off billet versus latigo?
I'm trying to learn about saddles before I purchase one and while looking at western saddles and how they cinch, I noticed that one side has a latigo and the other side has an off billet.
Looking at the difference in these two straps and how they attach to the saddle and cinch....I got to wondering why western saddles don't just use an off billet on both sides of the saddle. Does anyone know why a latigo instead of an off billet? I can certainly see that a latigo would help make saddles/cinches fit a wider variety of horses...but if the tack is only for one horse, would two off billets work just as good with less bulk?
It would be tough to tighten an off-billet. The latigo is easy to tighten. And with a latigo, you can tighten it to anywhere you want and tie it off - you don't need to use the holes if you don't want to.
which strap is which again? haha.
Latigo is the long piece on the near side, off billet short piece on the off side. You would need a really long cinch if you only had billets, you also would have to either have a really tight or really loose cinch because of the holes. I've ridden in saddles that have two latigos and have to tie both sides. Latigo makes a saddle adjustable if your horse loses or gains weight, different horse, and generally very easy to use once you know how to tie it.
Thanks guys...that makes good sense! I'll scrap all thoughts of 2 off billets then!
No harm is asking.
Agree with all the others regarding the difficulty in getting a cinch with 2 off-billets tight enough.
That being said, I always switch out the off billet on my saddles and put another latigo on there so that there is a latigo on both sides. That makes adjusting the cinch a whole lot easier.
A better fit makes a lot of sense but I keep looking at the size of that knot and wondering.
Does the latigo knot ever cause problems with its bulk? When I look at western saddles, the most common rigging seems to be 7/8's and falls just under the fender. It looks like it'd interfere with riding...both for comfort and for communication.
I'm guessing it must be comfortable for both horse and rider then...does it cause any problems with being able to use your legs to direct your horse?
I have never had the knot interfere.. If you dont like to knot it up, just buckle it and then run the rest of the latigo through the keeper.
As smrobs said, having two latigos allows for a customized fit. I find this extremely helpful for horses that are prone to girth sores. I have a mare like that now. I started using a different type of cinch with a latigo on each side so that it fits her exactly right.
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