Today I caught The Spotted Wonder and set out to fit the new crupper. So what is a crupper and what is the purpose of a crupper? The crupper itself is a single, or a double (forked) strap that attaches to the cantle rings on a saddle and has a loop that goes under the tail. On a steep downhill descent the crupper goes into action, holding the saddle in position rather than slipping forward which may cause pinching of the shoulders and in the extreme case of horses with a very downhill conformation (or ill fitting saddle) may have you feeling like you are riding up on the neck! The crupper holds tension on the back of the saddle hindering this slippage.
I will claim no high degree of knowledge on properly fitting a crupper other than it is not intended to be tight. The straps going over the rump should have enough slack to get a few fingers under there. Likewise the under tail piece should not fit tightly or it will cause nasty rubs in no time. Journey’s build is such that use of a crupper seems to keep her saddle from slipping that little bit forward then causing the girth to further slide forward making rubs behind the elbow.
No amount of leg pulling resolved this issue, nor did topical application of body glide, monkey butt, or zinc oxide cream. The use of a crupper however was one of the solutions to this problem.
The crupper we've always used was made of leather and came from some obscure company out of South America. It served its purpose, but the leather was cracking, and being leather it was a pain to keep it clean and conditioned (hence, the cracking). The tail piece of it was made of some sort of synthetic material, and the few times I did not have it properly adjusted she did get a rub from it. So I made sure that I greased it down good with zinc oxide diaper cream prior to any long rides just in case.
As state previously Two Horse Tack was the supplier of this crupper (thank you!). It is a forked crupper where my old one was single strapped. I was set mentally on having a single strapped one because that was what I was used too, but now that I've put the forked one on, it makes sense that the straps kind of balance out the pull depending on the lead you might be working off, or where the actual pull my originate from side to side on your saddle.
I've adjusted mine loose enough that it shouldn't make contact unless we are in a steep downhill situation. Journey is small so it is adjusted almost all the way up.
I might loosen up here one more notch...We will test ride this going 5-10 miles, then if that causes no issues bump up the distance. Aren't those spots AWESOME?
No pinched nose = happy mare.