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2-Wheel v. 4-Wheel cart?

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  • 2-Wheel v. 4-Wheel cart?

    Okay, so I'm going into my 5th year of showing in driving, and in all that time I've had a 2-wheel easy entry cart. I'm looking to get into bigger shows with my pony, and to get a new cart (shortly).

    My question is, how much harder is it to maneuver/drive/etc a 4-wheeled cart? I like the 4-wheel ones, and he's pulled one (as a team with my cousin's horse) so I know he can do it, and he's strong. But I'm not sure its the way to go.

    Any suggestions?


  • #2
    Get a 4 wheel vehicle. You will never want to go back to a 2 wheel again.


    • #3
      When you say showing in driving what do you mean? Local all breed open shows, driven dressage, carriage drving shows, breed shows. What kind of showing you actually do will be a big determining factor.

      For breed shows look up the rulebook, follow the rules and stick with the trends.

      For local all breed open shows stick with a 2 wheeled vehicle, either a basket cart such as Jerald makes (you can get wire spoke or wooden wheels, hint-get both, wire spoke wheels with pneumatic tires pull in deep sand arenas so much easier) or if you want something that sits a little higher a road cart. But the key here is easily manouverable in traffic (you never know when they might decide to send 12 entries into a tiny arena at once) and something that will travel well in any type of arena footing, from very deep sand to cushy wood chips to hard packed might as well be a parking lot.

      Others can comment on other types of showing, those aren't my areas of expertise.


      • #4
        Well, we definitely won't be showing breed shows because his last owner never gave me the papers, haha! But we'll be showing draft hitch events (he's a Haflinger, so he'll be in the draft pony single hitch classes), reinsmanship and pleasure driving (at our home fairgrounds), so a Jerald cart is definitely out since it's more for light breeds (I think???). I'm still learning.

        Basically I'll be showing 4-H, which doesn't have many rules for carts (our rules say any suitable 4 or 2 wheeled vehicle in safe condition). A few open shows (like my county fair's open hitch show) and a few all breed pony shows. If that helps any.



        • #5
          Like GTD, I really love a 4 wheeled cart. They are more a challenge when backing up, but I love the stability and the fact that I can take a number of passengers on my marathon cart. The key feature for me is safety -- which means a solid cart that is unikely to flip.
          Where Fjeral Norwegian Fjords Rule


          • #6
            For your uses definatly a 2 wheeled road cart of the style that the other exhibitors use for a single draft pony. At draft shows the class is single to cart, a 2 wheeled vehicle. That would be most appropriate and functional for all your uses.


            • #7
              Tiny bit of housekeeping:
              Cart is a 2-wheeled vehicle
              Carriage/buggy/wagon is a .4-wheeled vehicle.

              Anyway...4-wheels will be easier on your Haffie. The only weight on his back is the few pounds the shafts weigh. You don't have to worry about balancing the cart in the tugs, the ride will be better too! (think wheelbarrow vs. wagon).

              The draft is usually lower on a 4-wheeler so the pulling geometry is better for the horse.

              Passengers...you can carry them easier...and there's an amazing number of 4-wheelers out there, much more limited selection in cart styles without going antique..even then, not so many choices.

              You can find lightweight carriages and they typically have at least rear brakes. You don't stop the cart with the brakes, but they do help relieve him of the push in his breeching when going downhill making it easier for him (and you can go faster downhill if you're compteting.)

              No wire wheels...only wood or steel. Wire wheels are not meant to deal with side loading...think of a bike wheel, it's very strong pushing down on the tire/rim. When you push on the side of the wheel on the hub, you can see the wheel flexing.

              If you are going to compete at all in anything besides the most basic "baby classes" you won't be able to use pneumatic tires and these are the types of tires you see mounted on wire rims (they come off the rim and are considered unsafe for most competitions). The ADS rulebook, which even if shows aren't doing a rated show tend to follow, says:

              Chapter 10 "The Vehicle", Article 21 (2): "Wire wheeled and pneumatic tired vehicles mayb be permitted in the following classes at management's discretion (and a lot of shows don't include them for safety reasons except for mini-horse classes):

              a. If it is the show's first year as an ADS recognized competition.
              b. In all pleasure driving classes if the vehicle is an antique wire-wheel vehicle (long wire spokes, hard rubber tires).
              c.In maiden, novice or junior pleasue driving classes.
              d. In trainng Level combined driving events.

              Go for a 4-wheeler. Make sure it's a cut-under for safety. Shop around a lot, you can find decent prices right now as people sell their toys.
              "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"


              • #8
                This person is not showing at ADS shows. They will be doing draft shows, 4-H, and local open shows. A 4 wheeled vehicle would not be acceptable for single pony to CART classes at a draft show. OP pay attention to what is relevant to your situation. A 2 wheeled road cart will be what will work for you and where you intend on showing.

                Advising someone to purchase a vehicle that would not even be acceptable for some of the showing they intend on doing, great advice....
                Last edited by Renae; Mar. 9, 2011, 09:07 AM.


                • #9
                  "This person is not showing at ADS shows. They will be doing draft shows, 4-H, and local open shows. A 4 wheeled vehicle would not be acceptable for single pony to CART classes at a draft show."

                  Gotta' read for comprehension. No 4-wheeled vehicle will qualify for a cart class in any driving show...but she never said she was only going to compete in cart classes...and as I wrote, many non-rated shows use the ADS rules as a base.

                  "OP pay attention to what is relevant to your situation. A 2 wheeled road cart will be what will work for you and where you intend on showing."

                  Uh, 4-H and local shows have 4-wheel vehicle classes, even mini/VSE classes have carriages.

                  "Advising someone to purchase a vehicle that would not even be acceptable for some of the showing they intend on doing, great advice"

                  Phew, don't recall peeing in anyone's cornflakes this morning. Suggestions of a pipe-cart with wire wheeled/pneumatic tires will sure limit her showing. A cart class requires a cart, a carriage class requires 4-wheels, an open class uses 2 or 4 wheels. She did say: "Our rules say any suitable 4 or 2 wheeled vehicle in safe condition."

                  As I suggested, get a nice easy to get in 4-wheel vehicle. Your Haffie is stronger than you think. Plus, you'll be taking friends around more often than you show...why limit yourself.
                  "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Trakehner View Post
                    Gotta' read for comprehension. No 4-wheeled vehicle will qualify for a cart class in any driving show...but she never said she was only going to compete in cart classes...and as I wrote, many non-rated shows use the ADS rules as a base.
                    At a draft horse/pony show single horse/pony classes are to CART.


                    • #11
                      not getting in the rules part of it.

                      IF you decide on a carriage/wagon, you need to consider some things.

                      A fixed shaft wagon takes a football field to turn around.

                      If the body is not an undercut design, ie wheels can go under the body, you may want to reconsider one that is.

                      fixed shafts vs independent shafts is another thing to consider.

                      My best driving vehicle was my marathon carriage. Loved it. Have driven a fixed shaft carriage and hated it.

                      The idea of a surrey with the fringe on top is not all it is cracked up to be.


                      • #12
                        The only thing stopping me from having a 4 wheel vehicle. I cant fit most of them in my short bed truck. So do make sure you consider if you can even haul the thing around depending on your truck/trailer situation!

                        I would love 4 wheels, they drive easier, no "bounce or buck" of a cart, but my 2 wheels fits me in more places and easy enough i can haul away from home alone. And yes, not all 4 wheelers are created equal. I've driven a couple marathon carriages which were super to drive, and then a Dr Buggy that was ridiculously stupid in it's lack of ability to turn. Would be fine going down the road, but not for much of anything else.

                        For 4-H and your draft classes, i think you need the cart. 4-H you've got kids that dont pay attention to who is around them in their class, yes, some are great, but the ones that arent, you want to be able to steer away quick and if that's in a carriage that isnt built to be real functional, i dont think you'll make it out of the way. I know nothing about showing the draft breeds, but i've never seen a single with anything but a cart at the county/state fairs, and never a cart that wasnt a wood wheel, so i would keep that in mind when shopping. A wire spoke wheel would probably be a no no, though i dont know their rules or trends.
                        Your Horse's Home On The Road!


                        • #13
                          Thanks all for the input.

                          So I'm seriously thinking about a 4-Wheel (one of the reasons being they are so much more attractive then 2 wheelers). I don't think I can buy another cart/carriage right now, since I just bought a new harness, but I'm hoping to have one "shortly."

                          I know I can't do much showing in my easy entry, but at the time I got into driving, I bought it and my old harness for $300 off my one cousin who had sold her driving horse a while back. Since then, I've moved on to a work-style show harness, but have kept the cart. But, I was thinking (sometimes this gets me in trouble... but here I go...) could I replace the wheels on my easy entry with wooden ones and be legal? I mean, I don't know if this would be a good way to go, but I was just thinking.

                          Also, I forgot to mention I DO have a Meadowbrook cart I bought back in the summer. The lady told me it was pony sized, but I was stupid and took it. Anyways, it ended up to be Draft size (big screw up, huh?). Could I replace the shafts and wheels on this cart and make it his size? Or would the width of the actual cart be too big?

                          And I do know the idiots you have driving around you in 4-H. I don't want to sound boastful, but I am a very good driver but a few years ago we had a girl who knew nothing and it is hard to drive around those people. Especially when (most of the time) he's the only pony in there, and is faster then the minis. So would a cart be more effective for this and tight Reinsmanship patterns?

                          I'm so lost, haha. .


                          • #14
                            Your EZ Entry is likely sprung on a small coil spring. You will feel every.single.pebble.on.the.road. The inflated wheels are a big part of the suspension system.

                            It is possible to downsize the wheels of the draft sized meadowbrook, but only by so much. The wheels on a draft size would be 48 - 50 - 52 or larger. You probably want a 44 or 46 to keep the cart reasonable level, although you might be able to go 42.

                            The other things you have to consider on a draft size cart are the length and width of the shafts and whether the axle was adapted for height. Anadapted axle will not be one straight bar across - it usually has 2 double 90 deg bends to raise it up. Looks a bit like this

                            . . ____
                            __[ . . . ]__

                            (hope that shows right - whoops, didnt, so ignore the dots used as spacers)

                            Shafts too long really are not easily fixable nor is shafts too wide

                            BUT if the cart is in good condition you could sell it or trade it for one your size

                            The other comment I will make about the difference betwen 2-wheel and 4-wheel is the up front cost. As a rule, 4-wheel vehicles are gonna cost about double what a comparable 2-wheel will cost. By that I mean you cant compare the price of a wooden road cart with a Kuhnle marathon vehicle. But a Flyer is about twice what a roadcart costs and that is about as basic a 4-wheel as you are going to get new

                            Do not discount some of the older vehicles. Even with not being cut-under, some of the old runabouts are some of the ost comfortable vehicles to drive compared with the jarring of the modern metal vehicle

                            Best of luck making decisions
                            Last edited by Drive NJ; Mar. 11, 2011, 05:02 PM.


                            • #15
                              As one with a jarring metal vehicle (with coil springs and i changed my pneumatics out for an aluminum with rubber rim) i feel everything, and it sucks... But i do a lot of trail driving and after having a wire spoke wheel crush, i was really ready to change those out. But now it sucks, really! So putting wood wheels on your easy entry... It's gonna ride way rougher than it does right now.

                              A Flyer is a good recommendation really, they hold up very well as a multi use vehicle. If i were to buy a 4 wheel i really want this one for my cob:
                              It's a Dominiak Spider Phaeton and it runs $5500. But i think it's nice for the breed ring and durable enough i wont kill it doing cones or down the trail. BUT, i would need a new trailer, so increase that cost to include a 4 horse head to head or something similar, which really is not in my budget this year!

                              To keep your costs down, what about a slightly better easy entry?
                              That's a G & S trail cart with added dash, it's got coil springs and rides a bit rough, but it's durable. As shown would run you around $1200 in that size, shipping $125.

                              Or a nice road cart that will ride a whole lot more comfy from Country Carriages for $2000, shipping will be a bit more on this one, it cant come UPS:

                              If you are looking simply to add wood wheels on your easy entry, it can be done, it might need a different/bigger axle on it, and keep in mind that a pair of wooden wheels with shipping could easily cost you $400-500.

                              I wouldnt even attempt to modify the draft cart to go smaller, for the cost involved and probably due to the width/set up of it already, as NJ mentioned, it's probably not going to work in the first place. I would sell it to fund a new purchase, or look for a trade.

                              Where are you located? There are a lot of good carriage auctions around. You can pick up some good deals at those if you know what you are looking for.
                              Your Horse's Home On The Road!


                              • #16
                                Just to provide some input; Back in my driving days I started w/a two wheel meadowbrook type vehicle; it was fine, but as I progressed, my trainer suggested a 4-wheel. Her comments included: less weight on horse's back (as already noted); easier for her to bend into the shafts on turns, obstacle courses, etc. So I invested the $$, got the new one and we both (horse and driver) loved it. Took some getting used to and tricky on the back up, but IMO definitely more stable and easy for the horse. And I found it almost easier to be accurate on the cones courses.
                                I personally would not buy one that wasn't cut under, though I knew several people who loved their run abouts. Also, my vehicle came with some type of quick release clip for the shafts; though the theory was great, the particular design was somewhat flawed and I ended up keeping them "locked" w/ electrical tape.
                                We don't get less brave; we get a bigger sense of self-preservation........