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Types of breastplates and tips on how to choose one

Published: 2022-10-19 08:51:02 Categories: Guides Rss feed


Getting the right equestrian tack that will suit both the rider and the horse can be time-consuming, however, it’s worth it to feel comfortable during a ride. If you want to get a breastplate or are wondering if you need one, check out our article to know the types of breastplates and how to choose the right one.

Breastplates are a part of riding tack that stabilizes the saddle and prevents it from sliding back on a horse. This makes breastplates most needed in dynamic disciplines such as cross-country, jumping, or barrel racing. This part of tack is also used for horses with specific anatomy, for example, horses with high withers or those with wide front and slim back. Breastplates can also be useful for those riding on uneven terrain, especially when riding up and down hills. Sometimes, breastplates are used as a decorative part of the tack (e.g., during a competition), since they can be a cherry on top of the horse’s look. Breastplates aren’t an obligatory part of the tack, but in many cases, they can turn out to be extremely useful.

Types of breastplates

There are a few types of breastplates. Even though their function is similar, breastplates differ in the ways they are put on and connected to the saddle, as well as the material they are made of:

  • Five-point breastplates – attached to the saddle and girth on both sides (four points of contact), and one strap connected to the girth between the horse’s legs. This type of breastplate has the most precise fitting and successfully distributes pressure, which gives a horse the highest comfort.
  • Three-point breastplates – attached to the saddle on both sides and to the girth between the horse’s legs. This type is easier to put on than a five-point. It’s also the type that is most popular among jumpers.
  • Breastcollar – this breastplate has the form of a single strap that goes horizontally across the horse’s chest. It’s attached only to the saddle, on both sides. This type of breastplate is the most popular among western riders. 

Western riders also use three-point breastplates; the functionality of the tack is the same as for classical riders, however, breastplates for western riders are usually more decorative.

Another practical option is a breastplate with reflective elements, that is perfect for riders that love trail riders. This type of breastplate doesn’t support the saddle but its only (but of great importance) function is to keep the rider and the horse safe, and visible on the road. Busse and Horze Orion are great examples of reflective breastplates

Breastplates with martingales

It’s worth noting that breastplates can be divided into those that can be attached to the martingale and those that can’t. Some shops offer a complete set – a breastplate with martingale that can be removed if necessary. Martingales can help with stabilizing the rider’s hand and if you intend to use it, it’s something worth keeping in mind when looking for a breastplate. Some breastplates simply can’t be attached to a martingale (for example breastcollars usually don’t have any place for attachment).

Besides choosing the right type, material, or color, it’s important to make sure the breastplate fits your horse. A breastplate that is too loose not only won’t be functional, but it can actually be dangerous – your horse can catch its hoof onto it (e.g., while jumping). Whereas a breastplate that’s too tight can restrict the horse’s movement and even cause some pain. You should also remember about proper care for the breastplate, especially if you’re getting a leather one.

Are you looking for a new saddle? Check out our offer of saddles and find the best one for you and your horse.

Equestrian store: +48 784 039 784


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