Tightening cinch while mounted?

While trying a western saddle on my mare, I thought “maybe western isn’t for us since I always need to tighten the girth after mounting.” I tried to tighten the cinch while mounted and it didn’t work. Then I remembered many years ago seeing an ad in Horse Illustrated for a gizmo so you could tighten from the saddle. Anyone know what it’s called and if it’s still made? I think it had a buckle with a lever that you pulled to disengage the “tongue” and pressed it down to lock–I think some tie-downs for securing loads have this same buckle.

I find using a knot instead of the buckle is easier to tighten from the saddle.

The thing you are looking for is called a cinch hook.

I always thought they looked interesting. If you get one let us know!


Maybe it’s because I have notoriously long arms, but I can lean over and tighten my western cinch while mounted pretty easily. I use a gel type cinch with a heavy-duty roller style buckle on the left (near) side. The roller buckle is probably the key. It’s made by Classic Equine.


I’m built like a t-Rex which is why I can’t do the buckle easy. But the not is much higher for me to work with.

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I must live under a rock, because I’ve never heard of or seen anyone tighten a western saddle after they’ve mounted.


I do it all the time. Easy to do. Efficient.


Are you thinking of the “It’s a Cinch?” Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be available anymore but maybe you can find one used?


I used one years ago when my old gelding was young and could be squirrely
during mounting to minimize the number of times I had to get off/on. I stopped using it when we got that sorted out.

It worked really well for me since I’m not coordinated enough to even tighten an English girth while mounted. :grin:

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I didn’t watch the whole video, but I don’t see how that helps with tightening the cinch while mounted at all. I do use a knot, but the layers of latigo stick together too much–with the saddle I was trying anyway.

Yes!!! Darn that it’s not available, but at least I know what to call it! Maybe the local tack shop can fashion one for me. I was trying to figure a way to use the “English saddle to western cinch” converter to work this problem out. Bet the shop can make one of the two ways work.

I’ll go dig through my rat’s nest tack trunk of old miscellaneous stuff and see if I still have mine and I’m happy to take pictures/measurements for reference. :smiley: It used a cam lock similar to this and had a loop/sleeve that you slid down to help keep it closed. Cam-Lock Buckle

If you can tighten an English girth while mounted you could try some converters (or have your tack shop make some).
Budget Converters
Nicer Leather Converters

Or as others have mentioned some people are skilled enough to tighten while mounted using the roller buckles - this design works well for that: Roll Snug Cinch Buckle

I am under a rock too. Why not just walk the horse in hand for a few minutes and retighten?

Or get off , tighten and remount?

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This is what I do with my Moe, who is a master of blowing himself up. I usually take my sweet time putting his bridle on after he’s saddled, then meander to the ring, give the saddle a quick check, snug it up and on I go. Never had a problem yet, I’ve used this method with many different horses, including the young ones.


Both my current riding horses have a protocol for girth tightening. We walk around the ring, stopping 3-4 times to go up another hole each time. After a few-10 minutes of riding, I need to go up another hole. Saves quite a bit of time doing it mounted, especially since I’m not used to mounting/dismounting western. Less dismounting = less chance to catch clothing on the horn. Also there’s no guarantee that I can tighten another hole without my weight in the saddle.

I saw those while googling for the answer. Looks like I’d need a longer dressage girth to use those and we’re already at a 34" I think. I’d prefer to use a western girth, although knowing which holes = “tight enough” would be nice.

Well, I’m not buying the saddle that brought up the question in the first place. I think when I had the saddle from SmartPak on trial that I may have been able to tighten that cinch. Hard to remember, it was back in May. I just ordered that saddle in a 17" and I should have it by March. :roll_eyes:

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I primarily ride Western and have for 30 years. I have NEVER tightened my saddle while sitting in it. I tack up, stretch my horses front legs, get their bridles on, walk a few steps, then check/tighten the saddle. Then get on and go.

I also prefer to use the knot method on my latigo. I don’t like using the buckle because you never have a hole where you need it.


I prefer the knot method too. Having started out riding English, I don’t trust a girth/cinch that has only one buckle and billet. I’d want a backup. A knot seems more secure to me.


I know this thread is a little old, but I ride western and use the knot to tie my latigo and am able to tighten it from the saddle as long as I’m riding a trust-worthy horse. I’ve been doing it for years and never had a problem and never purchased any extra gizmos. I just loosen up the knot slightly, pull the strap tighter, re-snug the knot and never even have to dismount the horse. Maybe that makes me lazy but I have gotten quite good at it. :laughing:


I used to use the knot tie but have moved on to the buckle. In my many years experience riding in the mountains, I have never had the buckle disengage, it stays put. However, I do dismount to tighten the cinch, just easier that way.

Maybe it was the particular saddle I was trying to do it on? As I said before:

It could be…some saddles have the cinch located more under your leg, which makes it harder to get to when you’re mounted.

I’ve never had the buckle disengage or cause me trouble either. My main reason for not using it is because the holes are spaced farther apart than I would like and because I also like using a nylon “latigo” I don’t want to melt extra holes and make a mess of it. Because I tried it before and kinda ruined a nylon tie strap that way. It was perfectly functional, but I didn’t like it aesthetically because my holes were sloppy.