01-18-2011, 11:22 AM
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Do you have a tow bar? On a cart the single tree is a bar that is attached to the front of the cart between the shafts. The traces are the lines that run from the breast collar and attach to the singletree so when the horse moves forward it pushes against the breast collar and the cart is pulled forward by the traces. The tow bar is the same as the singletree only it's not attached to a cart. It lies on the ground behind the horse about 18 inches or so behind the hind feet. Here's what I did. I took a piece of steel pipe about 40 inches long and drilled a 3/8 inch hole through the pipe a couple of inches from the ends. I bolted hooks that you can buy at a hardware store through the holes so now there is a bar with hooks on the ends. I drilled a third hole through the center of the pipe between the hooks and bolted an eye facing opposite of the hooks. Now you have a bar that the traces can be hooked to and on the other side of the bar is the eye that a rope can be tied to to attach whatever you want to pull. First let him pull just the bar around. I next progress to an inflated inner tube but you want to desensitize your horse to it before hooking him to the inner tube. Let him inspect it. Drag it around him until he is used to it. Ground drive your horse and have another person walk beside you and drag the tube so the horse gets used to the noise of it. I next do the same thing with an old tire and finally a log about six feet long and eight inches in diameter that has a little weight. I use a couple of pieces of soft 1/2 inch diameter rope for traces and tie a couple of loops a few inches long on the ends. I tie the other end to the trace buckle on the breast collar. If the horse gets excited or turns around in the traces the loops will pop off the hooks and disconnect the bar from the horse. This also saves from dragging your good traces through the dirt. I tie whatever I am dragging about twelve to eighteen inches behind the bar and start out driving a little to the side of the tube. I don't use blinders for this. I want my horse to see what's behind him and get used to it without being frightened. Eventually, I move behind the tube, tire , log. My reins weren't long enough and I used another piece of long rope for reins. He drives good with or without blinders but I use the blinders. He is always gazing out to the side at something a mile away otherwise. The first year I drove him in a plain ring snaffle bit. I now drive him in a Bob Avila correction bit with a medium port and five inch shanks. The port swivels as well as the shanks so the bit can be used with two hands like a snaffle. The name is a misnomer. The bit is really a very mild leverage bit and he loves it and goes well in it. It also has rein slots at the mouth piece so that it can be used without leverage. I avoid shanked snaffles that act like a nut cracker on the horse's bars which defeats the purpose of the snaffle which is to avoid the bars.