How do you avoid bruising from girth buckles on a short-billeted English saddle - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 07-21-2014, 05:37 PM Thread Starter
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How do you avoid bruising from girth buckles on a short-billeted English saddle

I ride in an English saddle with short billets. I've always preferred the stability of short billets over long billets. The drawback of course is that I have girth buckles under my knee.

I normally don't feel girth buckles, because they sit right behind my knee. However, now that I'm trotting 15 miles in a stretch, I've lengthened my leathers for a straighter leg that allows me to semi-stand more in my stirrups much of the time to take the pressure off the horse's back. That puts my knee right over the buckles, and after a couple hours of trotting, boy do I notice that buckle!

Please share any tricks you know to avoid the pain.
Do I need to seriously consider retrofitting with long billets?
Can I put a thicker, heavier billet-guard over the buckles with any good results? (I currently have the little flaps that go over individual billets/buckles)
Are there girths with buckles that are flat or specially curved so that they lay flatter, resulting in less bulk under the flap?
Any other ideas?
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post #2 of 17 Old 07-21-2014, 06:04 PM
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Wait, so your knee is at the girth? To me that would seem like your stirrups are way too long... maybe I'm not picturing it correctly, but it seems like you'd either have your leg with no bend in it at all so it falls directly beneath you, or the seat's too large so your butt is far behind the leathers/girth.

To answer the question, though, maybe a fleece girth cover would help? The bulk under your knee would still be there, but perhaps having the fleece there would absorb some of the shock and distribute the pressure more evenly.
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post #3 of 17 Old 07-21-2014, 06:18 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by DuckDodgers View Post
Wait, so your knee is at the girth? To me that would seem like your stirrups are way too long... maybe I'm not picturing it correctly, but it seems like you'd either have your leg with no bend in it at all so it falls directly beneath you, or the seat's too large so your butt is far behind the leathers/girth.
My knee "proper" is not at the girth buckles. The back of my knee - that very soft sensitive part on the backside of the knee - ends up just barely hitting the girth buckle that's the furthest to the front. I do have a bend in my knee, but when I stand in the stirrups for a trot that goes on and on and on and... , the the back of the bend of my knee just "nicks" that buckle.
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post #4 of 17 Old 07-21-2014, 06:24 PM
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Originally Posted by freia View Post
My knee "proper" is not at the girth buckles. The back of my knee - that very soft sensitive part on the backside of the knee - ends up just barely hitting the girth buckle that's the furthest to the front. I do have a bend in my knee, but when I stand in the stirrups for a trot that goes on and on and on and... , the the back of the bend of my knee just "nicks" that buckle.
Oh ok, that gives a better picture!
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post #5 of 17 Old 07-21-2014, 06:32 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by DuckDodgers View Post
Oh ok, that gives a better picture!
Posted via Mobile Device
I'd take a picture, but I found it pretty impossible to do singlehandedly, even with a timer/tripod.

I don't notice it the first 10 miles. At mile 11 it was annoying. By mile 12 I was fighting to ignore it. At mile 15 I'm wanting to ride bareback. If I get a shorter or longer girth, I'll just be moving the problem up to my thigh or down to my calf.
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post #6 of 17 Old 07-21-2014, 10:02 PM
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I would suggest trying a thicker billet guard. My mare goes in a saddle with short billets and I have never had an issue with the buckles bruising.. but I have a thick, single-piece billet guard over the buckles on both sides.
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post #7 of 17 Old 07-21-2014, 10:37 PM
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the few times ive ridden in a an English saddle , like hunt seat, the buckles have made me miserable. do they really make the saddle so much more stable?
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post #8 of 17 Old 07-21-2014, 10:51 PM
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I'm struggling to understand how this is happening as I've always ridden English, and never had such a problem - so my suggestion may be way off.

Could you use a much shorter girth so that the buckles are further down?

Second question - are you wearing long boots, or half-chaps? Or could you?
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post #9 of 17 Old 07-22-2014, 12:07 AM
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This may be a stupid question (as I am a western rider) but if the buckles are bruising you, couldn't they also be creating pressure points on the horse? Or does it not work that way?

I have noticed that sometimes with certain saddles on certain horses, western rigging can cause pressure points. Like you get a perfect sweat pattern except for where the large rigging ring on the western saddle is.

So I was just curious if the same applies to english saddles???
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post #10 of 17 Old 07-22-2014, 12:35 AM
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the buckles seem to always be up under the riders thigh, or like the OP said, at about the back of the knee. honestly, I really dislike hunt seat saddles. so uncomfortable.
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