Cinch for horses with a really forward heartgirth

This is seeming more and more like a longshot, but I’ve got a horse with a tough combination of back conformational points to fit. I’ve got a saddle that fits him quite well, but he’s long and with how far the low point of his back is paired with how forward his heart girth is and a general lack of real “spring” to his ribs, a normal cinch always ends up sliding back slightly, causing the saddle to slide back with it.

I am having trouble finding a cinch that will minimize the sliding. I do not want to rely on a breastplate to “hold” the saddle where it should sit. I’ve played with the rigging on the saddle but it hasn’t helped much. I am thinking a contoured, “shoulder relief” style cinch would work but I’ve never bought one before. I love Mattes products and they have a cinch designed for the issue, but to the tune of almost $300. I prefer natural materials if possible, so neoprene, etc is not ideal.

Any suggestions or experience with this sort of cinch style, or recommendations on brands to try?

The Total Saddle Fit cinches are between $140-$165 new and I know I’ve seen a couple used ones for $90 on FB.

The shoulder relief cinches are intended for saddles that want to slide FORWARD, to keep the cinch away from the shoulder. Not the problem you are having where the saddle is sliding back. A shoulder relief cinch in your case is just going to allow the saddle to go backwards that much more.

If it is sliding back substantially, then I question on how well it actually fits.

Can you post pictures?

What saddle pad are you using?

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It’s a Mattes western anatomic pad.

Under normal circumstances, I would agree with you re: sliding indicating an ill-fitting saddle. In this case, this is a horse with conformation that makes finding western saddles that fit almost impossible. He’s long and tubular with a good set of withers on him and a BIG shoulder that he’s extremely particular about making sure is entirely free and un-impinged. The low point of his back is also quite far back, so any normal girth slides back on him. If I set the saddle where it naturally wants to be, the girth cannot be cinched up in his natural girth groove. If I set the saddle a touch more forward to line up the girth properly, it will inevitably slide back to where it wants to be and the cinch will go with it. This horse has very little spring to his ribs, so there’s not a lot to “hold” everything where it needs to be.

I’ve tried saddles with a really forward rigging, but so far I’ve not found any that will line up the ground seat with the low point of his back. It always leaves me feeling like when he lifts and moves forward, there’s a delay because there’s a gap between the lowest spot in his back and where I’m actually sitting. Plus he won’t tolerate a saddle with rigging that is too far forward because it tends to impede his shoulders in some way.

I don’t have any great pictures that demonstrate what I’m talking about, so I might have to see if I can take some.

Why not let the saddle slip to where it wants to be, then tighten and go? And there is nothing wrong with having a cinch angle forward.


Not this far angled forward. It’s not ideal, to say the least.

Did you get any pictures?