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Would you buy this cart?

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  • Would you buy this cart?

    Ok, i've found a used cart local enough to pick up... I cant say i'm in love with it... It needs a bit of work... I'm wanting a cart suitable for welsh shows and driving around the country roads... So it does not have to be spectacular or anything, this one just kinda says "not fancy" to me at all... But i have a hard time picturing what it would look like refinished and/or painted if the wood is too bad to refinish... They are asking $700 for it, they have a brand new biothane harness that measures to fit my mare perfect for $1100, which seems steep to me... Said they would make a package deal for cart and harness for $1600...

    Its this or looking like i'll have to have one custom made, which would actually finish out in the same price bracket as the guy that makes the carts says he can get me a very nice biothane harness for $250 if i buy a cart from him, and i woudlnt have to refinish anything... BUT, custom is going to take a few months, this one could at least be used now?

    So knit pick this to death ok?! I'm looking at having something done custom sort of similar, just a tad fancier looking...


    Your Horse's Home On The Road!

  • #2
    Have you driven before? Has the horse driven before?

    This cart is a rear-entry meadowbrook. I have heard they are hard to get in and out of, on top of the fact that they are heavier than a road cart or something similar.

    My horse and I are both new to driving. I chose a front entry cart - like a road cart with a front entry. Now, I paid $2600 for it. I know that obviously isn't in your price range. But I would be looking for something like that if I were you.

    I just bought a harness, too. I bought the Smucker's Deluxe harness with the better fit saddle, and a bunch of pads and a bit. It came to $1800. You can get around cheaper than that, though.

    I have seen other meadowbrook carts in MUCH better condition than the one you're seeing for cheaper. Just a thought. I'd pass on it!


    • Original Poster

      I have driven before, but its been about 13yrs... I could not for the life of me tell you the names of the carts i drove, one was very small, similar to the metal easy entry carts, but it was wood and used at shows in pleasure driving... The other was a very large cart, probably a road cart of some type, but it did not have wood slats, it was solid wood that resembled more of a sleigh... I remember that to be a TOTAL pain in the rear to get in and out of. I cant find anyone local in my area as of yet that drives to get some help from, but there is an OK harness horse club and that is where i found this cart and harness advertised... I also found the link to a cart maker near Tulsa, which i've gotten some quotes from him on building me something easy and simple but fancy enough for shows... He's a bit of a drive for me to go and pick up the cart when its finished, but better than half way across the country!

      My mare, which is a sec D cob, has not driven, is a coming 4yr old. She is broke to ride and EXTREMELY calm and well mannered. She has been on trail rides with a 2 mule hitch and large wagon and others driving small pleasure carts, she was the only one in a group of 30 some horses/ponies that WANTED to go and see the carts up close and personal, the others were hanging from the trees... So i know its not going to upset her at all, but we do have to go back and start on some ground driving again and really get that into her brain before we get to the cart stage... Which is why waiting for a custom cart is not all that big of a deal... I'm just in a hurry to have it all? lol.

      I was told the rear entry was MUCH easier... So that has been what i was looking for, the split seats that fold up. The cart maker i have been talking with agreed on this point... This is the first i have heard that they are difficult to get in and out of.

      I do agree that i think i'll pass on this cart. The more i look at it, the more i also think its been in quite a bit of water, and the price has seemed high from the get go, but thought i would ask for more info in case it was in really nice shape or the price was negotiable... Which seems that neither is the case...

      Does anyone have links to what a gig or village cart look like? I havent ran across either yet to my knowledge... I was more so stuck on the meadowbrook type because of the rear entry...
      Your Horse's Home On The Road!


      • #4
        Oh You have come to the right place, since I just went through all of this myself and have pictures on my hard drive!!! LOL.

        From what I've learned, gigs are fairly "heavy" compared to a road cart. Personally, that was a big issue for me, as was portability. It sounds like you want to show as well, which means portability. I have a 2 horse bumper pull with a truck. Ie: I HAVE to get the cart in the back of the truck or it's just not going anywhere.

        Soooooo.......I passed on the gigs that I liked because they were TOO fancy (sooooo pretty!) and heavy, possibly wouldn't fit in the back of the truck.

        I passed on the standard road cart because it was a PITA to get in to. (Yes, I agree a meadowbrook would be easier to get in to than a road cart.)

        Here is what I settled on: a 200 pound Road Cart hybrid (so I call it). The Cruiser

        Here is a gig that I was thinking about but decided against because it needed refinishing and I didn't want to do that. This kind of cart sits you higher than the meadowbrook cart does, so you can see over your horse better. (From what I understand!) It is also more formal, and I felt, since I wanted to do a bit of everything, I wouldn't be able to do it "all" without feeling like I was taking the cadillac out for an off roading experience! Gig

        Finally, here is a road cart. Notice that you have to get in from the rear. Road Cart


        • #5
          I'd pass... looks like an older vehicle with parts replaced. Don't like the way the dash comes back at you on the metal strap.

          There are a lot of people who tell you no meadowbrooks, but a whole lot of us started in that type of vehicle and did and do just fine. We have one we drove for many years - lost it in a fire. Checked around to see what else was out there and found we went back to the same thing. Some of the "easy entries" aren't so easy to get into by the time you have a large wheel on the vehicle.

          That said... this is not a particularly graceful meadowbrook type. I think you can do better for the same price. Check if you have any local clubs around, you may find some used and less expensive vehicles in their newsletters.


          • Original Poster

            joharavhf- oh my gosh would that gig you passed on would look STUNNING behind my cob mare... lol... But maybe a little too fancy for my budget...

            On to the next thing i'm battling... MOVING the thing... I have a 3h slant that i pull with a 32ft RV... The trailer is basically a modified stock trailer with dressing room in front. The back bay is rather HUGE... I'm "hoping beyond hope" to find something that will fit in the back bay, the shafts can sit above the door as its open at the top. I measured today and if i can find a 48" wide cart... I have 48" in depth, so basically a 48"x48" square to fit it in and shafts angled up and over the back door... Is this POSSIBLE?! Boy i have no idea so far. I didnt think i would be getting something with such big wheels! But i do not have a truck, there is no other option to get the thing from point a to point b... I "could" remove the back divider, but cringe at doing so because i will have more than one welsh going to the welsh shows, and if i could spare paying the extra gas for my friend to haul her big gooseneck along just to get one more horse to a show, really, i dont want to go there!

            I also didnt think there was going to be so much work involved in getting something to fit my mare... Boy was i in for a surprise! Keep in mind that my limited driving experience was with someone else's horse/vehicle and i never asked what all thought went into these pairings, if any... I was just taught how to hook up and drive. I have a feeling, i will not remember how to hook up anymore when the time comes... The driving i seem to recall ok, but we havent gotten to that point in time yet, i may find my memory to be very rusty...

            There doesnt appear to be any local clubs, doesnt mean their arent any, just not that i've found online, and i've come to find that most people in this part of the horse world do not seem to be online at all... The OK Harness Horse Club is the best i have found thus far, which i'm planning on joining and going to a clinic later in the year... But they seem more located 3-4hrs from me...
            Your Horse's Home On The Road!


            • #7
              I wouldn't buy it and because:

              Precarious access and egress
              No swingletree
              No seat adjustment to balance it
              Limited leg space
              No foot board - at least the front goes straight up vertical
              I don't like the fixing of the dash board and rein rail which means it comes even further back - is that over your legs?

              As you've got a good traditional harness horse breed and want to show, I'd suggest a gig or a rally or dog cart.

              Something like these look really nice with a Welsh Section D

              I've got a nice black Welsh Section D that's my latest personal "retirement project" and I'm building a spindle back gig for him - I thought a very dark blue or the darkest green with gold linings but I could change my mind. ......... I fancied I might have time and inclination to go back to doing a little bit of showing!

              What horse are you intending to drive? If its one of those nice chestnuts you have on your web site then a dark green gig would look fantastic.
              Last edited by Thomas_1; Mar. 10, 2008, 07:45 AM.


              • #8
                I wouldn't buy it due to it's ugliness...phewee! The cart has no style or grace to it, no flow. Even when moving it would probably look like and appliance box with wheels.

                It's claustrophobic with no quick way out in things go pear-shaped. It also looks very very heavy.

                The harness price is also ridiculous...these must be some real friends who are doing you this favour.
                "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"


                • #9
                  Actually, that gig was only $1800! Not too bad considering that the new ones go for at LEAST $5k, if not more. I was immediately drawn to the gig because of it's style and grace - but then, when searching realized that they would not be the best vehicle for the many purposes I intended to use it for.

                  Keep in mind here, that I am completely new to driving as well....JUST ordered my cart on Saturday and the harness on Thursday! So I haven't gotten either yet!

                  As for fitting in your horse trailer. Well, I expect to fit mine in to the back of my truck, so I'd bet it would fit in the back of the trailer, too. I know there's a standard dimension size for wheel base since I've seen notes on carts like "FEI width" or "FEI wheelbase" or something of the such. I think that means that it's small enough to fit between the cones and hazards, LOL. But again, I'm not 100% sure.

                  I too was VERY surprised at the prices of harnesses and carts. SURE you can get away cheaper. I've seen easy entry cart (brand new) for $675. It didn't really suit my needs as far as looks, so I didn't even consider it. I've also seen harnesses for sale that are used, for pretty cheap. I've seen used smuckers harnesses for $500 and $250 (check equinesite.com in the classifieds, there were quite a few in there as of last week). Smuckers was the brand that everyone echoed was pretty decent, middle of the road type harness.

                  I personally prefer leather over biothane, which is why I didn't comment on the harness prior 'til now. Personally I think biothane and leather have the same type of upkeep, so I might as well put my horse in to something I'd prefer to wear, too (who wants to wear plastic underwear?). However, when I was looking at harnesses, it was very hard to differentiate between leather and biothane.....

                  Regarding fit. Yes, I did do all of the measurements. Then I sent the measurements to the harness shop. And then they called me to tell me that she is just a standard 'ol "cob" size, LOL. No custom harness for her! Hahahaha. I was surprised that they required to measure this that and everything else, but in the end, she wore a standard size! I only had a few other measurements to make for the cart order.

                  I have recently asked for help from all of these wonderful COTH people, and it was very good to hear answers that went with my gut feeling (especially the 2-wheel vs. 4-wheel)....but keep in mind that when they are talking about SHOWING, I think they are talking about ADS rated/sanctioned shows. When I was talking about showing, I was talking about the Arabian shows and just local jo/schmo shows where there is like maybe one entry in the classes! LOL....


                  • Original Poster

                    I REALLY love the gigs pictured, they would look so stunning behind my cob mare... Which yes, is the chestnut with flaxen mane and tail from my site...

                    BUT, after doing some research last night, i think they are going to be WAY over the budget... So i'll have to go for something a little less and more "normal" unfortunately.

                    This is what i'm looking at having built:

                    It will be a tad fancier and meet ADS requirements... But with harness, i can get this cart custom for my mare, which of course is not a standard size anything... lol... for $1615... And its about 3-4hrs from me to pick it up when its finished.

                    I figured i didnt mind biothane vs leather for the harness... I really cant tell in person or from pictures which it is, and i have a biothane bridle that is softer than most of my leather ones... So for the price difference, it really didnt make a difference. However, i thought $1100 for the one from the bad cart lady was really EXPENSIVE...

                    Trakehner- you summed that cart up perfectly... UGLY... I mean, i could have delt with it if i didnt have another option i suppose... But completely right, it would look like an appliance box... I hadnt seen one so "square."

                    So please critique away the cart i'm looking at getting custom... I'm somewhat limited because basically that has maxed my budget, but if you think there is something that HAS to change... please pipe in. I "could" possibly come up with more $$ when the remaining amount is due upon completion, BUT i'm having a hard time justifying doing so when i dont know if i'm going to "fall in love" with driving, or my mare might just plain stink at it... lol. I dont think either will be the case! But you never know.

                    As for transport, the guy making the cart doesnt think he can fit it in my 48"x48" space... Says the track needs to be wider than that... More like 56-58... SO, i'm back to the drawing board on that one. I'm thinking maybe get a really lightweight flatbed and a hitch for my car... My husband is dying for a truck, but its just not in the budget for this year!
                    Your Horse's Home On The Road!


                    • #11
                      I wanted to say Ugly but decided to leave it to objective criteria but it was truly the first thing that came into my mind.

                      The photo you've posted still has a lot of the same issues as the first one and in fact I'd say they're much in the same ilk:

                      e.g. Precarious access and egress
                      No swingletree
                      No seat adjustment to balance it
                      Limited leg space
                      No foot board
                      Straight shafts
                      Its VERY low too and sitting so low, its going to have a very low centre of gravity and its not going to be very smooth running.

                      For a cob horse you want a wheel track width of 54 to 56". I'd personally suggest 54" though.

                      With regard to harness: Are you sure that its acceptable to show at ADS shows with biothane? Over here that just wouldn't be the case. Also appreciate that unless you're going to have a full collar you must have a swingletree.

                      What's your budget? If you state that, then you might find more folks can help you.

                      I'm still seeing a dark green gig behind that chestnut mare


                      • #12
                        "....BUT, after doing some research last night, i think they are going to be WAY over the budget... So i'll have to go for something a little less and more "normal" unfortunately.

                        This is what i'm looking at having built:

                        It will be a tad fancier and meet ADS requirements... But with harness, i can get this cart custom for my mare, which of course is not a standard size anything... lol... for $1615... And its about 3-4hrs from me to pick it up when its finished."

                        Their Phaeton cart had the prettiest lines of their carts...but boy, do they ever look heavy. You really are going to be doing some climbing over shafts to get in or out of that cart. You might want to consider their version of an easy entry cart.

                        Is there any way to balance their carts? it didn't seem so on the website (just looking at the photos).

                        Check out John Greenal's website at his Carriage Machine Shop stained wood carts...they're pretty and work well (and they balance).
                        "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"


                        • Original Poster

                          My budget is $1600... That has to include cart AND harness. I know, its about impossible...

                          So for those of you that have recently been shopping or know more of whats around there... If this were your situation, what would you buy?

                          Thomas- you are correct, a dark green gig would look lovely with my mare, heck, a plain black one would look stunning... But the prices i have found on those put them out of the running.

                          What exactly is a swingletree? I do not want a full collar on her, i think it would take away from her looks and prohibit some of her huge trot. The cart maker i'm working with hasnt mentioned anything about this.

                          The difference between the cart that is pictured and the cart i am/could be ordering is that i'm getting split seats with rear entry, so it wont be as hard to get in and out, but difficult to bail if need be. I was originally looking at one that sat lower to the ground as that would buy me a few inches to try to squeeze it in my trailer, now thats not so much of an issue since i dont think anything will fit back there no matter how much i want it to. I think its going to have to go on a flatbed that my car can pull. So this does open more options, but i'm still limited to budget, and i still hate to think of spending more than that if i could even scrounge up more because i dont know how well i'll like driving nor if my mare will... I really thought it would be a good venue for a year or so for her because her canter is so huge and unbalanced at this point that there isnt a reason to "push" that issue and get her frazzled. So if i drove her instead, she would have more time to finish with what little growing she has left to do and get a little more muscle and balance. I've been dying to get her on the welsh circuit and show her off.

                          I'm starting to think that maybe this might not happen simply because of my limited budget. Is it possible to get what i need that would be safe and easy to get in and out of with a semi decent harness for $1600?
                          Your Horse's Home On The Road!


                          • #14
                            I just bought a used, in very good shape, country gig type cart, cob size, for $1000. There are lots of used harnesses, beta (my preference) or leather, for $500. Maybe someone here can try posting on the CD-L list for what you want, and see what pops up. Or you can join the CD-l list yourself.


                            • Original Poster

                              Where do i find the CD-l list? I've been searching some of the links i've found here and what i can come up with on google, but have yet to find anything used that wasnt either junk or way too expensive. If only i could get so lucky to find a pretty gig for 1k! I dont even mind if it needs painted. Now i keep drooling over the pics of the gigs people have posted here and the little cart i was going to have made just doesnt compare...

                              The biggest issue is location. What i have found used seems to be up in the New England states... Not out here in no man's land of OK. A little drive to pick up something is one thing, but 2000 miles is another... And shipping probably knocks the cart out of my budget.
                              Your Horse's Home On The Road!


                              • #16
                                This link gets you to the site that has info on how to sign up for the CDL (anotehr chat group) http://www.carriagedriving.net/

                                One of their biggest assets is that they DO allow you to post for sale and wanted information
                                BUT be sure to state where you are located to make it easier for anyone nearby to reply

                                There ae quite a few places out there where you can get a good quality harness (beta or leather) for the $500 range - new or used, and shipping on a harness is not that much

                                That should leave you around $1000 for a cart which generally puts you in the used range, though there are a few makers out there who will do a basic cart for that kind of price

                                Good Luck in your search


                                • #17
                                  Here's the address for the Carriage Driving Net....the CDL list is one of the buttons on the top of the page...lots of good articles etc.


                                  Remember, there's always time to do it over the right way...better to wait and shop till you get something you'll enjoy and use for years...and something safer and less dramatic to get in. Can you picture someone older getting in this cart?

                                  On consideration, you can't put brush guards on this cart and still be able to get in.
                                  "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"


                                  • #18
                                    A swingletree is the moveable bar that the traces are attached to.

                                    Its used to transmit the draught from the traces to the vehicle. Some have a hook each end to receive the traces. Others have metal fittings or something else similar.

                                    There's various methods of attaching a swing tree to a vehicle: central bolt through that and the splinter bar or a pivot fitting on the vehicle

                                    Basically this moves as the horse moves and stops the breast collar rubbing a great big hole in your horse...... that's not a good plan

                                    Quite simply, horse moves and his shoulders move alternatively and the constant friction side to side if the collar is held fixed and unyielding (without a swingle tree) causing HUGE discomfort.

                                    You must have a swingletree for a breast collar and (certainly over here) you're not ever allowed to show with a breast collar unless there's a swingtree fitted.

                                    Other names for it are Single Tree (corruption when it went to the USA) or Wiffle Tree or Wipple Tree.
                                    Last edited by Thomas_1; Mar. 14, 2008, 07:18 AM.


                                    • #19
                                      Well I don't have any useful commentary, but as for this:
                                      I might as well put my horse in to something I'd prefer to wear, too (who wants to wear plastic underwear?)
                                      Who wants to wear leather underwear either?


                                      • #20
                                        Rear entry carts are easier to climb into and out of for those with limited mobility but are a bit harder to get out of in an emergency. (I'm resisting the words "death trap" but only narrowly. ) There's also the difficulty in trying to manage the reins as you walk around the back and flip up the seat then mount and get it down again before sitting. It's not that hard when you know what you're doing but sometimes something with a few less moving parts is easier.

                                        Thomas, I agree with your assessment of those carts 100% but did want to point out that they both have singletrees. They're placed above the shafts on our carts, unfortunately. I much prefer them down low where I think you're expecting to see them as it's a more efficient pulling angle and they aren't restricted in their motion by the presence of a dash behind them but they are at least present on the two carts pictured.

                                        Butlerfamilyzoo, I wouldn't worry about a neck collar restricting your girl's trot. Many people actually find the trot to be freer with a properly-fitted neck collar because it rests along the top of the shoulder blade instead of across the point of the shoulder and allows the horse to pull from their neck instead of pushing the vehicle forward with their forelegs. That said I'd start with a breastcollar as they are easier to fit to the horse and require less education to use safely.

                                        Hey look, I joined ANOTHER forum! And you thought horses were addictive.