Horse Harness Brasses

A simple ribbon and brass tack held this on the wall of a guest room.
A simple ribbon and brass tack held this on the wall of a guest room.

Horse brasses, which are ornamental additions to a horse’s harness, generally make me think of Britian.  These 2 or 3 inch discs are attractive as part of a horse’s tack, but they also make interesting decorations for the home as well.

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I recall a striking photo of an English home or pub, which had a glossy black fireplace mantel with horse brasses evenly placed along the front.  It looked lovely.  I can picture something similar in a cabin, with horse brasses affixed to a large cedar mantel.

This is along the line of the photo I saw with the glossy black fireplace mantel adorned with brasses.
This is along the line of the photo I saw with the glossy black fireplace mantel adorned with brasses.

A trip to Portobello Road in London netted me my first brass.  Of course, it was a lion!  I added a bit of ribbon to match my guest room and hung it on the wall with a brass tack.  It was a cute little souvenir from my trip.

A West Highland Terrier (or Westie) is on this brass harness.
A West Highland Terrier (or Westie) is on this brass harness.

Horse brasses are readily available on eBay and etsy.  Some are old and made in England, and some are modern remakes.  There is virtually a brass for almost anything…a royal wedding, lions, castles, thistle, coat of arms, you name it, it probably exists.  I recently purchased a brass from eBay that has a Westie on it.  I plan on doing a little bedroom for Archie, so I thought it would make for appropriate decor!

There are lots of ideas on Pinterest for using horse brasses. They do make for a nice curtain tie back.
There are lots of ideas on Pinterest for using horse brasses. They do make for a nice curtain tie back. I think one would look nice hanging off a leather belt around your waist or adorning the handle of a purse.

Sometimes you will see a brass or set of brasses available for purchase on a leather strap.  This is what buckles into the harness and allows the brasses to rest against the horse’s coat.  I have seen them for one to five brasses.  Again, there are old and new ones available.

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Now that brass is back as a popular metal in home decorations, lighting and hardware, horse brasses are a perfect complement to the look.

A cute clutch with a horse brass adornment.
A cute clutch with a horse brass adornment.

Most common are the pierced brasses, such as mine. However, there are some with a ceramic insert, which are more rare. Others may be a design imprinted in a circle of brass. All are lovely; I just prefer the traditional pierced variety.

I purchased this brass on Portabella Road in London in 1999. I loved the lion!
I purchased this brass on Portobella Road in London in 1999. I loved the lion!

Brasses may be displayed as a single adornment, as I mentioned above.  They would also look nice hung from the leather harness on the wall or as a custom framed collection, which would make a great statement piece on a wall.  A small easel would display a single brass on an end table or amidst books in a cabinet.  I think a Christmas tree dotted with horse brasses would look lovely.  I picture red ribbon bows to hang them from the tree and a tartan plaid skirt around the tree base.  Or wouldn’t a front door wreath look particularly festive dotted with shiny horse brasses?

However you choose to display these small objects, they are as interesting as they are pretty.  Since they are small and relatively inexpensive (currently on eBay they range from $8 to $77 for a single brass which includes shipping) they are a fun item to collect.

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