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Some Driving Hints for Beginners: The Collar, Breast Collars (Part 1)

The Collar

The harness collar has been defined as that part of the harness against which the horse pushes to move a load. There are two main types of harness collars; the breast collar which consists of a strap that passes horizontally around the horse’s breast and the round or neck collar which is placed at the base of the horse’s neck and follows the line of the horse’s shoulders. Traces are attached at each side of both collars to connect them to the vehicle.

Because the breast collar lies close to the join between the shoulder and the upper arm or humerus, it must be able to move with the movement of that joint; therefore, it should only be used with a whiffletree or some similar device on the vehicle that can swivel about a center coupling.

Breast collars are made in a number of different types and sizes, of which the following illustrations show the major styles and benefits.

Breast collars for use with fixed pole carriages are provided with a heavy-metal dee for the attachment of the pole pieces.

Folded Buggy Collar
Folded Buggy Collar with trace buckles. this example has a folded lining that covers the edges of the collar and is secured with a straight layer on the outside of the collar. The buckles are of west-end wire pattern and there is a leather safe under the buckle. A waved layer on both the collar and the neck strap is an alternative pattern.

Curved Front Single Strap Collar
Curved Front Single Strap Collar cut from solid harness leather and the edges are beveled. It has a layer along the center and safes under the buckles.

Double Harness Breast Collar
Double Harness Breast Collar has buckles in front of the tug buckles for a breast collar iron to which the neck-yoke is attached. this type of collar is not suitable for use with a fixed-pole carriage and pole pieces.

Surrey Harness Breast Collar
Surrey Harness Breast Collar, 2 1/2 inches wide, this collar is made of either enameled or grain folded leather with safe at the end of the fold under the buckle. There is a straight layer sewn along the center between the loops. It has two buckles at each side for a split neck strap. The folded collar is much to be preferred, especially for heavier work, as it offers greater protection for the horse’s skin.

Swiss Breast Collar
Swiss Breast Collar, 2 3/4 wide, this pattern is made of fairly heavy leather folded along the center so that the two edges meet at the bottom. It has two buckles at each side for a split neck strap and a straight layer along the center between the loops.

Straight Buggy Collar with Traces Attached
Straight Buggy Collar with Traces Attached This example is made of a single strap, two inches wide, with 1 1/4 inch traces which have three adjustment slots at the ends. The edges of the leather should be rounded to avoid rubbing the horse’s skin.

Read part two of the series here – /driving-hints-beginners-collar-neck-collars-part-2/