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 Driving A Horse

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Posts : 241
Join date : 2011-06-20
Age : 28
Location : Fredericton

PostSubject: Driving A Horse   Thu Jan 05, 2012 3:41 pm

I've always admired cart trained horses.. and always wished I could do so with my mare. I'm finally in a place where financially I can do all the little things I've wanted to do (just have to save up for a little ;) )

I am looking for advice, any and all concerning driving a horse. Ground driving, exercises, what to do, what not to do, and what to avoid when purchasing a harness used or new.

There are many harness types available.. could someone please explain their purposes and differences? What sort of a cart & harness should I be looking into - to start? I'm thinking Nylon would NOT be a good idea? I hate nylon everything. What about leather VS. Synthetic?

I can follow a diagram to fit a harness as there are sooo many resources available online, and via forums, however I'd also like to find a professional in the area once a harness is purchased just to make sure of the fit.. I've considered sending her away to be trained as well. What size harness should I be looking at.. I see "Full Size" but I'm not sure if that is draft, or a very light horse. Willow is in the middle of the two (15.2hh & broad like her dad (Canadian) but narrow in the chest like her 14.2hh QH dam)

I was thinking some sort of easy cart, or sulky type but I'm not really sure what I should be looking at.

Willow is a steady eddie type horse.. she is a wonderful trail/parade horse and I feel like this is something we could both enjoy. She hacks solo to perfection and it takes A LOT to spook her.
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Posts : 716
Join date : 2009-03-31
Age : 56
Location : Possum Critter Farm

PostSubject: Re: Driving A Horse   Thu Jan 05, 2012 6:21 pm

ohh ohh - where to start?! Personally, (and speaking from experience), I like leather because if there is a wreck, it one wants to see a wreck with equipment that does not break, or can't be cut easily...know what I mean? Scary stuff. Ours is a mix, put together over the years. I would think that light horse would fit her...Arrow is about the same size, and while some of it is light draft, we had to get the belly girths shortened to fit him properly. He's kind of in between, too. Here is a picture of him in harness, this year. The britchen was made for us years ago, for my little mare, we had the straps lenghtened so it fit him better.

My husband is the resident expert in harness driving, he likes starting them in a sleigh rather than a cart. He starts by ground driving them first with lines, then rigged up to some weight, like a tire or a pallet with tires on it (he hooks that up with a spare swing he has, and traces). Some horses will go fine in an open bridle, some need blinkers.

He likes them to feel a bit of weight behind, so if they get silly they have to work hard to be silly, and that soon settles them. Deep snow drifts work good too :-)
He also prefers the collar and hames rather than a light driving breastplate, because he feels it's easier for the horse to pull.

Anyway - enough from me! There are other drivers on here too!! Keep us posted!
Editted to add - you may find this interesting, too!
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Posts : 241
Join date : 2011-06-20
Age : 28
Location : Fredericton

PostSubject: Re: Driving A Horse   Thu Jan 05, 2012 10:29 pm

Thanks for the replies! keep em' coming!

Ellie, thank you for the information! your horse is so beautiful!

Jorgia, Willow and I live in Fredericton. I don't have a truck, nor trailer but I could arrange to have her trailered and temporarily boarded and trained somewhere at a reasonable price. I can always seek help from the barns lovely neighbour as she drives her Kentucky mare and plans to hitch her Gypsy Vanner filles when they are older. She has a harness that would fit Willow, perhaps I could play around with hers before plunging in and purchasing my own.

I'm not so sure that Willow would handle being hitched to another horse well.. She is a real snot with unfamiliar horses, or those she choses to befriend. She seems to choose one horse at the farm that she's 100 percent comfortable with, typically the alpha mare which is luckily my best friends mare. Other horses when in her bubble she pins her ears, stiffens up, and would lunge if given the opportunity which I never allow. (Unless she's in heat.. then she's the worlds most friendliest horse) Multiple people who know Willows mom in NS have told me that her mother was a MEAN horse when turned out.. wayy worse than Willow who is just food possesive with her pasture mates, not lead mare.. high in the hierchy but not top.

I'd have to really know that the person training Willow & I knows their stuff.. I don't know enough about driving to call someones bluff or know when I'm being given improper advice.

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Posts : 510
Join date : 2009-03-31

PostSubject: Re: Driving A Horse   Thu Jan 05, 2012 10:55 pm

I'd highly recommend Jorgia (or her dad) I've seen them at shows and been on several of their wagons/sleighs, I'd trust them with my own horses and I dont let mine go anywhere unless I'm hands on with them.
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Posts : 250
Join date : 2009-03-30
Age : 35

PostSubject: Re: Driving A Horse   Fri Jan 06, 2012 10:02 am

I agree with leather especially when starting a horse. Maybe contact the New Brunswick Morgan Horse Club, they may know of someone closer to you. Also in May there is a wonderful clinic that would be worth auditing.
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