Mule Breast Collars Explained with Demonstration

Breast collars that are solid rigged are bad ideas. Watch Steve Edwards demonstrate a breast collar made for mules using a pommel strap for movement.

Folks, your mule breast collar is very, very important. You have to remember that as you’re going down your trail, your mule starts shrinking, your donkey starts shrinking, so your cinches start coming loose. The breast collar and the breaching, the combination of the two, help keep your saddle into place. The proper breast collar really means a lot. It’s very important. I’ve designed a breast collar that’s V-shaped that follows the slope of the shoulders, and it’s not real wide like this that inhibits the shoulders. So, it actually fits the slope of the shoulders.

Why I Don’t Put Rings On My Saddles for Mule Breast Collars

One thing I want you to notice on my saddles, there are no rings on the saddle to attach a breast collar. One of the reasons I do that is as your mule is walking back and forth, the shoulder comes forward and hits the breast collar. The shoulder comes forward and hits the breast collar. Now, you don’t want that saddle to be brought forward when you’re on flat ground. Then, it gets on top of the scapula. So, you want the breast collar to kick into place when you’re going up a hill or dragging something. Otherwise, the breast collar can be an inch and a half away, and that’s the thing about your saddle. You want your saddle to be an inch and a half. It can move no more than that. Right and left. Forward and back. More than that, you end up having a saddle roll, or you end up having the saddle going into the scapula. So, your breast collar keeps the saddle from going back. Again, every time the shoulder hits it, it says to the saddle, “Stay here. Stay here. Stay here.”

Click here for product information on Steve’s Beta Breast Collar

Now, let’s just say we take this saddle, and we rig it in in skirt rigging. I want you to watch that as I pull on the saddle, as I pull on it back and forth, and every time the shoulder hits the saddle, what’s it doing? It’s bringing the saddle forward. You see it, how it’s coming forward? Coming forward. Coming forward. Every time it hits it. So, the saddle’s coming forward every time the breast collar hits it.

With a mule walking very lateral, with your donkey walking very lateral, you need a breast collar that doesn’t make the saddle go forward. You don’t want to use what’s called a pulling collar, with the two straps here and here and comes down. Again, it’s solid. It’s solid rigged. Anytime you get solid rigged, and it hits the saddle, it’s going to bring the saddle forward. Do you see that?

How My Mule Breast Collar Works with A Pommel Strap

So, my breast collar, I take and take a 28″ strap, and I put it through the pommel. This particular breast collar is made out of Beta. We have them out of Beta and we have them out of leather. I prefer the Beta because it’s strong, there’s no maintenance to it. The leather’s nice if you’ve got time to maintain it and keep it oiled and this sort of thing.

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There’s my strap, and then I take the long strap from my breast collar, pull it through, and I go through this strap. Then I buckle it into place. Notice as my mule walks, I’m not bringing the saddle forward. The saddle stays in place, and the breast collar works like it should. The breast collar is only to keep the saddle from going backwards. So, going up a hill, where does the saddle want to go? Back. So the breast collar, then, needs to hook into place. Once this breast collar is now pulling, it’ll hold the saddle into place, but as your mule’s just walking down a trail, you don’t want it to be pulling the saddle all the time. So, I developed my breast collar, leather and Beta, so that it does not pull the saddle forward except for when it has to going up a hill or dragging something. Very, very important on your breast collars.

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