How much to tighten flank cinch?
In all my years of riding I've never used or owned a flank cinch. I decided to get one for my new western gaited saddle due to it's cut, but am unsure as to how much to tighten it.
Some folks I've ridden with leave theirs pretty loose--say, a 5 or 6 inch gap between cinch and belly. This has always given me the willies, as I can see a hoof getting caught up in it, or fallen branches or whatever other hazards on the trails. I know better than that!!!
I've also seen folks tighten theirs up almost but not quite as tightly as the cinch/girth. This seems excessive, and makes me feel uncomfortable!! (Kinda like a too-tight bra!!!!)
Now, having been a teacher, I am always open to learning! Can some of you delightful folks chime in and share your knowledge? I surely appreciate it!!
Thanks, and happy trails, Renee
5-6 inches is definitely a hazard. I have never used one, as I ride English, but 1-2 inches is generally what I see. It will allow the horse's ribs to expand as he is working but not be so loose it is dangerous.
If I am just riding the trail or around town, I will pull it up snug against their belly. Not tight but no gap either. Generally, a horse will let off some air after the initial tightening up and may make a gap. I don't want anything more than about 1 inch for general riding. IMHO, anything larger makes it a serious hazard and really defeats the whole purpose of even having it on the saddle. The only time that I tighten it very tight is when I am roping and may end up facing the cow on the rope, then the flank cinch prevents the saddle from tipping forward and pinching the horse's back and shoulders.
Smrobs is correct. When you first tighten it don't leave a gap and as you ride you will end up with about an inch or so. It's also important to have a strap between the front and rear cinch so it doesn't slide too far back. There should only be 6-8 inches between the front and rear cinches.
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