Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Latigos and Cinches: how to store them so that they're handy and out of the way

This is something that I've seen a lot over the years and it always sort of bothered me because there is a much easier way to do things.  I see folks unsaddle their horses and leave the cinches just hanging down so that they'd drag on the ground whenever they carry the saddle.
I guess that's all well and good if you don't mind tripping over your cinches while you're walking or getting them all dirty and having them pick up stickers and such from being drug around.
I've also seen a lot of folks that just throw their sweaty ol' cinches up over the seat of the saddle like this

But with this, you're getting all that sweat soaking into the jockeys and seat of your saddle.  It can discolor the saddle where the cinch lays and, if the leather is not cared for properly, the constant exposure to such salty moisture can cause the leather of the saddle to break down.

Personally, I prefer to keep them looped up and use the keeper on the off side of the saddle that was made for this purpose. 

This keeps them out of the way when I'm carrying my saddle and it also makes swinging the saddle up there much easier because I don't have to fumble around and pick them up and get them out of the way first.
Another thing that's pretty commonly seen is the latigo just slung up over the saddle like this or having it just left down to hang and tangle around your feet as you're walking.  In my opinion, this makes saddling up more of a pain than it needs to be.

So, I'll show you how I keep my latigo up and stored where it's out of my way and is extremely easy to cinch up when I'm saddling my horse.

Here, you've got the latigo just hanging down loose, the way it would be just after you undid your cinch.

I'll grab it about halfway down and bring that point up behind the rigging

Then, I'll take that point that I've got ahold of and bring it up through the ring on the saddle.

I pull it up and through and adjust the entire thing until all of the layers are an even length

 Then, I just let it lay down and it's hanging in a nice, convenient, out of the way manner
Then, when it comes to cinching up, I basically just do the opposite.  I'll grab the tail of the latigo, which is at the very back of the layers, closest to the horse.  I take it down and put it through the ring on my cinch.

Then, it's just as simple as pulling out the slack

After that, you just proceed to cinch up normally.  When you're done, you just put the latigo and cinches up again and they are already stored for easy carrying and use the next time you pull your saddle out.

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