Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Parts of the Saddle, Terminology

In my ongoing effort to make this blog a little more user-friendly for the first-time horse owner, I'm going to cover the parts of the saddle and terminology regarding knee rolls/thigh blocks, billeting systems, and the like.

First, the parts of the saddle:

Here's a monoflap saddle (has only one flap instead of an outer flap with a sweat flap underneath, knee/thigh/calf blocks will be external) with overlay or external billets:


Next, let's look under the flap of a standard two-flap saddle. First, a dressage saddle:

Thigh block: On dressage saddles, on the front of the sweat flap; often runs the entire length of the front of the sweat flap

Point billet: Billet attaches to the point of the saddle tree; may emerge through the rear or the end of the thigh block.

Swing or sliding rear billet: “Self adjusting” rear billet attached via a ring to a nylon strap; the nylon strap is attached at the middle and rear of the saddle tree, creating a “V”.
Then, on a close contact (or all purpose) saddle:


Knee roll: On cc and ap saddles; runs the length of the front of the sweat flap.

Knee block: On the top of the sweat flap above the knee; usually triangular shape.

Calf block: On the rear of the sweat flap on some cc and ap saddles.

Next, the front of the saddle:


Gullet: The area under the head (front, pommel) of the saddle.

And now the underside:


Channel: The space between the panels.

Flocked panel- wool (or synthetic fiber) is ‘stuffed’ into the panel. These panels are often the softest of all the panels and break in quite quickly and can be adjusted by adding, shifting, or removing wool.

Swiss panel: Wool flocking encased in felt. These panels can be adjusted by flocking, though not to the degree a plain flocked panel can.

French panel: Foam encased in felt. Can only be adjusted with pads and shims.

Foam panel: Plain foam. As with the French panel, these can only be adjusted with pads and shims.

Close contact saddle: In the States, it's a saddle with a flat seat, square cantle and forward flap that's used for jumping. Elsewhere, the term is used to indicate a saddle of any discipline that has a close "feel".

Dressage saddle: Saddle with a long, straight flap and deeper seat used by dressage riders.


All purpose saddle: This saddle is often used by lower-level eventers and trail riders. The seat is usually deeper than that of a close contact saddle, but not as deep as that of a dressage saddle. The flap is usually more forward than that of a dressage saddle, but not as forward as that of a close contact saddle.

4 comments:

Boots and Saddles 4 Mel said...

I had no idea that my english saddle had so many parts.

I'm not having a problem accessing your archives from the blog page. when I'm editing my blog, I can view all the archives by going to "edit" post. I do notice that there is some differences between when I access the blog from Mac computer and my Windows so it might be a systems thing???? Good luck

saddlefitter said...

It could be something with my computer, I guess - sometimes none of the links seem to work. Need to have the tech guy take a look ...

jengersnap said...

Great post. I'm new to actually using an english saddle (been around them for years, but...) and really enjoyed this. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

WOW! theres so many parts i mean i know most of them but the pics help.