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View Full Version : Cutting off Horn!?!



mustangtrailrider
Mar. 24, 2008, 11:01 PM
I trail ride my Mustang quite often 4-5 days a week. We do lots of riding over obstacles and jumping logs and ditches at all gaits. I ride western. I am too chicken to ride english. My joints do not hold up like they used to.

Has anyone cut the horn off of a western saddle? The horn gets in my way. I am afraid of impailing myself on the horn.

What do you think?

CoopsZippo
Mar. 24, 2008, 11:27 PM
Just buy yourself a hornless aussie saddle. That is what I have. I feel secure (I had a bad XC accident 10 yrs ago) and yet can do what needs to be done without a horn in the way.

Simbalism
Mar. 25, 2008, 01:05 AM
I have a western style endurance saddle, high in pommel and high cantle, very secure for trail riding without being poked by the horn.

chicamuxen1
Mar. 25, 2008, 06:57 AM
I knew a person who cut the horse off a western saddle. She did endurance riding and had this old saddle that fit her horse really well and was old and beat up. So she took it off with a hack saw. Much to her suprise it was a metal horn which is a bit uncommon and was tough sawing. She had to wrap the pommel with a strip of leather to cover the cut. It did work, so if you have an old saddle that fits your horse then why not?

Bonnie S.

WildBlue
Mar. 25, 2008, 01:38 PM
I know of people who've done it. You can cut it off with a sawzall and either file down the sharp edges and/or wrap the pommel with leather or a piece of inner tube.

ruffiannyc
Mar. 25, 2008, 06:45 PM
I'm afraid of impaling myself on Western horns in general. :) Especially when dismounting :D

Huntertwo
Mar. 25, 2008, 07:54 PM
I'm afraid of impaling myself on Western horns in general. :) Especially when dismounting :D


Or worse, getting your shirt caught. Now that is quite the embarrassing moment...;)


But to the OP, if you don't feel comfortable doing it yourself, do you have a local saddle repair shop or tack store that could help you do it?

I totally see your point, why go out and spend money on a brand new saddle if your current one fits you and your horse.

Bluey
Mar. 25, 2008, 08:05 PM
Practically all horns are metal bolted on, then covered.
On some of the really old saddles of the 1910-20's, the metal horns were not covered.
Grandma's saddle was like that.

Mexican saddles have the very thick, wood horn, but they don't generally tie hard, but dally carefully, so the rope slides, doesn't take a hard jerk that may break the wooden horn.

I would take the saddle to a saddlemaker and ask them to remove the horn, but it would make more sense to learn to ride with the horn or get another saddle with a smaller or no horn.

If your saddle is a barrel racing or cutting saddle, those have the sharp taller narrower horns that can poke at you.
Many riders really don't like those extra tall skinny horns, because if you and the horse fall, they can hurt you badly.

kellyb
Mar. 25, 2008, 08:15 PM
I knew a person who cut the horse off a western saddle.

Wow that's crazy, she could have just unsaddled him ;)

(lame joke I know)

mustangtrailrider
Mar. 25, 2008, 09:35 PM
The problem with getting another saddle is that my mushtang is hard to fit. This is the first saddle that really fits him well. I am going to try it out for a while to make sure it is one that I am going to keep for him. I don't care how it looks. I really like the saddle. I have never liked horns anyways. Get in the way. Always catching on something, like my tummy.

I would take it to a saddler and maybe cover up the defect with leather wrap or rawhide to decorate it up a bit. Saddle would look fine without it.

Thanks.

Maria Wachter
Mar. 28, 2008, 01:25 AM
I rode with a girl about 6 years ago out on the trail. We decided to canter, I was in front, she was behind me. All of a sudden I hear her start cussing at her horse and look behind me. The horse is bucking like a bronc, and she goes to grab the horn, and it flies off in her hand and flies over the horse about 20 feet in front of him:eek:
I'm suprised she stayed on. A month later she put her saddle up for sale. Don't know if anyone ever bought it though.

Maria

Raleigh's Mom
Mar. 28, 2008, 06:26 AM
The problem with getting another saddle is that my mushtang is hard to fit. This is the first saddle that really fits him well. I am going to try it out for a while to make sure it is one that I am going to keep for him. I don't care how it looks. I really like the saddle. I have never liked horns anyways. Get in the way. Always catching on something, like my tummy.

I would take it to a saddler and maybe cover up the defect with leather wrap or rawhide to decorate it up a bit. Saddle would look fine without it.

Thanks.

I did this with a saddle of mine. I took it to a person that does saddle repair. She cut off the horn and wrapped it with a leather that matched the saddle. Worked fine for me; however, the saddle was not worth much so I wasn't worried about effecting it's value anyway.

suz
Mar. 28, 2008, 09:30 AM
i had this done to my big horn saddle. i also hated getting hung up on the horn,but did like the deeper seat it provided for long trails. so far,so good.

Auventera Two
Mar. 28, 2008, 09:53 AM
I bet there's a way that a saddle shop could open the leather on the pommel from the bottom, pull it back, remove the horn, and then lace the leather back together, while covering the hole where the horn was. I sure wouldn't buy a new saddle if the only problem is the horn.

Or you could just apply the hacksaw. :lol: If it were me, I'd just hacksaw it off, then wrap the horn in leather latigo material. By the time you cover it up with a rain slicker and pommel bag, nobody would ever be able to tell anyway.

Auventera Two
Mar. 28, 2008, 09:55 AM
I rode with a girl about 6 years ago out on the trail. We decided to canter, I was in front, she was behind me. All of a sudden I hear her start cussing at her horse and look behind me. The horse is bucking like a bronc, and she goes to grab the horn, and it flies off in her hand and flies over the horse about 20 feet in front of him:eek:
I'm suprised she stayed on. A month later she put her saddle up for sale. Don't know if anyone ever bought it though.

Maria

:lol: Oh that's hilarious! Probably not for her at the time though. That's a real pickle when your "oh sheeeeet" handle snaps off. :lol:

Kellye
Mar. 28, 2008, 11:23 PM
I've had the horns cut off several different western saddles over the years. NO problem if you find a good saddler. They just wrap the bare spot with leather, and voila, you've got your own endurance saddle!

I've had it done to several Big Horn saddles, because their endurance saddles don't fit my horses, but their trail saddles do. I've even had a horn removed from a Bob Marshall treeless, because you cannot post in a BM with a horn without hurting yourself!

I've also seen a few other people do the same thing. If you have a saddle that fits but the horn is in your way, have a good saddler cut it off and you won't have to go through the hassle of finding another saddle to fit.

mustangtrailrider
Mar. 29, 2008, 08:15 AM
Thank you for the support. I don't really care about resale. It is a saddle that fits horse. I don't want to find another saddle. This is our 6th one I believe. He has changed shape quite a bit. Otherwise, he is a good boy.

I hate jumping debris and having a horn in my gut. LOL. Not much fun.

Shadow14
Mar. 29, 2008, 08:17 AM
If you know anyone with a SAWSALL they can quickly and cleanly cut the horn off even if it is steel. Any welding shop or even alot of garages will have a sawsall. It is just a power hawksaw. Most muffler shops will have a sawsall.
You can cut it youself or also use a 4 1/2 inch grinder with a chop saw blade also. Using a hand saw is about the hardest way since it is manual and you have to hold the saddle steady while sawing.
I think it is a good idea and a good wrapping afterwards will cover up the cut.
I have used wet rawhide for this since it can be wrapped really tightly and when the rawhide dries it really pulls itself tight and with careful wrapping can look good.
Cut the horn

matryoshka
Mar. 29, 2008, 10:57 PM
I cut the horn off of my Abetta western saddle a couple of weeks ago. My horse needed a slightly wider saddle than my Abetta endurance model, and the Arabian-tree western fits me better as well. I felt like that horn was aiming at my gut, and I've even occasionally had my coat catch on it when my horse gets up to his antics. Not fun and it only fueled my fear.

I cut the horn off with a hack saw and covered the opening with duct tape that matches my bridle. It ain't pretty, but I feel oh so much safer without that horn! I'm too lazy to sew a real leather patch on there, and the saddle is synthetic anyway. I thought about using bicycle tape to cover it and have a nice look, but the duct tape was fast and didn't lower the wither clearance.

Fancy
Mar. 30, 2008, 08:38 AM
I'm afraid of impaling myself on Western horns in general. :) Especially when dismounting :D

If you put your reins in your left hand and then put that hand on the top of the horn, it's impossible to hook yourself up. In any case, you think stepping off your horse, not laying flat and rolling off.

SmokenMirrors
Mar. 30, 2008, 08:57 AM
I can totally understand taking the horn off your western saddle because the saddle fits and you don't want the horn there but I don't understand how anyone complains they get caught up on it. I have been riding western all my life and at no time have I EVER gotten my shirt or coat or anything else on it. I have hit myself on it when my mare decided to do a bucking bronco routine on me and hit it as I was coming off but no other time.

Maybe your not dismounting or your leaning too far forward in the seat? I know that leaning forward is a common mistake when riding in a western saddle, when you need to be sitting straight up so your shoulder, elbow, hip and heel are in alignment.

Gestalt
Mar. 30, 2008, 10:34 AM
My husband has a Big Horn saddle and boy does it have a big horn. I hate riding his horse in it. If I was strickly a pleasure rider I wouldn't be in positions that push me into the horn. But if you trail ride in and through rough country, you're under trees and going up steep slopes. Difficult to maintain a straight shoulders, hip and heel alignment. ;)

When dismounting in the BH, I have to remember to 'step off' rather than do the english dismount which is likely to cause you to get your bra strap snapped. :lol:

Glad to hear you cut the sucker off, if you're not roping, why would you need a horn?

Fancy
Mar. 30, 2008, 10:44 AM
My husband has a Big Horn saddle and boy does it have a big horn. I hate riding his horse in it. If I was strickly a pleasure rider I wouldn't be in positions that push me into the horn. But if you trail ride in and through rough country, you're under trees and going up steep slopes.

I've always ridden western. I find it easier to dodge stuff in the western saddle. Just hold onto the horn with one hand and bend down BESIDE it, onto your horse's shoulder. You can get MUCH lower that way than you can laying flat out on an English saddle.

Gestalt
Mar. 30, 2008, 10:50 AM
I don't see it :) because you still have the pommel to contend with. And if you're leaning that far over to "clear" the front part of the saddle you're really out of balance. With my english saddles I can negociate any terrain.

But to each their own! :)

mustangtrailrider
Mar. 30, 2008, 04:11 PM
Where I ride, I duck, dodge, & hide. I hate having a horn in my way. It really gets in my way. I ride in balance with my horse. I don't have a problem there, neither does he. Just a darn horn. Like western, ok in english. Hate western horn. really in the way.

As far as the comments go about never getting caught in the horn or sitting up in proper alignment, I agree with all of that. My concern is the darn horn. It gets in the way. Always hitting on it. It is just in the way.

Who cares about sitting up straight when I need to get forward to go under branches. I lean forward and to the side. I never use the horn. I hate worrying about being impaled. Sometimes, I have to get off english style, lean forward, slide off the side. Horn in way.

Simple solution, take it off! As easy as that.

Auventera Two
Mar. 30, 2008, 04:30 PM
That's why I bought the endurance saddles. I don't want to do distance trail in an english saddle, and I felt my western saddle was dangerous. I decided to get an enduance saddle the day my horse lunged up a really steep, muddy hill and I hit my ribs on the horn. If you love your saddle, definitely keep it but ditch the horn.

matryoshka
Mar. 30, 2008, 08:38 PM
My saddle is a 15", and the horn was quite close to my guts. I've had lots of horses where the horn wouldn't have been as big an issue, but my OTTB is athletic with a big, bouncy stride, and I've got to feel comfortable leaning forward at speed if we're going under trees or if he takes some lunges going up hills. Also, he's a bucker and doesn't care whether we're going on the flat, up hills, or down. If I'm not expecting the buck, I get thrown forward in the vicinity of the horn. If my coat gets caught and I can't sit back for the next buck, I'm a goner.

And no, I'm not worrying about the bucking. He does it when he sees other horses and gets excited. I can't predict whether we'll come out of the trees to see some race horses hand-galloping by or other horses going at a trot. That's when he bucks. It's a fact of life for me, and removing the horn added to my peace of mind. :yes:

I'll also add that I'm a long-time English rider but had to switch to western trees/seats to support a bad hip. I like the feel of the seat, just not the horn. I also used dog-collars to turn the stirrups so they don't pull on my knees. It's quite a comfortable set up now. Now I've got to add a crupper ring to keep the saddle back on steep descents...

The horn on my Abetta had metal tongs that went well into the pommel, which is why I needed a hack saw. I still think wrapping with bicycle handle-bar tape is a decent option for covering the hole. ;)

ReSomething
Mar. 30, 2008, 09:24 PM
I can totally understand taking the horn off your western saddle because the saddle fits and you don't want the horn there but I don't understand how anyone complains they get caught up on it. I have been riding western all my life and at no time have I EVER gotten my shirt or coat or anything else on it. I have hit myself on it . . . . . .
They used to have these puffy down jackets in the 70's with slash pockets; well I had the Monkey Wards knockoff and I leaned way over and a little forward to open a gate, she sidestepped just a little the wrong way with me still hanging on to the gate with my right hand and the reins with my left and that slash pocket got caught and turned into a gash pocket. My fault for not being correctly positioned, but. The filling was showing and everything, and I was for once glad my Mom was thrifty or I'd have been leaving a feather trail for miles. So I can say I've had my clothing caught on a horn.
It's your saddle and you can alter it however you want as long as it doesn't compromise the structural integrity.

Sithly
Mar. 30, 2008, 09:36 PM
that slash pocket got caught and turned into a gash pocket.

:lol::lol::lol: