When it comes to horse harnesses there are many parts that make up the entire piece of equipment. It is important to know the names of these parts so that you can identify them and understand how they play a role in the overall function of the harness. The horse harness is a key component of all equine tack which includes bridles, saddles, bits, girths, cinches, and lead ropes. It is important to have all of these components working together to create a safe and comfortable harness for the animal.
Historically, most harnesses have been made of leather. This allows them to be properly fitted and shaped to avoid rubbing on the shoulders and chest of the animal. However, in many of the countries SPANA works, owners cannot afford leather harnesses, and therefore have to use cobbled together harnesses made from rope, plastic or even metal. These poorly made harnesses put the animal at risk of suffering from a variety of health issues.
One of the most common types of harnesses is a pair or tandem harness. These are designed for two horses to pull a vehicle such as a wagon or carriage. In this type of harness the outer side of each hame is connected to reins and the inner side of each hame connects to shaft tugs. The shaft loops are then connected to the backband on the saddle of the horse.
A halter is a piece of headgear that fits around the horse’s nose and across or behind his muzzle. The handler will then pull on the halter to guide the animal. It is also used to halter a horse so that he can be moved from a horse stall to another area, such as the paddock or a stable without untacking him.
Traces are the part of a harness that connects the animal to the vehicle that he is pulling or pushing. The traces can be connected to either the breast collar or the breeching. The breeching is where the traces stop and help to slow down the vehicle from it’s actual speed.
The nose band helps to keep the blinders from pulling on the ears of the equine. It is often paired with a throat latch to prevent the tracs from popping off over the ear. A brow band is used to prevent the crown piece from coming forward into the eyes and back of the ears of the animal. We make both straight ones and molded/curved brow bands.
A snaffle bit is a type of bit that uses direct pressure on the mouthpiece to guide the animal. There are many different variations of this type of bit, but there are primarily two categories: direct pressure bits and leverage bits. There are also a variety of ways to connect the snaffle bit to the bridle, including a regular nose band and a martingale. A crupper is a piece of hardware that connects to the bridle and ties into a breast collar.