Parts of the saddle

Rise:  The part of the seat in front of your pubic bone.

Twist:  The part of the seat under your crotch / between your legs.

Comparison of twist widths:  wider twist in red, narrower twist in green.

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.

Front 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”.

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

Channel:  The space between the panels.

Mono-flap:  Saddle with one single flap (see photo above); knee / thigh / calf blocks can be external or on a modified sweat flap.

Flap strap:  The strap on the bottom of the flap, either buckles to the girth or to itself.  Pretty common on older models of dressage saddles, now rarely seen (except on the Bates and Wintec Isabell).

Overlay billets:  External billets that lie on top of a monoflap saddle’s flap.

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. There will usually be flocking “slits” through which the flocking is adjusted, under the flap.

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.

Wither/front gussets:  Gussets in the front of the panel, in the wither area.  Fitting option used for a horse that has dips below the wither, or is narrower in front. (Full front gussets are extended wither gussets that are useful for a horse that needs more support in front if downhill, narrower in front or with a wither.


Dropped / trapezius panel:  The panels are deeper in the area below and to the rear of the wither.  Fitting option used, (often in conjunction with wither gussets), for a horse with dips behind and to the rear of the wither.

K” panel:  Panel is deeper under the front half of the saddle.  Fitting option used for a horse with a high, “shark fin” wither or downhill.

Upswept panel:  Rear of the panel is “swept up” rather than being squared off; gusset is sometimes quite shallow (compare with photo of regular gusseted panel below).  Fitting option used for horses with short backs, or those that are croup-high

Standard panel

Gusseted panel:  The panel has a wedge-shaped piece sewn in under the rear half of the saddle, from the rear of the flap back.  Fitting option common on many saddles; it broadens and flattens the weight bearing area in the rear panel area. It is a good option for uphill horses.

Plain or non-gusseted panels: Often a better choice for a horse with a dippy or “roof” back or croup high.

Plain or non-gusseted panels: rear view

Independent panels:  Each panel is a separate unit.

Centimeter measurements (for those saddles that have them):  Every saddle co. measures its saddles in a different place.  A 30 cm. Stubben, a 30 cm. Prestige and a 30 cm. Duett will all be different sizes.  We give a general idea of the tree width (medium, medium-wide, etc.) in each saddle’s description

Definitions of condition:

“Fair”:  Well-worn but still useable.  May have some staining, scratches, cracked leather, or loose stitching; may need reflocking or minor repairs (which will be noted in the description).  Great starter saddles, often older models of quality saddles.

“Good”:  Serviceably sound in leather, stitching and flocking, with normal wear, color fading and marks on flaps, seat and billets.  Saddle may have a ding, scratch or surface cracking of the leather that is cosmetic and does not affect the integrity of the saddle.  Saddle has seen the equivalent of  4 or more years’ worth of use.

“Very good”:  Well broken in, showing a little fading or wear; a saddle that has been well cared for and has seen the equivalent of  2 – 4 years’ worth of use.

“Excellent”:  Just broken in, with leather and stitching showing very little wear.  Flocking not lumpy or uneven, no color fading, no scratches or dings.

“Demo”:  Saddle has had a few rides and may have light rubs on flaps or marks on billets.