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M. Toulouse Billets

3170 Views 13 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Saddlebag
Has anyone had any problems with Toulouse billets? I have a Toulouse Genesis Aachen dressage saddle and from day ONE (bought BNWT) the billets were not as good quality as the rest of the saddle. I shrugged it off and used it anyway figuring if I oiled them they would be fine. I oiled them and have used the saddle maybe 25-30 times and the billets on the left side are all flaky and one of them is so thin and floppy it looks like it will break one of these rides. I went to a local tack shop and saw the new Toulouses and the billets were just as stiff and crappy. I spoke with the shop owner and she mentioned she had gotten a Toulouse CC in and that one of the billets was so overly thick that a girth would not be able to buckle on it. She had to have it replaced by a leather worker. Intec doesn't seem to have very good customer service either. Anyone have this problem? I love the saddle to death but you would expect better billets on a French saddle! Especially if someones life could depend on the billets themselves!

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I just got my Toulouse and I agree that the billets to start out seem thick and cheap compared to the rest of the saddle - I haven't had a chance to break them in so I can't speak to how they hold up.

Although I've read other complaints about the billets being thick and hard to use at first, I didn't come across anything about them flaking or thinning - especially after so little use - and I did a lot of research on these saddles. Maybe it was the oil? Hopefully others can chime in with their experience.

Although, I certainly do agree about the questionable quality of the brand new billets.
 

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I bought the Denise cc with the genesis tree last month new and I noticed the billets were a bit stiff at first but are working in nicely. Definitely not thin or flakey! I've probably used it about 20 times and I haven't really oiled them or anything, just a little saddle soap.
Sorry to hear you've had trouble!
 

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They look like chrome tanned leather to me. If so, they'll always fray and crack a little as they stretch but the leather's usually pretty strong. It's also resistant to sweat so you shouldn't, oil because it doesn't absorb that well, just use a top dressing to give the surfaces some 'slip'.

It's also worth bearing the girth in mind. Modern stainless roller buckles cause less stress on leather than non-rollers, but the worst are chrome or nickel plated. Plain plated buckles rust, giving a rough surface which rubs the leather, and rollers on them often open slightly so you get a sharp edge which isn't very kind, either :(
 

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Keep in mind you can over oil billets. I bought a used saddle knowing I would have to replae the billets. I thought it was dry rot, but the leather worker explained that that was not the case- they had been oiled too much. His recommendation was to clean but never oil the billets.
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M. Toulouse saddles are notorious for poor quality control. They are certainly not anywhere on par with the ideal French saddle makers such as devoucoux, butet, anteres or a childeric saddle.

If you love the saddle, otherwise, I would recommend you have a saddler replace the billets.
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Hate to say it, but M. Toulouse are junk. They have major quality control issues, and the company pretty much ignores anybody with an issue.

If you really like the saddle I would have the billets replaced by a leather workers. Around here they are typically $25 a billet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
They are sending me free billets and for my trouble and to reimburse the cost of me having them put on, they are sending me a free pair of leathers! Toulouse saddles are NOT junk but the billets can be SO you have to be careful. I had a few Crosby saddles and didn't like them NEARLY as much as my Toulouse!
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Turns out that Toulouse is a SHAM! Absolutely NOTHING about this saddle than the pretentious French name is FRENCH! Everything is made in ARGENTINA! They are made by Santa Cruz for Intec!
 

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So new, these saddles sell for $1200 and up? HA, I would never be caught buying one, regardless if the billets can be replaced or not. If they are proven not to have quality control, and aren't very reliable, why pay that much for a poor product? I always speak out for my Collegiate Senior Event that was $1200 new, and much cheaper used. They last years and years (I rode in one that was 20 years old and only showed normal wear marks after that length of time!). Plus, their billets don't come cracked ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
So new, these saddles sell for $1200 and up? HA, I would never be caught buying one, regardless if the billets can be replaced or not. If they are proven not to have quality control, and aren't very reliable, why pay that much for a poor product? I always speak out for my Collegiate Senior Event that was $1200 new, and much cheaper used. They last years and years (I rode in one that was 20 years old and only showed normal wear marks after that length of time!). Plus, their billets don't come cracked ;)
Collegiate is made in Argentina also. I heard they are being made in India now. ****es me off because stuff isn't what it used to be anymore. Simco longhorn is horrid, pessoa is Argentina, I had a wintec made in Vietnam, and who knows where everything else is made anymore
 

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The manufacturers are looking for cheap labor. Argentinians are on a lower pay scale than NA so were able to put out great saddles with lower labor costs. Pessoas use all European leathers. Ultimately it's quality control that counts. With all the outsourcing, small wonder so many remain unemployed.
 
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