Wither Straps For Horses: What And Why?

Last Updated on July 14, 2022 by Guillermina

Buying wither straps for horses may not be necessary for all, but they can help your horse perform better, adding a great return on your investment!

Wither straps have been used for years, and while today’s straps are modern, they serve the same purpose as those in the olden days: enhancing your horses’ performance.

With the right wither strap, your horse will work more efficiently and perform better in competitions. They also can’t cause harm to your horse, so there is no point in not getting these straps.

In this article, I explain a bit more about what wither straps are and why you need them. I also give some tips on choosing the best wither straps for your horse.

What Are Wither Straps For Horses?

A wither strap is a strap attached to the breast collar that has hooks, clamps, or buckles on both ends.

It can be bought at a pet store or be made by a horse specialist. You can also make it yourself or use a dog leash. Some riders or owners prefer to have it made specially to blend in with the rest of their harnesses or gear. 

Wither straps hook on both sides of the breast collar and go over a horse’s wither area to hold their breast collar in position when they run.

 How long are wither straps for horses?

The Best Wither Strap Material For Horses

There’s no special material used for wither straps, and they can be made with any. Typically, they’re made with durable harness leather to match the breast collar and the rest of your horse gear. 

You can use any material that won’t cut or rub against your horse or end up hurting them in any other way. The wither strap shouldn’t be too thin because it can slit your horse while they run. 

Leather would be the best wither strap material because it’s durable, soft on your horse’s skin, and looks better than other materials. 

Why Do I Need A Wither Strap?

A wither strap keeps the breast collar tight and fit for your horse. If the breast collar doesn’t work right and is too loose, it limits your horse’s reach and extension when they run.

A wither strap is used to lift the breast collar to the correct position, so it doesn’t hold your horse’s shoulders back or entangle them. 

It isn’t a necessity in a horse’s standard gear, but most owners prefer to use it to prevent entanglement and slowing their horse down. It’s primarily used in barrel races because every second counts in these competitions.

 How wide is a wither strap?

How To Attach A Wither Strap

Most wither straps are universal and one-size-fits-all, so they won’t need to be adjusted to fit your horse. Here’s how to attach the wither strap to the breast collar :

  1. Hook the buckle of the wither strap onto the breast collar on one side of your horse’s neck. 
  2. Pull the wither strap over the neck and shoulder area to the other side of your horse. 
  3. Ensure that the wither strap isn’t too tight when pulled over to the other side’s buckle. 
  4. Hook the other buckle of the wither strap to the opposite side buckle of the breast collar. 
  5. Move and adjust the wither strap and breast collar to ensure it’s in the right place, above the shoulders and over the wither. 

The wither strap and breast collar shouldn’t be too tight or loose, so you may need to adjust it slightly to get the correct fit. It also shouldn’t restrict your horse’s movement. 

Can A Wither Strap Harm My Horse In Any Way?

Any piece of gear designed specifically for a horse won’t harm your horse. If you attach the strap correctly and use the right material, it will be completely safe and advantageous for your horse. 

It may even end up taking away any harm, discomfort, and pain that a loose breast collar could cause. Your horse could possibly reach incredible speeds that they haven’t before wearing a wither strap.

How To Choose The Perfect Wither Strap

 What are the straps on a horse called?

Consider your riding style because the strap you choose depends on the breast collar and saddle position. The English riding style may not need a wither strap because the saddle is small and the breast collar is lower on the horse. A wither strap will just end up restricting your horse in the English riding style. 

Go for the more durable wither straps because they’ll have to take a lot of strain and heavy-duty work when your horse runs. Buying a strap that lasts long will be a bit more expensive, but they’re worth it.

Final Words

There are many wither strap brands, and some designs are beautifully unique compared to others. Choosing the right straps for your horse might seem challenging, but if you keep its basic goal in mind, you’ll find a pair of straps that works for you and your horse.

If you have trouble finding the right straps in-store, consider visiting someone who can make them for you. These professionals listen to your needs and work closely with your horse to find the best fit.

I hope you found this article helpful and that it answered all your questions. If you have doubts about anything, raise them in the comments, and I’ll help where I can!


What is a horse wither strap for?

A wither strap is designed to lift your horse's breast collar above their shoulders to ensure unrestricted movement.

How long are wither straps for horses?

A standard wither strap is between 20 and 25 inches long. You can have one custom-made if you need a specific size.

How wide is a wither strap?

Wither straps are typically no wider than 1 inch, with the standard being ½ an inch.

What are the straps on a horse called?

The straps on a horse are called the bridle, collectively known as a harness. The harness includes the headstall, reins, and bit.