FAQ Gear Riding Tips

What is a neck strap for horses & how do you use one?

horse eventing
Written by Horse Rookie

A Great Way to Hold On

Having a stable position (bad pun intended) is an important part of riding horses well. But how do you do that when the only thing you technically have to hold onto is your reins?

A neck strap is a simple piece of leather that goes around a horse’s neck. The rider can hold onto it to increase stability without pulling on the horse’s mouth. Neck straps are often seen in show jumping and eventing disciplines, but any rider can use this handy tool.

The Basics

One of the common misconceptions is that only “rookies” use neck straps. That’s far from the truth!

Riders of any level can benefit from a neck strap. Use it to: 

  • Stabilize yourself without pulling on the horse’s mouth.
  • Steady your hands at all gaits. 
  • Ensure your hands move with the horse’s neck while jumping.
  • Keep yourself from falling behind the motion while jumping.
  • Have something to hold onto in case of emergency.

In fact, professional Eventer William Fox Pitt is a huge proponent of neck straps for everyone. 

See why he loves this invaluable piece of gear:

When to Use a Neck Strap

Whenever you want! Whether you’re schooling at home or competing, you can use a neck strap

Just because you put a strap on, that doesn’t mean you have to use it.

It’s simply better to have the option instead of having regrets mid-ride. 

horse neck strap

Click to shop neck straps at Amazon

Popular vlogger Megan Elphick also loves neck straps.

This video shows her schooling jumps with a neck strap at home:

Buy vs. Make

You can purchase a neck strap at most equestrian retailers, but you can also make your own using an old stirrup leather. 

Check out neck straps at Amazon

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About the author

Horse Rookie

I began riding horses at age six, and I'm just as infatuated (OK, more!) with the sport decades later. My AQHA gelding exemplifies the versatility of the breed -- reined cow horse, reining, roping, ranch riding, trail, dressage, and jumping. We're also dipping our toes (hooves) into Working Equitation!