I bought my five point this year ( yes, be jealous ladies ) and I absolutely love it. My horse really digs in and POWERS over some of his jumps and tends to turn on a dime, so it gives a bit of added security. Plus I love the way it looks.
My gripe about three point breastplates is that it pulls downwards on the pommel of the sadde. Five points attach at the billets (so prevent slipping from a better point) and don't have (as much) downwards pull with the upper d-ring attachment.
Ronan has a funny shape to his back so ultimately needs one to keep the saddle from slipping, especially jumping. Even with his custom saddle. *facepalm* Posted via Mobile Device
My gelding has ENORMOUS withers and I ablolutely NEED a breastplate to ride , especially jumping . But I also need the brestplate for just flatwork as well , just tacking up and standing there the saddle slides way too far back . But make sure to find a breastplate that will fit your horse well as they can be uncomfortable and pinch if theyre not properly fitted . (:
I don't ride in one except going cross country - my saddle fits well, and my horse has a smooth jump. I only use one cross country for the same reason I use an over girth and overreach and brushing boots - just in case. I use a three point, which also has a running martingale attachment. I understand about the 'look' thing, but having done so much showing, I personally prefer to have as little tack as possible to show off the horse rather than the leather.
One of my biggest pet peeves is people using equipment just because they think it looks cool. Granted, if you are going to use a piece of equipment just for looks, I guess a breastplate is the one to use (better than using a harsh bit because it looks cool). My philosophy is "less is more." If the horse doesn't need it, I don't use it. My old hunter did need a breastplate. He had HUGE withers and it took some serious saddle fitting and creative padding, along with a breastplate, to make everything work right. If I didn't use one, my saddle would end up in the middle of his back.
I use on all the time when I jump, however if the saddle fits correctly you shouldn't really need one until the horse actually has to lift itself through the air, in which case the saddle can move on landing or take off. Although if you go to a show jumping competition, it will be rare to see a horse no wearing one as it is just a trend.
I don't really see it as a "trend". It's something that genuinely has a place in the jumping/eventing scene for safety reasons. Honestly I think I could get away without one on my show jumper, but I feel so much safer having one because A) it will help keep the saddle in place and B) I can grab it if I feel the need. Andy takes a long spot if he's unsure of a jump and rather than grabbing at the reins and pulling his mouth, I can drop a rein and grab the breastplate. I can also grab it on jump outs of water and up banks etc across the country as his mane will be sewn up and it will save me pulling his mouth.
I remember I jumped once in a 50cm course without one and my adopted horse mother freaked out and dragged me off my horse and fitted a breastplate to him before I could continue with the day.
My friend has her jumping saddle custom fit to her mare and she always uses a breatplate because the saddle just slips. She's just one of "those" horses that needs one. Even in dressage.
I love the "less is more" thing with tack. That's one of the reasons I ride in my dressage saddle 90% of the time! But if it's something that I feel has value for safety/security, I'll use it.