Pulling the latigo through a buckle, poking the buckle’s tongue through a pre-punched hole and securing it is the modern way to cinch up a western saddle. Most new cinches have buckles with tongues, and the latigos come with pre-punched holes, making it easy to pull up a latigo to the right hole and then plug it in and cinch it down.
But what about the other way, the time-honored way of tying a cinch' In the old days, cinches didn’t have buckles with tongues and latigos didn’t come with holes in them. Cowboys, cavalry soldiers and rodeo riders tied their cinches on. You can do it, too . . . pre-punched holes or no. Tying a cinch with the latigo isn’t difficult once you know how. And it gives you infinite levels of snugness.
If you’d like to try your hand at tying a cinch, here’s how to do it:
Step 1. Feed the latigo down behind the ring on the cinch and pull it out the front and up. Feed it back through the front of the ring on the saddle and pull it out from behind on the left or right side. (You might want to take two wraps before pulling it out.)
Step 2. Wrap the free end of the latigo around and across the front. Push the end back behind the D ring and pull it out through the center of the ring toward the front. Drop the end of the latigo down behind the part you wrapped across the front. Pull tight.
Step 3. The correctly tied latigo looks a bit like a necktie knot when tied properly.