Breast collars are martingales in the English world. It depends on the horse and sometimes even the rider if you have one. There are many types.. I only know of a few so I can't really be all too helpful.
Though I can tell you I ride a green horse without one, but like I said, it depends on the situation.
The important thing is to make sure the saddle fits your horse and make sure YOU fit in the saddle too! :)
Take some time just sitting in the saddle without your feet in the stirrups.. get used to feeling those seat bones with less leather (assuming you were in a western saddle before.) Then once you feel comfortable, slide your feet in and take your horse for a spin.
Also, make sure the stirrups are long/short enough for you. Too short can hurt your knees, hips, back and place you in a very strange and unhelpful position (probably not on your seatbones) and too long can have you reaching down and not feeling secure and can lead to other problems especially if you have a horse which is a tad on the nervous side.
Chin up, eyes up. Work on keeping those toes as parallel to the horse as your body can manage. Walking your horse in 2-point helps you to build up leg muscle and get more balance.
Triple check the girth...!
I can't think of anything else right now
Oh! Steering.. as you know, English uses direct rein. Make sure your horse and yourself understand how that works. Don't worry about contact right now.. a nice loose enough rein to start will be fine. Thumbs on top. Closed fingers!
Last edited by Skyseternalangel; 01-11-2012 at 02:57 AM.