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Online Tack and Horse Equipment Guide: English Breastplate

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Eventing breastplateJust like western breast collars, English breastplates are primarily used to help prevent a saddle from slipping back, out of the ideal position. Horses with certain conformation issues, like steep withers that abruptly slope to a deep dip in their spine, are candidates for a breastplate. So are horses with low, flat withers. Yet keep in mind that a breastplate should not be used to fix problems caused by an ill-fitting saddle, a too-loose girth or an inadequate saddle pad.

English breastplates come in two basic styles. One combines heavy-duty elastic with the leather, enabling it to stretch across the front of the horse’s chest and function during intense equestrian sports like eventing, polo and show jumping. For extra security it buckles around the girth on each side, beneath the flap of the saddle. The more traditional leather breastplate, used for schooling and hunter classes, snaps to dees located on either side of the saddle’s pommel. An additional strap then goes between the horse’s front legs and slips around the center of the girth. The large metal ring in the center of these breastplates is a bonus. Martingale attachments and draw reins can be snapped in place and quickly removed as needed.

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