View Full Version : Advice on western saddle, please!
2nd May 2000, 06:24 PM
I would be really grateful if anyone could help me.
I have recently aquired a western saddle, which is complete apart from a girth. This is where I am at a loss!
I have managed to source a mail oder supplier for the girths and saddle pads - but no-one knows how to fit western tack.
The saddle has two, large rings (one at either side) near the front of the saddle. This is where I would guess the girth should go. Attached to each ring is a very long strip of leather. I think it is buffalo (very soft and white) leather. But what is this for?!! If it had holes puched in it I would try and attach a girth to it. But I do not want to do this incase there is a very good reason for this leather. If it was for the girth, I cannot understand why it would be so very long. The strips are long enough to be tied in a bow underneath my mare's stomach when the saddle is in place!!!!
Near the back of the saddle are much stronger leather 'strips' which have holes punched and buckle together. They will fit round the horse, with a very small, thin piece of leather which would attach to the girth underneath her (I guess!!).
I do hope that someone can understand what I am trying to describe, and will be able to throw some light on the situation!
Can you believe that I can find no-one in the UK to help?!!
I bet this post has a lot of you laughing your heads off!!!!!
I look forward to hearing form you!!
3rd May 2000, 03:19 AM
I'm not an expert by any means but as far as I know the girth is attached to the rings and then the long strips of leather secure it in place by tying them a bit like a man's neck tie around the girth. Hope this helps!
3rd May 2000, 04:45 AM
Hev- just curious, but why did you buy a western saddle if you are not familiar with them?
Okay, now I will try to help you. The strips of leather ont he front should be different lengths, as you are sitting in the saddle, the one on the left should be long (called the long latigo), and the one on the right should be short (called the short latigo). Only the short one should have holes punched in it (if it doesn't, punch them). This is for the side of the girth (called the cinch in western terms) with the buckle. The cinch then goes under the belly, and the side of the cinch with a ring but no buckle goes on the long latigo, wrapped through twice, and tied with a knot that I can't remember the name of, and it will be impossible to describe to you. The straps on the back of the saddle are the back cinch. It fastens around the belly much like the front cinch, only not as tight. It is put there so if the hrose bucks (heaven forbid) the saddle won't pivot forward on the withers. There should be a narrow strap maybe 8-10 inches long that attaches the back cinch to the front cinch so it doesn't swing back and hit your horse in his/her "sensitive parts". I hope this wasn't too terribly confusing, I will try and find you a website with pictures so you can visualize what I am saying.
3rd May 2000, 05:29 AM
All right, I found a website with a picture of a saddle and some basic terms (although a lot are different from what I learned). I'm just going to tell you their terms to my terms so you will know what I was talking about.
M. tie strap = long latigo (the short latigo is in the same spot on the other side of the saddle)
G. Flank cinch billet = back cinch strap
H. flank cinch = back cinch
the website is www.mainstreet-usa.com/graphics/farmsup/westsad.html (http://www.mainstreet-usa.com/graphics/farmsup/westsad.html)
I couldn't find any site that displayed the knot, so I will try to describe it. Your long latigo should be tied or riveted to the ring on the left side on your saddle. From there, go down through the cinch ring. from the horse's side out towards you, and back through the cinch ring. Repeat this one more time, so you have two layers of leather. This time, when you go back through the cinch ring (you should be going away from your body and towards the horse's body), push the leather out the left side instead of straight down. Then loop it straight across the tow layers of leather, and around the ring so that you come back through the ring on the right, going away from the hrose and towards you. Then, slide the extra leather underneath the loop you created directly below the cinch ring. It is not nearly so complicated as this must sound, I truly hope someone else knows a website that can help, it would be so much easier than trying to describe it.
Where do you live Hev? Could you go to your local library and try to find a book about western saddles?
[This message has been edited by Allie (edited 03 May 2000).]
[This message has been edited by Allie (edited 04 May 2000).]
3rd May 2000, 03:58 PM
Hi Allie - thank you so much for all your help. I have just spent the last hour or so glued to that web page you suggested!!
Yes, I suppose that it does sound strange that I have the saddle when my knowledge of all things western is so poor.
To cut a long story (fairly) short - when I bought one of my mares, my friend joked that she looked more like a quarter horse than her real breeding (ID x TB). This innocent remark sparked my interest enough to tell another friend (Kathy) the story - who lives in Illinois and is not in the least bit 'horsey'. Almost a year later, a relative of Kathy's died and left her a lot of stuff, including western tack. As she had no use for it, she shipped it over to me!!
Luckily, the saddle does seem to fit this mare (using experience of english tack and common sense in the first place - and then double checking all the info that you have supplied).
Thank you again for all your help. As soon as I can get a cinch - I shall be trying to get to grips with that knot!!
4th May 2000, 12:40 AM
Actually the rear cinch is there for working purposes. It spreads the strain of the quick stops with roping cows. (rope around the horn and the other end around the cow). The rear cinch will have actual rings instead of slots. Quite a few Show saddles have the slots but mainly for traditional purposes, they aren't really functional. (tho I suppose they could be used) A roping saddle will have rawhide wrapped around the horn as well. If your not working cows, I wouldn't be concerned about a rear cinch.
4th May 2000, 12:58 AM
Allie, that's a pretty good description of the knot. I was trying to think of a way to describe it, I can tie one in my sleep but yours is good.
5th May 2000, 07:31 AM
You may also want to check out the website for the Western Equestrian Society at www.rwells1.freeserve.co.uk (http://www.rwells1.freeserve.co.uk)
5th May 2000, 09:21 AM
For regular easy trail riding, you shouldn't need the rear girth.One of our riders uses it when roping or other work. The rest of the quarter horses in the barn get nervous if you try and use the rear girth.
Also, be sure to walk the horse a little and then re-tighten the girth. Some of our horses will blow up when they know you are going to tighten and then they relax and have alot of extra room.
Be gentle when placing the saddle on her back. The western saddle is alot heavier than the English and you don't want to slam it on the animal.
Be careful of the horn on your jackets. Don't get caught on it if you lean forward to duck under trees or such in the trails.
You can use the little "D" shaped rings to clip a water bottle or tool (leather-man).
When tying the front girth strap, you will probably have a few feet left over, just hook it up in the slit at the front of the saddle. You don't want it hanging down too far and slapping her legs.
Don't over oil the straps, they will get too soft and snap. Also, check them every time you saddle up, they tend to wear in the spot where they rub on the ring. We change ours about once a year.
5th May 2000, 11:28 PM
Thanks for all your help, folks!!!!
I now have everything sorted - and my mare seemed to really have fun this afternoon!
This will probably never be any more than just a fun thing for us - but it definitely gives her a break from her usual training, and I haven't laughed so much in ages!
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