Why did some vaquero saddles have dinner plate-type saddle horns?
My famous saddlemaker friend, Carson Thomas, of Wickenburg, Arizona, told me: “The large platter style comes on many early as well as contemporary charro-style saddles. Both types work very well for roping livestock with the rawhide reatas or maguey ropes used by both vaqueros and charros (who are similar to vaqueros—their style is a bit different).
“The larger the horn neck, the more friction the rope has and the less dallys the roper needs to take to hold the critter.
“And yes, there are times when it might be used for holding on to when a horse decides he doesn’t want a passenger anymore!”
Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian. His latest book is Wyatt Earp: Showdown at Tombstone. If you have a question, write: Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327 or e-mail him at email@example.com