Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Score!

What is it with English tack and crazy prices? Especially dressage tack. Seriously, dye something black, slap a foreign sounding name on it and watch the $$$$ roll in.  Where I live on the East Coast, even used stuff costs an arm and a leg. I frequently see people here selling used tack for nearly what it would cost new!

I don't really play that game. I'll pay a fair price for things and I have plenty of tack I bought brand new that cost an arm and a leg, but I am not buying your ancient Flargenfluefer that you've been riding 3 horses in every day for the last 10 years for 10% off of the price of a new one.

(Yes, that is a thing dressage people do. They get super pissed when you laugh at them for this, also. "But!!! It has the real Okapi leather seat and knee rolls you can see from orbit, it's totally still worth that much!!!" Of course it is, that's why it's been for sale for three years.)

Luckily, I know a lot of people who ride Western. Western riders in my area will frequently end up with English tack, but are not privy to the insane mark ups and resale values that go along with English tack. They'll actually sell the stuff for a reasonable price. Most of the time the stuff has been sitting in a basement or a tack room for several years, but if you know what to look for, you can find some good deals. 

That's how I scored two barely used saddles for $25 apiece. 

Yes, I have a bar in my tack room. Or maybe I keep my tack in the bar.


Are they of the finest quality? No. The black all-purpose was purchased for the kids. It's a children's saddle and will probably only be used for a year or two before my kids outgrow it and I sell it for 25 bucks to someone else who needs a saddle for their kids to abuse for for a year or two. The brown one was just sort of a bonus, they were being sold as a package deal. I'll probably use it for goofing around on Spider on trail rides and such, instead of using the very expensive, genuine Okapi Leather, custom-made dressage saddle with knee rolls that can be seen from orbit that he usually goes in. (Actually, that's not entirely true, I didn't spring for the "special" leather on my custom-made dressage saddle, Spider's saddle is just made from common cow leather. That's probably why he isn't doing the Grand Prix right now. The shame.....)

As I was inspecting and oiling my new acquisitions, I realized that I'm really only familiar with dressage saddles and I have no clue what size girth I need for these things. I own four dressage girths, they are all the same size, and I have no idea what that size is. They fit every dressage saddle I own and every horse from little 14.2h Spots to 17.2h Jack, because dressage saddles have two foot long billets with loads of holes.  These saddles have wimpy little billets with hardly any holes.

Seriously, what am I supposed to do with this?



Also, why are there three billets when the girths only have two buckles? And what's that flappy thing on the billets? Please educate the DQ.






13 comments:

  1. 3 billets because AP/CC saddles originated from fox hunting. The extra is for when you might have a billet break in the field.

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  2. Normally they say double the size of your dressage girth (so 24 would be 48) but considering you're using the same size on ponies and huge horses that might not work... I would put the saddle on and use a measuring tape to about the middle of the billets on both side. The flappy thing is to protect the buckles from rubbing the saddle. By the way, nice find!!

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  3. HAHAHA you are so funny.

    As Lauren said -- extra billets in case one might break in the field. The flappy thing protects the saddle flap (the one you are lifting) from the buckles on the girth, as they can cause cracking and damage the flap. Make sure it's pulled down over your girth buckles.

    On girths -- a good rule of thumb is to double your dressage girth size. For example, Murray goes in a 24" dressage girth and a 48" jump girth (both have double elastic so are more flexible). However, the billets on that saddle are really quite wimpy, so you'll probably have to experiment. You can get good deals on used girths if -- as you say -- you don't fall into the English markup trap. I suspect you're going to need at least two girths with your range of pony sizes!!! (Also, I'm sure you know this from your dressage girths already, but make sure you get rollers on the buckles! They will ANNIHILATE your billets if not!)

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    Replies
    1. Also, if people discover that Okapi leather is the path to the Grand Prix, they are going to go extinct even faster!!!

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  4. I actually like forward seat saddles with three billets - you can use the first two, or the back two, or whatever works best for your horse! (Don't have a forward seat saddle any more - two Western saddles and a dressage saddle do me and my horses just fine.)

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    Replies
    1. Be careful here, typically if you look at how the billets are attached you will find the front one separate and the back two together. For this reason you always want to use the front one and then either back one (here is where you can minimally change fit). You don't want to eliminate the insurance of two attachment points by only using the back two billets.

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  5. Oh I had no idea why there were 3, thanks Lauren! Great finds :)

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  6. Usually you use the first and last billet unless you're having a slipping problem (I've always gone with a breastplate at that point instead of screwing around with the billets). Make sure you pull the middle billet out from under the other two after you girth up, it provides a smoother fit. I agree with the double your dressage girth for your long girth.

    Enjoy your great finds! I still use my old xc saddle to play in when we're not in the sandbox, it's a nice change of pace!

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  7. nice snag!! hope you have fun with the new toys :) good luck finding a girth too. i just got a new girth AND a new trial saddle... and the trial saddle turned out to have uber short billets that won't work with my new girth... whomp whomp! re: the little flappy thing, that's to cover the girth buckles so they don't rub a hole in the actual saddle flab. happy riding!

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  8. I scored my old event saddle at a western auction....best place to shop for english tack!

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  9. Huh. I guess I need to stick that flappy thing back on. I took it off because it was annoying me when I was oiling the billets.....

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  10. Bargain saddles kind of scare me. I know you know your stuff, but I would proceed with caution.

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