A saddle horn is a protruding “horn” that is mounted on the saddle tree on the top of the fork. It is made up of the cap (head), neck and points. A saddle horn is probably one of the most recognizable parts of a saddle.
One of the main reasons why western saddles have horns is to use them as a tool for roping cattle. When a rider catches a steer on a rope, he or she can quickly “snub” his end of the lariat around the horn to absorb the force generated when the steer hits the end of the rope.
Saddle Horn Types
Saddle horns can be seen in a variety of different shapes and sizes depending on how they are used and what a rider prefers. Most are covered in rawhide with a wood, steel or brass core.
Saddle Horn Covers
Roping and ranch saddles also have additional protection with a horn cover to help protect the horn from rope burns and give it a better grip on the rope. These horn wraps are made from a variety of materials including rawhide, mulehide, leather, and rubber.
Saddle Horn Styles
The styles of a saddle horn is usually determined by the saddle types you are looking at. Variables in a horn include height, cap diameter, cap shape, cap angle, and neck diameter.
Whether or not the saddle’s used for roping, the horn is now a standard part of the western saddle. Having a horn on your saddle not only helps with roping, it is also a great way to hook to hang things on, a great spot to lean on when taking a rest, and, as so many have discovered, a security handle when the ride gets rough.