What to Look for in Western Breast Collar Parts
Over the years, Western breast collars have become an iconic staple piece in the world of tack. To get the most out of each ride, it's important to know how to measure for a breast collar and how breast collar parts should fit. What is the purpose of a breast collar on a horse? And how can it benefit you and your equine partner? Continue reading as we examine what to look for in horse breast collar parts and how NRS can help you get the best tack on the market.
What is the Purpose of a Breast Collar on a Horse?
Also referred to as a "breastplate," a Western breast collar is a device specifically designed to keep your saddle from sliding back off of your horse. As a result, it helps keep you in place as your horse powers through tough maneuvers. This popular piece of riding equipment comes in a variety of styles and is worn where the horse's neck and shoulders meet.
Is a breast collar necessary for riding? Western breast collars are generally considered optional, but they do offer a lot of benefits. With a Western breast collar, your horse can make correct and powerful movements without your saddle slipping. Additionally, this tack can help you refrain from cinching up as tightly. Western breast collars can also provide a great safety feature during fast-paced activities that require horses to make quick stops. For example, when a barrel horse hustles out of a turn, Western breast collars will act as a reinforcement.
Western Breast Collar Styles
From flashy to sleek, Western breast collar parts come in a wide range of designs. The following styles are the most popular options you'll find on the market:
- Fringe. Fun and detailed, fringe can help any rider make a statement. Whether you're team roping or barrel racing, this style will certainly help you and your horse stand out.
- Tooled leather. As the leading material of Western breast collars, leather provides a classic look and can last for decades.
- Maintain proper upkeep. The best splint boots for horses should always be clean. Simply scrubbing them with soap and water and letting them air dry is usually enough.
How to Measure a Horse for a Breast Collar
Measuring for a breast collar is quite simple. Begin with saddling your horse just as you normally would. Next, take a piece of string and hold one end up to the breast collar "D" ring on the saddle. Proceed to run the string across the front of the horse's chest where the breast collar would lay. Continue running the string all the way to the center of the chest. Cut the string at the point where it touches the horse's chest. Once you've done that, lay the string down on a flat surface and measure its length.
When it comes to selecting the right tack for your equine partner, a lot of it boils down to horse size. Breast collar measurements typically vary based on a horse's build. See the table below to get a better idea of what size Western breast collar may be right for your horse.*
|Horse Build||Approximate Breast Collar Size|
|Heavy Muscled||36 inch|
*Note: The sizes in this table are approximations and may not reflect all breast collars at NRS.
How Should a Breast Collar Fit on a Horse?
To ensure your horse is comfortable, you want your breast collar to fit just right. The key is to have the breast collar lay across your horse's chest and above the points of the shoulders. Make sure you allow for plenty of clearance where the horse’s neck meets its chest, or the device will be too tight and can cause severe discomfort.
Types of Horse Breast Collar Parts
To get the most out of your horse's Western breast collar, you need the right parts to go with it. The following tack items are some of the key breast collar parts you'll find at NRS:
- Wither straps. A great option for narrower horses, a wither strap attaches to breast collar "D" rings and lays over the horse's neck. Its purpose is to keep the breast collar in optimal position and prevent it from sagging.
- Tugs. Commonly worn by barrel horses, tugs are straps that connect Western breast collars to the saddle "D" rings.
- "D" rings. These tack items can be used to attach the breast collar and hold it in place for a secure fit.