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Cart styles and suitability to horse

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  • Cart styles and suitability to horse

    Another thread has got me thinking I need to research carts a bit more.I had posted this within that thread but I think it kinda got lost so I'm going to repost it here on it's own. How do you know what type of cart is suitable for the pony/horse that you have. Such as the more formal gig or a meadowbrook type cart. Is there a websiteor book with photos of different type carts and there suitablity? Or why you would pick a 2 wheel or 4 wheel? I plan on doing dressage with him to start but would also like to show him in WPCSA classes.

  • #2
    More formal painted vehicles should be used with higher stepping, higher headed, more flashy horses.
    Wooden vehicles, country type, are more correct with daisy cutter movement. Russet harness can be used with natural vehicles, not appropraite for painted vehicles.
    Always start horses and people with 2 wheelers. You can get into less trouble that way.


    • Original Poster

      Thanks that helps. I do have some driving experience myself but it is all on the race track where we just go round and round. LOL Here is a short clip of my stallion.


      • #4
        Very cute. With his movement, you could go more formal.


        • #5
          teehee, what a prancy pants! Get that boy a carriage!
          ...don't sh** where you eat...


          • #6
            I have had the great fortune of access to the brains and experience of some very educated drivers in my neck of the woods.

            I had the pleasure of spending the entire Martin's Fall Auction '08 last year trailing along behind a friend who was incredibly knowledgable about the finer details of carriages. He is quite the carraige enthusiast and knows lots about lots!

            He was instrumental in teaching me not only the various types of carriages, but the finer details to look at when deciding what size horse would go with what cart. It can be hard looking at carriage after carriage with narry a horse around.

            Look at the wheels, how stout are they, the rims, the hubs. What may look like an appropriate vehicle for an average horse to me turned out to be too heavy, too masculine for anything but a large breed horse or a macho gelding or stallion. The heavier the wheel, the greater the actual weight of the carraige. Thus a feminine, light breed will have a hard time handling the weight of the vehicle let alone looking silly doing it. Like a little boy wearing his big brother's letterman jacket.

            Step back and look at the lines, boxy and sturdy or light and feminine. match the vehicle to the horse.

            Country vehicle like meadowbrook or roadcarts - I tend to think of stout solid smaller stature horses with flat knee movement. I imagine the horse being dependable with sense and muscle to go a steady pace all day. Generally, i think of the solid hunter frame being very appropriate for these vehicles.

            Two Wheel vehicles that are sporting - I see a bit higher head set, not super high animation but a little more float to the trot. Mares that are big and bold, macho geldings and stallions. sometimes the sporting vehicles like dog carts and going to cover carts, especially antique, were quite a bit heavier in build and carried more weight in the form of two people and a box of dogs underneath. So the horse must have the look of being able to get to the hunt with gas to spare for the ride home.

            Gigs - so many varieties. I go back to the macho vs. feminine when it comes to the lines of the carriage. Overall, the more formal and finer the gig, the more refined and animated the horse or pony.

            Two versus four - the same prinicipals apply with the acception that four wheel vehicle will generally pull smoother so an average mover isn't as impaired by the vehicle.

            Now, some breeds have standards. For example, it's just rare to see a big beautiful Friesian pulling a meadowbrook. They for with more formal turnouts. Haflingers, on the other hand won't be pulling your average coach!

            So you have a horse in mind that needs a vehicle?
            ...don't sh** where you eat...


            • Original Poster

              Originally posted by winfieldfarm View Post

              So you have a horse in mind that needs a vehicle?
              Yes, my Section C stallion above. He's 12.3 and about 620 pounds.


              • #8
                okay, is he broke to drive?
                do you want two wheel or four? He could be suitable for either
                Will you only be doing breed shows or open pleasure driving? Some breeds have wierd preferences for turnout.

                Are you super low maintainence or do you like fussing over stuff? This could determine painted over natural.

                storage and transportation. I know this seems weird to bring up but if you want to travel to shows, you need a way to get the pony and carriage there. Take into consideration your conveyance. Will your new carriage fit in the trailer?

                and last but not least, the almightly dollar. What's your budget, if I be so bold as to ask?
                ...don't sh** where you eat...


                • Original Poster

                  Originally posted by winfieldfarm View Post
                  okay, is he broke to drive?
                  do you want two wheel or four? He could be suitable for either
                  Will you only be doing breed shows or open pleasure driving? Some breeds have wierd preferences for turnout.

                  Are you super low maintainence or do you like fussing over stuff? This could determine painted over natural.

                  storage and transportation. I know this seems weird to bring up but if you want to travel to shows, you need a way to get the pony and carriage there. Take into consideration your conveyance. Will your new carriage fit in the trailer?

                  and last but not least, the almightly dollar. What's your budget, if I be so bold as to ask?
                  He is NOT broke to drive yet I'm working on it. I'm in the process of finding a cheap cart that I can use . My husband and I trained Standabreds for over 20 years and when we switched to TB's we sold every bit of driving equipment that we had. Now I wish we would have atleast saved 1 harness and cart. Right now I am preparing him for his first ridden dressage show.

                  I want to be able to show him at the Welsh shows and do driven dressage with him. I think I would rather have a 2-wheel cart to start with and it would be easier for me to transport.

                  I fuss over stuff even if it is low maintenance. LOL My budget is fairly low at the moment I was thinking about something like this.....

                  http://www.countrycarriagesusa.com/vehicles.html I love the ebony stain of the road cart but I like the front entry of the country gig. I also like the price, so for $3000 I can get a new cart AND harness. These two carts are also within a reasonable drive to go pick up. I love this pony gig but too much money right now http://heritagehallwelsh.com/images/...2007_20345.jpg

                  And this but looking at the base price by the time I get it to look like the photo it's going to be "up there" http://www.crossfieldcarriage.com/in...shop&Itemid=19 Wouldn't mind an older cart that I could restore either.


                  • #10
                    Take a look at the FAQ's there's quite a bit there on carriages.


                    • #11
                      For beginning animal and goal of Dressage, you want light weight in a vehicle. Dressage is all movement. Heavy vehicle is a literal "big drag" on his ability to move well, use his body as required to do the movements well.

                      Weight is hard to manage if animal has no driving skills. So here is where the lighter carts, road cart, some Meadowbrooks, are going to work better for the small, just-learning animal to use.

                      Like any horse skill, managing weight he is pulling takes time. He has to learn to be brave, TRY when asked. Cart is also containing a driver, may be driving in various kinds of ground. Carts roll along on roads are pretty easy, solid surface. Sand ring is NOT always easy to pull in, you can scare the beginning animal pulling a wood wheel cart that sinks in making a very heavy drag on him.

                      The main thing is for him to NEVER FAIL to move the load when asked. His early long line work dragging tires will help with this "try" thinking. Tires can be wearing on him over time with steady resistance, but they are easy to move. You only increase the weight he pulls by small amounts on good surfaces. He KNOWS when the cart is heavier than last time! He needs to eventually get used to pulling heavy loads, varied size loads, in all kinds of ground, as he gains experience. He is building muscle too, as the work increases, so IS STRONGER than back when he started driving training.

                      Not letting him fail to move the load forward when asked, will pretty much prevent having a balky animal, since he THINKS he can move anything behind himself. He will make the effort to do what you ask. Make sure you do your part, vehicle is easy to move from that place, not loaded heavier than his previous works. Do not SURPRISE him! This is great training, confidence inspiring, and prepares him for going in a 4-wheeler later on.

                      This resistance is also something to think about with sleighs too! They freeze solid to the ground as you harness, so runners need to be "broke loose" to start. Experience horse just moves sideways a step when asked, whole shaft/sleigh rig shifts too, breaking the runners loose. If horse has done a lot of sleighing, they just may lean forward harder, to break the runners loose. Inexperienced horse needs help, usually just a header moving sleigh a little, or stepping horse sideways a step, to break loose the runners. Then you ask for "walk-on" and horse has no problems. Runners WILL FREEZE again if you stop sleigh, so driver needs to pay attention to their stops and starts, not surprise the horse.

                      As with the heavy loads, an inexperienced horse will be surprised at the resistance of sleigh or overloaded vehicle. They might rear up, SURPRISE YOU! Load not moving easily is something NEW to horse!!

                      So think of building confidence, use a header for a step or two on new weights or mud, keeping him building skills in his load and resistance pulling. Light modern carts are not hard to move with ball-bearing hubs. So many animals don't really learn to pull weight, use themselves efficiently, for moving up to larger vehicles, 4-wheel vehicles.


                      • Original Poster

                        That's all very interesting goodhors. I definately believe in building the horses confidence in training. Thanks! it may be sometime before I get to practice my sleigh driving skills. They haven't seen snow here for something like 17 years.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by nightmoves View Post
                          That's all very interesting goodhors. I definately believe in building the horses confidence in training. Thanks! it may be sometime before I get to practice my sleigh driving skills. They haven't seen snow here for something like 17 years.
                          I added the sleigh comment because of many previous discussions with beginning pleasure and recreational drivers who had BIG problems with their "really broke" driving horse put to a sleigh the first time. And it is getting towards time to be thinking of sleighs and the fun of using them up here in the Northern regions!

                          The frozen runners are just not ever considered by newer drivers, getting out their new sleigh to go for a ride. Never look forward to having any difficulty with "Old Faithful" until he rears because the sleigh won't move forward at a touch, like his cart does!! The situation can rapidly deteriorate after that!!

                          Newer drivers need to do that kind of "think ahead" stuff when facing animal with a new situation. Need to prepare for difficulties in a safe way with leadline, header, do NOT let them happen!! This is why I spell it all out, trying to make you look at situations from different angles.

                          I figured that you would not be doing a sleigh in Florida, though you might try a drag or stoneboat, common tools for driving training. Same kind of thing as a sleigh frozen to the ground, with all of them needing an EFFORT by horse to move it forward. Horse may or may NOT have learned to lean into his breastcollar to take a load. MIGHT resist the pressure since most horses have been taught to MOVE AWAY from pressure with daily handling and training. Confusion of pressure with pulling, commands from driver to go forward, whip encouragement can get the BEST animal acting silly!!

                          I may cover more ground in answering than question called for, with my previous experiences of newer drivers doing unexpected things with animal, getting into bad situations.

                          GTD covered why many of us do this answering stuff, with the extraneous details. She said everything quite well on another post:

                          "Please don't be so nasty. It isn't just the three of you that reads these forums - a vast number of people come here looking for advice - some ask, some just listen. What they are given is always free for the taking. Some advice is good, some ...not so good - but the education is always there.

                          For those of us who take the time and effort to formulate a learned answer, we do so not just for the individual who has asked for specific advice/help/assistance, but anyone else who may be listening in." by gothedistance.


                          • #14
                            Great discussion. GH I learned a great deal from your post.

                            My ponies do more heavy work than most. Mostly because I have work to do and using ponies allows me to do both at the same time. You must be careful with surprising the horse with weight. My ponies will pull 3 time their weight on a sled but we got there in 50 lb increments. Also if you want the light floating gaits then stay away from the weights. I want my horses and ponies to have knowledge in their ability to move anything I hook them to. I don't want to be trail driving and hit a mud hole when the ponies find out things can get tough. I want them to immediately "shift down and grab a lower gear and keep on pulling. That said my ponies particularly the good pullers are a little heavy on the forehand to do dressage.

                            The sleigh information is spot on. I have a bar in the sleigh that is used to pry the runners loose before you start. A real good sleigh team will keep the sleigh moving back and forth an inch or two all the time they are parked. I have one team this way. They never do it on the wagon but the sleigh it is lean forward then back just enough to move the runners.

                            Lostfarming in Idaho


                            • Original Poster

                              We had a small draft in for saddle training he was broke to drive and had done alot of work with the stoneboat. I HATED the way the horse would lean forward like he was pulling something everytime you asked him to go forward. I wouldn't think that would be very desirable for driven dressage and certainly not ridden. So how do you deal with that?


                              • #16
                                I just bought the that country gig cart in July. It is gorgeous, and built like a brick outhouse. Rides smooooothe as silk too. You would NOT be disappointed! And Claudette walked me through every aspect of ordering the right cart in the perfect size, turnout, etc. for my mares and harness. I got the walnut stain as shown in the pic.

                                My first horse 7.5 years ago was a OT STB. I needed a beginner's riding horse, which she was not. I sure wish I had her now that I'm learning to drive. Lark could trot all day and never break a sweat. She was sired by Meadow Eddie. I still describe her as *Born To Trot*. I'd love to have another STB one day.

                                "Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." -Groucho Marx


                                • Original Poster

                                  Originally posted by Yip View Post
                                  I'd love to have another STB one day.

                                  They are amazing horse and tough as nails. I've never broke a horse to any kind of cart except a jog cart and we race in a race bike so this information is all good.
                                  I love than cart in the ebony stain.


                                  • #18
                                    I started driving with an OTTSTB who has now moved on to a recreation driver but not before he taught me plenty.
                                    I have the Country Gig. I love it and Claudette is great to work with. It was my pony's first vehicle, after the breaking cart at the trainers. I've done Pleasure Shows, CDE, Traditional Drives with it and my deluxe Beta harness from Claudette. Great stuff.


                                    • #19
                                      Might want to touch base with Florida Whips in your area... the BEST thing to do, if you can, is actually be driven in the carriages you like. See how hard/easy they are to get in. See how they ride. See how easy, or not, they are to maneuver. If you guys get out to a drive, I'll be you can find some folks to take you around a little to see what their carriage is like.


                                      • Original Poster

                                        There's a schooling driven dressage show in a couple weeks I'm going to watch thought I check out some carts there.