Back Cinch - The Horse Forum
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  • 2 Post By ksbowman
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post #1 of 6 Old 12-09-2019, 08:56 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2019
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Back Cinch


When I do hard stops (not quite sliding) or ride on hills, the saddle slides forward or backward, respectively. Would a back cinch help?

Some say that you shouldn't need a back cinch. If you do, your saddle doesn't fit. Others say that it helps distribute the weight distribution pull.

For those who recommend a back cinch:

How do you measure your horse for a back cinch?
How thick should the back cinch be?
How should the back cinch hang? I've seen some people that have it at a slight angle and those who have it parallel. Does that depend on the saddle, cinch (hobble), or the horse's conformation, or is there a "right" way?
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post #2 of 6 Old 12-09-2019, 10:04 PM
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I always use a back cinch on western saddles. I ride a saddle that is 3/4 rigged. If you're unsure of the type of rigging your saddle has, I'll find a clear site that shows it.

Mine hangs parallel to the cinch, partly because of where the cinch comes off the saddle and because I use a cinch hobble. If my saddle was full double rigged, it would probably be angled a bit forward.

I tighten it to the horse's belly or within an inch of it.

The only saddles that don't need a back cinch for active riding are those that are center fire rigged, IMO.

I also ride hilly country. The foothills of the Rocky Mtns. I do use a breast collar. Even when riding English.
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post #3 of 6 Old 12-09-2019, 10:04 PM
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A saddle slipping back and forth on the back most likely isn't a rigging issue but more likely the tree/ saddle doesn't fit as well as it should. Which without pictures is really hard to say to help pinpoint.

However, I am one of those who has been told and also believe through experience a back cinch is needed based on the tree and rigging not just a job as most say. (For example roping)
The more forward your front cinch is on your tree, full, 5/16, and depending on the horse and what you're doing 7/8 the more you need a back cinch. The back cinch evens the pull on the tree to distribute weight. The more forward the front rigging is the more you need a back cinch to help even the pull.

A hobble between the front and back is a must. But where the back cinch lies depends on the horses conformation and distance between the front and back rings.
For me, I edge on the safety of caution and shorten my hobble as forgetting to shorten the hobble on a wasp waisted colt who is not so forgiving as the fat, gentle cold morning go-to horse could be
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post #4 of 6 Old 12-09-2019, 11:20 PM
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A breast or a pulling collar will keep your saddle from sliding back but, I have my back cinch just barely touch the belly of my horse. That said I don't know that it would keep the saddle from moving forward as there isn't any real tension on it unless you dally you rope and the saddle tries to rock forward. Is it the saddle and pad that is moving or only the saddle? If it is only the saddle it could be the pad outer surface is slick. I ride a wool felt pad that is felt on both sides and have no slippage even on a young horse that hasn't developed a good whither yet. Is your front cinch good and snug?
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post #5 of 6 Old 12-10-2019, 11:04 AM
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Flank cinches come in a standard length. The width and general shape depends on what you're doing. As with your girth, the wider the surface area, the better the pressure distribution is and the more comfortable your horse will be.

Personally, I use a 30" string type roper girth on the front (This one), and an 8" roper type flank strap (This exact one).... on a barrel saddle with slanted roper stirrups... because we trail ride and this seems to be the best set up for the horse I have.

What kind of pad are you riding under the saddle? How thick? It sounds like your saddle may be too wide in the gullet for your horse if it's genuinely sliding back and forth when stopping or climbing/descending a hill.

Have any pictures of your horse saddled up?

And yes, a properly fitting western saddle, with the right type of pad under it, shouldn't slide back and forth or rock a whole lot. It will still have a little movement to it which can chafe or rub a horse though, and that's why a western saddle is designed to use a flank strap. Do you absolutely need one? That's a topic that gets debated a lot. Depends on what you're doing.

In an arena, riding flat ground? Don't really need one. Out riding trails, or roping or barrel racing, spending a day checking cattle or riding fences? You need one.

"We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that death will tremble to take us."
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post #6 of 6 Old 12-10-2019, 11:08 AM
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A back cinch is meant to prevent the back of the saddle tilting up, such as when roping. If you are sitting in the saddle, your weight prevents it from tilting. Maybe my horses are funky, but I've never used a back cinch and never had a saddle slide forward OR aft.

Shortly after this picture was taken, the herder turned the horse and dropped off the edge to get down to the river where some sheep had gone. That is a steep slope!

When in this area, they ride to the top of the hill in the background to get cell phone coverage. Without a back cinch and without problems.

They obviously don't rope sheep. And my own trail riding doesn't involve roping. But the saddle doesn't slide forward when we drop into a wash, nor back when we climb out.

Why does my saddle lift up at the back? Part one

My own rule of thumb is that a saddle that slides forward or back is a fitting issue. Or possible a horse shape issue that results in a fitting issue. All of my experience is with horses who have level backs, decent withers and defined shoulders. Maybe I have easy to fit horses and that affects my view. Bandit before I got him:

Riders ask "How?" Horsemen ask "Why?"
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