Instructions for the
Sopris Quick Draw Cinch System
Assuming your animal has been desensitized (see ”Desensitizing Your Animal to the Pack” article) you are ready to begin. At a minimum he should be comfortable with you putting your hands on his back, chest, belly, and rear/flank area. If your animal kicks, lies down, or moves dramatically when you reach under to bring the cinches around, you may want to work with him a little more.
1. Brush to clear the wool of sticks and burrs that could irritate or sore the back or belly. A horse polypro curry brush works great for this
2. Your cinches are attached to the right side of the saddle to accommodate saddling from the left side. This will ensure that the rigging is consistently ready for the next person who saddles.
3. Before saddling, estimate the girth size and adjust the cinches accordingly (to limit the number of adjustments later) so that they will be centered on the animal’s belly when tightened. Estimate the distance on the Cinch Connection Strap so that the rear cinch does not ride back too far into the penile area (for goats and alpacas the two cinches will almost be touching). This adjustment in particular is easier done before saddling.
4. Pull the cinches up and lay them across the top of the saddle. Then, set the saddle on the animal’s back, making sure it is not on backward.
5. Slowly lower the cinches so that they hang down on the opposite side from you. Aline the saddle so that the Front Cinch (cinch with Sopris logo tag) will come across the sternum with the front edge of the cinch approximately 1" behind the elbow.
6. Holding onto the saddle with your left hand, reach under and take the cinch buckle with your right hand and connect it to saddle. Hold the saddle in place as you snug the front cinch. After your animal has gotten used to the saddling process and weight is added, the cinches must be tightened to the recommended tension. The front cinch must be tight.
7. Attach the rear cinch. The rear cinch should just fit snugly against the belly, angling reward (if there is room), to where it’s just in front of the penis. Goat packers will probably need to pull cinches all the way together.
8. 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 along with the saddle) if you have cinched correctly.
9. Four Side Release Buckles facing each other on the front and rear cinches are connections for the Pannier Stabilizing Straps. These straps connect to the buckle toward the bottom center of each pannier (see Sopris Panniers Instructions). To disconnect the side release buckle, squeeze at the sides. Leave these straps attached to the panniers rather than the cinches when not in use.
10. Walk your animal around to get him used to the cinches and saddle (shouldn’t take long).
11. Repeat the entire process until he is comfortable. You are ready for the chest strap and breeching.