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New cart here, need help?

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  • New cart here, need help?

    My new ee cart came and we've got it ready to hook up. On the shafts are two places to hook things up and I'm not sure what goes where. My other carts have only had one spot where I'd fasten the breeching. Here's a pic, am I supposed to fasten the breeching to the one in back or front? I suppose when I get the pony hooked up it will be obvious but why two places? There are not straps on my shafts, I keep my straps with my harness and not on the cart. Is that weird?


    Here she is hooked up. (standing in a low spot) Should I bring the cart in a bit closer or ?? Thanks.

    Last edited by Remudamom; Nov. 10, 2012, 03:55 PM.

  • #2
    That cart sure is pretty! Hope you have a lot of fun with it.

    I've never seen shafts with two footman's loops. Is the rear one maybe for a kicking strap? I don't use one, so I don't know how they are fastened.

    I keep my holdback straps attached to the shafts all the time, and attach them to the breeching when I hitch up. Seems easier.



    • Original Poster

      I went back to the site and checked out some pictures, it does look like those back straps are for a kicking strap.


      • #4
        Those little leather straps are NOT footman loops. They will not hold. DO NOT hook your breeching to them. They are simply loose keepers to run your traces through.

        If the cart has no footman loops on it order some proper metal ones http://www.drivingessentials.com/carriage_hardware.php

        Some people do not use breeching when driving and depending on where you are driving it is perfectly acceptable, that is why your cart may not have footman loops.

        In the top picture (which I assume is from the old owner of the cart) they simply have their tugs on snaps and leave the tugs on the cart, so when you bring the cart up to the horse you snap the tug to the backpad. Some people find hitching that way easier/quicker.

        In your bottom photo you almost have the pony hooked too deep, defintely do not bring the cart closer. The point of the shaft should never be past the point of the shoulder. But you are committing a MAJOR SAFETY VIOLATION!!! Never, ever, ever hook a vehicle to a horse not wearing a bridle. If your pony were to get spooked and pull back and break free you would have it running around with a cart hooked to it and absolutely no way to stop it.


        • Original Poster

          Renae, thanks. There are footman loops attached. The picture is just from the sight, this cart was made to order for my pony.

          I understand that I freak people out with my haltered pony. She isn't tied that way much but I do tie her that way sometimes.

          I could move the cart back a bit further.


          • #6
            The biothane loops are just to carry your traces, keep it tidy or prevent a foot from getting over in a bucking situation.

            I think there may be some terminology trouble in this conversation.

            In the top picture- those straps wrapped around the shafts are not tugs- they are the hold backs, or britching straps.

            There are two schools of thought on the safety of connecting with snaps- (leaving them on the cart or going with the horse)

            One is that snaps wear, break and lose their springs- and the last thing you want to do is loose your britching function because a snap broke. This camp says- "Never ever connect with snaps"

            The other side says- "In case of emergency- being able to quickly unsnap your horse can save critical time... I feel safer with quick release snaps"

            A third corner suggests: The back strap can connect to your saddle with a snap- and in an emergency you can - with ONE snap- release the entire britching and avoid the problem of having to go to both sides of the horse (or if the horse is laying on top of a shaft)

            My personal experience with that idea- I purchased a horse and harness from someone who did it this way- and discovered that the snap at the backpad was worn almost all the way through- so that when I examined it- I was able to break the snap with my bare hand. While the idea seems great- I don't like the idea of metal to metal connections that are not fastened and unfastened by hand every time you hitch... metal to metal wears in a way metal to leather doesn't- and if you aren't paying attention it could take you by surprise.

            The cart is adorable and your pony is a cutie!!

            I will second what Renae said about Bridles and hitching safety protocol. Just get out of the habit now. Don't do it... if you were to do that in public- at worst it could get you, your pony or someone else seriously hurt- lesser consequences might get you excused from the grounds... yelled at... lectured, politely instructed or socially ruined for life... just. don't. do. it. :-) This form of warning on the internet is the most painless - ((hugs))

            It actually looks like the whole harness is a bit too small and undersized for your pony- the back pad seems very thin for supporting a cart- and the britching seat also seems very thin- not providing much surface for her to brace against.

            One last note about how to attach the hold backs to the cart- there is a certain way to do it, and from the looks of things- your straps aren't long enough to do it right. The footman loops are intended to hold the position of the hold backs secure on the shafts- but they are not really intended to hold back the whole cart- (as they are only attached with a few tiny screws) So the hold backs should be wrapped at least once- maybe more around the shafts. Also- if you keep the hold backs with the horse harness- they aren't just fed through the ring- but are secured at the ring doubling back on themselves and locked in with a keeper. (I can't see the picture clearly enough to know if this is how you have it) When you wrap the shafts- you begin with the strap between the horse and the shaft- you feed it through the footman loop and then over the shaft- wrapping forward- after the correct amount of wraps- the loose end is tucked (locked) under one of the wraps before it is finally buckled into adjustment. This style of wrapping assures you the most points of "sticking" were a part of the leather to break- it wouldn't just all flap to the breeze instantly- youn might have a little more chance to get stopped before it all came undone.


            • Original Poster

              Originally posted by Plainandtall View Post
              It actually looks like the whole harness is a bit too small and undersized for your pony- the back pad seems very thin for supporting a cart- and the britching seat also seems very thin- not providing much surface for her to brace against.
              Oh dear, I really hate to hear this as this harness was made for me by the local Amish harness maker specifically for this pony. He's outfitted three ponies for me. I guess I'm getting ripped off?

              ETA- the hold back straps were long enough to correctly hook to my old cart and my little buckboard wagon but you're right, I need longer ones now. Dang it.


              • #8
                Why don't you ask for opinions other than mine before you get too discouraged!

                I feel really bad for being such a Debbie Downer- Your cart and pony are so cute- I want to celebrate with you... not nit-pick you off cloud nine!

                Lots of people disagree with me a lot of the time- maybe someone else has a different take.

                I wouldn't say that you are getting "ripped off" as that implies that the guy is intentionally giving you less than what he's representing- or pulling the wool over your eyes. It's more likely a lack of information and understanding of exaclty what you need (to conform to current show standards) or they just don't know about all the different ways of doing things. My harness maker had never heard of buckle-in traces! ... for example- most Amish folks train their buggy horses with over checks and think of that as a standard part of the harness. They are not aware of any ADS rulebook... nor would they understand a concept like "round" when they have only been brought up with "fast" so... if you don't know about the overcheck issue- and you don't go out of your way to specify it- your harness will probably come with an overcheck (and for all I know from the bridleless picture- it did) Some Amish carriage businessmen have a market with enough people who want it done a certain way that they learn what it takes to meet their market- but if they are just a kid from an isolated area- well- "fancy" is going to mean "lots of spots" and that's about it.

                I believe that proper harness fit is supposed to have at LEAST one hole beyond the correct fitting adjustment. This harness looks pretty let out for a pony it was supposed to be made to fit. (The shaft loop/tug straps are also let out all the way) Do you think that he just sold you a cheaper readymade harness and didn't really construct the harness from your pony's measurements?


                • Original Poster

                  I don't think so, he sold me one harness for a smaller pony that he told me he had made for someone else who backed out of the deal. But who knows? I think his prices are too much, but he's the only one I know of and he's nearby. Beats buying harnesses off of ebay, which is where I got my first two, and had to combine them to get a decent fit. My smaller pony has an overcheck but I asked him to leave it off the larger pony's gear.

                  I don't show and if I did it would be in our little local show that's held after our Labor Day parade.

                  I do have a friend who grew up driving. She has seen my new cart and didn't say a word about it. In the past she has adjusted my harness for me. We are waaay out in the country........I'm sure we aren't as proper as we should be. 8)


                  • #10
                    To the OP -that cart is beautiful! Where did you get it?


                    • #11
                      Lovely cart ~ ENJOY !

                      Lovely cart ~ ENJOY !
                      Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "


                      • #12
                        In reply about the harness fit. The tie back to the breeching for "me" is too tight. It shouldnt be snug like that, a little slack is nice so it doesnt wear a line into the ponies rear.

                        I do agree that i'm not a fan of how narrow the saddle is OR how narrow the breeching is.

                        This isnt the best of pictures to help show what we are talking about, but i dont have a good standing shot of her in harness. This is my pony, she's wearing a Country Carriages USA beta/bi harness.

                        What i want you to look at is how wide the saddle is. With a cart, you are applying a bit of weight on their back. If it's well balanced, as in, if you sit in the cart and someone lifts the shafts to the proper height, it should feel light in their hands without causing them to have to hold the shafts up, or push them down, they should basically stay in that spot on their own for the most part. You likely will always have 7-10lbs of weight in your hands, but in movement, the shafts will lightly bounce in the tugs, never pulling down hard on the back or be lifting the pony up from their bellies...

                        So if the cart is well balanced and you have 7-10lbs of pressure lightly bouncing in the tugs, the horse is going to feel that light of weight on their back under the saddle... Not a big deal, but with that constant weight or if the cart is NOT balanced properly and there is more weight on the saddle, that's an awefully narrow strip of material up there. IF it were wider, it would disperse the weight over a larger section rather than feel like dental floss digging into the same spot for your hour drive down the road.

                        The same goes for the breeching. Unless you are doing a lot of hills, the breeching isnt engaged except to slow or stop. So it's not a constant like the weight on the saddle. But with a strap so narrow, you again that that feeling of dental floss digging in, rather than if you had a wider padded strap that disperses weight over a larger area.

                        Pretty cart! A few tweeks to the harness and i think you are good to go!
                        Your Horse's Home On The Road!