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Cinching a saddle properly is important for the safety of both the rider and the horse, as a tight saddle can chafe and pinch a horse's skin while a loose saddle can allow a rider to fall off easily. Learn the proper way to cinch a saddle with advice from a riding instructor in this video on equestrian living.
I am going to cinch up my saddle. We have come to that point where we've placed it well. We're going to go around and bring down our off-girth, or cinch, front and back, have it in order, and now come back around and we're going to look at--in great detail--about some of the things we can do to insure probably the most important thing to keep us safe as we ride is to be sure that we have fastened this saddle correctly. In my business I have seen a number of ways that people make a very possibly dangerous choice, and so we want to make sure that when we look at our saddle, we check to be sure the equipment, the girth, the cinch, is all in order. We also want to be sure we recognize each saddle has a very strong place of attachment. It should be a strong metal ring that's fastened up into the saddle riggings, or sometimes they are rawhide. But I have to admit I've seen people actually try to tighten or fasten their saddle to some of these other pieces that obviously would never withstand the kind of pressure that we might put on them. So I reach under and a bring my sturdy, in good shape, cinch, that's well-fitting--we want it to be balanced on both sides of the horses girth, or underneath his body, so that it comes up past his elbow, the ring is not going to be chafing him in any way here behind his elbow, and I'm going to begin to wrap the girth... the billet strap... by keeping it flat and going from front to back, all the way, until I come to that point where I could start to tighten it and I've used up all of the strapping. Most modern saddles now come where the girth is intended to be buckled. Your cinch is going to have a buckle here, and therefore we can just continue to wrap, come to that point where we run out of strap, pull up firmly, and find the next closest hole, placing the buckle securely in there, and then pulling back on the top strap. That locks that buckle in place, and now we can be sure it's going to stay very tight. I find this system actually keeps my saddle much tighter and for it to be working with new riders who may not be able to tie it off real tight, this will stay fastened tighter, longer. However, I'd like to point out that in previous times, our saddles didn't always come with a buckle fasten, and some people are still using what we call a Texas T. It's a lot similar to tying a man's tie. It does not use the buckle at all, and some girths in fact do not have the buckle, so you might want to know both ways, because they both are correct, but we typically see today the buckle system. To make that Texas T, I make sure the tail of my strap is going forward. I come around the front, creating that loop, tuck it in behind the metal ring, bringing it upward, so I now have this kind of a loop. Pull that tail down through, tighten it as tight as you can, and you now have what we call a Texas T. A firm and secure knot, just different from the buckle. So we do have two secure choices that we can use, and this one will work just as well as the buckle. Going to go back to the back strap, or back cinch, making sure, again, the buckles are even on both sides so that I have a nice, balanced appearance. Put that in so I can get my fingers in between, tuck that strap in, and now I would be ready and confident that that's going to last through my ride.