The breast collar, or breastplate, is a piece of tack used on horses in a variety of disciplines. The purpose of the breast collar is to keep the saddle or harness from sliding back.
The variation of a breastplate used for western riding, is referred to as a breast collar. The term breastplate is occasionally used, though western riders generally use breast collar to refer to both designs. Breast collars can attach to the saddle rigging or dee rings on the front of the saddle. In either case, an additional strap usually runs between the front legs and attaches to the cinch. Some western breast collars also have a wither strap.
The breast collar is used on both English and Western saddles. Horses in Western disciplines that involve working with cattle, use a thicker and sturdier style.
The pulling breast collar harness is popular among Western riders, particularly ranchers and ropers. The pulling style breast collar sits just above the line of a horse's shoulders and buckles around the pommel of the saddle. Ranchers, ropers, and others that prefer this style of breast collar, say that pulling breast collars allow the horse more freedom of shoulder movement and better leverage when pulling.
A wither strap, or an over the neck breast collar strap, is designed to go up over the withers to hold your breast collar up in the correct position over the shoulder, so as not to rub across your horse’s shoulder.
Breast collars should not be fitted in any way that will restrict the horse's movement. Special attention should be paid to the shoulders, chest, and the area between the horse's front legs. A general fitting guide is that a fist should fit between the breast collar and the horse's chest, and there should be a hand's width between the wither strap and the withers. The breast strap should have some slack, and the buckle shouldn’t rub the sensitive skin in the area. It should also be adjusted so that the chest straps lie above the point of the shoulder, so that the horse's motion is not restricted.
Breast collars are often tooled, embellished with conchos and personalized in many ways. If you already have a breast collar, your existing tack can be updated and personalized. You can find our breast collars and all of our American made tack at www.buckarooleather.com .
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