Saddling up with a western saddle. - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 01-26-2011, 03:24 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Taranaki New Zealand.
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Saddling up with a western saddle.

The other day we had a saddle maker come out, he was asking for my husbands advice on a particular hunting cartridge. I asked him how his saddle making was going and one thing lead to another and we ended up on the subject of doing up a Western saddle.

He was saying that the most common mistake made by people using a WS is that they don't do them up properly, that the front cinch is done up firmly and the back cinch is left loose. Or worse still the back cinch is left off all together. He referred me to his website as there is a video showing the correct way to put on a western saddle, with both girths done up with equal pressure.

I am guilty of leaving the back cinch quite loose so after watching the clip I decided to give it a try. The next time I saddled Phoenix I did up both girths with equal pressure. I actually was amazed at the difference I felt, I felt a lot more balanced and felt my horses movement in a totally different way. I will definitely continue to put my horses saddle on in this way. I also wonder why I didn't know this, is it widely known that this is the correct way to do it? I see a lot of photos on this site of horses with no back cinch on their western saddles at all.


I have attempted to put the link to the video clip on this post, I've never tried this before, hope it works.
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post #2 of 8 Old 01-26-2011, 05:48 PM
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never heard of it before. but if you do this i suggest having your girth and back cinch attached so it doesn't slip back. i'd hate to see my back cinch as tight as my girth lol though i do make it touch and have alittle tightness. it's never been that tight.

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post #3 of 8 Old 01-26-2011, 10:43 PM
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one of my saddles wont hold a back cinch. and i only have one back cinch so i use it and my sister doesnt

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post #4 of 8 Old 01-26-2011, 10:49 PM
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I used a back cinch on my Mustang but not on Gizmo. He was English trained and it really irritates him to have it there and he is more focused on that that the ride so I just don't use it. Its mainly there to keep the saddle on more and more stable really. I don't think a lot of western people use it just because they don't. It is a good idea to keep it tight but I wouldn't tighten it as much as my front cinch that just seems odd to me. Mine is a standard back cinch and unless I put like five more holes in it I could never get it that tight.

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post #5 of 8 Old 01-26-2011, 10:53 PM
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How very odd.. It makes sense what he's doing, but it's strange how he does it. Since it was shown on the right side rather than the left and he mentions something about tying it the same way on the left makes me wonder if he ties latigo on both sides, which I've never heard of.

And most back cinches are essentially leather straps, rather than an entire regular cinch.

I also can't really imagine having my back cinch that tight. Abby was always used with one by her previous owner and I just got my own, but because she got ulcers in November and was treated all of December for them, she is still touchy about her belly, so right now I'd be hesitant to have the back cinch any tighter than what I was taught.
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post #6 of 8 Old 01-26-2011, 10:55 PM
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Kiwi, was that man in the video the man that came to your place? That is Dave Genadak, who is well know amoungst NH and many trail people for his super well fitting saddles. He specializes in making saddles that have plenty of flare in the front to allow good freedom of shoulder movement.
He came to your farm?
I met him the other day. He has tons of good info onsaddles.
His website it "About the Horse" The full saddle fit video is availbable for about $25 I think.
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post #7 of 8 Old 01-26-2011, 10:56 PM
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It is ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL that your main cinch and your back cinch be connected with the short strip of leather with clips. (name?) Yes, MUST have!
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post #8 of 8 Old 01-27-2011, 04:10 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Taranaki New Zealand.
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What I found interesting was that after watching the clip and then deciding to do an experiment, I didn't have to do the front girth up as tight as I have done so in the past when I used the rear cinch nice and firm. I have definitely been converted simply because there is noticeably less saddle movement with its done up this way. It is hard to explain how something feels but here goes, I could feel Phoenix's movement very clearly without extra saddle movement dulling those sensations. I felt heaps more balanced, honestly it was like riding a completely different horse. The other thing that I noticed was Phoenix was much more easy going down very steep inclines, in the past she has always been a bit evasive going down hill, not too bad but tending to want to sidle down sideways. With the saddle cinched in the manner the video suggested she is definitely a lot more fluid going down steep hills. This makes sense to me now because with the rear cinch done up firmly, the front cinch doesn't have to be so tight so the front of the saddle is not winched down into her shoulder.

If you have a western saddle and have never used the back cinch I recommend you give it a go, I was genuinely surprised at what a difference it made to Phoenix and myself. I wouldn't put on my saddle any other way now.

Tinyliny, no it wasn't that guy who came for my husbands help but a saddle maker here in NZ. The saddle makers name is Craig Early and he is based her in Taranaki. He learned his trade in the States somewhere and keeps himself updated with all the latest information. Craig makes beautifully hand carved saddles, I wish I could afford one - one day I will be able to put in my order.

Last edited by kiwigirl; 01-27-2011 at 04:13 PM.
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