I'm going to be purchasing a trail saddle soon, so I'll need to purchase a cinch. Does anybody have any recommendations for brands and/or materials? And what's the best way to measure for cinch size? Thank you very much in advanced!
Ours are all mohair or alpaca. I think they breath better and cause the least soreness for the horse. Mine have all been hand tied by a local artist except the alpaca which is a Classic Equine. I prefer the local hand tied because they will retie them if they get damaged. Kansas Saddlery: Custom Saddles
As far as measurement goes, it depends. Read this- Measure Your Horse's Girth
I really like the neoprene girths, as they usually have velcro so you can take them off and wash them or brush the dirt off. The other thing is that they do not pinch as much and often have a handy roller on the buckle! I agree that the Weaver Smart Cinch is really great I just started using one and I really like it! I even got mine at The Tractor Supply Company!
You have to be really careful with neoprene. When it's dry, some horses will freak when it pulls their hair.
I only use mohair string girths. They have some give, they are soft on the skin, and they don't sore a horse for no reason. I train horses for a living so I spend hours on them daily. Don't have a problem with sores or slipping.
As for measuring (Maureen, your link didn't work for me, it brings up the site, but the page itself if blank), the way I do it is this: I put the saddle on with a pad the way I'm going to ride. I run a string or small rope around the girth where the cinch will lay and up through the D-rings that the cinch will attach to. I pull the rope up snug and mark it at the D-rings. Then I measure between the marks (the part that was around the horse), subtract 16 inches (to give 8 inches of latigo room on both sides) and round down to the nearest increment of 2.
For example, if I measured and there was 45 inches between the marks, then I'd subtract the latigo room (16") and get a cinch measurement of 29, but cinches are only mass-produced in 2 inch increments. So, in that event, I'd likely go with a 28 because horses will generally get smaller the more you ride them and if I went 30, it might end up too big. Plus, mohair cinches will stretch out a bit when you first start using them.
Smrobs....you can say the same thing about the hair getting into the strings on a mohair...or that if it's dry and HARD(what happens when you don't clean them daily and they dry with sweat in them in the heat) when you put them on a horse...or how if you are going to ride the same saddle on several horses in a day - they will all get sores if one gets them....
I use both the neoprene and mohair cinches...I think the noeprene actually keeps my horses girth area cooler once they start sweating, since the sweat is allowed to leak out around the cinch. Another advantage I see with them is when I am giving my horses a breather and loosen the cinch, they immediately cool down, and there are no issues when I go to retighten the cinch; when you go to retighten the mohair, being wet, it can pinch a horse-and at times, if not careful, it will actually bind/wrinkle up the skin.
I agree you have to be picky about your neoprene girths. If you're willing to splurge I think they're the best. I have a neoprene smart cinch and a Professionals Choice SMx Ventech... They're both great. Never had any problems with them.