Jul 072017

By Patty Wilber

Last week I used the term “neck collars” to describe what I bought from Perri’s Leather for the horses, but Perri’s calls them neck STRAPS, in case anyone was searching.

But as long as I am thinking about collars, how about breast collars?

I have a saddle that is lacking the typical “D” rings for “normal” breast collar attachment, so I finally got around  to looking for one of those breast collars that attach through the gullet of the saddle. Turns out they are called “pulling collars”.

And while I was searching around I also found there are breast collars called “tripping collars”, so here is a little run down on breast collars, because although I have more than one breast collar, apparently, I really knew very little about breast collar styles!

The Normal-to-Me breast collar:  These hook to the “D” rings on the saddle and go between the horse’s legs and hook to the cinch.  They can be decorative for showing and also work well for holding a saddle in place when riding in the mountains or doing working cow horse stuff.  They are also good for for roping.

This one is neoprene from SMX. Neoprene is easy to clean! This one would be good for holding a saddle in place, but would probably not hold up for roping.



Here are some that are very decorative from Double J! My two leather ones of this “normal” style are pretty plain. I bought one for a dollar at a tack sale!

The Pulling Collar: According to Cowboy Way: “Pulling breast collars are popular among Western riders, particularly ranchers and ropers. Instead of crossing a horse’s chest from side-to-side like some other styles, pulling breast collars sit just above the line of a horse’s shoulders and buckle around the pommel of the saddle. According to ranchers, ropers, and others that prefer this style of breast collar, pulling breast collars allow the horse more freedom of shoulder movement and better leverage when pulling.” This is the type I just purchased!

This a pulling collar is from  from Dennis Moreland Tack

The third type I came across was a “Tripping Collar” and looks like the breast collar on my pack saddle. They are quite broad and distributes any pulling weight across a large surface area.  They hook to that D ring my saddle is lacking and also to the cinch in a V. They are popular with folks that do steer tripping, and, as I mentioned, on pack saddles.

Steer Tripping is a rodeo event and is also a technique that a cowboy out alone can use to, say, doctor a steer, says my friend Ed.

I can’t tell if this guy has a tripping collar on or not.

Here is a breast collar that is a combination from DR Custom Cinches. It attaches like a tripping collar near the shoulder and the “normal” style–going between the legs.

I got my pulling collar this week and have been using it on Indy. So far so good.

And finally, here is a short video on breast collars from Weaver Leather.

Happy Friday!

  • Karen Denison

    Lots of “mule people” use pulling collars. But because they are shaped, it seems that more attention needs be given to sizing. Too big, and they turn on edge and rub. Ask me how I know….

    Alternatively, have your saddlerer (sp?) put breast collar D rings up high near the front concho, and the pull of the “regular” breast collar doesn’t interfere with the shoulder. Yay!

  • Doranna

    “split frog hairs.” Hee hee hee!

  • EMoonTX

    I never saw “pulling collars” in S. Texas when I was a kid…or for that matter at the Houston or San Antonio Livestock Shows Haven’t been in long enough that they may have come into use. It looks to me like the pulling collar might pull the front of the fork down onto the withers with a higher-withered horse (not much of a problem with a mutton-withered QH) rather than just hold the saddle forward. But then–I’ve never seen one in use so I could be all wrong.

  • Patty

    Pulling collars are illegal in cutting events, apparently, so some people do just what you have suggested! (I just learned this last week.)

  • Doranna

    I had that same thought!

  • EMoonTX

    But I think I remember (been a long time since I’ve been at one of the big Texas livestock shows) that some were angled up higher and attached above the cinch D-ring…but boy is that a wavery old memory. It wasn’t in a roping competition…(come ON brain. What’s fifty years among friends? You were at the Houston livestock show watching cutting horses every year and also as much else as you could….and you’re perfectly able to remember every horse you ever rode, ears to ground and nose to tail.)

  • Karen Denison

    Huh, didn’t know they were disallowed for cutters. Maybe because they adhere to all-things-cowboy and ropers don’t use as much? Mules are usually flat-sided & lower-withered, so tipping is less an issue unless the saddle has bars with too much curve. But great to have the freedom in shoulder for steep climbs.

  • Patty

    I have not had any tipping issues but do use a back cinch, too, plus I just got the pulling collar so have not given it a thorough work out in the mountains!

  • 🙂

  • Lisa Wedtfall

    Interesting post. I prefer pulling collars. I’m not sure if the one I’ve used for the past 8 years is an actual pulling collar, but I like how the straps give freedom of movement and sit above the shoulders. But mine doesn’t attach around the pommel. Instead it attaches with two leather straps to saddle rings on either side of the pommel and then those straps attach to a wither strap that sits across the neck. This way the breast collar doesn’t pull on the pommel. It’s Amish made and when I bought it, it was referred to as a pulling collar.