What is a breastplate, does your horse need one?

When it comes to horse riding, ensuring the safety and well-being of your equine companion should always be a top priority. One essential piece of equipment to do this is the breastplate.

What is a Breastplate?

A breastplate for a horse is a type of tack designed to secure the saddle in place and prevent it from slipping backward during riding or other activities. It consists of several adjustable straps that pass around the horse's chest, with a central connector attaching to the girth or saddle. The breastplate is typically made from leather, synthetic materials, or a combination of both to ensure durability and comfort.

Purpose of a Breastplate:

1. Prevents Saddle Slippage: 

One of the primary functions of a breastplate is to prevent the saddle from sliding backward when the horse is in motion. This is crucial during activities such as jumping, galloping, or riding on uneven terrain. By securing the saddle firmly in place, a breastplate helps maintain the rider's balance and prevents potential accidents.

2. Distributes Pressure: 

Another advantage of using a breastplate is that it helps distribute the pressure exerted by the saddle more evenly across the horse's chest. This can be especially beneficial for horses with high withers or a narrower build, as it helps prevent discomfort or pain caused by excessive pressure on specific areas.

3. Carries Attachments: 

Many breastplates come with additional rings or loops, allowing riders to attach various accessories such as martingales, training aids, or breastplate extensions. These attachments can aid in training, improve control, or be used to secure equipment like breast collars or neck straps.

Does Your Horse Need a Breastplate?

The necessity of a breastplate largely depends on the individual horse and the type of riding activities you undertake. Here are a few factors to consider when deciding if your horse needs a breastplate:

1. Saddle Fit: 

If your horse has a well-fitting saddle that remains stable during rides, a breastplate may not be essential. However, if you notice frequent saddle slippage or shifting, a breastplate can provide an extra layer of security.

2. Riding Style and Terrain:

Riders who engage in activities like jumping, cross-country riding, or trail riding on uneven terrain can greatly benefit from using a breastplate. The extra stability it offers can enhance both the horse's and rider's safety.

3. Horse Conformation:

Horses with high withers, a narrow chest, or a conformation that makes saddle fitting challenging may require a breastplate to prevent discomfort or potential injuries caused by an ill-fitting saddle.

The Cavaletti Collection Kuga Elasticated Breastplate with Running Attachment offers superior quality and performance. Made to allow for freedom of movement in the horse’s shoulder while holding the saddle in place, the included running attachment encourages flexion at the poll without restricting movement. 

While not every horse necessarily needs a breastplate, this piece of equipment can significantly contribute to your horse's safety and comfort, as well as your overall riding experience. Assess your horse's conformation, saddle fit, and the type of activities you engage in to determine if a breastplate is a necessary addition to your tack collection. Always prioritize the well-being of your horse and consult with a professional if you are unsure about the need for a breastplate in your specific situation.