If you're a barrel racer, you know how important it is to have the right equipment. And one of the most important pieces of equipment you need to consider is your cinch. But how do you know what size cinch is right for your horse? Don't worry, we've got you covered. In this post, we'll guide you through the process of determining the right size cinch for your barrel racing horse.
Step 1: Measure Your Horse's Girth
To measure your horse for girth size, you'll need a soft measuring tape and an assistant to help you. Follow these steps:
Stand on the left side of your horse, facing forward. Your assistant should stand on the right side of the horse, facing forward as well.
Locate the girth groove, which is the natural indentation behind the horse's elbow where the girth will sit. Place the measuring tape on this spot.
Bring the measuring tape up and over the highest point of the horse's withers, which is the bony ridge located between the horse's shoulder blades.
Make sure the measuring tape is snug but not too tight, as this can cause discomfort for your horse. Note the measurement in inches or centimeters, depending on your preference.
If you want to double-check the measurement, repeat the process two or three times to ensure accuracy.
It's important to measure your horse for girth size correctly, as choosing the wrong size can lead to discomfort, chafing, and even injury. Remember to measure your horse while they're standing on level ground and in a relaxed state. If your horse is overweight or underweight, you may need to adjust the size accordingly.
You may be wondering why you measure over the horses wither and not under the chest for girth measurements? You measure the girth length over the withers rather than under the chest because this is the standard practice for determining the correct girth size for a horse. Measuring over the withers allows you to get an accurate measurement of the horse's girth, which is the area just behind the horse's elbows where the girth will sit.
Measuring under the chest, on the other hand, can lead to inaccurate measurements because this area can be affected by the horse's breathing and movement, which can cause the girth to slip and slide. Additionally, the girth groove (the natural indentation behind the horse's elbow where the girth will sit) is located higher up on the horse's body, closer to the withers, so measuring over the withers allows you to get a more precise measurement of this area.
Step 2: Choose the Right Size Cinch
Once you have measured your horse for girth size, you can use that measurement to choose the right size cinch. Most cinches are sold in even sizes, such as 26", 28", 30", and so on. To choose the right size cinch, select the size that is closest to your horse's girth measurement, rounding up if the measurement falls between sizes.
It's important to note that the width of the cinch should also be taken into consideration. The width of the cinch should be appropriate for your horse's conformation and body type. A cinch that is too narrow can cause discomfort and chafing, while a cinch that is too wide can interfere with the horse's movement and cause pinching.
Additionally, consider the type of material that the cinch is made of. Cinches can be made of various materials, including leather, neoprene, mohair, and synthetic materials. Each material has its own benefits and drawbacks, so it's important to choose the right material for your horse's needs and preferences.
For example, if your horse's girth measurement is 36 inches, you'll want a cinch that's around 28-32 inches long. It's important to choose a cinch that's not too tight, as this can cause discomfort and even pain for your horse. On the other hand, a cinch that's too loose can cause your saddle to slip, which can be dangerous for both you and your horse.
Step 3: Consider Your Horse's Build
While the size of your horse's girth is the most important factor in choosing the right size cinch, you'll also want to consider your horse's build.
Barrel Shape: Horses with a more rounded barrel will need a cinch that is shorter in length than the girth measurement suggests. This is because the cinch needs to sit snugly against the horse's body to keep the saddle in place, and a longer cinch may not be able to achieve this on a rounder horse.
Narrow Build: Horses with a narrower build may need a cinch that is slightly longer than the girth measurement suggests. This is because a cinch that is too short can cause the saddle to slip forward and interfere with the horse's movement.
Muscle Development: Horses with well-developed chest and shoulder muscles may need a cinch with more give or elasticity to accommodate their movement. Conversely, horses with less muscle development may do better with a cinch that is more rigid and provides more stability.
Saddle Type: Different types of saddles can also affect the fit of the cinch. For example, a barrel racing saddle may require a shorter cinch than a trail riding saddle, as the former is designed for quick, tight turns.
In conclusion, choosing the right size cinch for your barrel racing horse is essential for both their comfort and your safety. By measuring your horse's girth, choosing the right size cinch and considering their build you'll be well on your way to finding the perfect fit. Happy racing!