The Importance of Breastplates in Horse Tack 

Tuesday 05th Mar 2024 |

When it comes to horse tack, there are countless pieces of equipment that are essential for the safety and comfort of both the rider and the horse. One such piece of equipment that often gets overlooked is the breastplate. Breastplates play a crucial role in ensuring that the saddle stays securely in place and helps distribute weight evenly across the horse’s back. In this blog post, we will delve into what breastplates are, their different types, and why they are an important part of any equestrian’s gear collection. 

Breastplates, also known as breast collars or breast girths, are straps of leather or other materials that run across a horse’s chest and attach to the saddle or girth. They come in various styles, including hunting breastplates, running martingale attachments, and five-point breastplates. Hunting breastplates feature a central strap that runs between the front legs and attaches to the D-rings on either side of the saddle. This design prevents the saddle from slipping back during activities like jumping or galloping. Running martingale attachments connect to the girth and pass through rings on a standard martingale to help control head carriage and prevent horses from raising their heads too high. 

Five-point breastplates have five points of attachment – two at the front near each shoulder blade, two at the sides where they meet the girth, and one at the withers. This design offers maximum stability and distributes pressure more evenly across a larger area. Regardless of style, all breastplates serve a common purpose: to keep the saddle from sliding backward or sideways during riding. 

In addition to preventing saddle slippage, breastplates can also help distribute weight more evenly across a horse’s back. This is especially beneficial for horses with high withers or prominent shoulders as it reduces pressure points caused by an ill-fitting saddle. By keeping everything in place, breastplates can improve overall comfort for both horse and rider. 

It is important to note that not all horses require a breastplate – it depends on factors such as conformation, discipline, and riding style. However, for those who do need one, investing in a quality breastplate can make a significant difference in terms of safety and performance. When fitting a breastplate, ensure that it is snug but not too tight – you should be able to fit two fingers between the strap and your horse’s chest comfortably. 


Breastplates may not be as flashy as other pieces of equestrian equipment like saddles or bridles, but they play an essential role in ensuring your horse’s comfort and safety during rides. Whether you are jumping fences in a hunt field or simply enjoying leisurely trail rides, having a properly fitted breastplate can make all the difference. So next time you gear up for your ride, don’t forget about this often overlooked piece of tack – your horse will thank you for it!