Friday, March 24, 2023

Saddle Repair

I really like my Billy Cook saddle, but I've always felt it sat too far forward on my horses. It doesn't seem like a big deal, but it would sure be nice if it sat further back. After visiting with folks, it turns out that there are different rigging positions that saddles come with. So I thought, if there options, why not adjust my saddle's cinching up point. 

The main three rigging positions on a western saddle are full, 7/8, and 3/4. Full is directly under the swells, 7/8 is probably where this saddle is, and 3/4 is further back. I wanted this saddle to be full, so we set out to move where the latigo attaches to the saddle.

I picked up a solid brass D-ring at Thar's tack store in Gillette. It took many evenings of pondering to come up with a game plan. But in the end, there was only one way to find out if it would work.

So we cut the rivets attaching the regular rigging points on both sides of the saddle, in order to braze the new D-ring on them. 

Brazing is a way of welding almost any metal. It's not the strongest weld, but is particularly good for brass. A gas welding tip is essential. Bring the oxygen up until you form a nice dark blue cone. 

I find that you don't necessarily want to melt the metal like you do in normal welding. The brazing rod melts at a lower temp than most metal so the idea is to get the metal up to the heat of where to rod wants to melt and then you can fuse the two together. Generally speaking you are looking for functionality with brazing and not class. 

Should work. I put the weld on the inside in order to avoid the criticism of professional of onlookers. 

Then it was time to reattach. Rivets are the best for leather. These guys you just push them through, hammer the washer down, cut off the excess, and peen the left over rivet. We also added another rivet on the new D-ring for extra support. 


I'm hopeful. Saddles are designed a certain way, but I don't think this will negatively affect the way it sits on a horse. Actually, I hope that the tree fits the horse better. Billy Cook's are good saddles but I think the tree is a bit narrow. It puts white wear spots on both of my horses. It doesn't sore them, but it seems to be undue pressure. All that being said, now we have options. Spring is coming and you want to be ready when it arrives. Time to ranch. 


  1. Looks functional. My wife has a Billy Cook as well. We really need to pad up one of our horses that has high withers to keep it from rubbing.

    1. We'll see how well it works or not. I'm going to throw another pad on them this year also. Saddling my mare is like saddling a sheet of plywood. I've been running a pulling collar just to keep it centered up. Strong saddle.

  2. A full rigged saddle is very comfortable. I usually use 7/8ths myself.


Fr. Brian

Fr. Brian Hess and I go way back to seminary. Being two years ahead of me in school and about eight years behind me in life, we've spent...