Question: I recently purchased a nine year old Arab that hates being cinched. I try to cinch him gradually and then lunge him in between so he can get use to the tightness of the saddle. I don't know if this is related, but this is my question. He gets so excited about going, he can barely stand still long enough for me to get my feet in the stirrups. Once we get going a little ways, he settles right down.

Answer: Horses who do not like the cinch are called "Cinch Bound" or sometimes, "Cold Backed". You are doing the right thing. Usually I would cinch the saddle on this type of horse just enough to make sure it would not turn under them if they blew up, lead them a few steps, cinch a bit more, and repeat until the cinch was tight. Also after cinching them, grab and pull both front legs one at a time foreword to make sure no wrinkles of skin are caught under the cinch. Like the farrier pulls them foreword when putting their front foot on his metal stand to finish rasping the hoof wall after trimming or shoeing the horse.

Also try switching to a padded cinch such as an "endurance" riders cinch. Often we are using an annoying, dirty, sweat encrusted cinch which irritates these finer skinned horses. Or a cheap or ratty old one that really annoys them. Keep any cinch washed and clean.

Arabs are often known for their LETS GO attitude when first mounted. But I have found that generally it is because the owner or past owner(s) took off the second they got on the horse. "Meaning it is a Man Made vice". From now on, mount with his head in a corner of a solid, safe pen or corral (never barbed wire) and make him stand there for a few minutes before heading out. Just make him stand still, while relaxing your own body and petting him and talking very softly. No Hollering, WHOA. Just soft talk. Then always walk for the first 15 minutes to teach him that he does not have to Go, Go, Go, when first mounted. Even though he is an older horse, in a month or two he will be glad to relax when he is first mounted. Simply teaching an old dog new tricks so to speak.

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