Buckle Down: How to Use the Near Side Cinch Buckle
I hope I’m not the very last person on earth to figure out the near side cinch buckle. If I am, well, I’m going to blame my lifelong preference for English riding.
Though I grew up riding English, I encountered enough Western saddles to learn the traditional latigo-tying method. You know, the one that leaves a knot under your leg and the tongue of the near side cinch buckle dangling uselessly.
None of this mattered when I was using English tack with billets and girths. But, when I fell in love with my Stonewall endurance saddle — cinch, latigo, and all — I knew I’d need to find a better way. Surely cinch manufacturers have a reason for including a near side buckle!
They do. Here’s how it works:
Begin as usual, looping the latigo through the cinch buckle and back through the rigging ring. Instead of tying a knot, though, bring the latigo back down to the cinch buckle as if you were going to make another loop. Tighten appropriately, then place the buckle tongue through the nearest latigo hole. Be sure to get the tongue as far through the hole as possible.
Next, bring the latigo back up to the saddle rigging, taking care to press the tongue against the layer of latigo between the tongue and the buckle. This will prevent the tongue from coming out of the hole, which could result in the latigo working loose.
I know, I know. It doesn’t look as secure as a knot. But I’ve ridden hundreds of miles and quite a few spooks using this method, and my latigo has never slipped.
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