I have a dressage saddle, a Crosby Corinthian, with regular billets. I was wondering why some dressage saddles have regular billets, while the newer ones tend to have longer billets. Can anyone answer this question for me? Thanks!
I think it's because we are breeding our dressage horses a lot bigger than we used to, say back in the 80's and 90's. With the introduction of such horses as the Freisian and other drafts we are coming out with beautiful and massive steeds...and the need for saddles to have longer billets and wider trees to accommodate them. Just think, if they didn't start making longer billets, you'd have to have longer girths... and depending on how many horses you use it on...many different girths.
I also really like the longer billets because they give you more room for adjustment and don't have to buy a separate girth for EVERY horse you use the saddle with because it makes it easier for 1 girth to fit more horses. Katie is about 350 pounds heavier than Cinny and I used to have to use two different girths. When I had my saddle reconditioned I also had to have the billets replaced and went with longer ones. Now one girth fits both horses :)
Yep less bulk under the leg. Yes you still have buckles under your lower leg, however I ride with my leg behind the girth a little anyway so there is not impact.
I cannot stand riding in a short billeted saddle, there is so much bulk under your thigh!
The reason is not because we have bigger horses. Jumpers have some really big horses to, and they are still using long girths - explain that.
Big black furry horses are also carriage horses - not dressage horses (but that's a whole different can of worms I'm not getting into). They just started doing dressage in like the last 10 years - modern dressage saddles have had long billets far before that.
It is to reduce bulk under the leg, the same idea as the monoflap designed saddles, etc. In dressage we use such minute aids that the less saddle (and girth) there is between horse and rider, the easier it becomes. I find having the long billets also lets your leg lie straighter than in a short billeted saddle.
It's up to you if you want longer billets. The only issue I have is that when I'm on a horse that's "up" and don't have a ground person with me, I don't necessarily want to hang off the side of him to tighten the girth