DH ordered a set of marathon shafts for his "new" (used) 4 wheel carriage from its mfg. About the same time he ordered a new harness for horsey, with breakaway tugs, from of course a different company. Both companies said items would be shipped "in a couple of weeks". Well, that was well over a month ago (surprised?). The shafts arrived yesterday. But no word on when the harness will.
The harness he has does not have break away tugs. And someone is going to ask me which kind they are. And this is not my language. It is a Smucker's leather harness if that makes any difference or that helps. DH says the tugs will unbuckle to open up, "but not easily", so I guess he can get them on/off the marathon shafts when putting to (see, I do know that term )
But is it SAFE to do this until the new harness comes? He isn't doing hazards or anythig but then again $hit happens.
My everyday leather single harness does not have breakaway tugs. It unbuckles near the girth and the tugs "open" up so the shafts can be looped into the marathon carriage. Its not ideal, but for ring work it seems to be just fine. The breakaway tugs are of course great if you get hung up on something since they are so easy to undo.
I feel safe using it that way but of course you can always carry a knife with you just in case (I always have a knife attached to my belt as you never know) and I always have someone with me while I drive. I also had a smuckers harness with the breakaway tugs and I loved it! Very nice feature.
Anyone using closed loop short shafts, NEEDS to be using the quick-release shaft loops for safety. The quick-release shaft loops are readily available from various harness sellers. You need to tell them the width of your strap below the terret of the harness saddle so the buckles will fit correctly. Country Carriages USA sells these, give them a call.
Or call your other favorite Tack store to get them, but DO get a pair for your closed loop, short shafts.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but when you need to get horse released from shafts, it needs to happen NOW! Few animals are going to wait for you to saw thru straps to get them free. Usually cutting only one strap is not enough to free a horse up! It is VERY EASY to get hurt, horse or human, trying to get an open blade into position for cutting the strap!! You can have a very unrealistic idea of what is "possible" in situations with horse in trouble, shafts, harness, to deal with before he can be freed. Almost NEVER is a knife really the best way to get him out. And for GOD'S SAKE, don't start your cutting with the reins!!!
The fact that the regular shaft loops are hard to open and close is your first issue. Needing to get them open or closed quickly makes it more serious. Those kind of open and close shaft loops are "old technology" in harness. If you are stepping up to new technology in vehicle use with short shafts, you need new technology with quick-release equipment in the shaft loops and traces too.