Why We Love the Mid V Shaped Breast Collar
We started using shaped breast collars quite a few years ago. For our low-necked horses, the shaped collars where a blessing. Finally, our horses could breathe and move at the same time! With the straight breast collars, by the time you had it low enough to clear the windpipe, the collar would lay directly over the shoulder. Or the reverse would be true.
I wish I had a video of the first time I used a shaped collar on our Pinto Arabian. He had only ever been in a straight collar and for quite a few years, so the first time he stepped into the shaped collar after we had him put to the Meadowbrook cart, it was slightly comical. We asked him with one cluck and a verbal “Walk On” to which he took one step. Then suddenly stopped…like something was wrong. So, we asked again, “[Cluck], Walk On,” and he obliged…for one step. He actually turned his head around and looked back at us with the “Are you sure?” look on his face. I don’t think he thought he was put to the vehicle properly. Ask number three, this time with a little more encouragement, and he virtually shook his head and conveyed, “Ok, if you think so!” Still a little concerned, it took him half of the arena to come to terms with the new feeling of freedom in his shoulders. By a few laps around the arena later, he was “parading” around like a dog that just got let off the leash! With a smile on his face, he was swinging his front legs around the arena with an “I can move!” air about him. It was funny and fabulous all at the same time.
The second horse on which we used a shaped collar was my large miniature horse. He has a wonderful round movement in his front end for a mini with a lot of extension and knee. The straight collar did not really allow him to “down” to go round to develop the hind end push to free up the front end. The straight collar got into his windpipe enough that he would remain upheaded and a little stiff in the front. Not knowing whether or not the shaped collar would be appropriate for a Turnout class at the 2007 Villa Louis Carriage Classic, I used the straight one. Later in the weekend, I switched the collar to the shaped one for the Working class figuring that the collar would help him move better. The British judge actually noticed that I had switched the collar and commented on how much better he did move with the shaped collar. I’ve never used a straight breast collar on this horse since.
So why do we love the IVC Mid V breast collar? The one complaint I have about the deeper shaped collars that we started with is that they tend to tip out at the bottom. You only end up using the top half of the collar’s bearing surface. (See the photo to the right of the collar tipping out.) Still, this is better than having the collar go across the windpipe or shoulder, but what the Mid V collar does is lay flat on the chest while clearing the windpipe and the shoulder! This allows the horse to use all of the bearing surface of the collar to maximize the pulling capacity and not concentrate the pressure in a small area. I have found this to be true no matter what size horse on which we fit this collar or the material, be it the leather one on the Mini or the synthetic on the Welsh pony.
We really do feel that using the IVC Mid V Breast Collar is the way to go on your low necked equines, or any horse for that matter!
- Tags: Harness Fit
- Myrna Rhinehart