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Q? about driving lines?

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  • Q? about driving lines?

    Hello, I picked up some driving lines from Greenhawk yesterday and am a little confused about how they are supposed to be used. The ends that attach to the bit seemed straightforward enough, but the other ends are connected with two buckles and a little stainless steel swivel thing?

    These are beta lines for Standardbred racing, if that makes any difference. The buckles are very small, the lines narrow at that point...am I supposed to buckle something else to the ends? The lines also seem shorter than I really like...but I'm not sure that those little buckles are meant to attach to something else and take any tension.

    I am just ground driving, I wanted real lines to give a bit better feel, I have used two nylon lunge lines in the past. I didn't ever do a whole lot of ground driving though, just a few times to give young horses the idea of not being able to see me, but still responding to voice and rein. My current filly is going to be worked a lot more on the ground in the next while (she's a bit growthy to keep working under saddle, but she needs a job) and so I want to work on connection and some more finesse type things, I don't like the flimsy response in the nylon lines. Plus if she gets grabby or spooks a little, they are really hard to hang onto and give rope burn through gloves!

    I did work her using these lines last night, and I like the feel and weight...I just wish they were longer, and not attached like English buckle reins!

    I am worried that I hooked the wrong end to the bit, or am missing something incredibly obvious here...


    As another question, I noticed that in Standardbred racing, they use a Y-shaped breastcollar, but I didn't see any other type of driving harness where that is the case. Is there a reason for this, or is it just sort of a style and preference to use a breascollar that is straighter across the chest? If you did want to go with a Y-shaped breastcollar for pleasure driving, where would you want to attach your breeching?
    Lifestyle coordinator for Zora, Spooky, Wolfgang and Warrior

  • #2
    Originally posted by rugbygirl View Post
    Hello, I picked up some driving lines from Greenhawk yesterday and am a little confused about how they are supposed to be used. The ends that attach to the bit seemed straightforward enough, but the other ends are connected with two buckles and a little stainless steel swivel thing?

    These are beta lines for Standardbred racing, if that makes any difference. The buckles are very small, the lines narrow at that point...am I supposed to buckle something else to the ends? The lines also seem shorter than I really like...but I'm not sure that those little buckles are meant to attach to something else and take any tension.

    I am just ground driving, I wanted real lines to give a bit better feel, I have used two nylon lunge lines in the past. I didn't ever do a whole lot of ground driving though, just a few times to give young horses the idea of not being able to see me, but still responding to voice and rein. My current filly is going to be worked a lot more on the ground in the next while (she's a bit growthy to keep working under saddle, but she needs a job) and so I want to work on connection and some more finesse type things, I don't like the flimsy response in the nylon lines. Plus if she gets grabby or spooks a little, they are really hard to hang onto and give rope burn through gloves!

    I did work her using these lines last night, and I like the feel and weight...I just wish they were longer, and not attached like English buckle reins!

    I am worried that I hooked the wrong end to the bit, or am missing something incredibly obvious here...


    As another question, I noticed that in Standardbred racing, they use a Y-shaped breastcollar, but I didn't see any other type of driving harness where that is the case. Is there a reason for this, or is it just sort of a style and preference to use a breascollar that is straighter across the chest? If you did want to go with a Y-shaped breastcollar for pleasure driving, where would you want to attach your breeching?
    The buckle to each other so you have a continous loop. Regular lines are not typical for long lining and some lines I am sure you can get longer than others.
    They swivel so you can straighten them with out unbuckling if they are twisted.

    I am confused about your question about the breast collar and breeching. The breeching attachment does not have anything to do wih the breast collar.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Yes, I keep getting confused about how the Trace is related to the breeching. Traces connect to the breastcollar? Then run through a loop that is connected to the breeching?
      Lifestyle coordinator for Zora, Spooky, Wolfgang and Warrior

      Comment


      • #4
        Traces and breeching aren't related in any way - to my knowledge anyhow.

        Here is an illustration of a typical pleasure harness

        In the drawing it does look like the trace is passing through the point of the breeching, I wouldn't blame anyone for thinking it did based on this photo... but it doesn't.

        Traces go from the breast collar directly to the single tree and don't interact with any other parts of the harness on their way back there.... UNLESS you have optional "trace carriers" which do hang from the breeching, you can see them here.

        Someone will correct me if I"m wrong but you would not use a Y style breast collar with a pleasure harness. Racers use that style because they use minimal, if any, traces. Racers use "quick hitch" style rigs where the shafts buckle in to the saddle.

        Many pleasure harnesses have a "false martingale" which can look sorta like a Y, but the breast collar still has traces, either permanently attached, or buckled in.

        Finally, sometimes when you see people long lining their horses in harness, you will see them pass the traces through the breeching. This is not proper for actual driving, its to allow the horse the sensation of feeling the traces brush against their sides, and for not allowing the traces to drag in the dirt. I never did that because my traces have heavy metal D rings on the ends and they would whack my horse in the hocks as he walked.

        I agree with China Doll about the lines.
        Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.

        Comment


        • #5
          Some breeching rings will have a drop strap that carries the traces on their way to the singletree. You wouldn't see this on a Y breastcollar race harness or Fine harness, both of which have no breeching.

          You don't sound like the reins are working for what you want, so I would try returning them if you can. Synthetic reins can burn you, they are not natural material, might be more grip than you need. Racing lines would be short, since in Standardbred races, the driver is sitting almost on the horse's hocks, with no need for length in reins. Race lines are going to be shorter than regular Driving lines/reins, because carriages NEED rein length to reach the Driver's hands in a variety of vehicle lengths found in 2-wheel or 4-wheel designs. There should be enough rein length, that you can sit on the buckled together rein ends, to keep them out of your way. Reins with the buckle in your hands or very close to hands for Driving, just just too short for safety.

          Reins should buckle into the horse bit, so you CHECK them for wear each time they are used. Make sure the buckle tongues are steel, which is stronger than brass, to prevent bending the tongues. Tongue should also be of a nice thickness, not thin like a piece of wire with no strength.

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Thanks very much for the responses, I wasn't sure if I was supposed to disconnect the lines each time or not...since horse is pretty green I unbuckled the reins from her bit before I went in, then wondered if there was another way I was supposed to do it...

            I tend to get tangled up pretty easily, so I think this little rig is going to work well for now (no breeching or other "extra" parts)...if she takes to driving, I may send her off to a real driving trainer, and I am sure that they will have some harness that I can try out to see what works best for her before buying. I don't think I have the guts to drive a horse seriously, but I could see myself taking some fun lessons in an arena, maybe learn to drive this mare a little myself if things work out.

            I can't return them, but it never hurts to hang on to that kind of thing, I might meet someone with a cart pony who needs blue lines for something!
            Lifestyle coordinator for Zora, Spooky, Wolfgang and Warrior

            Comment


            • #7
              A couple thoughts
              Actual DRIVING REINS - like for using with your cart - are somewhat short for using for some aspects of long-reining
              They would put you walking pretty close behind the horse

              We use a nice weight soft nylon pair of longe-reins for our ground driving and double line longe-ing

              if you dont like the reins buckling directly to the bit - Im assuming you want more quick connect - then find a snap with a flat sided ring and buckle the reins on that - then snap on the bit
              the point of the swivel connection at the hand end of the reins is to keep them from getting twisted up on each other - just a twist of the swivel and your reins are straight

              As far as racing harness - the connection of the cart to horse is on the saddle - they mostly dont use traces
              - and the breast collar is more like a hunting BC from english riding
              - it it there to stabilize the saddle

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Originally posted by Drive NJ View Post
                A couple thoughts
                Actual DRIVING REINS - like for using with your cart - are somewhat short for using for some aspects of long-reining
                They would put you walking pretty close behind the horse

                We use a nice weight soft nylon pair of longe-reins for our ground driving and double line longe-ing

                if you dont like the reins buckling directly to the bit - Im assuming you want more quick connect - then find a snap with a flat sided ring and buckle the reins on that - then snap on the bit
                the point of the swivel connection at the hand end of the reins is to keep them from getting twisted up on each other - just a twist of the swivel and your reins are straight

                As far as racing harness - the connection of the cart to horse is on the saddle - they mostly dont use traces
                - and the breast collar is more like a hunting BC from english riding
                - it it there to stabilize the saddle
                That was my concern, being in kicking range of my greenie...but I read around this forum some more and learned that I should stay to the sides more often in any case? These short-ish lines do allow that. I'm glad the swivel is for untwisting, I can understand that! It's made of nylon, so I wasn't 100% sure that it was supposed to stay on during use...it looks like it might be for storage, or temporary...but I can see why you might want a continuous loop of rein, so that all makes good sense.

                I found that I like the connection to the bit, especially how stiff the ends are, it contributes to a more consistent connection, something that is a challenge with my floppy, clip-ended lunge lines. I ride endurance with clip reins, and I have no problem with them, provided I can keep a consistent contact...with this ground driving, there's a lot going on, and I find that the loose/jangling clip is one more distraction on a horse who needs to focus. Running the lines over the poll first helps, but with two lines, that stops being very feasible. This horse, like her mother, is very sensitive to losing contact with her handler...she doesn't generally spook at "things" she tends to get insecure if she doesn't understand what to do...so with driving, keeping consistent contact to her mouth is important (so is voice, right now anyway.) None of this is a huge problem or anything, just thoughts on why I was looking at actual driving equipment.

                I really wanted to find some leather lines, like her trainer used...I assumed they were driving reins, but now I am thinking that's not the case. He can't remember how old his are, or how he acquired them, so not much help for me. They might be re-purposed team reins or something...they are REALLY long. I'm headed to a trade show this weekend, and doing a breed demonstration with some teamsters and pleasure-driving people, I might ask one of them for a tutorial on equipment. I'm always fascinated by their turnouts anyway, so it will be a good opportunity!

                *In case anyone is wondering, I will NOT be driving for the demo, my Clydesdale is demonstrating the suitability of the breed for introductory Dressage...Judges always comment on her rhythm and forward energy...she's not really built for Upper Levels, but for starting out in Dressage, you can do a lot worse than a marchy, energetic Clydie! We kind of wanted to show off her jumping skills too, but couldn't really figure out how that was going to work with driven vehicles going at the same time...plus, she's 18 this year, she's definitely not jumping as regularly as during her younger days. The filly I'm ground driving is her daughter, the sire is State of the Art (by Art Deco.)*
                Lifestyle coordinator for Zora, Spooky, Wolfgang and Warrior

                Comment


                • #9
                  The racing lines - most people attach a 'string' to the line swivel and hold that as well as the lines so they cannot be dropped. There are breaking lines that are a whole lot longer than racing lines. I don't know if Greenhawk carries prder them for you; I have ordered odd stuff from Greenhawk via a friend that has a tack shop and there has been no problem.
                  Founder of the Dyslexic Clique. Dyslexics of the world - UNTIE!!

                  Member: Incredible Invisbles

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I've spent a bit of time long lining and my trainers all long lined lots. My long lines, which I'm not overly thrilled with, but they work, are basically this: http://www.ehorseequipment.com/produ...page=2&cid=159. Mine don't have the pulley & are a little shorter.

                    Another option is http://www.sstack.com/western_traini...long-lines-30/. This is what my trainer has, except his are an awful yellow/orange color and guaranteed not to be stolen at a show since they are so ugly.

                    If you can find them, used sailboat halyards or jibsheets are nice too. A good diameter, good breaking strength, and softened up by the elements.

                    I never had any issues with snap connections at the bit. I am trying hard to think of barn where they didn't have snap connections on their long lines. Saddlehorse people long line all the time, and use some variation on the two examples above.
                    Visit my Spoonflower shop

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Clay Maier

                      We LOVE Clay Maier's long lines...they are a bit pricey, but last forever and have such a great feel. http://www.claymaier.com/supply-longreins.php
                      Clay has some excellent DVD's out on long-lining also
                      www.charmingcreekfarm.com

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