Today I was working with Forest, our Belgian mix. We've been ground driving for a few months, but only hooked up to poles a few times. Today I decided to re-visit this.
Everything was going really well, so I decided to trot a bit. Our training poles were made by dear Hubby, and he used PVC for shafts, with a wood cross bar with eye bolts to attatch the traces too.( Makes a good drag, similar feel for the shafts of a cart, and makes some noise, while saving a cart from damage, and no wheels means not worrying about brakes, for those who don't drive horses.).
We were trotted maybe 2 laps around the barn lot, and apparently the PVC couldnt' take it any more, and with a very loud crack, one shaft shattered, while the other was still in the tug, and the traces still being attatched, were causing it to twist and hit his fetlocks. He jumped, of course, because he's very green,and seriously, who wouldn't if something slapped you in the legs? In about 4 or 5 strides, he was stopped and looking back at me accusingly and asking just what the heck I had done.
He stood calmly while I unhitched everything, and I rigged up a couple of old boards, as I didnt' want the last thing he pulled to shout and slap him, and we pulled a few feet, and quit for the day. He was fine. Hooray for Forest's intellgence. Guess PVC can't take freezing temperatures and go bouncing along like that. Hmmm. Call us idiots, we didn't think of that before. It was just cheaper than wood, and lighter, so easier for me to handle.
So, I think we shall make a trip to the hardware store soon, and see if I've totally scarred him or not. Luckily, no horses were harmed in the making of this story. =)