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Western Saddle Guide > Saddle Parts > Rigging Hardware

The Saddle Rigging Hardware

saddle rigging rings
The saddle rigging hardware are the rings, dees, and plates that are used to connect the off billet, flank billets, and latigos to the saddle. Their type, arrangement, and location on the saddle determine the style of rigging a saddle has.

The rigging hardware is key to securing the saddle and should be made of high quality materials. The best hardware is made from brass, bronze or stainless steel. Lesser quality hardware is made from nickel-plated steel or aluminum. Plating can wear off, allowing the steel to rust and aluminum is a weaker material.

saddle rigging plate
The hardware can be made of either round or flat stock. Flat stock will create less bulk under the rider’s legs. There are three main shapes.

  1. Circular ring 2 to 4 inches in diameter

  2. Dee (or “D”) ring 3 to 4 inches wide and shaped like the letter “D”

  3. Plate Flat with a slot in it. Plates come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes and can be built onto the saddle tree or into the skirts.

A saddle may have a combination of these rigging hardware types. For instance, there may be an in-skirt rigging plate for the front rigging and a circular or dee ring for the rear rigging.

On a well-made saddle, the rigging hardware will be in the exact same place on each side of the saddle. Hardware that is off-kilter can cause the saddle to be unbalanced and to move on the horse’s back.

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