The top image, without a breastplate, tracks the horse’s fore and hind limb movement throughout the trajectory of the jump. You can see the horse’s jump forms a smooth curve over the fence from take-off to landing.

In the bottom image, with a breastplate, the horse’s lead foot makes contact with the ground much closer to the fence and the landing phase of the jump is steeper.

Breatplate Testing

Our testing into breastplate designs showed that using a breastplate has a significant negative effect on the horse’s action as he jumps.

When a breastplate is attached to a saddle and then the girth, it forms, in effect, a ‘cage’ around the horse’s shoulder apparatus that restricts his movement over a jump.

The highest pressures were consistently seen at the moment when the horse is at the peak of take-off and its shoulder is in its most forward position. However, biomechanical analysis showed that the whole jump is adversely affected by the breastplate from this point onwards:

The shape of the jump from take-off to landing (the trajectory) is shortened the horse’s landing is steeper the horse’s hind legs are “cramped” in the landing phase, with the joints flexing more in an attempt to clear the fence

Furthermore, both over-flexing and landing more steeply cause increased wear and tear on the horse’s limbs and joints.

Scientific trials have shown that the Fairfax Performance Breastplate does not interfere with the horse’s natural jumping action or shape over the fence.