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2 wheel vs. 4 wheel

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  • 2 wheel vs. 4 wheel

    Okay. Now I am completely CONFUSED.

    I have been looking at carriages. My mare is in driving training and so am I Everything I have read, and that my trainers and I have talked about says I should go with a 2 wheeled vehicle.

    I have been searching and have found that I have a thing for these Gig type vehicles or show carts.

    I plan to show her in the Arabian Carriage Pleasure driving shows, as well as do some driving around home, maybe do a bit of the arena trials, dressage, turnout, etc, ADS type shows (maybe not ADS sanctioned though).

    I went to a very well known store today and the owner was telling me that he thought a 4 wheeled vehicle would be better for me. ARGH. He touted the safety of the 4 - wheeled vehicle over the 2-wheel vehicle, and explained it.

    Now I'm at odds because my budget was NOT for a $5-6k vehicle.....And there of course aren't any used vehicles to be had at a reasonable price, LOL.

    Any thoughts?

  • #2
    I will be one of the few voices in favor of a 2-wheeled vehicle. And I will start by saying that there are many, many, many reasons to go with a four-wheeled carriage.

    BUT! I love my two-wheeled vehicles (an easy-entry cart and a village cart) and use them far more often than I ever do my four-wheeled courting buggy. What's more, my mare likes them better too.

    The four-wheeled buggy keeps itself balanced and the shafts are "dead" -- they do not carry any of the load or the balance requirements. You can use brakes on a four-wheeled buggy to help slow the load down hills.

    BUT. I actually like balancing the two-wheeled cart. I like "riding" it so that the shafts float in the tugs and the shaft bounce is minimal. I can tell a lot about my passengers by how easy it is for me to float the shafts. If they are riding relaxedly and in sympathy with the cart, then we travel smoothly and effortlessly. If they are dead weight I have to work to keep everything in harmony. It's a very active connection from me to the horse.

    When horse and I are moving well together the horse floats between the shafts, the shafts float in the tugs and the cart floats along behind, no matter the road surface or grade. It's as smooth as the four-wheel, though I know there are some who will not believe me! I feel much more in concert with my horse.

    My horse finds it much easier to get two wheels moving than she does four.

    If you do decide to go with a four wheel, be sure to get one set up with a cut-under and/or a fifth wheel arrangement, so that the buggy cannot jackknife on you. Sometimes a green horse will back up rather than go forward, and while that's unnerving even in a two-wheeler it can be really a problem in a four-wheeler if the wheels lock up on the body. This is why two wheels are generally recommended for newcomers to driving.

    There are lots of people who have gone from two wheels to four and will never go back. They'll certainly chime in here and gives you their opinions.

    Welcome to driving!! Two wheels or four, you're going to love it!

    Comment


    • #3
      OK. I'm one who went from 2 to 4 and probably won't go back BUT I am so happy that we started with TWO wheels! I work with a top trainer who insisted we go that route - even though his eventual goal was to have us do CDEs and occasional shows - for which we needed 4 wheels.

      Start with a correct 2 wheel cart and you will not regret it. Especially since both you and horse are green. My husband still likes driving his 2 wheeled cart; I sold mine. However I've also moved up to a pair and my pony, as a single, did not like the cart. Our horse OTOH could care less what he's hitched to as long as he gets to go out and show off

      Welcome to driving. Enjoy!
      Pat Belskie - ASHEMONT Farm

      PnP Distributors - KUTZMANN Carriages
      Ashemont2@gmail.com

      Comment


      • #4
        Welcome to driviing and from one Arab driver to another, I am so glad to see you!!

        I have 2 carts and one carriage. I have 2 Arabians that drive. I do a little of everything in driving--CDEs, Pleasure, competitive distance, hacking down the trails, dressage. Vehicles are like rabbits they sort of reproduce in the barn when you aren;t watching!!! When people find out your drive, often they know of a good deal, usually too good to pass up.

        It depends on what I am doing as to what vehicle I like for the day, Each has its own merits. My younger horse, Zanzer, much prefers the marathon carriage to the wooden road cart I use for shows. He is more relaxed as am I in the marathon carriage. I feel a little exposed in the wide seat of the road cart.

        His mama, Looker, prefers what I call "the woods cart" as she loves hacking down the trail for hours and miles on end. It is a pipe cart, easy entry with modified motorcycle wheels and tires. The original wheels were way too light weight for my liking.

        If you are planning on the Arabian Sport Horse Driving, I would definitely get a wooden nice two wheel cart (NOT a meadowbrooke--too unbalanced most of the time, too heavy IMHO, and difficult to exit quickly if you need to). It is the one venue I have yet to explore but have my eye on it. I don;t think pneumatic tires are allowed in this event--???

        Many newbies to driving are shocked by the expense of the vehicle. It can be daunting I know. But vehicles are like saddles, you need to find what is going to fit what you ultimately want to do. Unless you are going to do CDEs or do as Ashemont go to a pair, I personally don;t see where 4 wheels will be of a benefit. 4 wheeled vehicles are not necessarily easier to drive, can and will go over.

        Just curious, what sort of 4 wheel vehicle were you considering?

        I know some recreational drivers have doctor's buggies, springwagons and buckboard type vehicles. These are really only good in parades or recreational driving, not much for showing except in ADS specialized classes.

        A lot of it is going to come down to what you want to do, what you can afford, how comfortable you and your horse are in the vehicle. Something to consider also is how you will transport the vehicle. A cart can easily be put in the back of a truck where a 4 wheel vehicle may or may not. In today's economy do you really want to take a second truck and trailer just to transport your cart/carriage.

        Good luck and keep us posted on your progress!

        Comment


        • #5
          He touted the safety of the 4 - wheeled vehicle over the 2-wheel vehicle, and explained it.
          I'd love to know precisely what he said to you with regard to the above. If you want to play back what he said, then I'm happy to make specific comment but either he's not right or you've misunderstood what he was trying to tell you. Because whilst it might have sounded like there was a logic, I'm thinking he was probably full of bovine excrement or didn't have a 2 wheeler to sell you that was suitable or was trying to sell you a 4 wheeler.

          Don't forget they say that 2nd hand car salesmen learnt their trade from horse and carriage dealers of old

          I'll qualify by saying I build carriages and I repair and restore carriages (there's a difference) and I own 2 and 4 wheelers and drive both regularly. Each has specific advantages and disadvantages and uses and purposes. That is a fact.

          However neither is intrinsically "better" nor "safer" than the other.

          I'd recommend you go with a 2 wheeler from what you say and for the following reasons:

          Single horse
          Showing
          Novice driver
          Budget limited

          Bearing in mind we're talking a light sports horse (arab) you need a vehicle to suit his size (4 wheels more difficult for the horse to pull - twice the number to tow along and greater drag and more difficult in such as sand, loose soil or mud for a single horse)

          For showing classes a nice traditional gig, rally cart or dog cart which was designed to be elegant and allow the horse to move freely is extremely attractive.

          If you're also going to have just one vehicle then if you get something that's a modern reproduction then its going to have wheels and springs appropriate for doing all terrains and including cross country and without you worrying yourself sick about damaging an original vehicle. Even over here in the UK, where we're REALLY picky about tradition in private driving classes, reproductions are totally and utterly acceptable and they win - frequently. And they don't have to have wood wheels either. A well built modern reproduction looks absolutely no different from an original. A client of mine who won at the Royal Show was interviewed over the public address system and asked about his beautiful traditional old vehicle. He told them all about it and they said how old is it? 5 months he replied ....

          And to show you this is one I made earlier and specifically for showing. Its a spindle back gig of modern construction and so wheels are metal and the paint is high quality modern 2 pack - same as used on cars and so more resistant to chipping than the original vehicles are:



          And another which I made for someone similar to yourself - only wants 1 vehicle and for both cross country and for showing. So this one is a little less fancy than the spindle back gig but still perfectly good for even high level show classes.

          Both have brass fittings and things like fancy wheel hubs which you can unscrew and put in either plastic or metal if you're just doing everyday driving and don't want to worry about things getting damaged or dirty.



          I'd advise you to go and watch showing classes and see what other winning competitors are driving. Not just one class but look at lots and learn what winners do.

          Whilst someone might want to try to argue that a 4 wheeler is more stable than 2, its not really true. With a 4 wheeler you need a groom on the back step to balance it - Tight turn and full lock you no longer have a 4 wheeler so otherwise when you do a tight turn and put full lock on you tip over! That doesn't even come into the equation with a 2 wheeler. DEFINITELY NOT SAFER!!!!

          Then a 4 wheeler has the added complexity of a brake - So you would have to learn to drive using the brake. Reason why they have brakes is that there's more weight (4 wheels) and if you're going down hill its harder for the horse to hold it back on its britching only and without slipping on modern road surfaces. If you're a novice its just more to get your head round and manage and probably not what is required at this stage.

          Now even if I didn't know you were on a limited budget and were telling me that money was no object, I'd still be recommending a 2 wheeler from what you've told us.

          However a 4 wheeler is going to be twice the price. As a rule of thumb I say £1,500 a wheel and then double it for a good basic 2 wheeler suitable for every day riding and for showing at high level. So that would be £6,000 ($12,000) new. The Bennington Gig comes in around that price here and I know those are sold over there too:
          http://www.bennington.co.uk/carriages/Specs/gig.htm

          A 4 wheeler suitable for showing or presentation phase in upper level HDT (CDE) is going to come in at a minimum of £9000.

          I'd say that with your budget you should get a nice 2nd hand vehicle in good condition for $6k.

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            THANK YOU!

            I want to thank ALL of you guys for your thorough candid responses

            I hope I get all of the tidbits in here that I need to respond to.

            First of all, the vehicle I was considering was a gig. They definitely have "the look" I'm going for, especially the one that the gentleman from the UK (right?) showed in his first picture!

            I want to reiterate that the gentleman that was urging me to a 4 wheeled vehicle really was talking safety. I don't think he was full of "bovine excrement" (ROFLMAO!!!!), nor do I think he was being an obnoxious salemen (I am a real estate agent - in sales myself - and can find the craziest salesmen around!). He is very well known and respected from what I can tell - everyone on the "other board" has recommended him, so I can't imagine they are wrong!

            As to what he said.....He told me that the 2 wheel vehicle is much more likely to tip and torque the horse's back. He said that, as a novice, there will likely be a time where I might run in to a post, or something of the like, that my 2 wheel vehicle will climb, climb, climb and it may tip or injure my horse (or me). He said that the 4 wheel vehicle will disipate that kind of shock easier.

            He did tell me that I should buy a gig type harness if I buy a two wheel vehicle, and that made a lot of sense. I haven't seen too many of those around, but he had them in stock in the store.

            The type of 4 wheel vehicle I was considering was a Phaeton. Also gorgeous, but it's not like you can exactly ride in those alone, LOL.

            For the type of driving I plan to do FIRST, I felt that the two wheeler would be more than adequate. I am planning mostly arena driving, as I could hitch here at home and then drive to the indoor down the street. Or road driving - since I have those here! Or gently sloping field driving (like mine!). Or carriage road driving, such as those in Acadia. Maybe a tad bit of "off roading" but nothing serious. And I'm certainly NOT looking to get in to CDE at this point.

            My intention with this filly is to drive her (she's 3) for two or three years, get her under saddle and then do eventing with her. I've always wanted to drive, and she was going batty here at home this winter (she ripped 3 screens down from the barn and the trim off of one of the corners....thought they'd make nice playmates since the old man is "boring")....so I sent her off for driving training!

            Anymore comments?

            Comment


            • #7
              4-wheel = safety? Boy, that's a new one.

              Beginners...either horse or driver go in a 2-wheeler...kind've the driving version of "green plus green makes black & blue"

              If you have a youngster and they decide to back up...a 2-wheeler is always 180 degrees behind them....a 4-wheeler starts to jack-knife...it's just what they do. If you don't have full cut-under type of carriage, things can get interesting...even if you have one, the "snap" when she jumps forward can leave your back passengers on the side of the road when they're flipped out.

              Get a gig harness...the tugs move up and down to help keep the saddle from putting undue pressure on your horse's withers (you'll need a gig type of harness anyway if you like gigs).

              Meadowbrooks are cute...and dangerous...don't get one. They're also heavy and hard to get in and out.

              Get something that would qualify as "easy entry"....you're both beginners and want to make getting in and out of your conveyance as easy and non-dramatic as possible. If something is going to go wrong (and it will at some point) you want to be able to get out and get to your beast very simply and quickly.

              Make sure you get something you can balance so your mare is having an easy time. A well-balanced, light (not too light) cart with a lower draft (where the traces attach to the swingletree) that you can easily mount/dismount...is a good thing. Go for wood, no metal wheels and go for something that'll stand up to some x-country, you don't need a delicate ring-queen cart. A nice used cart of great quality is better than new mediocre stuff.

              Make sure it's comfortable for you too! Enough leg room, angle to the back of the seat, not too high or low seat, a good place to brace your feet...padded enough seat....

              Have fun.
              "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by joharavhf View Post
                Anymore comments?


                the gentleman from the UK (right?)


                I want to reiterate that the gentleman that was urging me to a 4 wheeled vehicle really was talking safety.
                Trust me he was talking out of his butt

                As to what he said.....He told me that the 2 wheel vehicle is much more likely to tip and torque the horse's back. He said that, as a novice, there will likely be a time where I might run in to a post, or something of the like, that my 2 wheel vehicle will climb, climb, climb and it may tip or injure my horse (or me). He said that the 4 wheel vehicle will disipate that kind of shock easier.
                Please believe me that is purely and simply absolute nonsense.

                I was going to suggest an experiment whereby you slam into a gatepost with a 2 wheeler and then a 4 wheeler but on second thoughts its just a totally stupid thing to even say. So I suggest you go back to the salesman and ask him to get his 2 and 4 wheeler carriages out and run them in turn into gateposts so you can watch

                Trust me no matter what you slam into a post with you're going to be having some difficulties. However with a 2 wheeler, you're just going to stop dead and it might, if you are really determined and accurate and hit said post at speed and precisely the right angle just jolt you and you might just tip out. With a 4 wheeler, hit it with the front wheel and you'll jackknife and most likely be tipped right over and hit it with a back wheel and guess what..... it jackknifes and tips.

                Believe me, one never buys a carriage ANY carriage because of what might happen if you slam into something and IF that were to be your deciding factor then I'd say my personal preference is a 2 wheeler. Now it may be that said Salesman or you are going to be more proficient and agile than I am and your horse might be better trained than anything I've had and you might be able to recover this disaster before you exit stage left or stage right so this won't bother you.

                But you know what really, I'm joking and I would be prepared to bet £100 that isn't the case

                He did tell me that I should buy a gig type harness if I buy a two wheel vehicle, and that made a lot of sense.


                The type of 4 wheel vehicle I was considering was a Phaeton.
                Yes they're nice. I've got a couple of my own. My own pairs purpose built marathon vehicle is based on a phaeton and my own presentation vehicle is also a phaeton.

                For the type of driving I plan to do FIRST, I felt that the two wheeler would be more than adequate.


                My intention with this filly is to drive her (she's 3) for two or three years, get her under saddle and then do eventing with her. I've always wanted to drive, and she was going batty here at home this winter
                Its a good way to occupy a young horse. Got to say though that its not what I'd personally recommend for a novice driver.

                I'm still sticking to strongly recommending a 2 wheeler

                Comment


                • #9
                  Thomas:

                  The two vehicles you made are beautiful. Did you do it completely from scratch or did you buy the wheels, etc?

                  Nice job!

                  Regards,

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Thanks.

                    Its what I do. I build carriages from scratch.... Wheels and all!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Thomas_1 View Post




                      Trust me he was talking out of his butt
                      I don't often laugh out loud while reading the Driving forum but that did it for me.

                      Green horses and green drivers have enough to worry about without trying to manage anything other than a good, safe 2-wheel cart. When you have some mileage under your belt and have achieved some proficiency, then by all means a 4-wheel carriage is wonderful. Or you might well find that the cart you start out with continues to meet your needs and make you happy in which case count yourself lucky as you'll be money ahead. If you're like most of us, though, carriages WILL multiply like bunnies at your place and you may have to find creative ways to justify spending ALL that dough.

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        So how about these two?

                        So I've pulled these two off the web and this is kind of what I'm thinking....would these be suitable?

                        First is a "show cart" from Greenhall:

                        http://i28.tinypic.com/24lncli.jpg

                        Spindle seat
                        Sliding seat to balance cart
                        Body and Wheels striped
                        Patent patena covered dash & fenders
                        Diamond tufted wool seats
                        Bearings in wheels
                        Rubber tires - flat or rounded
                        Carpet
                        Whip socket

                        Base price on this one is $3995, no lamps.

                        Second is a "country gig" from Country Carriages USA:

                        http://i25.tinypic.com/2dl0v1f.jpg

                        Our Road Card is a lightweight (approximately 175 lbs.) two passenger cart with the BEST ride. Standard features are the sliding adjustable seat, cloth upholstery, spares box under seat, whip socket, flush hubs, flat rubber. Standard Minwax stain is dark walnut. Brass or chrome hardware, same price: Pony, Cob or Horse $1895. Mini size $1495. Warmblood size $1995. Our Front Entry COUNTRY GIG, Advanced width. All the same features as our Road Cart with the addition of a wooden dash and rein rail included in the price. Standard is a 38" wide cloth tufted seat. This Country Gig is $2095 - I would add some things to make it more expensive.


                        Could you guys let me know a little bit about the differences in these carriages?

                        THANKS There's quite a price jump between the two, and I'd be interested in understanding the differences that may create that price difference!
                        Last edited by joharavhf; Feb. 24, 2008, 07:11 PM. Reason: Added price to the Show Cart

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Now I like the first

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I have had the country gig for about 5 years. It has served me well for dressage and cones and most recently this weekend at an ADS pleasure show. It does the job, is easy to get in and out of, and looks quite presentable. It is roughly half the price of the Greenall vehicle.

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Originally posted by 49'er View Post
                              I have had the country gig for about 5 years. It has served me well for dressage and cones and most recently this weekend at an ADS pleasure show. It does the job, is easy to get in and out of, and looks quite presentable. It is roughly half the price of the Greenall vehicle.

                              Did you get it from Country Carriages USA?

                              Seriously, I'm leaning this way, even though I like the look of the Show Cart better. I'm just worried that I will get the Show Cart all nasty and marred up, and I'll have to buy a jog cart / training cart to use every day and keep the Show cart just for show, LOL....Eeeek. I can see how these vehicles multiply!

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Hmmmm, it all comes down to "how much money ya' got?"

                                The show cart is very pretty...does it have an adjustable seat for balance?

                                Do you have the luxury of just parking a cart for show days?

                                Which is the tougher cart?
                                Most comfortable?
                                "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Yes, I got it from Country Carriages. I ordered it the same time as I ordered a russet harness from Greg Hunt and had the leather on the cart match. I did have the metal painted black. I have chrome fittings with lamps on harness and cart. I placed in the Turnout class at Continental Acres this weekend with it.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Another vote here for a 2-wheeler to start out with. The big prob with a 4-wheeler is that if the horse does a pirouette, a 4-wheeler can jackknife and flip over! NOT the way you want your early drives to go.

                                    I like both of the Greenall carts & think you would be fine with either. For myself personally (owing to budget) I like the flexibility that a light wood vehicle gives you - you've got the option to redo it for either russet harness or black. With a painted vehicle you MUST use black harness.

                                    A painted vehicle is definitely dressier and gives a more polished look for the show ring, no question, BUT if you happen to chip the paint, it's a lot harder to fix it up by yourself and make it look halfway decent. With an unpainted vehicle I can just sand down the "oops" spot and sling some more varnish over it and we're ready to rock once again.
                                    "The standard you walk by is the standard you accept."--Lt. Gen. David Morrison, Austalian Army Chief

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Thanks again, guys!

                                      ANY vehicle I get will be black or in a black stain (the Country Carriages USA comes in an ebony stain). My horse is grey. Actually, BOTH of my horses are grey, LOL....and therefore she'll look STUNNING in a black harness and cart

                                      49'er - do you have any pictures?!?! Do you drive in this vehicle a lot (ie: every day or at least 5 times a week?)

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by 49'er View Post
                                        Yes, I got it from Country Carriages. I ordered it the same time as I ordered a russet harness from Greg Hunt and had the leather on the cart match. I did have the metal painted black. I have chrome fittings with lamps on harness and cart. I placed in the Turnout class at Continental Acres this weekend with it.
                                        With a russet harness....I believe your metalwork should be painted brown and your trim brass, not chrome?

                                        I might be wrong...but I don't think so.
                                        "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"

                                        Comment

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