Take what follows with a big grain of salt, and maybe as an apology for dragging things off topic earlier (bad habit of mine): Rod Nikkel said it was common for a western cinch to angle forward
. It does with Bandit, and giving him ANY cue in front of the cinch would require giving it...on his front legs?
If I tried to put my heel in front of the cinch, I'd poke his legs. FWIW, here is what I was taught for steering with the leg by a western instructor. For a left turn: as the left front leg is starting to leave the ground, nudge the horse with the right lower leg. She didn't teach spurs so it was always calf pressure, not heel, and I doubt it would matter if it was on the cinch, although it couldn't be forward of it.
The horse, starting to move his left front leg forward, would feel the pulse and shift his left leg away from pressure while moving it forward, and thus would curve left. The idea was to learn the feel and only pulse left (using the right leg) as the left front leg of the horse was ready to obey. It was never a steady leg pressure because when the horse's front left leg is on the ground he cannot move left, and asking him to do what he cannot do will aggravate him. Or so she said.
So we would ride and she would call out "left, left, left" until our pulses matched when the horse COULD obey. Once you got the feel of the horse, pulsing with the leg at the correct time just felt "right". I used to do it with Mia when I owned her, but really only at a walk. I have just enough "English Forward Seat Rider" left in me to prefer two point for the trot and a half seat (maybe a 3/4 seat?) for a canter, and neither lend themselves to that sort of leg cue. Not at my skill level, anyways!
Don't know if that is how anyone else was taught. It worked very well with Mia, but Mia and I did a lot of arena time. Bandit and I are in the desert 90% of the time. He neck reins very well and I've gotten out of the habit of using leg cues. If we are going down a trail, it is obvious which way we are going. When we leave the trail, zig zagging between cactus, leg cues aren't precise enough. Besides, when we are off trail, he has plenty to do just keeping his feet and OUR legs out of the cactus.
Also....Bandit's previous owner said his leg cues with Bandit were done to the rear. So he would cue Bandit using his leg to the rear to move Bandit's rear to the left, which would then result in a right turn. How the horse has been trained is important, which is why listening to your instructor is needed
But if & when you get a horse off of Craigslist, you may find the horse trained in some very odd sorts of ways. Bandit had been ridden in a bosal as primary and a snaffle bit was only there as an emergency brake. I found that out on my first ride after I got him to a trot and then started to take the slack out of the reins at speed. Before the slack was gone, he slammed on the brakes and I nearly went on his neck. Called the previous owner, found out how HE had used a snaffle, and then got to teach Bandit how I wanted to use one! Now 90% of our riding is done with one hand and a curb bit.