For added peace of mind and security, a breastplate can be a wise choice. If you’re not sure which to opt for, our buyers guide gives you all the advice you need.
A correctly fitting breastplate is designed to help hold your saddle securely in place and, in particular, stop it from slipping backwards, while ensuring that your horse is as comfortable as possible and has complete freedom of movement.
There are a variety of breastplate types:
The traditional hunting breastplate is made from leather. It attaches to the saddle D-rings via two adjustable straps and also threads through the girth.
This design tales into account your horse’s windpipe and shoulder movement. It has more moving parts that move with your horse. The breastplate attaches to the D-rings on the saddle and the first girth strap, and from the centre of the chest through to the girth. The straps tend to be elastic for flexibility and are cushioned with sheepskin at potential pressure points.
Elastic breast girth:
A wide strap made from a heavy elastic, with no wither strap – it attaches to the D-rings on your saddle. This design allows your horse’s shoulders to move more freely. When fitting, check it doesn’t rest on the windpipe.
Often seen on racehorses, this simple set-up has a chest strap to stop the saddle from slipping back and a strap over the withers to keep it in place. It fastens to the girth on either side. Ensure it doesn’t press on the windpipe or interfere with the point of shoulder. You should be able to slip a fist between the chest and the strap, and between the withers and the strap.
Elastic Y-fit breastplate:
This is a modern version of the hunting breastplate, with the straps made of elastic, not leather, to allow greater freedom in the shoulders. Similar to the traditional breastplate, it avoids pressure on the windpipe due to the ‘Y’ shape. It secures to the saddle at the D-rings and the front strap goes between the front legs and attaches to the girth. When correctly fitted, you should be able to slip your fist under the ring at the centre of the chest.
For more advice about breastplates, see the full article in issue 455.
Don’t miss the latest issue of Your Horse Magazine, jam-packed with training and veterinary advice, horse-care tips and the latest equestrian products available on shop shelves, on sale now. Find out what’s in the latest issue here