Show Filters

The main role of the breastplate is to prevent the saddle from sliding too far back while riding. Breastplates are very often used when jumping over obstacles, both in the course and in the field.

The breastplate – what is its function and when to use it?

Many people use breastplates, but do not fully understand their application. They treat them rather as a decorative element. Although there is nothing wrong with that and indeed the breastplate can complement our equestrian equipment also in terms of aesthetics, it is worth knowing how it works.

Most often, auxiliary reins or buckles that are not properly used can do a lot of damage. There are no such risks associated with the use of a breastplate. However, when deciding on it, we should know how to properly adjust it to best perform its function.

When is a breastplate needed?

Regardless of the riding style or model you choose, the main task of the breastplate will always be the same – to keep the saddle in the right place and prevent it from sliding backwards .

Due to their build, many horses have a greater predisposition for the saddle to slide off their back. We are talking here especially about horses with a strong curve , endowed with a strong, wide shoulder, or those with a narrow chest.

With these types of construction, it can be difficult to keep the saddle in the right position, no matter how well it is chosen and how tightly the girth is tightened (it should also be remembered that pulling the girth too tightly is detrimental to the horse and may have a negative impact on its comfort while riding and traffic quality).

Some types of breastplates that have a strap running over the horse’s withers can provide an additional point of support for the hands. This is especially useful for novice riders with a less stable hand or when riding young horses.

The use of a breastplate is also sometimes recommended due to the type of work / training the horse is doing.
The saddle is more likely to slip when driving over uneven terrain with a lot of ascents and descents.

The breastplates are also used for western style riding, for show jumping or for racing horses where the saddles, due to their very small size, lie less stable on the horse’s back.

While these are very rare cases, the breastplate also prevents the saddle from twisting in a dangerous way if the girth or hem breaks .

Types of breastplates.

Breastplates can be divided due to:

  • The material from which they are made.
  • The way they connect to the saddle.
  • Compatibility with other parts of the harness such as the martingale .

Most breastplates have smaller or larger elastic inserts , thanks to which the breastplate better adapts to the horse’s movement and provides him with greater freedom.

In the case of breastplates made mainly of leather, remember about proper care and impregnation before the first use. Thanks to this, the skin will not crack.

Breastplate that stabilizes the saddle.

In the case of some horses, due to their build, e.g. high withers, it is recommended to use a breastplate also when riding on a flat surface to prevent undesirable movements of the saddle.

Leather breastplates.

The most popular are breastplates made of a combination of leather and elastic inserts. With this solution, we are sure that the breastplate will be durable and at the same time will not restrict the horse’s movements too much. With leather breastplates, remember to properly impregnate the leather before the first use to prevent it from cracking.

How to properly adjust the breastplate?

Like most equestrian equipment, the breastplate must be properly adjusted in order to function properly.

  • Too loose will not fulfill its function.
  • Too tight can cause discomfort and restrict the horse’s movement.
  • In the case of a chest strap with a two-point fastening, it is important that it does not hang even slightly when the horse is standing still. Between the belt and the horse’s chest, our hand should fit freely, without feeling a strong pressure.
  • For breastplates with more contact points, it is important that all the straps fit snugly against the horse’s skin, but not cut into it. As in the case of the breastplate, we should be able to easily fit our hand there.
  • It is important that the belt between the horse’s legs is not too loose . In extreme cases, the horse can even fit the hoof there when jumping and lead to a very dangerous fall.

A properly selected breastplate should not rub our horse anywhere.

However, if we are dealing with an extremely sensitive mount, we can additionally attach sheep fur inserts, especially at the rosette and other places where the skin is exposed to friction. The best solution are replaceable inserts that can be detached and cleaned at any time or replaced with new ones when they are very worn out.