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arena drag - crazy idea?

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  • arena drag - crazy idea?

    I have an older retired TB who is plenty sound enough to pull a small drag in the fenced arena. He's pulled a stagecoach in his distant past, though I've never driven him (any horse, actually)

    I saw this and thought "hey, my old guy could drag the arena weekly and earn his keep!" - our barn manager is lax about getting that job done.

    Is this a crazy idea?

    Horse is very smart and calm, learns tricks quickly etc. I have a regular surcingle, he lunges and long-lines perfectly, but I don't have a full harness - do I really need one? Could I buy a breast collar and use that with the surcingle and quick release fittings in case it all goes pear-shaped and just lead him in a halter? Then graduate to pulling a tire or something when he's comfy, then a small, lightweight drag?

    I have examined "Carriage Driving" by Heike Bean and it all seems doable...
    PSSM / EPSM and Shivers Forum

  • #2
    Friend of mine used to drag his working area in front of the radio cow (cutting horses) with one of his cutting mares....used a string cinch as a breast collar and tied the drag (a small toothed harrow about 3 x 4 in size) to the front cinch rings on his cutting saddle with safety release clips. Wasn't heavy/hard work but sure put the butt muscles on her!!
    Colored Cowhorse Ranch
    Northern NV


    • Original Poster

      string cinch - good idea!

      actually I have an eventing breastcollar that'd work with correct padding... hm...

      ideas for small, homemade harrow?
      PSSM / EPSM and Shivers Forum


      • #4
        small home made harrow

        we have seen someone use a length (approx 6 ft) of chain link fence bolted to a 2x4
        strap some weights on to keep it in contact with the ground

        some eye bolts on the 2x4 can connect to chains or straps
        then to the harness traces (of some kind

        What you MUST have is a calm and quiet horse, willing to work with you

        I assume you are just using the horse for the muscle and you and going to lead the horse around the ring


        • #5
          I've been meaning to make this but haven't gotten around to it
          Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.


          • #6
            My horses routinely take turns smoothing out the arena. It's not a bang up job like the tractor drag but it smoothes out the lumps while giving them weight resistance for exercise.

            I use a rectangle of hog wire or combo panel wire. I have a set of bio traces that stay clipped to the front of the wire at each end. I have two big 6 x 6 wood scraps tied to the wire with twine. I can remove one or both depending on the horse's training level and fitness.

            I drag two ways, as a drag behind a horse I am long lining or more fequently, I clip the extra traces to the underside of my jog bike while we walk and jog the arena. I have a ring of twine tied to my axle under the seat where it won't slide around. This is also pretty safe as the horse is hitched to a jog bike and lessens the chance that they would act up and back their feet over the drag. When long lining, having the second set of traces also get the drag farther away from the horse's hind feet so if they act up, chances are I will get them going again long before they back all the way onto the drag.

            I would recommend getting a full harness, even an inexpensive one. when i long line, I pass the traces through the tug loops and the breeching rings to keep the line of draught straight on the chest. The downward pull doesn't occur on the horse's frame until the traces pass through the breeching rings.At that point, the rump is taking the weight across it's entirety. This also lessens the likelyhood that a horse will step over its own trace. I clip the second set of traces to the set hanging off the breeching rings.
            ...don't sh** where you eat...


            • #7
              My trainer drags her arena pretty much daily using a similar set up to Winfieldfarms. The harrow is a section of cattle panel with a big 2x12 on the middle of it and spikes driven through and out the other side. It is about a foot wider on each side than the show cart, and the jog cart is wider so it is close to even. It has a cotton rope attached to the front of the sides, and the cotton rope has been knotted dead center to form a loop. Her two carts that I have used both have a screw in hook somewhere under the back of the seat and the loop drops over that. (I've always been sitting in the cart during the attach and detach process or I'd be more precise!)

              It works great behind the cart and gives me tons of feedback about my track and turning. I haven't ever seen her long line and use it so I don't know if that is an option.
              Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
              Incredible Invisible


              • #8
                before you hitch your TB who was previously driven in a stage coach, make sure his/her brain is OK. When you use the words, TB/Stage Coach I instantly think of the racing TBs. and that is not really driving....thats going hell bent for leather around an arena with 3 other TBs. If he/she was an ex-stage coach racer, watch out for flash backs.


                • #9
                  Is this a crazy idea?
                  Well, not really, but if you have to walk behind the horse each time, it will wear thin really fast! Notice the number of posters above to attach a drag behind their carts ...that should be a big clue.

                  I don't have a full harness - do I really need one? Could I buy a breast collar and use that with the surcingle and quick release fittings in case it all goes pear-shaped and just lead him in a halter?
                  You can buy just the breast collar, but make sure it is a big thick wide one. The pressure of the drag's weight will be on that one area of the horse's chest, so you want to disburse the pressure over a wider area as much as possible. Quick release snaps are always a good idea. If you lead with a rope, make sure you have a helper than can detach the drag incase things suddenly start to go wrong.

                  I have examined "Carriage Driving" by Heike Bean and it all seems doable...
                  Always a good idea to study up first if you don't have a good driving instructor or driving friend close by.


                  • Original Poster

                    Originally posted by MunchingonHay View Post
                    before you hitch your TB who was previously driven in a stage coach, make sure his/her brain is OK. When you use the words, TB/Stage Coach I instantly think of the racing TBs. and that is not really driving....thats going hell bent for leather around an arena with 3 other TBs. If he/she was an ex-stage coach racer, watch out for flash backs.
                    Hah - no! He was at Knotts Berry Farm pulling a coach for tourists, and I've owned him 10 years: he's a gem
                    PSSM / EPSM and Shivers Forum


                    • #11
                      Do you any big guys, or women? Or strong more petite women? If so, you CAN drag an arena manually. With just the kennel panel - it does some good. I have seen one not very large male do it. So, I think 2-3 strong people could get 'er done...If this is a boarding place, it probably needs it to much for that. For a private facility with one or two riders it does work, though.

                      Also, the kennel panel works perfect behind a car or truck. I think you are not allowed to use machinery if I recall, BUT if you could sneak in a few laps with a small car and then rake over the final tire marks it MIGHT be an option.
                      "Fool! Don't you see now that I could have poisoned you a hundred times had I been able to live without you." Cleopatra VII


                      • Original Poster

                        akor I'm just thinking it'd be fun to drag with a horse, you know? And less exhausting

                        gothedistance, yeah, I can't really afford to buy a cart to sit on and I could use the exercise. Just not as much as akor describes!

                        of course the simplest thing would be to get the BM to drag the aena once a week... fat chance!
                        PSSM / EPSM and Shivers Forum


                        • #13
                          Make sure your traces are plenty long & your horse is strong enough to pull it. The smaller the angle between the trace and the ground, the easier it is to pull. My last trainer screwed up my mare when he hooked her to a heavy drag. Now my driving horse is balky & thinks she can't pull anything.
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