Monday, November 10, 2014

Mailbag: How to Check Your Saddle Seat Size

Q: How can I check if I have the right seat size on my trail saddle?

A: There is some variance due to personal preference. Some riders like to feel more secure while others like a little more space in the seat. Select what feels best for you and what feels most comfortable. It's often better to be a little too big than too snug in the saddle. As a general rule, you want about 3 finger widths between your leg and the pommel (pictured below).

Monday, November 3, 2014

Mailbag: How to Rig a Half Breed Off Billet

Q: Why do Billy Cook saddles and many others have a long strap instead of a traditional off billet on the off side of the saddle? How am I supposed to use this?

A: Many saddle makers now offer a longer strap on the off side called a "double off" or "half breed latigo" strap instead of a traditional off billet. The idea is that this strap be doubled up for better reinforcement and strength over time than the off billet.

Here are some steps to help the new user rig the off side with a half breed latigo:
  1. Put one end of the strap through the cinch ring until the ring is in the middle of the strap. The strap should be folded in two with the ends together and the cinch ring at the middle.
  2. Run the two loose ends through the dee ring on the right side of the saddle
  3. Bring the ends back around and run them back  through the cinch ring again. 
  4. Put the metal prong from the cinch through both layers of holes in the strap
  5. Then tuck the extra ends into the latigo keeper strap on the underside of the mohair cinch. 
Step 1 - Secure the cinch

Step 2 - Feed off billet through rigging

Step 3 - Make the second loop

Step 4 - Secure cinch with buckle

Step 5 - Use retaining strap for excess length