How to Tighten Your Horse’s Western Girth



Watch out for a shifting saddle.,
Notice if your saddle seems to bounce up and down.,
Dismount and inspect the cinch.,
Tighten the cinch before mounting.

If you feel that you are having to lean to one side to keep your balance or keep upright, it’s probably because the saddle was either placed on incorrectly or has shifted because it is loose. You can know for sure by looking at the pommel (the horn that you hold with one hand while riding). If the horn (or pommel, the knob that sticks up on the saddle for the rider to hold) is not in perfect alignment with the horse’s mane, the saddle has shifted off-center.The saddle may have shifted because it was too loose, or it may have shifted because you are putting too much weight on one stirrup and not evenly distributing your weight (this happens all the time, especially to new riders, and especially if you’re riding the horse in circles). You can try to shift the saddle back by putting your weight on the opposite side stirrup, but if the saddle moves too easily it is probably too loose.Dismount and adjust it.

, While you might do a lot of bouncing out of the saddle if your horse is trotting or cantering, the saddle itself should never leave the horse’s back. If it’s moving up and down as the horse moves, it will injure the horse’s back.If the saddle itself seems to leave the horse’s body as you trot, you must immediately dismount and tighten the girth.

, If you’re not sure if the saddle is on properly, don’t keep riding, even if you’re worried that others will think you don’t know what you’re doing. Every rider has to adjust the saddle sometimes, and no one will think less of you for putting your horse’s comfort and your own safety first.

If someone is with you, they can inspect the cinch for you. This is more reliable than doing it yourself since your weight in the saddle will cause more “give” to the girth and make it looser. Have the person check to see if they can pull the girth itself an inch or more away from the horse’s body while you are in the saddle. If they can, it’s too loose., You most likely will not have to repeat all the steps again, but you will need to loosen the tie and unbuckle the girth from the horse’s left side to re-tighten.

Make a note of what position the buckle is in before you remove it, and then ensure that you tighten it to the next notch (or two, if the saddle was very loose) as you re-cinch it.

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