Cinch and latigo preference

Just bought my … fourth Western saddle (good odds as a dressage rider), but it’s been a while between drinks.

What’s your preference for latigo and cinch material?

I’m looking at leather latigos; does anyone prefer nylon nearside w leather offside? Saddle currently has nylon.

I also need a new girth. Horse has big, fat elbows and needs a 36” girth to clear the elbow w the rings. What is your preference - mohair w open rings, or neoprene with a “back” (so the ring doesn’t sit on the horse direct).

My last “proper” set-up was mohair w leather; however that horse was tolerant. This horse… not so much. Saddle is for trail riding. It’s really nice old saddle.

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Leather for both, personally. Nylon never feels right, particularly for the latigo. The off side piece, not sure what it’s called but it’s static and more for getting the girth centered, it doesn’t really matter if leather or not, but I still prefer it.

Let your horse tell you what kind of cinch you need. I’d love to use mohair or felt, but my Old Man gets rubs instantly from that type of material. Neoprene is no problem for him, so that’s what we use.


I used a mohair dressage girth that I had custom-made in the US by a veteran… many, many years ago. I wish I could remember who she was (she was redeployed after she made my girth) because she made a fabulous mohair girth. If mohairs had buckle-backs, that would be the way I’d go.

The bit I’m worried about is the buckle being directly on the horse and bruising. She’s already “girth sour” that no amount of training, treats, special girths, PEMF, psychics, and omeprazole will / has change/d - I don’t want to add a pinching buckle to this! English girths either have a buckle backing (short), or sit on the underflap (long).

I tried a mohair cinch on my warmblood mare and she hated it. I use a Professional’s Choice Ventec without the elastic. It’s grippy and washes easily. The buckles are not directly on the skin. I use a leather half breed on the far side and leather Latigo on the near side. No nylon anything on my horses. I have a new mare also and she’s good with the same setup.

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If you’re going to take care of it consistently, leather is your friend. If you don’t have time to clean and oil things monthly (at least) go with Nylon.

I prefer leather as it’s far more forgiving than nylon, and my family has been in leather work for decades. Mainly shoes, bags, briefcases but they also used to repair and maintain all of the harnesses for Northville Downs here in Michigan. Leather is by far, a superior product, but it requires maintenance.

For a cinch, the “proper” set up is one that is anatomically friendly for your horse. Personally, I hate mohair. Instead I’ve been using the Total Saddle Fit Western Shoulder Relief Cinch with a 100% fleece cover. They also have the StretchTech Shoulder Relief Western Cinch if your horse needs a bit more wiggle room.

With TSF cinches, you don’t have to size up to make sure the cinch isn’t in your horses way. I personally would try a 34" on this horse first. My 950lb and just about 15hh Mustang mare, who is THICK (think Billy Cook wide tree thick), is in a 28"! I’ve included a photo of her so you can see the set up.


I generally use the string cinches mohair or alpaca. I try to buy from friends that make them.
If you find you like the string cinches you can buy cinch ring guards. I’ve never felt the need to use them but they might be an option for you if you’re worried about it.

I always use leather latigos. On my cowboy saddle I have a latigo on each side as I used to ride a big variety of horses and the latigo on each side made it easy to adjust quickly.
On my cow horse saddle I just use a leather off billet for the off side.

I use these cinches on my cowhorse saddle-

No neoprene, leather, protected buckles, I have yet to gall a horse and you don’t have to cinch as tight as using a fleece cinch. They last forever. I have friends that have this same cinch and it’s lasted 15 years. We use them at the cutting horse barn I work at. Easy to clean and disinfect as well as we ride and saddle 30 + horses a day.

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I like either leather or thinner nylon for the latigo and off billet. If it is the thick , stiff nylon I don’t like fighting with it.

My horses seem to prefer the cinches that have thick felt as padding. I have many styles of cinches that I have collected over the last 4 decades. I may get new horses in but I hang onto my cinches ( english & western).

Doubled nylon off, leather near, and roper-shaped girths, ideally mohair but some horses hate it. Neoprene gets way too hot (Alabama).

This no fuss cinch has worked well for me.

I’ll cast another vote for leather latigo and off billet. As for the cinch–I use a mohair/alpaca blend, but like others have said, let your horse have the final say. When I first bought a string cinch I was worried about the rings bruising the horse, but in all the years I’ve been riding him that’s never happened.

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I prefer leather latigos on both sides for more precise adjustment. I’ll settle for a half breed, but I’m not a fan of billets. My horses (ranch versatility performance horses) seem to prefer the Pro Choice Ventech Elite cinches. They’re vented to stay cool, tacky enough that you really don’t need to crank them down, and wide enough to distribute excess pressure (like from roping) properly. I work with a couple that get galled by these, they go really well in the weaver smart cinch felt or a mohair. In the past, my sensitive horses have done best in mohair.

I guess I’m against the grain on this one. I like nylon latigos and nylon off-billets. But, I’m also really picky. There are certain thin smooth “silky-feel” ones that I like. I like them because they are very low profile, not bulky, and the latigos always slide nice no matter the weather (hot humid makes leather sticky, and really cold makes leather stiff)

The ones I like are made by Weaver.

For cinches, it depends on the horse. I have 3. Red works well in the Professionals Choice VenTech cinch. Always has. They last forever and clean easy.

Dexter I believe has a neoprene allergy (gets bad rub marks), so I used to buy him the expensive Professionals Choice Shearling cinches. Until I got sick of them falling apart in 2 months. Then I switched to the in-between Merino Wool. Those lasted a little bit longer but still would barely make it a season. I tried the cheap cheap Equisentials version and honestly I love it. They hold up so well, wash so easy, and the horses can’t tell a difference.

Lilly tends to be on the sensitive side anyway, so I have her in the Equiseentials by Professionals Choice too. Haven’t had a problem. I haven’t tried the neoprene ventech on her but I just felt she would get along better with something with fleece.

I’m a leather latigo and off-billet person, too, and that’s what I have on my trail and show saddles. For some horses, though, I borrow my trainer’s work saddle and it has a nylon latigo/off billet. Can’t say that once I’ve cinched up and gotten on that I can tell a difference. It’s just that I know nylon is there! (Does that make me a leather snob?) :rofl:

Cinches? I either use a Professional Choice VenTech or a shearling/wool backed one (Professional Choice or Toklat). Depends on the horse. One filly I ride is very sensitive and a diva about everything. She always gets the floofy cinch.

Thanks folks! I ended up getting a set of nylon billets/latigoes made by the saddler. He said he prefers nylon in the tropics and any leather ones he makes are backed w nylon anyway.

I have ordered a Featherflex roper cinch. I love mohair but am just a little skeery on the unbacked buckle. I use TSF girths but no cinches are to be had in Australia - waiting on restock apparently.

The horse will tell me if I’m going about it wrong, I’m sure!!

I absolutely hate nylon latigos and off billets. Especially the latigos - they slip/loosen during use, and I’ve seen some pretty scary accidents as a result.

For my front cinch, I use a ThinLine for its comfort and non-slip properties. I won’t use anything made of neoprene on my horses because I’ve had bad experiences with blistering/reactions to various neoprene products.

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