Breaking to harness, want your experiences - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 02-04-2011, 07:29 AM Thread Starter
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Breaking to harness, want your experiences

Hello everyone!
This is my first post on HorseForum. I have a 10hh Shetland pony gelding that I'm (very slowly) trying to break to harness. He's about 10 years old, and hasn't been trained under saddle or to harness that I know of. Just wanted to get other people's stories and experiences with harness breaking, ponies, breaking the older horse. Anything really :)

Cheers.
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post #2 of 16 Old 02-04-2011, 05:34 PM
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i,ve just broke a 7yr old mare and now in the process of breaking another of the same age,you will get loads of conflicting advice ,but its not rocket science,jus work at your own pace and what your comfortable with and yoou will be ok
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post #3 of 16 Old 02-05-2011, 03:32 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Jimmy. That's my plan :)
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post #4 of 16 Old 02-06-2011, 02:05 PM
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Hi :) Just wondering if you have put the harness ON yet? Or are you starting from scratch?

"All I pay my psychiatrist is the cost of feed and hay, and she'll listen to me allll day."
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post #5 of 16 Old 02-07-2011, 06:08 AM Thread Starter
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No, haven't got around to putting the harness on yet. Chucky needs ALLLL the basics first :) I don't want to push it too fast, either.
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post #6 of 16 Old 02-07-2011, 09:11 PM
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I would start with having the harness draped over the hitching post by your horse. After the horse is disinterested in it, start jingling it around... make some noise with it so the horse gets used to it's sounds.

I can't say it's best for every horse, but some people tie empty milk jugs to their horses tails so they get used to having something behind them that makes some noise and also hits the back of their legs a bit.

You can also find a string of driving bells to put around the neck.

Do you have a surcingle? Definitely get one of you don't. It's a good transition to a full harness.

"All I pay my psychiatrist is the cost of feed and hay, and she'll listen to me allll day."
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post #7 of 16 Old 02-08-2011, 12:40 AM Thread Starter
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Great idea, to get him used to the sounds of the harness. Thanks!
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post #8 of 16 Old 02-08-2011, 12:48 AM
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Hey, I kinda built a home-made breastplate style harness for the Belgian colt I had a few years ago. I started ground-work with him as a 2 year old - we did alot of lunging, then ground-driving, then ground-driving with the harness on, then ground-driving with rope traces dragging on the ground behind him. Then we tied a wood spreader bar to the rope traces, and let him pull that around. His first project was pulling the chain link harrow around the sand riding ring. He did great, but I always free-lounged and lunged him first so he could blow off steam. I hear drafts are supposed to be docile, LOL!!!! This guy had more spunk than most of the warmbloods I've worked with.
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post #9 of 16 Old 02-08-2011, 12:54 AM Thread Starter
Foal
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
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haha, yeah you certainly get some characters in every breed :P
Chucky has actually never been lunged before. Does anyone have suggestions for how I can teach it to him?
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post #10 of 16 Old 02-18-2011, 01:49 PM
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Yeah, for lunging, make sure you have a safe, enclosed area. You can start by just clipping the lead rope onto his halter, and using a dressage whip or lunge whip. Tell him "walk on", and if nothing happens, cluck and wave the whip at his butt. Start by having him just walk small circles around you. If he still doesn't go, touch his butt with the whip. It won't take long before he goes from just "walk on". You'll need to get him used to the idea of going on a bigger circle before you do any trot work - that's when I'd switch to using the longer lunge whip. But always, voice commands first, and keep your body position and attitude so that you're making his butt go foward. For slowing back down again, if just "whoa" doesn't work, assume a body position that opposes his shoulder more, and of course, lower or drop the whip.

If it's still mud, I'm sure there are some good how-to vids on you-tube for lungeing and teaching a horse to lunge. Lungeing is really a great start for any kind of training, so good luck with it :)
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