Hi all. I've read some older threads about breast and pulling collars and still I have some questions/would like some advice. Has anybody tried both the breast and the pulling and if so, which did you like better? How do you know they fit (both the breast and pulling)? Have you had any problems with them rubbing/chaffing, especially the leather ones, and how would you soften a new leather one to reduce chances of rubbing?
I guess I should mention I'm considering one because I go and up and down a lot of hills and am having a problem with the saddle slipping back. And yes, to the best of my and my trainer's knowledge, the saddle fits well. Thanks for any help!
I'm getting mixed opinions - people who've tried them seem to like them, but people who've always used a standard breast collar say they've never noticed any shoulder interference. But I've got a week or so to think about it and a friend is going to lend me a regular one to see how it goes. Thanks for your reply!
I have used both and the pulling collars are by far my favorite. Depending on the horses shape as well as the saddle(placement of D rings etc) I have had problems with the standard style needing to be "up" higher. This can be solved by attaching a piece of leather at the rings where the straps connect to the collar and running it over the neck/withers. But I don't like that much. With the pulling collar you can crisscross them if you need to for a better fit on a narrow horse.
The fist pic shows my Pulling collar on my QH mare, Heidi. The second shows it on my granddaughters ArabX with the straps crossed over the neck.
Appyt, so there is not a problem with it pulling the saddle down into and pinching the withers? A friend who uses a regular one said she thought it might be a problem with the pulling one. Also, the hole (I don't know what it's called - the gullet?) on my saddle where the straps go through seems really narrow to me, too narrow for two straps to fit. How wide are they? Thanks for the pics, by the way!
I have also used both and really prefer the pulling type. I used standard breast collars like this for many years and was often frustrated because I rode several hard to fit horses. It seemed that I always had to pull them super tight to keep them from dropping below the point of the shoulder. Little paint there was one of them.
Then, several years ago, my brother introduced me to the pulling style and I really liked the look of them so I improvised one out of an old standard BC and was really impressed. I used that until I found a pulling collar that I really liked. This is the one that I use now.
It fits a much wider range of horses from my Dad's 1300 lb tank of a QH
To a customer's little narrow 800 lb Arab
With no neck straps, punching holes, or other ways to improvise a fit on a horse.
That alone would be worth it to me but what you have heard is correct, they are more streamlined and don't interfere with the shoulders as much as a standard BC. Of course, a normal rider would probably never notice it. One of the reasons why this style started out *and remains most popular* with ranch hands and cowboys is because when you are pulling a 1000 lb cow, you can really feel the difference in the way the horse moves when his shoulders are freed up.
The question about pinching the withers wasn't directed at me but I'll go ahead and throw in my 2 cents. If it is adjusted properly, then there should be even pressure on all 3 straps; both that attach to the swells/d-rings and the one that attaches to the cinch. That way, when there is actually pressure applied to the BC, it just keeps the saddle from sliding back or sideways, it doesn't actually change the position of the saddle. Besides, if you had it tight enough just standing that it was pulling your saddle down, that would be the least of your worries because it would choke your horse enough that he would pass out.
Those that are designed for heavy duty work like mine and Appyt's will naturally have wider swell straps but there are BC's just like this that are designed for lighter work like trails that have more narrow ones that would likely fit your saddle.
What SMROBS said.. :) I've never had any issues with the pulling collar. The "seat side" of the gullet is smaller than the "neck side". I have no problem with this attachment. Not sure how wide these are, an inch maybe. If you already have a standard style you could fashion longer straps and try it out before getting one, as smsrobs did. I recently rode in the hills of MO and my saddle stayed put just fine and my mare had no problems with shoulder freedom and no pinching at all.
I have a regular BC and hate that I've only had smaller size horses to use it on and it doesn't fit them. So I'm going to have my saddle repair guy whip me up some attachments so that it will turn my BC into a pulling one so I can actually use it.
I'll go ahead and post this. Mostly for you PD, but also for anyone else who might be interested in giving a pulling type breast collar a try without going out and buying one (they aren't cheap).
This is how I turned my regular breast collar (pictured on the paint) into a makeshift pulling collar. All I needed was a pair of old bridle reins, 4 conway buckles, and 4 metal rings (2 big and 2 small enough to pass through the middle of the big ones).
Just use the conway buckles to attach the rings to the ends of the leather straps:
Measure around the swells and down to the breast collar to see how long they need to be. I made mine longer so that I could wrap them twice for stability.
Then put it through the gullet of your saddle so that the side with the bigger rings is on the bottom.
Then simply run the smaller ring through the middle of the bigger ring. If you opt for the longer tugs, take an extra wrap around the swells before this.
Here you can see that I took another wrap around the swells before threading the rings. Just pull it down snug with the bigger ring resting on the bottom side of the front of your swell.
Then just run the tug of your breast collar through the smaller ring as you would the d-ring on your saddle.
And by doing this, you can turn a standard BC like the one on the sorrel paint above into this.
Which BTW, did stand up to roping some pretty heavy critters while I used it.
Thank you everybody for the advice. It sounds like a pulling collar is the way to go. I think I'll try converting a lighter-weight breast collar for now - I won't be pulling cows anytime soon, just climbing up and down some hills!