- October 23, 2019
- Jan Swan Wood
Latigos. One uses them every time they saddle a horse, yet they are nearly forgotten until there is a major system failure. Latigos wear out, as do offside billets. The rigging on the saddle rubs on the leather or nylon, depending on what kind you use, until is starts wearing through on the edges. It doesn’t matter what kind of rigging you have, whether smooth D-rings or flat plate with it’s sharper edges, they both do it.
I don’t particularly like surprises like having my latigo break when roping livestock or just turning back a cow. Since wear and tear on equipment is unavoidable, I’ve found it helpful to protect the integrity of the latigo with a few minutes worth of work.
I generally use a good piece out of an old latigo to do this, but one can use about any kind of skirting leather or nylon just fine providing it’s as wide or wider than the latigo. If using leather, I like to oil it good so it will fold and lay smooth when applied. You don’t want the piece to be too bulky or it will make a lump under your leg and against the horse.
Using no longer than a 4 inch piece, put it over the rigging ring, pull it down flat, punch holes and lace it on with the lacing on the outside, never toward the horse. It has to be short enough to fit inside the end of the latigo when it is laced on, so measure the exact length against that and trim the excess.
Flatten it down smooth then put your latigo on as you usually do. The little piece on the rigging rings will protect the latigo from the sharp edges and with routine maintenance, last for a long time.
Latigos aren’t cheap, so preserving them for as long as possible just makes sense, so taking a few minutes to add this little piece to your rigging will not only save you money but may save your neck too.
About Jan Swan Wood
Jan was raised on a ranch in far western South Dakota. She grew up horseback working all descriptions of cattle, plus sheep and horses. After leaving home she pursued a post-graduate study of cowboying and dayworking in Nebraska, New Mexico, Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota....