Brasses to Protect the Horse.
English Horse Brasses and straps adorned the English draught horses from early days. Draught horses were the working horses throughout the British Isles and the heavy horse breeds were vital to the agricultural and transportation industries and the wool trade.
As important as the horses were, it is thought that horse brasses were originally used as amulets or charms to keep the animals safe from evil and wicked people. Charms were used in the early superstitious Celtic days and up until the Industrial Age. The brasses were pressed out of metal and then attached to a leather strap harness that fit between the horses’ neck and front legs. The designs were simple representing the sun, moon and geometric shapes and religious symbols.
Cast brasses began to appear in 1825 and the emblems represented on the brasses became more complicated. These harness decorations moved from the amulets usage to the decoration of horse parades and shows. Brasses were used to commemorate events important to the English people, such as coronations.
Nowadays, they are used as decorations in homes and pubs. When in England, we often see them in areas around the fireplace surround or along the timbered ceilings. They look good in equestrian décor. At the holidays, you could tie them on packages, give them as ornaments or decorate a tree. They can be used as a pendant at the base of a necklace.
We have a generous supply from our last trip to England; enough that you can dig through the basket and find one for yourself or to give as a gift. You can’t beat the price of $3 each!