It’s a question I see asked a lot lately… Is it better to use a full collar, euro collar, or breast collar?
I think the answer is both complicated and simple: it simply depends on what you are doing with it and what your horse prefers!
What is a full (English) collar?
Full collars are fixed sizes measured from inside of the top rim to the inside of the bottom rim. When fitted properly they allow the horse to pull a heavier load and traditionally are more eye appealing than a breast (Hungarian) collar. The downside of full collars is that you must change the collar if your horse changes size with work and fitness levels as his neck and shoulder will most likely change shape. It’s much easier to injure the horse with a poorly fitted full collar than a poorly fitted breast collar. However, with good measuring, a properly fitted full collar really cannot be beaten in terms of look and function. These are Ideal Equestrian full collars:
What is a euro (French) collar?
A euro collar falls in between a full and a breast collar. The biggest advantage is that if your horse grows or changes shape, the size is adjustable. The collar still distributes the weight more broadly across the shoulder like a full collar, but also has some functionality like a breast collar, especially in the adjustability. Some euro collars are not reinforced all the way around with a thick metal wire and because of the lack of reinforcement they collapse under the pressure on the traces. If you shop for a euro collar, make sure the shape is reinforced. I also like the euro collars that are built up on the top of the neck like a full collar so they do not compress the ligaments in the top of the neck like a flat topped euro collar might. This is a Leaders euro collar:
What is a breast (Hungarian) collar?
A breast collar is the most commonly used collar is a breast collar. It has the most adjustability and versatility for use on a wide array of horses and is the easiest collar to find the proper adjustment on. It consists of just one straight strap that goes around the horse’s chest. Some are being made with an “anatomic” design now that is shaped with a mild to very deep V shape. The shapes are supposed to provide freedom of movement in the shoulder or allow more space for the horse’s windpipe. In the past 10 years I’ve driven everything in a straight breast collar for my daily driving training, but I’ve had many clients swear to the shaped breast collars.
These are Ideal Equestrian and Harness of Quebec breast collars:
What do you like to drive in??