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ugh, please help me not repeat this mistake

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  • #21
    Sounds like she has the good fortune to have a cart that allows reins to run that way, one over, one under the rein rail, exactly fitting the finger spacing of her Achenbach rein hold.

    I am not sure how well the idea would work if driven as buck was doing, with rough ground that doesn't allow such perfectly steady hands. Still NOT a method I would advise anyone to use. Actually have NEVER heard anyone suggest using such a method! But I learn something new from these Forums almost daily, even if I never would use that idea.

    That method sure wouldn't work well or quickly, for entering and exiting the vehicle, with reins locked onto the rein rail. Would be adding extra time to feed reins thru the rail or unbuckle, then pull reins free of the rail, to enter or exit the vehicle with reins in Driver's hands for safety. Leaning forward for that could make you vulnerable to falling, while being off balance, if animal moves the vehicle in his eagerness to start. The more I think of this the more bad things come to mind!

    Actually, rein rails were both decorative and to protect the top of the dashboard from reins rubbing on it. When folks drove long distances, spent lots of time driving, they often let reins lay over the dashboard. Not everyone drove "perfectly" or even cared about contact. Imagine that!! Hands do get tired after a couple hours, so the reins and hands were not always held up. Reins dragging across could be hard on the dashboard top, if there wasn't a rail to protect it.

    I spoke of one-handed rein hold, because everyone doesn't use Achenbach, or doesn't use it all the time. They still may have both reins in one hand, modified some way, to suit what they are doing at the moment. I just don't believe that the Driver's hands will be consistantly able to keep the reins from getting some lever action by the rail, should one rein be run under the rail. Kind of like the stuff that happens inadvertently when driving using a rein in each hand, like dropping the horse on that side when you use the whip. You don't mean to do that, but to use the whip, you lessen the feel of the rein in that same hand.

    Glad to hear her idea works for spotsndots kind of driving. But running one rein over and one rein under the rail is not commonly seen for a LOT of good reasons.


    • #22
      Hi P& T- Sorry- I didn't explain it well and it's clear I needed more coffee !

      I disagree w/ goodhors about terminology reins and lines; that's what I meant.

      Clarification : One line over the top of the rail, and the other, under it..... buckle the ends together, and voila ! Hold both lines Above the rail, letting the buckle prevent those lines going free : A good way to not totally lose dropped lines.

      It's been a long week,and it's just Wednesday- arrrgggghhh.


      • Original Poster

        I appreciate this discussion! Learn something new every day!

        I understood spots as just buckling to the rein rail as a keeper for the bight. Still direct contact to the mouth, through the terrets of course. I have seen this done in old photos from a friend.

        While I appreciate the advice, this would be problematic for my current vehicle. The dash has a dramatic curve to it, which is why my lines departed from me in two different directions and it was such an ordeal. Buckling to the dash would have landed me in the same situation.

        Here is my actual carriage and you can see the dash http://www.pacificcarriage.com/gallery/dartmoor4.html

        For my carriage, I prefer goodhors suggestion of a bit of velcro tab, most likely to a belt loop. I do get in and out of my carriage quite often some days, having to undo a loop each time would be problematic.

        When I rode western, I always preferred a mecate rein because its so versatile and handy. I would keep the bight tucked in my belt loop rather than dallied on the horn because a) I usually rode bareback b) the tail made a handy quirt and c) tied up miliary style I was always afraid of a branch getting caught. I have come off and had the bight pull free easily, lost a belt loop or two in the process but never even noticed it.

        I'm familiar and comfortable with the suggestion.

        The bigger issue however is that I let my fanny come out the box and had to catch myself from being pitched, thusly dropping the reins. The situation was what it was, we went off trail accidentally and hit a hidden log, this will happen again I'm sure... but I was too far forward and totally exasperated the situation.

        Even though the solution is clear and simple its still so helpful to talk about it.

        I am so grateful to you all for your help!
        Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.


        • Original Poster

          Oh and Heike Bean uses rein rather than line in her book Carriage Driving. And since we talk about rein rails and rein boards and rein handling and rein holds, I guess its just second nature for me to call lines reins, singles anyhow. But thank you!!
          Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.


          • #25
            Is that just your actual carriage- or is that your actual self and pony as well? Very pretty! I don't think I've ever seen a curved dash like that- and it's interesting how that elegant design- has actually proven to be a little bit of a flaw- that sometimes we don't understand how the forms (like a straight dash) of some things may have evolved for a reason. My rein rail on my carriage dash is straight- and on either side there are decorative curves. The top curve of is higher than the rail- in effect- a stop which would *possibly* prevent slipping off the end of the rail.


            • Original Poster

              Just the carriage, the pony and driver are the former owners. It is a pretty carriage, I love it dearly. And yes, I never really gave the curved dash a second thought until both my reins parted ways down either side

              Lovely picture!!
              Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.


              • #27
                Well heck, I was going to say nice things about "your" great hat! And that looks like Hardy Zantke judging behind!!

                I think the curved dash is a new thing, easily do-able with metal. Would not have been so easy with the antiques in wood, probably not held up well either over long usage. I believe the curve has been mentioned as "helpful" when getting in and out of that carriage model, because the reins-in-your-hand, DON'T get hung up climbing in!

                Curve does give a nice flow to the vehicle lines, certainly out of your rein's way. But this is a MODERN vehicle, so they are not going to be what the older designs were. None of our modern vehicles have any kind of rein rail, you do NOT want the reins rubbing the carriage, slows horse responses to those rein signals. Modern vehicles do MANY things that the antiques can not, like the terribly rough ground going cross country. Always have those trade-offs, cushy ride over a stiff ride, crisp corners against the luxo-boat size turns of antiques.


                • #28
                  Small world. I know that driver! Here she is driving my (similar) carriage:



                  • Original Poster

                    Small world indeed! She had two for sale when I purchased mine from her, did you perchance buy the other one??

                    How are you liking your Dartie btw??
                    Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.


                    • Original Poster

                      "Well heck, I was going to say nice things about "your" great hat! And that looks like Hardy Zantke judging behind!! "

                      Oh goodness! I'm not nearly this polished!! My boy and I look like neanderthals by comparison. She has a very nice hat though! Lovely pony and turnout overall, a wonderful team.

                      I'm just pleased as punch to be driving such a handy carriage.
                      Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.


                      • #31
                        So far Dartmoor is working fine. Since I purchased it, the manufacturer has decided to retire. So no idea what to do when it comes time to replace the rubber on the wheels. I did buy a spare disc brake and brake shoes.

                        I wish the braking power was a little more substantial. Jessica said she had trouble with the brakes on your carriage.

                        I also think I will modify the back a bit so my dog will be more comfortable riding along.

                        I am quite pleased with it, on the whole.

                        ETA: I bought mine in Tx


                        • Original Poster

                          Thanks for reminding me, I do have to call Suzanne to get some spare parts.

                          Since this is the one and only carriage I have ever driven, I have nothing to compare to in terms of braking and I find mine work just fine. Mine is older and well broken in, but I am just pleased beyond words with it. I love it.
                          Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.


                          • #33
                            As an idea, have you checked the brake fluid lately? If it is not clear, it needs changing. Leaving it in when cloudy, can eat the rubber gaskets and corrode the parts in the system. We fixed several carriages with this brake problem last year.
                            Brake systems are not sealed closed, so they get moisture from the air, causing the fluid to cloud with that added moisture.

                            Another idea which we always suggest to folks with Marathon type vehicles, is to get some permanent added weight put on over the back axle. Some pieces of steel or lead, bolted to the vehicle, can be VERY helpful in getting better braking action on these vehicles. From what we see, Marathon vehicles are designed to work with weight on the rear end. If you don't carry a person weighing at least 100 pounds, or fixed weights on the back end over axle to hold the body downward, the brakes are just not as effective. Real easy to jack knife with the backend swinging about, weightless.

                            Just a couple ideas for you folks, it is a common issue on almost EVERY make of modern 4-wheeler vehicle, but especially the Marathon 4-wheelers. We have our Marathon vehicles carrying weight, about 200 pounds, at all times. It helps insure those brakes are going to work well at all times, all situations. We take the weight off for doing CDE things, when grooms are on the vehicle at all times, so brakes will be still be working if needed. Husband has hung the weight on the underside of the vehicle, thru the open metal, so the foot space is not less or weights won't be tripping you. You do need a substantial amount, at least 100 pounds on a single horse vehicle, to have weight make any effect on brakes. A bit more, 150 pounds would probably be a bit more helpful. Pony size vehicle, the 100 pounds will work OK, though carrying more WILL get the animal more fit! Ha Ha. You can take the weight off if you are hauling friends along, not kill the pony off with a REALLY heavy load. We are driving big horses, usually a Pair, so 200 pounds is not much extra weight for them.


                            • #34
                              You do need a substantial amount, at least 100 pounds on a single horse vehicle, to have weight make any effect on brakes. A bit more, 150 pounds would probably be a bit more helpful.
                              Very good information! Did your husband use heavy bar stock to make the weights? The additional weight would also increase the "training value" of your outings by taking the outfit up to competitive weight, though, with your big horses, they probably don't even notice.

                              That is also a good point that you raise about the balance of forecarts, but I've seen some nice ones that were well adjusted. I'll have to do some more looking at that detail in a couple of weeks, just for academic purposes, and I plan to remember the weight suggestion.
                              "I couldn't fix your brakes, so I made your horn louder."


                              • #35
                                Steel for weights is plate steel, cut into bars about 6"wide, by about 20" long, maybe 3/4" thick. We have four on the marathon vehicle in a "stack" with bolts
                                thru them all to hold weight firmly in place with hard turns, rough ground. I think he had them cut at a local junk yard for the Pairs vehicle. The Team vehicle came with lead wheel weight, that we have changed over to plate weights also. Too hard to hold and fasten the wheel weights in place because of their extreme weight. Plate weights are just easier to deal with, only 1/4 the weight on each piece, but still the big total when finished.