Nightlatch: You Should Have One On Your Saddle
Have you ever seen a strap on the front of a western saddle that attaches around the fork and wondered what it was?
Well, I’ve ridden with one for many years without knowing that it’s called a nightlatch. You’ll also hear them called a safety strap or a security strap. But their original name was nightlatch because their purpose was to offer a hold to a rider who would sleep on a night ride and trust his horse to find his way home.
I didn’t know it’s name but I knew that I always wanted one on my saddle. A nightlatch offers a safety hold for the unpredictable experience of riding a horse. You’ll find that folks starting colts will almost all have a nightlatch on their saddles and they’ll slip their hand into it as they mount. They’re ready for anything.
A nightlatch is not as common on the saddles of recreational riders but they should be. As prey animals, horse can shy and move quickly. It’s important to have a secure hold and a nightlatch provides a handy strap to grab onto.
You can create your own nightlatch with a dog collar or piece of rope, butÂ Horsewoman Karen Scholl has well-crafted and handsome nightlatches for sale.
Here’s an excellent short video from Karen Scholl on the nightlatch. She also has an interesting Western Horseman audio interview on the strap available on her website. It’s in the upper right corner on her nightlatch page.