If you have ever been horseback riding using a western saddle, you likely know what the saddle horn is. When sitting on the saddle, it’s the part protruding up above the withers of the horse. There are three parts to the saddle horn, the points, the neck, and the cap (aka head).
Originally, the horn was added to Western saddles to help writers wrote cattle. As a writer was roping a steer, he could wrap the end of the lariat around the saddle horn so that some of the force is absorbed from the steer hitting the ropes end. When I used to do roof wash Conroe, TX, I did a little roping myself. It was obvious the saddle horn did take a lot of the brunt force, something I was quite grateful for.
These days, the saddle horn come standard on all Western saddles, regardless of whether the saddle was used in roping are not. There have been many other uses discovered over the years for the saddle horn. It can be a great place to hang things on, or a place where you can take a rest to lean against. One of the most popular uses of the saddle horn is as a security handle when riding a horse gets a little rough.
There are many different sizes and shapes of saddle horns, depending on personal preference and usage. They can be made from brass, steel, and would, then wrapped with rawhide. On ranch in roping saddles, and extra horn covering is added to protect the saddle horn from damage from roping, and providing the rope a better grip. These Horn wraps are made from different kinds of materials such as Dura-Wrap rubber, heavy letigo leather or rawhide, or even mule hide.
The style of the saddle horn can vary depending on the type of saddle you have. Some of the options available are neck diameter, angle, shape, diameter, and height of the horn.
Hopefully, you have a better understanding of saddle horns and what makes them important.