Why Click before you Kick?
The FEI introduced a new rule in 2019 that, if used, a neck strap must be connected to the saddle or breastplate when riding cross-country.
Well, modern stirrup leathers are often so strong - even with webbing inserts - that were a horse to catch its leg in a loose neck strap - when pecking on landing, for instance - it risks serious injury as the stirrup leather is unlikely to break.
Alarm bells rang out for Anna Bruce, a BHS Accredited Professional Coach, and who was lucky enough to ride at Advanced level of eventing in her youth, aware of those occasions when a pony would put it's head down to graze and the neck strap be by his ears, or of those moments when an exuberant horse would buck and then neck strap be far closer to her horse's hooves than her own hands.
Anna says, "I'd often thought neck straps could be so much more decorative than a tatty old stirrup leather, and then, when I became aware of the risks, I set about designing a beautiful, top quality, neck strap that would also be safer. Little did I realise it would also improve the horse and rider partnership and performance to inspire riders of all ages, all experience levels and from all over the World."
The Click & Connect Neck Strap has numerous fitting options so that one Ultimate Set will ensure you have all you need, whatever style of saddle or breastplate you use.
Anna says, "But in practice, we learned just how many more benefits it brings!"
Safety - no risk of catching a leg, it's always in the right place for the rider to grab, is slimline to easily be held with your reins and with connection on both sides of the horse, swivel is reduced so you don't grab it and rotate it around the horse's neck as he spins away.
Partnership - the clip at the base means you don't need to disturb a horses head - or sensitive ears - when tacking up; with reduced rotation, you'll mount much more easily, starting your ride in harmony; it'll be there to help your balance over a fence - no more catching your horse in the teeth - and, because the neck strap gives you security even with your hands pushed forward, you don't have to ride defensively past a spook or over a ditch, you can actually take it forward, flap the connectors on his shoulders like long lines and your body language and intent says, let's go forward together, making for a more confident horse and rider.
Performance - with no strap on the shoulder or between the front legs, there's maximum freedom of movement through the shoulder; but then, with the side connectors to the girth, you've got long-lines silently helping encourage a nervous horse forward or help a horse have better balance and control through his shoulders with less falling-in or falling-out, it even is believed to help create better lift should he spook, or in a deliberate pirouette, AND, you've also the option of taking the long connectors to the pommel of the saddle, for fine tuning his half-halts or for a rider to hold in their hands to feel really secure or get the feel of carrying their hands towards the bit and it's a handy way to help train a horse to relax through his neck to the bit - especially useful if he bottles up when he's a bit tense.
The majority of Salute Equestrian clients are a mix between happy hackers to professional competitors but they all have one thing in common, Anna says, "They are really focused on the horsemastership and partnership and want the best for their horse and the feedback we've had from owners whose horses were destined for the bullet or those aiming for Badminton, is just incredible."
It's what every rider needs; What every horse deserves.