Before you learn how to harness a horse, you need to know what the parts of the harness are for.
Full collar or full neck collar
The collar is padded and oval in shape, which fits around the horse’s neck and chest.
The widest part of the collar should be placed over the horse’s head first, and then turned around so that it sits correctly.
Neck collars are available in different sizes.
It is important to use the correct size collar.
You should be able to place a hand between the horse’s windpipe and the bottom of the neck collar.
This type of collar is used for heavy pulling.
A breast collar is a lot lighter than the full collar.
It's a padded strap running around the chest from side to side.
It should sit above the points of shoulder but free from the windpipe.
Hames (if full collar is used)
Two metal or wooden strips that take the full force of the pull, padded by the collar.
Metal loops on the saddle and collar to support the reins.
The traces are attached to strong buckles at each end of the breast collar or hames.
A false martingale can be a feature of a harness running from between the front legs, from the centre of the collar to the bellyband, to hold the collar in position and prevent it rising upwards and obstructing the windpipe.
A piece of harness that lies on the horse’s back and helps balance the load.
The saddle should sit just below the withers without placing any pressure on the spine.
On top of the saddle, two terrets can be found where the reins pass.
Over check/ bearing reins
Some harnesses may have an over check to assist in holding a desired head position and prevent the horse from eating grass.
They hook to the saddle, pass up through the headpiece, and finally clip on to the bridoon snaffle.
Long leather straps which run from the bit to the driver’s hands, in order to guide and control the horse.
A soft padded loop, which is placed under the base of the tail and attached to a D ring at the rear of the saddle, preventing the harness from slipping forward.
A strap that passes around the horse’s quarters allowing the horse to slow the vehicle by taking the weight of the vehicle on his quarters, when travelling downhill or reversing.
Different types of horse harness – Harness driving
Show harness driving
Shire horse in driving harness
Draft horse harness driving
Van or carriage - horse harness
Pony racing - harness driving
Plough horse harness
From how to harness a horse, click on harness driving below.
What saddle do I need? – GP Jumping showing dressage etc
Saddle problems - Parts of saddle
Saddle care – Preventing damage
How to fit a saddle – Does my saddle fit?
Saddle slips forwards or backwards
Bridle parts – How to put a bridle on – How to take the bridle off
Horse training aids
How to choose the correct girth size – What type of girth should I buy?
The blinker bridle – Horse driving bits – Harness information
Cleaning the saddle
Cleaning the bridle – Taking the bridle apart – Putting the bridle back together – Oiling the bridle
Saddling up a horse – Numnahs ans saddle cloths