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Britchins, Cruppers & Chest Straps

Riding Britchins

(Also known as breeching or britching to some)

reason for britchin riding britchin
Oops!! Reason for a Britchin Riding Britchin

When riding mules in hilly or mountaineous country the use of a Riding Britchin is extremely important, in our opinion. A crupper will work as long as the terrain isn't very steep. But, since most mules and donkeys don't have much withers, it's so much easier on your animal to keep the saddle back where it belongs with a riding britchin.

We recommend using leather lined britchins with double spyder and quarter straps. This is a little more expensive than unlined and with single straps, however the amount of stability and comfort the lining and second set of straps provides far out weighs the additional initial cost in our opinion. We do build both types to sell, however we strongly recommend starting out with the better quality which is all that we use ourselves.


  • Heavy Harness leather with solid brass hardware. Stainless Steel hardware usually available at a slightly higher price.
  • Butt piece lining is soft chap leather which is rolled, or not rolled (your choice), on the edges
  • Spyder pad is also lined with soft chap leather
  • All straps are adjustable
  • Spyder straps and Quarter Straps have heavy duty solid brass tongue buckles with lots of adjustment room
  • Saddle attachment straps have heavy duty solid brass Conway buckles and scissor snaps so that they lay flat under saddle bags

Description of options:

  • Rolled and flat linings:
rolled lining from front rolled lining from back flat lining from front flat lining from back
With Rolled Lining - front side With Rolled Lining - back side With Flat Lining - front side With Flat Lining - back side

Both types of linings provide a smooth back surface that slides easily over the hair instead of grabbing the hair as unlined leather tends to do. This helps greatly in reducing the amount of hair that is rubbed off on the animal. (We don't have a photo, right now, of an unlined backside, but if you are unfamiliar of what the back/flesh side of leather looks like, please refer to the photo comparison below.)

The Rolled Lining actually has the edges of the lining leather rolled and stitched under, which provides a smooth rounded edge that does not cut the hair on the animal.

The lining without rolled edges has cut edges exposed on the lining leather which are more likely to cut hair than rolled edges.

Both types of linings are better than no lining. We will build without lining, if so requested, but we do not recommend it.

  • Lining vs. Unlined:
back and front of leather
Back Side and Front Side of Leather

As you can see from this picture, the back side (flesh side) of leather is rough and catches on the animals hair causing chaffing. Whereas the front side of the leather is smooth and slides over the animals hair causing much less chaffing action. When an item is "lined" it has a second piece of leather glued and stitched onto the backside of the item, so that smooth leather is against the animal instead of the rough backside of the leather.

Riding Britchin with double straps

Britchins can be made with either single or double Spyder and Quarter straps. The Spyder straps are the straps that go from the Spyder Pad which sits up near the croup and go to the butt piece. The Quarter straps are the straps that go from the ends of the butt piece and attach to the sides of the saddle and the ends of the cinch.

In the britchins with double Spyder and Quarter straps there are a total of 4 Spyder straps, which provide the maximum adjustability and fit for the Butt Piece. With single Spyder straps (total of 2) you don't have much control over the angle that the Butt Piece lies. You want it to lie flat so that it does not rub on the edges causing soreness and cut hairs.

On the Britchins with double Quarter straps, the upper two straps attach to the Rigging D's on each side of your saddle, which is what holds the saddle from sliding forward. (In the above picture, the upper Quarter straps are going under the saddle bags, where they attach to the rigging D.) The lower Quarter straps attach to each end of your cinch which keeps the cinch from sliding forward and pinching the elbows, which is a very common problem with mules. The Britchins with single Quarter straps do not attach to the cinch, thus do not help keep it back.


Riding Britchin prices are for up to 41" butt piece. For longer add $.50/inch

  • Riding Britchin, lined, with double Spyder & Quarter straps $187.00
  • Riding Britchin with double Spyder & Quarter straps, NOT lined $175.00
  • Riding Britchin, lined, with single Spyder & Quarter straps $153.00
  • Riding Britchin with single Spyder & Quarter straps, NOT lined $141.00
  • Donkey size riding Britchin, lined w/double spyder & Quarter straps $180.00 (up to 33"butt piece)
  • Donkey size riding Britchin with Canvas butt piece $166.00 (up to 33" butt pc)
  • Black leather add $15

Measuring for an order:

For measuring instructions go to measuring instructions



Riding Cruppers provide some assistance in keeping saddles from sliding forward, as long as the terrain is not real steep. If riding for any length of time, we do recommend applying some Vaseline or Bag Balm to the tail piece of the crupper to help reduce the amount of friction on the soft under-tail skin. For longer rides on mules or donkeys, and for riding in steep terrain, we strongly recommend the use of britchins over cruppers. We sometimes use a combination of both a crupper and a britchin in every steep terrain, to help spread the pressure over more of the animal, which makes it easier for them to handle.

Constructed of:

  • Harness leather with soft flax seed filled tail piece
  • The crupper pad can be lined with either soft chap leather or fleece (lined with chap leather unless otherwise specified, as we prefer the chap leather lining because it slides better over the hair)
  • All hardware is solid brass (available w/Stainless Steel hardware at a slightly higher cost)
  • The tail piece has a spring snap on one side of it so that it's easy to put on and remove from the animal
  • The saddle attachment straps have adjustable Conway buckles which lie flat so that saddle bags can lay over them, and snaps for attaching to the saddle rings (may be used without the snaps if you want it to lay flat under your saddle bags)
  • Cruppers are available in our Deluxe version which have doubled and stitched straps, making them an extremely strong piece of equipment. (recommended)


  • $58.00
  • $62 Deluxe version (recommended)

Riding Chest Straps

rolled lining 3 pc chest plate w/pommel yoke pommel yoke lined 2 pc chest strap
2 piece Chest Strap with rolled lining
and pommel yoke
Pommel Yoke on saddle
attached to chest strap
2 piece Chest Strap flat lined
rolled lining 2 pc chest plate w/tooled wild roses closeup wild rose tooling
2 piece Chest Strap roll lined
w/hand tooled wild roses
close-up of wild rose tooling
rolled lining 2 pc chest plate w/tooled silhouette flowers closeup silhouette flowers tooling
2 piece Chest Strap roll lined
w/hand tooled silhouette flowers
close-up of silhouette flowers tooling
rolled lining 2 pc chest plate w/emb mule inlay embroidered mule head inlay
2 piece Chest Strap roll lined
w/embroidered mule head inlay
close-up embroidered mule head inlay

We also build a single piece contoured chest strap lined with/or without rolled linging and double attachment straps. We don't have a picture at this time, but will soon.


  • Our chest straps are made from Harness leather which matches the riding britchins, if you order them together.
  • Chest straps are lined with soft chap leather, on the lined versions. We highly recommend using lined chest straps and britchins vs unlined ones, as the lining helps the leather to slide over the hair and helps keep the hair from being rubbed off. The lining can be either flat lined or rolled lined. The rolled lining keeps the edges of the leather from cutting the hair.
  • We have designed our two piece hinged Chest Straps to be used with a Pommel Yoke so that they lay nicely along the front of the shoulder blade without crossing over it. When Chest Straps are attached to the D-rings on the skirts of saddles they tend to ride over the top of the moving shoulder blade instead of laying in front and out of the way of it's movement. Also, most 2-piece chest straps require a strap across the top of the neck to keep them up high enough, which puts pressure on the neck when the Chest Strap is working hard. By using the Pommel Yoke that neck strap is elliminated also. We feel this is a superior design keeping the comfort and freedom of movement for the animal at it's best.
  • The embroidered inlay's have multiple coats of Leather Finish on them to protect them from dirt. Additional coats can be applied over time if desired.
  • Stitching can be done in white, black or brown thread
  • All hardware is solid brass. Stainless Steel hardware usually available at a slightly higher cost.
  • For more information and photos regarding the construction of the various options, please see the Britchins section above.


    • prices are for up to 30". Slightly extra for larger sizes.
    • Two piece hinged with rolled lining $125.00
    • Two piece hinged with flat lining $92.00
    • Two piece hinged w/rolled lining and hand tooled wild rose pattern $223.00
    • Two piece hinged w/rolled lining and hand tooled silhouette flowers pattern $223.00
    • Two piece hinged w/rolled lining and and hand tooled basket weave $153.00
    • Two piece hinged w/rolled lining and inlaid embroidered mule head $141.00
    • Two piece hinged w/rolled lining and inlaid embroidered pack string $141.00
    • Black leather add $10
    • Pommel Yoke $20.00

    Measuring for an order:

    For measuring instructions go to measuring instructions

    To place an order, please email us.
    (If the email address in the above link does not work for some reason, please use our alternate email address)


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