Latigo + Off billet help - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 39 Old 01-08-2020, 10:56 AM Thread Starter
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Latigo + Off billet help

Western newbie here! Been riding english on and off for about 15 years but I have just purchased my first second hand western saddle. But, from what I can tell from the photos and description it looks as if it does not come with a latigo or off billet. I live in the UK and finding western stuff here or online is posing difficult, shipping rates from the US are crazy too.

I'm wondering if anyone knows of anywhere online I can purchase these without paying crazy shipping. Another requirement is that they need to nylon, sorry to be picky lol. Alternatively, does anyone have any DIY suggestions? I'm than willing to try my hand at making my own, but how?

Thanks in advance for any help :)
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post #2 of 39 Old 01-08-2020, 11:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carramel View Post
Western newbie here! Been riding english on and off for about 15 years but I have just purchased my first second hand western saddle. But, from what I can tell from the photos and description it looks as if it does not come with a latigo or off billet. I live in the UK and finding western stuff here or online is posing difficult, shipping rates from the US are crazy too.

I'm wondering if anyone knows of anywhere online I can purchase these without paying crazy shipping. Another requirement is that they need to nylon, sorry to be picky lol. Alternatively, does anyone have any DIY suggestions? I'm than willing to try my hand at making my own, but how?

Thanks in advance for any help :)
Western is so fun!! I do agree with the shipping I'm from US and the rates are crazyyy here. I will look for DIYS for you!!! I hope you ENJOY WESTERN!! I just started riding english!! lol I keep falling sometimes! lol
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post #3 of 39 Old 01-08-2020, 12:05 PM
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You CAN make your own out of nylon webbing tie straps. I'd guess those are a thing in the UK? You see them used to secure a load on a trailer or on a truck bed.

All you need is something you can heat up HOT and poke holes with (I've used an old ice pick and a lighter, sometimes a butane torch, even the gas burner to my kitchen stove) and said lighter, or whatever to singe the ends because the webbing will fray and continue to fray if not 'cauterized'.

Use a leather string for securing.

This material right here? Used to make this? You can buy NEW, by the foot/yard/meter. I'd be willing to bet there are places in the UK to order it from if you don't want to scrounge up industrial/used webbing.

Added bonus: If you were in SE Oklahoma, making your own in a pinch is considered 'punchy' (rough and ready, resourceful, rugged... lots of R words to describe cowboys).
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post #4 of 39 Old 01-08-2020, 12:31 PM
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Just a caution if you make or buy ones made of nylon--- it's a safety risk. Yes, they aren't in need of as much care, but they also:

- require you to use a girth/cinch that has some give to it. Cinching a horse up with a nylon latigo and off-billet and a cinch that doesn't have any give to it is very uncomfortable. You will need to use a leather or 100% mohair string cinch.

- nylon is slippery. You MUST use a cinch knot to secure your cinch or back up the buckle if you use nylon. Otherwise if the tongue of that buckle comes loose, your cinch will work loose very quickly. That will not happen with a latigo cinch properly secured even if you use just the buckle-- even if the buckle comes undone, the friction of the latigo leather on itself will hold your saddle securely for quite awhile, or loosen slowly rather than all in one fell swoop.

- nylon breaks down when exposed to light and extreme temperatures, and it gets stiff. You will need to replace it a lot more often than a leather latigo/off-billet for your safety.

Is there a reason you must have nylon? Leather costs only a bit more, and will last you much longer and be safer and more comfortable for your horse.
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post #5 of 39 Old 01-08-2020, 12:40 PM
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@SilverMaple Good suggestion on the leather. I would think a saddlery near OP could make the leather versions. They aren't rocket science - you just need the long strips of leather to do it. My suggestion to use the tie strap is a last resort suggestion - one that I should have been more clear about.
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post #6 of 39 Old 01-08-2020, 12:42 PM
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Any English saddle shop or leatherworker should be able to make you a leather set. Just make sure they use 'latigo' leather rather than another type-- it's strong, flexible, supple, elastic, and nearly impervious to sweat and lasts forever while staying supple if you wipe it with a damp cloth and a light coat of oil once or twice a year. (Don't soak latigo leather in oil, just put a very light coating on periodically).
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post #7 of 39 Old 01-08-2020, 12:48 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks all!

Great, I have access to the webbing straps you're talking about. Glad to hear I'd be cool in Oklahoma lol.

Thank you for the warnings! I was planning to use a cinch knot anyway but this is very useful to know. I'll have to have a look at the cinch that's coming with the saddle and check out some others if it's not suitable. I'm vegan so that's why I'll not buy leather.
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post #8 of 39 Old 01-08-2020, 12:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverMaple View Post
Just a caution if you make or buy ones made of nylon--- it's a safety risk...
Ummm...got to disagree.

1 - "require you to use a girth/cinch that has some give to it"

Never understood this argument. Spent my adult life with a leather belt around my waist and it does NOT "breathe". It doesn't give ANY in length, nor would it work if it did. I have no idea how a horse's ribs are suppose to make a leather latigo expand and contract with breathing! Particularly two layers...

2 - "You MUST use a cinch knot to secure your cinch or back up the buckle if you use nylon."

This one works both ways. Why do I tie my nylon latigo? Because I can. It places less bulk under my leg tied than a leather one does with a buckle.

3 - "nylon breaks down when exposed to light and extreme temperatures, and it gets stiff. You will need to replace it a lot more often..."

I live in the Sonoran Desert. Light and extreme temps? I'd bet we have as much or MORE UV light here, and extreme heat, than most places. And they last for years here. Leather wears faster in the dry heat here. It can also mildew in some climates. I've used both and gave up on leather because a $30 latigo wears out sooner here than a $10 nylon strap. Which wears fastest may depend on climate. Once in a while, I take mine off the saddle and wash them in the sink.

I use a nylon latigo on both sides of the saddle. Tied. Infinite adjustment possible and have never had one come loose in a spook.

A nylon latigo ought to ship cheap to Europe. Unless they charge tariffs....

PS: I don't believe there is a "right" answer on leather versus nylon. I think some people like one and some like another and it may depend on where they ride and how they ride.
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post #9 of 39 Old 01-08-2020, 01:11 PM
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Honestly, I prefer the nylon tie straps used with a leather off-billet (Synthetic is okay though) - but I ride with string girths, which also have some give to them. But... I also ride on a somewhat loose girth these days - I don't cinch them up any tighter than necessary to keep the saddle from rolling when I mount from the ground leaving out. I rarely need to tighten them on the trail, always loosen them up when we stop to rest, then re-tighten, but only enough to, again, keep the saddle from rolling that first step up into the saddle, never again while on the trail between Rest Stop and Camp.


I've had the same synthetic tie strap on my main saddle for two years now, no signs of wearing through, not getting stiff or brittle either. I have spares in my trailer that have been there a year without being used - they're structurally as strong as the day I put them in there.



I think so long as you aren't actively cinching a horse down so tight you're cutting them in half, combining the nylon with other items that have some give to them (leather off billet or a string girth, or both) and are being vigilant on the care of your tack, there's nothing wrong with synthetic, though I completely understand people who have a preference for leather and why. Personally, I hate synthetic or neoprene girths. It's a matter of personal preference for me, on which items I think are fine synthetic and which I can't stand in synthetic.
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post #10 of 39 Old 01-08-2020, 01:55 PM Thread Starter
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Interesting to see differing viewpoints.

After a last ditch hour long attempt at searching before reverting back to the webbing idea, I've managed to find a UK based company that stocks nylon latigo/off billets - only problem is they're only available in brown and the saddle is black. Guess I'll have to suck up being a fashion disaster for now lol.

Again, thanks all for the words of wisdom!
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