harness buying help - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 03-13-2011, 08:45 AM Thread Starter
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harness buying help

Looking for advice on what to look for in a draft harness. Are they easy to size, or do they need to be tried on the specific horse? In other words, can I safely buy one online sight unseen if need be? Other major things to look for? Should it be leather? Thank you!
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post #2 of 9 Old 03-13-2011, 11:47 AM
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Drafts have to be the hardest to fit properly. They can vary in size from a tiny 1400# up to 2000#+. They also have the largest range in body length, head size, bit size,.... I would never buy online a first harness unless you are buying from a true harness maker. They will need a ton of measurements from you to assure a proper fit. It's also every beneficial to be able to harness the horse with the maker/seller to make quick corrections to the fit. Never buy off eBay. Overall it's a terrible dumping ground for inferior harness both in fit and workmanship.

Materials and style choices are rather personal. I only own leather ones but trust me, hiking a 60# harness up on an 18H horse can be a joke. Biothane or nylon can cut the weight in half. Bio can be close to the same price as leather while nylon might be half. Breast collars will be cheaper than collars and more versitile when being used on multiple horses as you don't need individually sized collars plus they just don't have as much leather so cheaper to make.

You'll be $$ ahead by finding someone close to help guide your purchase. Look into driving or draft clubs in your state. I'll admit to buying sets of harness at auctions only to get them home and they don't fit anyone or are missing important pieces. So much for the great deal...
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post #3 of 9 Old 03-14-2011, 08:31 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the insight. Is Smuckers more of a cart harness rather than a farm/logging harness? Is a D-ring style important for logging?
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post #4 of 9 Old 03-14-2011, 11:02 AM
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Smuckers is definitly a top quality harness. They are big in the fine harness and draft show harness business. I've never heard of the term D-ring in reference to harness but in logging you would only use a work/farm harness. True logging harness will have longer heel chains which are simple to change out. If you're looking for a good book, pick up Steve Bower's "Farming with Horses".
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post #5 of 9 Old 03-16-2011, 04:48 PM
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D rings on harness

Originally Posted by greenie View Post
Thanks for the insight. Is Smuckers more of a cart harness rather than a farm/logging harness? Is a D-ring style important for logging?
The use of D rings on harness help with the conformity of leather on stress points, ie: flat leather on a round ring.
The stress is more evenly distributed.

Personally, for logging, I would save the money spent on "pretty" and go for durability.

Also, make sure to size your collar correctly. There is a guide on www.brodheadcollar.com an Amish factory
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post #6 of 9 Old 03-16-2011, 05:02 PM
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I don't know where in the world you are located, but if there is any Amish people around you, it is hard to find harness that can rival theirs for quality and durability.
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post #7 of 9 Old 03-16-2011, 05:13 PM
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I just ordered a smucker's pleasure harness. I like that I was able to send in my measuremens, and they even took my mare's breed and age into account to leave room for growth.

I haven't gotten it yet (took weeks and weeks, but they're mailing it this week), but I'm sure I'll be happy.
Woo-Hoo!! They delivered my single tree and deed while I typed this.

"All I pay my psychiatrist is the cost of feed and hay, and she'll listen to me allll day."

Last edited by BackInTheSaddleAgain; 03-16-2011 at 05:22 PM.
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post #8 of 9 Old 03-17-2011, 07:55 AM Thread Starter
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What is the difference between a "New York Style" setup vs. a D-ring setup? Is the D-ring only advantageous when hitched to a team as opposed to a single horse?

Smuckers look like really nice harnesses, but I can't afford a new one and I haven't come across the style I'd prefer used (New England).
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post #9 of 9 Old 03-17-2011, 10:55 AM
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The D ring harness is something I have never seen out West. It looks like the terms New York D ring and Yankee D ring are interchangable and refere to the same style of harness. The D ring would be advantagious to both single and team as the load is transfered to more points on the horse and not just the collar.

You definitly don't go with a Smucker's for logging even if you can afford it. Waverly is next week. That's always an adventure.
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