DIY Australian saddle rigging conversion
   

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DIY Australian saddle rigging conversion

This is a discussion on DIY Australian saddle rigging conversion within the Trail Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • Australian saddles under rigging
  • How do you determine the size for an austrailian girth

 
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    07-21-2013, 11:46 AM
  #1
Foal
DIY Australian saddle rigging conversion

FYI for anyone else not happy with the traditional aussie rigging
(and some other aussie saddle improvement ideas)

When I got my Australian saddle last spring I liked the saddle, but did not like the rigging. My very sensitive TBx is prone to rubs and did not do well with the overgirth. I found that it tightens one side more than the other, causing uneven pressure, and that caused problems for both of our horses. I also didn't like the bulk of the buckles under the flap. I found western rigging conversion kits online, but they were bulky, expensive, and not what I wanted. I prefer dressage girths-- IMO shorter girths are more stable and less likely to rub, and I like to be able to tighten each side one hole at a time, back and forth, for the comfort of said sensitive horse. My horse also prefers a girth with even stretch; girths with elastic on just one side cause her problems. So finding a dressage style girth with 1.5" buckles to accommodate the wide aussie billets and with elastic on BOTH sides was challenging. After tons of searching I have found 3 styles that I am happy with. My favorite is the 100% Mohair string girth, I also use the neoprene girth for short or muddy rides, and the real wool pile girth is nice too:



If anyone is having the same problem and looking for these girths I can look up the links where I found them...

Then I had to figure out how to change the rigging. The overgirths on our aussie saddles have a billet on one side and a D ring on the other, for the pull strap to go through. I did find some overgirths online that had billets on both sides, but they were expensive and not high quality leather. So I worked with what I had. For the black overgirth, I cut the pull strap off an aussie girth and secured it to the D ring on the overgirth with chicago screws, washers, and Loctite. For the brown overgirth I used an extra long leather halter crownpiece attached the same way:







Here's the rigging under the flap on the horse:



We've been using this set up on two different horses for a while now, and are really happy with it. HUGE improvement from the way the saddles came. The horses are much more comfortable on long multiday rides, no more rubs, swelling, or saddle tilt. Also, I find it more comfortable for the rider, as there's no bulky buckles under your leg.

Other changes I made to my aussie saddle include changing the stirrup leathers to Wintec Webbers so there's no buckle under my thigh and changing to endurance stirrups. I found that Snug Pax fit the saddle perfectly with no bounce or horse rubs (English Slimline in front, Uni in back). For our particular saddles (Down Under Master Campdraft Deluxe, which has a shorter flap and closer contact than most aussies), the Toklat Woolback Oversize Dressage pad fits the saddle perfectly. This pad has made a big improvement in saddle fit and horse comfort instead of the normal felt pad that we got with the saddles. They do make an aussie cut pad too, to accommodate the longer flap on most aussie saddles. I added a Cashel Australian Tush Cushion for comfort on those all day rides, but I'm thinking about trying a sheepskin instead. We also attached saddle strings to the back D rings on the saddles.

     
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    07-21-2013, 12:02 PM
  #2
Trained
I'd love to know where there are dressage girths with 1.5 inch buckles. If so, I'll switch my overgirth to one of these:



Girts and Girthing Systems
     
    07-21-2013, 12:21 PM
  #3
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by bsms    
I'd love to know where there are dressage girths with 1.5 inch buckles. If so, I'll switch my overgirth to one of these:



Girts and Girthing Systems
Not sure if it is of concern to you, but that is one of the overgirths that I was told is cheap dry stiff leather. It would work. I was worried it might rub my saddle seat.

I did find links to the girths:

The neoprene one - I think they stock this in elastic on ONE end only - but I called and asked if I could order it custom with elastic on both ends, they said yes, maybe $5 extra, I can't remember, and it took longer to arrive:
https://stagecoachwest.com/catalog/t...th-p-1394.html

The wool pile one:
https://stagecoachwest.com/catalog/w...th-p-3688.html

The mohair cord girth - I just recently found this one on ebay, I haven't seen it listed again, but maybe you can contact the seller to see if they'll make one for you? I requested the wider 1.5" buckles and what size I wanted, and they made it custom... can't beat the price $35 with free shipping!
Horse Girth 24" Mohair English Endurance Dressage Cinch Natural Horsemanship New | eBay

Otherwise, more pricey, but I know Montana Cincha makes really nice Mohair girths that can come with wider buckles:
Best Discount Price on Montana Cincha Center Fire Rigged Mohair Girths
     
    07-21-2013, 12:26 PM
  #4
Trained
Thank you. I'll contact some of those folks.

BTW - I did buy an overgirth from those folks once with a D-ring in each end. It was good quality. That was about 3 years ago. It is the only thing I've bought from them, so a sample size of one...
     
    07-21-2013, 12:31 PM
  #5
Green Broke
There are dressage girths but they are all too short, just like in the picture, they dig the buckles into the horse instead of being up on the flap. The Aussi style strap on girth and having a d ring on the over girth isnt a problem. In fact if anything that is the advantage to the style. My problem is the front billet underside gets destroyed by catching the suede with the buckle and not going through all the way through. Also the holes stretched out, not to mention Hole A is too loose and you can't get it in hole B. One of these days I am just going to cut the front billet off and sew a d ring up there, looks to be a royal PIA to get up that high though.
     
    07-21-2013, 12:42 PM
  #6
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by bsms    
Thank you. I'll contact some of those folks.

BTW - I did buy an overgirth from those folks once with a D-ring in each end. It was good quality. That was about 3 years ago. It is the only thing I've bought from them, so a sample size of one...
Thanks for the info. Whenever my billets need to be replaced I am thinking of getting normal narrow width billets and I think that overgirth has narrow billets. Sure would be easier to just use any dressage girth you want!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe4d    
there are dressage girths but they are all too short, just like in the picture, they dig the buckles into the horse instead of being up on the flap. The Aussi style strap on girth and having a d ring on the over girth isnt a problem. In fact if anything that is the advantage to the style. My problem is the front billet underside gets destroyed by catching the suede with the buckle and not going through all the way through. Also the holes stretched out, not to mention Hole A is too loose and you can't get it in hole B. One of these days I am just going to cut the front billet off and sew a d ring up there, looks to be a royal PIA to get up that high though.
I guess it is personal preference re: girth length. I very much prefer a shorter girth for many reasons.

FYI none of my short girths dig the buckles into the horse... and my TBx has the most sensitive skin and gets rubs just thinking about it... two of them have the girth material extending up under the buckles to protect the horse; the Mohair girth might cause irritation under the buckles, but I have already got these ring protectors to avoid that:
JMS Deluxe Sheepskin Fleece Cinch Ring Protectors

I know what you mean about the aussie billets getting stretched. I've been really careful with ours to not let the buckle get between the layers. They're okay for now, but I can see how they will get bad eventually. A saddle fitter looked at it and confirmed that it IS possible to have those billets replaced.
     
    07-21-2013, 12:52 PM
  #7
Green Broke
I think I am going to cut the bad billet off leaving about 3 inches, then rivet / stitch a western tie strap to the nub, can go down through a western girth, out the front, up to the d ring in the over girth, in front out back down to western girth, in back out front, pull up to tighten then buckle girth. On the off side, I will just buckle the western girth through the billet and the over girth billet.

My other plan is to buy a set of biothane dressage billets. This will give me four much better billiet straps. Same same, cut the torn up biile toff leaving about 3 inches rivit/ stich on the new one, also going to see if I can some how loop the billet around the tree, don't think so, looks like a nylon strap screwed to tree. My problem is when weather is good don't wanna waste time on chores, and when its nasty my shop is 8 billion degrees, humm might be time for soem AC int here, Id get alot more of these type projects done.
     
    07-21-2013, 01:20 PM
  #8
Yearling
They make them for those of us who prefer not being limited to where the hole in the strap is. Here's an example with just a double buckle, but they come with different numbers.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg cinch converter.jpg (2.7 KB, 89 views)
     
    07-21-2013, 01:58 PM
  #9
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by its lbs not miles    
They make them for those of us who prefer not being limited to where the hole in the strap is. Here's an example with just a double buckle, but they come with different numbers.
This one looks like it might be wider 1.5" buckles that might fit the aussie width billets:
https://stagecoachwest.com/catalog/e...v25op2ko67hdh7
     
    07-21-2013, 04:10 PM
  #10
Green Broke
Those don't work for me. Add too much bulk under your leg and put the D rings way to low for my liking, not to mention way too busy,
     

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