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How to correctly cinch a western saddle front and back

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How to cinch the front

1. Ensure your cinch is unhooked and hanging where you can reach it.
2. From the left side of your horse, hook the left stirrup over the horn.
3. Untie your latigo and reach under your horse's belly and grab the cinch.
4. Insert the latigo into the cinch's dee ring, from the back side. Meaning the latigo will stay close to your horse's belly and the end will come towards you.

5. Make a loop from the cinch up to the saddle's dee ring and go back down through the cinch again. You are wrapping the latigo around/through the cinch twice. Keep your leather neat, so the latigo lays on top of itself.
6. Start to tighten the cinch. This is a down and upward motion. Pull down with the loose part of the latigo while pulling up with outward layer of the loop portion.
7. Cinch your horse to safety tightness. This means the cinch is tight enough if your horse spooks the saddle with stay in place, but not loose enough that the saddle will slip if your horse moves, or too tight you cut off your horse's breathing supply.
8. To lock your cinch, find a hole in your latigo to fasten the cinch to. On the outward layer of your latigo loop, pull directly towards you to lock the cinch. You should see the pin of the cinch snug into the hole of the latigo you fastened the cinch into.
9. Place your extra latigo into your latigo keeper on your saddle. If you do not have a latigo keeper, then you will need to tie off your latigo into the dee ring of the saddle.

How to cinch the rear

Always cinch your horse with the front cinch before the rear cinch.

1. Ensure the rear cinch is connected to the front cinch.
2. From the left side of the horse, reach under your horse's belly and fasten the rear cinch into the flank billets. Keep the rear cinch loose, about a fists width from your horse's belly.

Before you mount your horse, you need to tighten up your cinches.

1. Unlock the front cinch and tighten it up. Ideally you want to be able to place two to three fingers between the cinch and your horse's belly for optimum tightness. You also want the center dee rings of the cinch to be over your horse's sternum.
2. Lock your front cinch and place the extra latigo in the keeper or tie it off in the dee ring.
3. Ensure the rear cinch is centered and aligned with the front cinch under your horse's belly.
4. The rear cinch should hang below your horse's belly about an inch or two. Any more than that and you risk your horse getting a hind foot caught in the rear cinch while riding. If you have your rear cinch too tight, it could cause your horse to perform and unwelcome rodeo performance.


Kim Baker is an author, animal communicator, Certified Reiki Master Teacher and Equine Craniosacral Therapist, natural horse clinician and trainer, and horseback riding instructor specializing in integrating holistic and meditation methodologies into her horsemanship programs, clinics, and retreats. She is also the host of her own talk radio show "The Kim Baker Show ~ the amazing connection between horses, animals and humans!" Kim's passion is helping horse and rider improve their relationship and develop a deeper connection together. For more information call 303-981-2127 or visit our website


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Guest Saturday, 25 September 2021