The Difference Between a Breast Collar and a Pulling Collar

pulling collar

Pulling collars are popular among working ranchers and ropers as a practical tack choice. The have also been gaining popularity along with AQHA’s new ranch horse pleasure class as a style choice, emulating the style of working ranchers. So, what is a pulling collar and how does it differ from your average breast collar?

Similarities Between Breast Collars and Pulling Collars

Breast collars and pulling collars are both designed to keep your saddle from sliding too far back on the horse. They also help keep the saddle from sliding side to side when navigating tight turns at a high rate of speed. They are both built with a three-piece construction; two straps that attach to the saddle and are held together by a metal ring in the center and a third, often thinner, strap the goes between the legs to the girth.

Differences Between Breast Collars and Pulling Collars

Breast collars cross a horse’s chest from side-to-side. This can cause problems when riding on rough trails or doing ranch work as many breast collars end up binding on the point of the horse’s shoulder, restricting his range of motion and limiting his gaits.

Many western breast collars end up binding on the point of the horse’s shoulder. share

A pulling collar sits just above the line of a horse’s shoulders and buckles around the pommel of the saddle. This allows the horse more freedom of shoulder movement and better leverage when roping and pulling cows, doing ranch work, and navigating treacherous terrain.

Breast collars fasten on the d-rings on the saddle, while pulling collars fasten directly onto the pommel of the saddle for more secure and stabilizing fit.

Uses for a Pulling Collar

Pulling collars are a growing trend in the western show pen, particularly in the ranch horse classes because that is what a lot of working ranch horses use. If you are not actually dragging a calf or roping a steer, you probably don’t actually need one. I use one because I have a picky mare who is a princess about tack fit and I made the mistake of letting her try it once and now she refuses to use a regular breast collar because, apparently, they are beneath her. She thinks she’s a real cow horse…sans cows…not quite sure how that works, but I’ve learned to pick my battles. She loves extreme mountain trail riding and it’s good to give your horse as much range of motion as possible on dangerous trails, so that’s how I justified the expense when my wallet complained too loudly. So in all my photos of Moose (including the cover photo of this article) you will see her in her pulling collar instead of a regular breast collar.

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