The cinch (also known as the front cinch) is a wide strap that fits beneath the horse and secures the saddle to the rigging. The word is derived from the Spanish word cincha, which is still used in some locations today. This element is most frequently known as a girth on English style saddles.
Both for the rider’s safety and the horse’s comfort, it is vital to select high-quality equipment. Cinches of poor quality and improper fit are a primary cause of grumpy horses and frequently result on unsightly sores.
Learn how to tie a western cinch in our How To section.
Saddle Cinch Sizes
Cinches are measured in both length and width. The length is measured from one ring’s outside to the opposite ring’s outside. Sizes range from 22 to 38 inches in two-inch increments.
30″, 32″, and 34″ are the most frequent sizes.
Width is measured in inches or by strand count on cord cinches. The number of strands can range from 14 to 31. A cinch might be “straight,” with a consistent width, or “Roper,” with a greater breadth in the center. The central strip of the cinch should be at the middle of the horse’s bottom, and the cinch rings should be roughly 8 inches below the rigging plates.
Place the saddle on your horse when he is standing on level ground to get a cinch measurement. Tie a length of thread or baling twine to one of the rigging rings, loop it around the horse’s girth, and bring it up to the other. You can estimate his correct cinch size by measuring his length and subtracting 16 inches (rounding up to the nearest cinch size).
The cinch should be placed around the horse’s heart girth, which is the narrowest area of the rib cage. Find out where your horse’s heart girth is by watching this video.
What Materials Are Saddle Cinches Made Of?
Cinches come in a range of materials with the goal of transferring sweat away from the horse’s body and allowing it to evaporate.
Horsehair was once frequently utilized and is still an excellent and durable material. It is also too expensive and impractical. Most people today believe mohair to be the best material.
It is robust and absorbent, and it cleans up simply with soap and water. A cinch gets dirty rapidly and needs to be washed on a regular basis to avoid sores.
The best and most expensive mohair is 100 percent mohair, although those containing a percentage of nylon or wool will be less expensive. A mohair blend will also prevent the straining that occurs when using a 100% mohair cinch.
Nylon, rayon, felt, cotton, and neoprene are among other popular and less expensive fabrics. Synthetics are durable, but they do not absorb moisture effectively and can trap heat. They simply will not breathe. Cotton absorbs moisture efficiently yet becomes brittle when wet.
Models with fleece lining are also available, but they must have been created by someone who has never ridden outside of an arena. Fleece collects all kinds of burrs, sticks, and dirt. They do not last long when they are clean and fluffy.
You should use a leather latigo rather than a nylon latigo if you utilize a synthetic cinch. The leather will provide some flexibility between the two parts. You can use a nylon or leather latigo with a natural material cinch because the cinch will offer the appropriate give.
A cinch should have a center strip stitched with rings on each side. The rings connect breast collars, tie-downs, and cinch connecting straps, and the strip adds strength. The center strip should fall in the center of the horse’s underside on a correctly fitted horse.
Stainless steel or bronze should be used for the rings. Rust will occur in nickel or chrome coated iron. Rings come in three different styles:
- Round Ring – Simple circular rings are commonly found on less expensive saddles. A latigo must be tied off using this kind buckle. While some riders like this method, it does add heft to the rider’s leg.
- Buckle Tongued Round Ring – This form is an improvement over the standard round ring since it allows the latigo to be secured with the tongue, reducing bulk. However, the design results in a ring that is quite fragile.
- Tongue and Crossbar Round Ring – This is the most powerful and adaptable approach. The ring is stronger and more sturdy with the tongue fixed on the crossbar.