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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan. 25, 2008
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    762

    Default Harness adjs. & balancing cart, please help! pics

    We left adjustments where they were. The driveway is as level as it gets.

    Wow. Just WOW. Nothing like seeing pics to learn that everything is different when the harness is engaged and the terrain is fairly level. It doesn't look at all like this back where we harness. I think lots of changes are necessary but don't know how to sort it all out

    I tried the shafts back a notch and it put it waay behind her point of shoulder but was on the hill and I guess the harness wasn't engaged forward. Now I see the shafts are too far forward. Now I know why she wants to sidepass into turns instead of bend into them. Poor Cookie. What a good mare to put up with my learning curve. I feel so badly.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/7427831...7622268412375/

    The first 8 pics are from today. You'll see we turned the backrest around so our butts could move back more and place the center of gravity back. The shafts are warped up from improper storgae in the past. Please tell me how I can correct this, if possible. We are storng it with NO pressure anywhere on the shafts. I wedge in my mounting block under the cart deck for support.

    Thank you!

    Yip
    "Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." -Groucho Marx



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct. 14, 2002
    Location
    Florida,
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    Yip,

    One of the photos I looked it seems to me that your shafts are way too long for your mare. You should not have more than about 15 inches behind the butt to the dash.

    I think that the part of the problem with your cart shafts is that they are not what was originally designed on that cart. Your cart is very similar to my own woods cart except for those wooden shafts.
    http://pets.webshots.com/photo/12951...57548781tepYIC

    Those particular shafts are for a different sort of cart --see the photo below.

    http://pets.webshots.com/photo/12816...57548781aMcbng

    The length of the shafts need to be shortened, but with wooden shafts that is not as simple as it sounds. There is a line of curve both horizontaly and vertically running those those shaft. The wooden cart above had shafts way too long for my Arabs. So I had new shafts made. It was pretty inexpensive--I found an Amish wood worker who build carriages. For less than 75 dollars he made them in Iowa and shipped them to me in Florida.

    But if you are going to go that route, I would suggest putting the original metal shafts and braces that were there. It would be probably less than 100 bucks for a new set of metal shafts. Braces I am not sure of never having done that.

    Bless your heart, your learning curve is exponential this point. Been where you are and it takes time and more time, not to mention money!!! Take your time, be safe and enjoy your horse and cart right now. Just keep an eye on those wooden shafts--check for stress cracks, they are being used ina way they were not designed.

    It all comes together over time.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan. 25, 2008
    Posts
    762

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    OF COURSE they're the wrong shafts - they just couldn't be right, ROTFL!

    It just CAN'T ever be easy, can it?! If it were ever easy, I wouldn't learn anything and I'd walk away with too much money in my pocket!

    Even knowing so little about this, I thought from the start that it probably originally had metal shafts like our trainier's tr. cart. Here is a close-up showing how it's put together.

    http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2621/...b109bdb9_o.jpg

    The way the cart is built, the entire front can be taken off the box/deck for transportation. I made a closeup so you can give me more info. I am not opposed to metal shafts at all - but was hoping to not have to put more $$ into this cart.

    Do you have any recommendations on where I might find someone to make wood or metal shafts? Or what to use as a search word/phrase? I don't have any contacts, but maybe Caludette R. would know.

    OK, for right now, is it safe for Cookie? Does it look uncomfortable for her? Is there anything I can do right now to make it more comfortable for her? I don't want her to get sour on driving. Anything is appreciated!

    Thanks, Cartfall!

    Yip
    "Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." -Groucho Marx



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct. 14, 2002
    Location
    Florida,
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    I am sorry, Yip. I don;t want you to feel as if I am nitpicking your equipment or knowledge!!

    I think that the shafts are not strong enough to carry the weight of the cart and that is why the shafts are bent as you said from the fact they were stored incorrectly. The strength of those shafts come from being attached to the axle of the cart as my photo showed above. Whether the shafts are unsafe, I cannot say without actually seeing them. That is why I said to watch for stress cracks.

    Are there any Amish within a day ride of your house? If you took it to one of their cart makers they could tell you if the shafts are okay.

    As for the metal shafts--http://easyentrycart.com/products/horsecarts/
    There is a phone number where you can talk to the folks about getting some horse shafts and braces. They simply attach with bolts and nuts so you could do the attachment yourself if needed without a lot of tools.


    http://www.gscart.com/ These seem to be more like your basket and seat.

    http://www.nikkisponyexpress.com/MET...ENTRYCART.html scroll down the page and you will see the shafts you need.


    There are some options or at least folks to talk to.

    Take care and good luck. Hopes this helps



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun. 28, 2003
    Posts
    4,277

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    OK Yip
    I'll respectfully disagree with some of Cartfalls comments

    I personally do not beleive that the typical metal tube shafts from manyh of the EZentry cart manufacturers are very strong and they are not exactly cheap either - especially with shipping

    We HAD an EZentry cart - used for a horse - bought it used and the shafts had already been bent several times - we pretzelled them and repaired them several more times before we bought new. Because they are a large piece they had to come freight and that was about $80.00 not including the cost of the shaft

    IF I was to purchase another lightweight cart "I" would brefer wood shafts and something like the pleasure cart by Jerald
    http://www.whytehorse.com/breakingcart.htm

    (I'm having a tough time finding a pic with the full shaft length but the rear attachment is stronger than the typical EZentry cart with metal shafts)

    Again I disagree that the wood shafts are not strong enough and bent because they are too weak
    ANYtime wood shafts are stored with the points on the ground and left that way for a long period of time (year or so) they are going to warp so the tips bend upwards off the straight. You see it soo often when looking at antique vehicles

    What your cart looks like is someone has attached a set of buggy wood shafts to the frame of a strudier type EZentry cart.
    The problems I would want to correct are that the floor and seat seem to tip forward. I dont know HOW the shafts attach to the frame but you said they could be removed. I would try to see if there was a way to attach them hight along the dash so they would be more level.

    You are not going to be able to correct the upwards warp

    If you wanted to replace teh shafts entirely you can get shafts from Witmers in PA Witmer Coach Shop 1070 West Main St. New Holland, PA 17557 (717)656.3411

    Claudette might be able to make suggestions on retrofitting shafts
    also Bill Long nearere to Southern Pines - He can be pretty creative at times

    Claudette might also be helpful in having the parts added to a delivery she gets from PA Dutch country or there are many people who go between PA and NC on a pretty regular basis

    Another small thing I would correct is the way you are attaching your breeching holdback strap. You want to do all you loops on the shaft towards the shaft tip (to take up excess leather) so you have a straighter line between thebreeching ring and the footman loop on the shaft
    Right now you are going thru the footman loop THEN looping excess leather so the part where it connects holdback strap to breeching almost comes out perpendicular from the shaft. This is less effective for the horse and breeching to work. I'll see if I can dig up a better picture

    I do have to say that your cart does look comfy and much sturdier than the usual. Best of fun with it and Cookie



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan. 25, 2008
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    Thank you both for ideas and websites! I don't feel anyone is nitpicking any more than I am myself. I asked for opinions and ideas. I need to make this as easy for Cookie as I can. Any problems she has with the equipment could come back to bite me in the butt in a stressful situation.

    Oh, my aching head!

    I don't know of any Amish anywhere in NC.

    To make this easier, we might be able to attach the entire front end at least a few inches higher. Very innovative idea!

    This might be a better view of its assembly.

    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3504/...c236df17_o.jpg

    I understand that the shaftts curve inward then outward near the end, so it isn't straight and flat, but would it be disastrous to its useability to cut off 1.5-2" of the very tip? I think I could shape a point back in it if necessary. I've seen metal pole shafts that are just straight.

    How about this for a quick fix until we can decide how much money we want to put into this cart.

    Has anyone ever bolted a piece of long, narrow (1-1.5" wide) flat steel to the (flat) bottom of the shafts to reinforce and straighten the wood, and stabilize it level-ish throughout most of the shaft length? It would add a little weight, but what's another few pounds.

    Yip
    "Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." -Groucho Marx



  7. #7
    Join Date
    May. 28, 2006
    Location
    Central Mississippi
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    2,271

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    Hi, Yip! What a cute Cookie!

    I completely understand the need to use what you have for the moment, and since what you have is a very useable cart with kinda weird shafts, it's worth thinking this through.

    I think your cart looks sturdy and useful. The shafts are definitely a bit of an odd arrangement, however, and as others have said, too long and too high. If it were mine, I'd take it to a cart maker and ask for a better shaft setup. I think that doing so could correct the cart body imbalance and make both you and Cookie more comfortable. Take good measurements of Cookie so that the cartmaker can set it up for her.

    Until then:

    Get somebody who knows wood to check the shafts for dry rot, splitting, cracking etc. Reassure your mind that the stresses are being managed by the wood, and not causing dangerous deterioration.

    As for cutting the tips off the shafts, I see nothing wrong with that. Laurel sells shaft tip caps, and in a pinch I've bought copper pipe caps and superglued them on. (These actually look kinda cool, though I think that the mild tremor I am feeling is Thomas shuddering over there in England.)

    It's possible that you could reattach the existing shafts higher, though I'd be very, very careful. The last thing you need is a sudden disattachment. I've never seen an arrangement such as you have, so it's hard to guess just what the attachment method is or how you would amend it.

    I'd be pretty desperate to get the weight off those tugs. Turning the seat back around was pure genious. I'm gathering that you can't move the whole seat assembly back? Some carts are made to be adjusted that way...they have extra bolt holes in the base to move the seat forward or back. Any chance?

    Alternatively, is it possible to move the whole cart body back an inch or two on the shafts? Again, some carts are set up this way.

    If not, then I wonder if there's any way to add weight behind? I have a bunch of old style scuba diving weights that I use to balance things. It might only take 30 pounds or so to rebalance the body if you could strategically place weights behind.

    There goes that tremor again. Thomas, we're the colonies, remember? Iconoclasts all.

    My final and probably most useful piece of advice: find a friend who's a mechanical engineer. They don't have to know about horses. Just tell them that you want to reattach the shafts to X height with a neutral balance, and that the whole assembly must be capable of withstanding multiple forces.

    I guess the bottom line is that if that were my Cookie I wouldn't want to put her to this cart until I'd solved the balance and shaft issues, whatever that takes.

    Oh -- as for lining the underside of the shafts with flat steel strip: I've seen that done. It adds quite a lot of weight, actually. Depending on how set the warp is, you might end up splitting the shafts by opposing their tendency in that way. Shaft makers use steam to bend the shafts -- the steam softens the fibers and makes them more pliable. They don't force them.

    I once softened a long beam for an arched bridge handrail by pegging it down in the stream bed and gradually imcreasing the bend. The handrail is still doing its job and keeping its shape 20 years on, but it's probably not a practical solution for you!

    Let us know what happens next, okay?
    Last edited by MySparrow; Oct. 28, 2009 at 10:01 AM. Reason: forgot something



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan. 25, 2008
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    762

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    I think your cart looks sturdy and useful.
    I believe it weighs every bit of 150#. The frame is very heavyweight steel. I think the shafts would shatter way before the frame or box of the cart.

    Get somebody who knows wood to check the shafts for dry rot, splitting, cracking etc. Reassure your mind that the stresses are being managed by the wood, and not causing dangerous deterioration.
    When I bought the cart, there were fine, shallow (cosmetic from age) cracks, running in the grain of the wood. I stripped it down to bare wood and everything looked very sound. I filled them with wood putty, stained, and varnished with spar varnish. I did not remove them from the cart, but other than that, they're restored and should last for years.

    Turning the seat back around was pure genious.
    I think we can have a welder take apart the welds that hold the back to the cart and reweld, using about 2" spacer bars. That way maybe I could get my cushion back.

    I'm gathering that you can't move the whole seat assembly back? Some carts are made to be adjusted that way...they have extra bolt holes in the base to move the seat forward or back. Any chance?
    There are adjustments, but not forward and back. They are more like up and wown, on the slant where the springs attach. All it does it pitch the seat more forward or back - and it's already adjusted to the farthest position back. Hubby thought we might be able to modify it.

    Alternatively, is it possible to move the whole cart body back an inch or two on the shafts? Again, some carts are set up this way.
    Hmm, if I'm understand you, maybe. It would probably have to be done with spacers and longer bolts to hold it all together. That would put the cart even a few more inches behind the horse though, right?

    find a friend who's a mechanical engineer. They don't have to know about horses. Just tell them that you want to reattach the shafts to X height with a neutral balance, and that the whole assembly must be capable of withstanding multiple forces.
    I'll ask around at church and see if we have any. Some of the other ideas might be easier though.

    If not, then I wonder if there's any way to add weight behind?
    I had already considered this as an easier possibility. I was thinking about building a *box* behind the seat to carry some weight. There is no space under the seat because there's a board perpendicular inside that frame. I don't think that board is structurally necessary. If it could be removed, it might be easy to build a box out the back. Even if it is, if we could build a box behind the seat at deck level, I could carry some spares and add weight as necessary. Just the addition of the frame and wood would add some weight.

    I really don't know of any cart makers here, but I have never looked. Bill in Pinehurst would surely be able to sort it out. I'm really trying to watch my $$ because I have a brand new, used once, country gig cart from Claudette R. in my shed (that I'm too intimidated to drive w/o my instructor). My hub. has a real good sense of humor, but we could be nearing the end of it, lol!


    *** One other thought. *I* think Cookie looks too far out from the singletree now but she's in the first slot on the traces. Maybe a harnessmaker could form a new *buttonhole* ahead of that one, bringing her back several more inches. Of course if we did that, we'd HAVE to trim back the shafts. ***

    I think there are a lot of ways we can push back the center of balance ourselves, but the weird shafts will still be the weird shafts. *I* am way too new at this to be able to judge how much of a detriment those shafts are. I'll tell you, though, now that they're restored, they sure are lovely, lol!

    Thank you, Sparrow, you have had some really great ideas and I can't tell you all how much I appreciate your taking the time to bounce this around for me.

    Yip
    "Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." -Groucho Marx



  9. #9
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    Jan. 25, 2008
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    One other question.

    Check out the way the cart is (un)balanced in the pictures with me in it.

    Hub. outweighs me by a lot. If he were driving this cart alone - would his extra weight shift to the saddle or would it go behind the seat to help balance it?

    Yip
    "Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." -Groucho Marx



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug. 17, 2006
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    425

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cartfall View Post
    One of the photos I looked it seems to me that your shafts are way too long for your mare. You should not have more than about 15 inches behind the butt to the dash.
    Actually, traditional "breaking carts" have long shafts that put the horse well in front.

    If someone holds the shafts (no horse) at the same level as when hitched, with you in the cart, you can figure out how much weight is in the tugs & if it is a problem or not.



  11. #11
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    Sep. 24, 2008
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    Total novice, here, learnign as we all go along....

    Something I noticed was that it seems like Cookie could maybe get a rein over the tip of the shaft, if they are too long?

    Is that a concern? I noticed it in the pic where she is turned to look at the camera....

    Very cut outfit and pony you have there...

    NJR



  12. #12
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    Jan. 25, 2008
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    If someone holds the shafts (no horse) at the same level as when hitched, with you in the cart, you can figure out how much weight is in the tugs & if it is a problem or not.
    Hubby has done this several times as we make changes and says there is hardly any weight. But he LOOKS like he's holding up weight! He is way behind me in this learning curve. I think he would tell me what he thinks I need to hear to make everything ok. To answer my question in my above post, I will have to hold the shafts and let him get in the cart. Scary.

    Something I noticed was that it seems like Cookie could maybe get a rein over the tip of the shaft, if they are too long?
    I hadn't thought of that but I suppose that is a real possibility. Thank you for mentioning it. I somehow already got the right line stuck in the bering rein hook, and that was strange. I could not free it from the driver's seat, I had to get out. I'm going to find a way to temp. close the hook up so it can't happen again. The more eyes we have studying the better off we are! Thaank you!

    Yip
    "Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." -Groucho Marx



  13. #13
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    Oct. 14, 2002
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    Glad to see some other folks weighing in here.

    I was beginning to feel like a bad guy.

    Take all the opinions posted and check it until you are comfortable with what works for you.

    If the wood is only showing fine lines, that is normal of any shafts.

    I do agree with the wooden shaft like DriverNJ posted. Nice sturdy shafts that are built for a cart like yours.

    I understand the posting about breaking carts--but this particular cart is not being used as such and IMO for what its worth should have the horse closer to the cart.



  14. #14
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    May. 3, 2006
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    The shafts are too long and that is probably a major contributory factor impeding the horse's way of going.



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