Equestrian figures are a common theme in Dogon art. They can be sculptures in a variety of materials, most commonly in wood or metal, or adornments on smaller objects such as vessels, jewelry and door locks. The horse is not indigenous to this area, so only the very rich, especially rulers, could afford one. It therefore became a symbol signifying power, chieftainship and wealth.
Many equestrian riders depicted in these objects are thought to be hogons because they were one of the most important groups in Dogon society, and were therefore more likely able to afford a horse. A hogon serves as a priest for the deity/ancestor Lebe, who was concerned with crop growth and agriculture. The figure could also represent a foreign rider, or a warrior when shields or weapons are present.