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Comparison Review: Western Cinches

Hey, western rider! Yeah, you! The one looking for the right cinch for your horse. Here’s a comparison of five great products to help you decide which cinch is the right cinch for your horse.

Pixabay/JamesDeMers/CC

One of the most essential pieces of tack in any rider’s barn is the cinch. For western riders a cinch has to hold your saddle in place and keep it from sliding when you are riding. Since western riders ride in a variety of disciplines from working cows to barrel racing to trail riding, having a functional, comfortable and easy to clean cinch is essential.

Cinches can come in a variety of colors and shapes and can be made from a variety of materials. Their prices can vary greatly and aside from the saddle and bit, they are the piece of equipment that has the largest impact on your horse’s comfort. A horse that likes his cinch will tack up easily, step out and be happy to go to work. And we’ve all seen what happens when a horse does not approve of his cinch. A cinchy horse is not a happy horse. 

So in this review, I will compare five types of cinches that I have personally used on my horses. They differ with respect to material, shape and price, but all hold up well to wear and tear. For the most part they are arranged from cheapest to most expensive. 

Weaver Felt Lined Smart Cinch 

Material: Felt
Price Point: $42-45
Available at: Chewy, SmartPak Equine, Stateline Tack, Valley Vet Supply, and Amazon
Review: This cinch features a two-roller design that gives the rider more leverage and makes cinching easier on the horse. The felt liner is easy to clean and dries quickly. The felt conforms to your horse and does not pinch. Customers report that this cinch keeps their saddle in place without having to be overly tight and that it is especially effective on round horses with mutton withers. This cinch is wider than most neoprene cinches and provides a wider surface against the horse’s stomach which makes the cinch more comfortable for the horse because it distributes the tension of the latigo and off-billet more evenly. Customers report that it takes a bit more maintenance to keep the felt clean than it would to keep neoprene clean. Some riders had to be careful not to over-tighten the cinch since the rollers make it so very easy to tighten. 

Professional’s Choice SMx VenTECH Western Cinch

Material: Neoprene
Price Point: $59.99
Available at: SmartPak Equine, Big Dee’s Tack and Supplies, Valley Vet Supply, Stateline Tack, Amazon and Jeffers Pet
Review: This cinch features a ventilated non-slip neoprene liner that conforms to your horse, keeps your saddle from slipping and allows heat and moisture to escape. People who own and love this cinch reports that it sits well in the girth groove, does not pinch, and is especially well-suited to mutton withered horses to prevent saddle slippage. Patrons report that the girth keeps the saddle in place without having to be overly tight and that their horses seem comfortable and cool under saddle and move freely in this cinch.  This girth is easy to clean and features keepers and a roller on the latigo side. 

Christ Lammfelle Western Cinch

Material: Sheepskin
Price Point: $135-$150
Available at: Fit Right Saddle Solutions and Horsedream Importers
Review: This anatomical western girth is contoured for added comfort for the horse. It offers plenty of space for your horse’s elbows and will not pinch or gall. It is machine washable and can be dried on tumble dry low, although this reviewer tends to hose her girth down and then let it air dry. These girths can be hard to get your hands on as they are imported from Germany, but they are comfortable for even the most thin skinned horses. This reviewer has had real success with this girth on her off-the-track Thoroughbreds. 

Total Saddle Fit Shoulder Relief Cinch

Material: Neoprene/ Felt/ Fleece
Price Point: $140 for Neoprene/ $170 for felt or fleece
Available at: Total Saddle Fit and Amazon
Review: This cinch is designed to reduce slippage and girth galls. The Total Saddle Fit Shoulder Relief Cinch changes the position and angle of the billets to create a more secure fit in an attempt to increase your horse’s comfort. People who ride in this cinch report that even their grumpiest horses are less reactive in this cinch. These cinches hold up to intense sports like barrel racing and even hold saddles in place while a horse is turning a barrel, while allowing the horse to have more freedom of movement. This cinch gives larger horses like Friesians more room behind the elbow and increases their comfort and freedom of movement. Patrons are happy with the quality of the product and report that it is well worth the money because of how well their horses move in them and how well their saddles stay in place. Many owners have gone back for seconds or thirds and now own several of Total Saddle Fit Shoulder Relief Cinches. 

5 Star Mohair Cinch 

Material: Mohair
Price Point: $100 and up
Available at: 5 Star Equine Products and Schneider Saddlery
Review: For centuries riders across the world have turned to mohair cinches to keep their saddles in place and their horses free of sores. Mohair cinches keep your horse cool and are attractive and available in a variety of colors and patterns. Mohair cinches are made by hand and are works of art in addition to being functional tack. Many owners of mohair cinches like the use of natural products on their horses and appreciate the comfort that the mohair offers their horse. Some people notice more slippage with a mohair cinch than with other cinches, especially if using a mohair cinch in conjunction with a leather latigo and off-billet due to the fact that both leather and mohair have a lot of give. Caveat emptor (let the buyer beware): when buying a mohair cinch, be sure that it is a genuine mohair cinch and not made out of synthetic fibers. A cinch made out of synthetic fibers can cause slipping and also girth sores and sweat galls. 

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