If you trail ride, consider adding a breastcollar and back cinch to secure your saddle. Even if your saddle fits your horse well, hills and extreme terrain can cause saddle slippage, which creates discomfort for your horse at best and a dangerous situation at worst.
Watch the video for important breastcollar and back-cinch attachment and fitting tips from the Certified Horsemanship Association, as explained by Brent Morgan, CHA president.
Here are a few highlights:
- Order of attachment: First, secure the front cinch, as you’ll be attaching the breastcollar and back cinch to its rings. Then fasten the back cinch to the front cinch with the connecting strap. Finally, attach the breastcollar to the front cinch and to your saddle’s front D-rings. When you untack, you’ll do this in reverse; you’ll undo the breastcollar, then the back cinch, then the front cinch.
- Breastcollar attachment: Leave the right shoulder strap attached to the saddle, for efficiency. After you saddle up and secure the front cinch, attach the breastcollar’s left shoulder strap, then the center strap. As you do, don’t duck under your horse’s neck; keep your head well away from your horse’s hooves.
- Breastcollar fit: Place your fist under the point where the breastcollar three straps come together at the center of your horse’s chest. If you’re unable to fit your entire fist underneath the leather, loosen the adjustment.
Next, check the fit of the left and right shoulder pieces. They should fit closely, but not tightly. Your horse needs freedom of shoulder movement, especially as he negotiates hills. You also don’t want the leather to rub and abrade your horse’s hair and skin.
Finally, make sure the breastcollar is adjusted so that the right and left sides are even.
- Back-cinch attachment: Buckle the back cinch, then simply snap its connecting strap to the front cinch. Again, keep your head up, away from your horse’s hooves.
- Back-cinch fit: Check fit by slipping two fingers under the cinch at the apex of your horse’s belly. If it’s too tight, it could turn into a bucking strap. If it’s too loose, your horse could catch his hoof in it. Also, branches could get caught between the cinch and your horse’s belly, creating discomfort and potentially causing a wreck, should your horse spook.
And of course, if the back cinch is too loose, it won’t optimally secure your saddle.