2011, 05:26 PM
The very BEST people in the saddle fit business are the Balance Saddle International ladies who have done the research...please check out their website. They are from England and come to the USA for clinics and I attended one with my horse. Linda Parelli (as in Pat Parelli and Natural Horsemanship) has their saddle system and the Parellis have now developed Western saddles following the same protocol.

I HIGHLY recommend checking out their website. IF you can AUDIT one of their clinics, you may get a better understanding of HOW saddles should fit, what a horse's back and withers is supposed to be (doublebacked or like a table), and how and why the saddle you already have is doing on your horse and whether or not this saddle is right for your horse at this time.

BadEventer
Feb. 3, 2011, 07:33 PM
My clinician had me start using a crupper and it has made all the difference.

I have the same problem. Downhill horse, dip behind the withers. She's also a big mover who really lifts her back.............and everything crawls forward. I've been through several saddles, fittings, reflockings, gullet changes, shims, half pads, correction pads, non-slip pads..................

I'm going to try the crupper. I have a feeling my horse will say "Why didn't you try that first?!"

A few years back I met with one of the very top custom saddle makers in the world. My friend asked him about a downhill horse he was struggling to fit. The expert's response............ "No one can do a great job with those horses." His advice........"Buy a horse with a good back!"

My friend went home and put a crupper on his horse, and it made all the difference.

Reddfox
Feb. 3, 2011, 08:16 PM
Had the saddle fitter out recently and she said the fit of my saddle was, actually, pretty good, but she didn't like my billets.

Mine are the sort that have a point billet up front that hangs straight down and then the billet in the back is "Y" shaped. The problem was that my horse has a pretty forward "groove" for where the girth wants to go and that meant that when girthed up, that back billet didn't hang parallel to the point billet but instead, the left "wing" for the "Y" would be a little loose and the right "wing" would be tight (basically creating a straight line from where that back wing attaches to the saddle down to the girth, if that makes sense). The sum total of this was it basically would tug my saddle forward into my horses wither and shoulders, making it uncomfortable.

What she did was change it so that back billet hangs off the top of the "Y" from a d-ring so it can slide to where it needs to be to allow it to hang straight and have even tension on both ends of the "Y". That, and she thinks adding some flocking to the front of my saddle would help but for now she said using a half pad would be fine.

I talk about the whole process over here:

http://adventuresinhorse-dom.blogspot.com/2011/01/had-saddle-fitter-out-today.html

My mare, although built uphill, has a forward girth channel and a very large shoulder. The more her topline developed, the more the saddle started to slide forward.

I also had a saddle fitter out and they said that the saddle fit well, but that the Y billet was actually pulling the cantle down and allowing the saddle to move forward. She changed by billets - I tried it for a couple of weeks and it was better, but still creeping up, so she let me try a demo anatomical girth.

Voila, problem solved! Billets stay vertical, saddle is not pulled forward and girth sits in the girth channel and I have a happy maresy!

If your saddle is still moving after the changes, I highly recommend looking into an anatomical girth.

fry
Feb. 4, 2011, 02:19 AM
I got one of those girths that are shaped with a curve in the middle, it cured all saddle slippage!

feuerkracher
Feb. 4, 2011, 05:58 AM
I third the suggestions for an anatomic girth. I bought one for a horse that had a similar issue, and it made such a dramatic difference. Mine is a County Logic, but I know that Prestige and Ovation also make some. The Ovation one is more affordable, but I'm not sure of the quality as I have not seen it in person. But it's definitely worth trying! I never knew a girth could be so paramount!

eventer_mi
Feb. 4, 2011, 08:11 AM
M. Toulouse also makes an anatomic girth, in both the short and the long. Definitely more affordable than the Prestige and County.

cute_lil_fancy_pants_pony
Feb. 4, 2011, 08:20 AM
I got one of these anatomical girths. It is just like the more expensive girths and has worked really well on my forward girth groove horse!
http://cgi.ebay.com/Delfina-Anatomical-Shaped-Black-Dressage-Girth-26-/250683744355?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3a5dea6063#ht_749wt_904 (http://cgi.ebay.com/Delfina-Anatomical-Shaped-Black-Dressage-Girth-26-/250683744355?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3a5dea6063#ht_749wt_904)

chryssilynn
Feb. 6, 2011, 12:17 AM
Horse is also down hill, deep shoulder, foward girth groove, round barrel, medium wither, curved and short back. FUN is all I can say when it comes to fitting dressage saddles. My saddle has 3 billets, but I use the point billet and rear V-billet, but still had some splippage. I then experimented with my girth. Instead of putting the billets through the slits on my girth, I just put them directly into the buckles. This prevented my saddle from being pulled forward from the girth. I would guess that a girth that equalizes the pressure would also help. I haven't purchased a new girth yet, but might not as it's working pretty well right now. However, I would want to try a mohair girth with split buckle ends.