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  • Billets????

    Why are there three billets on a jumping saddles, and only two on dressage saddles?

    It something I have always wondered since I was a little girl, and never asked anyone who knew.

    I have had some people ask me and thats one thing I just never could answer. Its probably a dumb question, but how will we ever know if we don't ask?

    Thanks in advance!

  • #2
    I've always been told that three billets were a hunt field necessity in case one breaks. I guess Dressage riders are a little less likely to break a billet.


    • #3
      Most (all?) dressage saddles are monoflap saddles. If you had an extra billet, it would be flapping around loose under your leg since there is no second flap to tuck it under. The same is true with monoflap cross country or jumping saddles, which both also have only two billets.

      Because of the second flap on a jumping saddle, an extra billet can be accommodated.

      ETA: I'm not sure why there's an extra one. Just in case, or maybe to make minor adjustments to the placement of the saddle?
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      • #4
        The third billet is in case one breaks out in the field. While I can't speak definitively for dressage saddles, klmck63's thoughts seem to make sense. I might add that dressagers are less likely to be caught with a broken billet while riding out in the country


        • #5
          Originally posted by klmck63 View Post
          Most (all?) dressage saddles are monoflap saddles.
          What? No. That's not true.

          In addition to having a spare in case one breaks, three or more billets (some saddles have a fourth billet on the point, and Trumbull even carries one with *five*) allow you to adjust girth placement according to a horse's conformation, such as when the correct saddle placement is at odds with the horse's natural girth groove.


          • #6
            I completely agree with citydog. The majority of dressage saddles I've seen have NOT been monoflap. And aside from having one be a spare, it definitely does allow for minor saddle fitting adjustments.

            I usually use the back 2 billets by default, but I find, for example, on my mare my saddle fits best with the front 2 billets. If I use the back 2 on her the front of my saddle wants to prop just a little bit up front, if I use the front 2 billets this doesn't happen.


            • #7
              Majority of dresssage saddles are most definitely not monoflaps.

              I had a gpd with 5 billets, the standard 3 in the center with an additional point billet and additional back billet, it was for fine tuning fit when girthing, the saddle was designed for round roly poly types.

              I have a dressage saddle with 4 billets (4 per side), extra dangly long billets that need to be tucked away into the keepers on the girth, again its for fine tuning the fit for the fat ones.

              And I have had dressage saddles with 3 billets before, two long, one short. The billets were also double drilled so either a short or long girth could be used. And the 3rd also offered an easy option for adjustment of billet placement by a saddle fitter.
              Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.


              • #8
                Yes to what's been said so far. 3 for both sh!t/fan situations and also adjusting fit. No to dressagers being monoflap.

                But more on fit. A long time ago, people used to use fore girths to help with imperfect fit with a dressage saddle. I can remember a short fad in NorCal in the late '80s.

                Either fashions changed, dressage saddles have been made to fit better and/or the also started building billets that were attached to the saddle by a nylon V-shape web. With these, you allow the girth to anchor the tree to the horse's back at two points without adding a whole fan of billets hanging down that will accomplish something similar. The fan option, however, lets you put the girth where you want with respect to the tree whereas the sliding V does not.
                The armchair saddler
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                • #9
                  Originally posted by citydog View Post
                  What? No. That's not true.
                  Oh, well all the ones I've ever seen have just had the one flap. Sorry for the assumption.
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