Girth Buckle Guards
Sooner or later, saddles without girth buckle guards become easy to identify by the permanent impressions left on their flaps by girth buckles and billet straps.
When you attach your girth to the billets, the buckles and straps lie underneath the saddle flap. Over time, the weight of your legs tends to press that bulk into the underside of the flap, eventually creating a visible imprint that damages the saddle material.
Girth buckle guards prevent this wear and tear by serving as a thick, protective layer between the inside of the saddle flap and the contours of the girth tack. After threading the billets through the slots of the buckle guard, you position the piece to protect as much as it can.
Some girth buckle guards offer more of this protection than others. The sizes range from small ones that cover only the girth buckle to large ones that envelop the buckle and all the straps. Girth buckle guard materials vary as well. Although usually made of leather, girth buckle guards also come in plastic webbing or other man-made substances.
Saddles with long billets may not have girth buckle guards. The girths on these saddles usually buckle below the saddle flaps, so there is no need to protect the flaps from constant rubbing.
Guarding Your Saddle’s Identity
Girth buckle guards often contain important information about a saddle. You may find the saddle’s model, manufacturer, and serial number listed on the guard, as well as the saddle tree size. It’s a handy little I.D. card that you carry with you whenever you climb into the saddle.
Guarding Yourself as Well
An added bonus of girth buckle guards is that they make things more comfortable for the rider. As the guards keep the saddle flaps free from the friction of the buckles, they do the same thing for the rider’s legs.
If your saddle does not come equipped with girth buckle guards, it’s a good idea to add that measure of comfort and protection by purchasing a pair and using them during every ride.
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