1. Brush your animal to clear the wool of sticks and burrs that could irritate or sore the back or belly.
2. Your cinches are attached to the right side of the saddle to accommodate saddling from the animal’s left side. Before putting the saddle on, estimate the size of your animal's girth and adjust the cinches accordingly so that they will be centered when tightened (the same amount of cinch should be on each side). This is easier once you become familiar with the rigging and your animal’s size.
3. Before putting the saddle on, pull the cinches up and lay them across the saddle. Then, set the saddle on your animal’s back, making sure it is not on backward. Adjust the saddle so that the FRONT (short cinch with Sopris logo tag) CINCH WILL COME ACROSS THE STERNUM (the callused area) with the front edge of the cinch approximately 1 to 1 1/2" behind the animal's elbow.
4. SLOWLY lower the cinches so that they hang down on the opposite side of the animal from you. Holding onto the saddle with your left hand, reach under the animal and take the cinch buckle with your right hand and connect it to saddle. Hold the saddle in place as you tighten the cinch. Push the wool away from the buckle as you tighten so the wool doesn’t get caught in it. After your animal has gotten used to the saddling process, the cinches must be tightened to the recommended tension: The front cinch MUST BE TIGHT. It should be difficult to get your fingers between the cinch and the animal after you have tightened the front cinch. After the front cinch is in place connect the rear cinch. THE ACCEPTED PLACEMENT OF THE REAR CINCH is as far back as possible, bringing it directly in front of the penile sheath or udder. Adjust the CINCH CONNECTING STRAP so that the rear cinch does not ride back into the penis or udder. The rear cinch should just fit snuggly against the belly. Pull and push your saddle from side to side and from front to rear. It will be difficult to move the saddle in any direction (except for the movement of the animal's skin with the saddle) if you have cinched correctly. Check your cinches from time to time on the trail and tighten them if necessary.
5. Two SIDE RELEASE BUCKLES pointing rearward on the front cinch and two pointing forward on the rear cinch are connections for the PANNIER STABILIZING STRAPS (1 "x 20" web straps) which connect to the buckle toward the bottom center of each pannier. To disconnect side release buckle, squeeze at the sides.
6. Excess cinch strap can be tied in latigo (neck tie) fashion to the saddle D rings or stored in the cinch sleeves. Your cinch straps can be cut shorter, but make sure there is enough strap left to allow for weight gain or the possibility of using the saddle on a larger animal.
7. Walk your animal around to get him used to the cinches and saddle.
8. Repeat the process until your animal is comfortable. You are ready for the chest strap and breeching.