Replacing saddle billets?

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Replacing saddle billets?

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    10-17-2012, 11:52 AM
Replacing saddle billets?

I have this old Blue Ribbon English saddle (it looks like an all purpose) and I really wanted to use it, even though I ride Western, because you already have a fairly good saddle right here and it can save some money. The barn owner where I ride makes saddles, and I had him inspect it so I could see what needed to be fixed. He said the billets needed to be replaced, they had dry rotted. I'm not sure what else, though. That was all he said.

The stirrup bars are also a bit iffy; they are really hard to get a leather under and are immovable. I don't think they're rusty (I haven't looked at the saddle in a bit but I'm bringing it home today), just locked into one place. How can I loosen them up a bit?

About the billets: how much would it cost to have the billets replaced? The stitching is also coming undone a little on the panels, will they be fine (I don't do heavy riding, just once a week and I prob. Won't use that saddle *every* lesson) or does it need to be fixed?

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    10-17-2012, 12:06 PM
I'll try to get some pictures uploaded if I can, so y'all can see what I meant by some of my descriptions and if you could see if it looked like everything was in useable condition (minus the billets).
    10-17-2012, 12:57 PM
Billets are pretty straightforward to replace, though often the front of the panel has to be taken down to re-stitch them if the girth (billet) webs are short. Don't know what they charge over there but it'd be around $60-70 (£40) to replace a set of six over here.

Stirrup bars - ignore the hinged parts. You should never push them up because they won't let the leathers pull off in an emergency. Usual reasons for not being able to get leathers on are (i) there's a knack - you have to push a loop towards the horse before sliding it onto the bar. Ask someone to show you if not sure, or (ii) if the bars are recessed and the panel stuffing is firm you may need some to be removed from directly behind the bar. You'd need a proper saddle fitter for this as removing too much flock can cause as many problems as having too much there in the first place.

Panel stitching - it depends what's coming undone. Front (around pommel) or rear (below cantle) lacing is pretty critical, safety-wise, other stuff less so.

Hope this is some help :)

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