I'm interested in getting a cart for my kids' 16 yo, 8 hand Shetland X, Lightning. I was told he knew how pull a cart when I bought him and have started ground driving him again. I am planning on taking the whole process slow as if he has never done it just to be safe. My questions are regarding what is the best cart to buy? I do not need a fancy one, but would prefer a new one so I do not have to wonder how it was taken care of in the past. Also what size cart? I think the mini would be too small as Lightning wears a 51" in blankets and weighs about 400lbs. Regarding the harness, which check would be best to try first or should I get a harness that has the option for both?
Thanks for the advice.
Things happen for a reason...so when I reach over and smack you upside the head, just remember...you gave me a reason!
The best info will be from your local driving community. Lots of people drive "Mini's" or "VSE's" (very small equines)...your guy would quailify and it's a whole happy group driving these little beasts.
Trakehner is correct about mini drivers being a large and friendly group, willing to encourage, share and enable.
A couple of additional places to look for good information are the Yahoo group, MiniHorseDriving, and L'il Beginnings' Driving Forum.
The first thing you should do is to locate
a trainer to assess your pony's driving training and to give your kids a safe start. Driving small horses is so much fun, but once your feet leave the ground they can be just as dangerous as their larger counterparts. You're smart to take it slowly!
For harness fit, you'll want to measure according to the charts available on most harness websites. Your pony may need a combination of mini and pony harness parts, so you want a harness manufacturer who will see that you get all the correctly sized parts.
Each of these companies carries harnesses for minis and small ponies, and each will guide you through purchasing a properly-sized harness nd exchange any parts that don't fit.
Easy entry pipe carts are not very popular on this forum, but the proportions are quite different with minis, so they are considerably more stable. Pioneer and CTM are the best of this type. Once again, if you give them your pony's measurements they will guide you to the correct size cart and shafts.
There is a whole world of mini and pony carts, but the prices climb steeply once you get past the pipe carts. I would be steer clear of ebay and most homemade carts. Any trainer will have their own opinions and will be your best guide to finding a safe, durable cart.
One thing to keep in mind: if you're using a weight tape, they are not usually accurate for minis and small Shetlands. My 38 inch gelding, though he is very light-boned, weighs 325 lbs (and wears a 51" blanket). Vets almost always guess wrong, which can be dangerous with anaesthetic and meds, so it's always best to find a walk-on scale.