So my Haflinger's been doing awesome! I hitched him once last week, and being the professional at driving that he is, he took it all in stride. I've got the leather harness (the one that the breastcollar broke) just lying around, so I've put it to good use by trying it on my mare. She's older (like maybe 16 or 17 actual age unknown since she hasn't got papers and her old owner might have been lying about her age) and quite literally bombproof. I'd like to be able to ground drive her to keep her exercised while I'm unable to ride due to injury, and if she picks up on driving too, it's always another thing she can aspire to.
Anyway, I'm getting a new cart soon as the one that my barn owner lent us is unfortunately too long for my Haffie, there's sooo much space between his butt and the singletree (I think I could almost squeeze a miniature horse in there) and will be getting an Easy Entry cart. I've seen a lot of nice carts, but they cost $$$$ and I only have $$. Someday! Someday, I tell myself. In the meantime, we're probably going to end up with a G&S cart or something similar. It's a starting point for me, and because I probably am only going to be doing recreational driving on a once or twice a week basis (maybe 3 times a week if I really felt like it)
Which brings me to my question. What kind of wheels should I be looking at here? The surface I'm likely to be driving on will be asphalt road and the sandy arena. I will probably have to drive on asphalt grindings here and there on the ranch I board at, but aside from those, there are no rocks, tree stumps or anything else that will likely be a problem. Do I even want to consider the solid steel and rubber wheels or will it make it harder for my Haflinger to pull the cart in the main location where we drive, which is the arena. That has sandy, and is somewhat deep.
I don't have a ton of experience with wheels but our trainer in North Carolina (very sandy area) liked to use the soft air filled rubber wheels (pneumatic) as they stayed on top of the sand, and did not sink like the hard rubber ones do. But of course, the soft rubber wheels are a no go if you are showing, so I think it depends what you plan on doing with the carriage. You could also have 2 sets of wheels - the soft ones for training and the hard ones for showing, if thats an option.
I have one cheaper carriage that has bike tires on it (I like it for breaking our ponies) and I had one of them explode on us. Made a huge gun shot sound, but the pony didnt seem to care much about it lol!
All of our other carriages have either the hard rubber wheels (on the marathon carriages) or are wooden (on our pleasure vehicles). We don't have sandy soil but it can be quite muddy. The wheels really cut into the ground and the ponies have to work that much harder to keep on rolling...
If you don't plan on showing and are going to be mainly driving in a sandy arena, I say go with the air filled soft tires. Maybe someone else with more knowlege on wheels will pipe in!
Thanks! The soft pneumatic wheels seem to come pretty standard on all the EE carts I've been looking at and it certainly makes the difference in cost with an upgrade nor not to the hard rubber wheels. I'm not planning to show, since there aren't any opportunities really, and I have t got the transportation yet anyway. I only plan to drive in the riding arena at the ranch and a little bit of graval and asphalt road. I probably wouldn't even be driving that long anyway, an hour or so at the most.
The cart the barn owner was lending me has the soft air filled tires and I drove it once in the arena and it seemed like we got a better ride out of it. I suppose I could get the soft tires with the ee cart and put the flat prevention tubes in them.
The pneumatic wheels are a softer ride as well as you don't tend to feel all the bumps (aka rocks!) as you drive over them. I didnt know that you could get a flat prevention tube, though I've really never looked into pneumatic wheels as we do compete so it isnt much of an option for us. I do like the sound of that though....
Yeah, they're basically bike wheels, right? My muck cart has pneumatic bicycle tires and I got a flat a few times, so I finally just broke down and bought the tires that have the gel inside and haven't had a flat since.
I drove the jog cart today, and went from the area where my horses live down towards the rest of the ranch. It's a pretty decent road, but paved with asphalt grindings and I didn't feel the bumps quite so much. I think when we get our new cart, we'll just get the standard wheels rather than the solid rubber ones.
You probably would want to upgrade to some kind of motorcycle wheels and rims. The tires are much heavier, the spokes of the wheel are also much sturdier than any bicycle wheels can be. The rubber on the ground surface is a lot wider, so you get a "float" in the ride over sand, no issues with hard surfaces either.
You should do a search on this forum, there is a LOT of discussion about wheels on vehicles. Cartfall is our expert on the motorcycle wheels, she has them on her cart for distance driving in Florida. So her posts have been helpful to a lot of folks, and she has the milage using them to know the topic well!
The regular bicycle tired wheels with lightweight spoked rims are problems. They are not made to tolerate the sideways forces of driving animals. The rims will fold, the rubber tires come off the rims, just totally rolling off! Other issues can be the hub design not holding the wheels on the vehicle. It is someone using the wrong product for a use it was not designed to do.
The motorcycle wheels and rims do seem quite successful in harsh conditions of trail driving, give a bit softer ride, STAY USABLE so you don't end up walking home. Nothing is perfect, but a number of folks are very happy with this change to their carts.
I'm sure motorcycle wheels would be much better than the bike wheels. I only start my guys in the 2 wheeled bicycle tired cart and I put very little miles on it. I'm sure it wouldnt hold up to too much! I totally believe that they wheels could just pop off, and with the little driving that I've done with it I did have the one tire explode....I switch my guys to one of our 4 wheeled marathon carriages(with hard rubber wheels) after a few tries with the "cheap" carriage.
And, for the other side of the story...I've been driving on bicycle wheels for nearly nine years (and I'm talking a lot of driving, not just the occasional outing, over rough terrain, up and down steep hills, turns at a canter). I have never had a problem. Now, of course, having said this, both wheels will collapse at the worst possible time. **knocking on wood**
I eliminated the flat tire problem by using airless tires.
I have a question for the fans of motorcycle tires--how much weight do they add? My pony is trying to convince me that he couldn't pull another ounce, although I suspect he is sandbagging because he's a good size pony with the build of a stock horse, just on shorter legs.
The pneumatic wheels with wire spokes used by companies such as Jerald and Pennsbury are much heavier duty than bicycle wheels.
Many of the easy entry carts made by locals and sold on craigslist or at auctions are made very cheaply. They use too light of weight of wheels and steel and have bad welds. Had a customer buy an ee cart at an auction once and I could bend the steel used for the shafts by pressing on it with my foot, not good. Be very careful and picky if picking up something locally made.
That Jerald Cruiser is really really nice. Only, gosh I just know the fact that I'm driving the Haffie already has everyone at the barn wondering when they'll get a spin riding shotgun. So I'd have to go bench seat for the EE cart. I do like the cheaper of the two Jeralds though, I've certainly looked at it before and it's one of the carts on my list. Just have to shop around and see what I like best.
I'll certainly consider the motorcycle tires as an option.
I am sure they could put a different seat on the cruiser. I like how the wheels are "within" the cart (versus stuck on a little axle sticking out like on the cheaper Jerald ee cart). This is much more sturdy from my experiences! I also like the fenders on the wheels.
Looked at 'em. Really really really liked them. Got sticker shock though, and it's not gonna happen. $3k is about 10 months board for me, and I just can't justify the price for 1 or 2 hours a week of driving in an arena (and about 150 feet on asphalt & asphalt grindings to get there). If I were more serious/competitive, I'd probably find a way, but not for bumming around like I plan.
Also, I've got to store my cart outside my hay shed under a tarp. I'd never be able to sleep at night if I kept something that cost more than my 2 horses combined out there like that.
I gotta stay within my means, much as I'd like to dream.