Harnessing Up------ The Cart - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 12-18-2012, 08:21 PM Thread Starter
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Harnessing Up------ The Cart

A cart is a two wheeled vehicle.
A cart is most always the best choice for a beginning horse and also for a beginning driver.
A two two wheel cart is less likely to tip over than a four wheel vehicle, especially if your horse backs up, and a four wheeled vehicle is heavier than a cart.

A bit of anatomy on a road cart:
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post #2 of 11 Old 12-19-2012, 10:31 AM Thread Starter
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Meadowbrook Cart, Most components are the same with a few differences.

Copy of pilgrim 011.jpg

Copy of pilgrim 037.jpg

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post #3 of 11 Old 12-19-2012, 10:41 AM
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This is very helpful
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post #4 of 11 Old 12-28-2012, 03:46 PM
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What a beautiful cart. I know my cheapie metal easy entry cart doesn't have all those parts. It sure doesn't look that nice.
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post #5 of 11 Old 12-28-2012, 04:36 PM
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yay!!! this is just the kind of stuff i've been looking for! i'm finally going to be purchasing my first cart next weekend, and now i finally know its parts :) awesome thread TC!
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post #6 of 11 Old 12-28-2012, 09:19 PM Thread Starter
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What size cart does my horse need?

Before going to look at a cart, you need to measure your horse.
Put the harness saddle on the horse and adjust the tugs to the proper position, about halfway down the horse’s side or slightly above.
Measure from the bottom of the tugs to the ground.

This is Pilgrim with the tugs on the lowest hole, too low in my opinion, measurement from bottom of tug to ground 43" See how the shafts will ride below where you would place the breast collar


This is the tug on the second lowest hole, measurement 45".
This is a nice height for the shafts to ride.


This is the shafts on the third lowest hole, measurement 47.5".
Nice placement for shafts.


This is the shafts on the highest hole, measurement 50.5".
I think this is too high for straight shafts. It would work for gig shafts, but since this is most likely your first cart it will be more than likely straight shafts. See how the carts would ride above his chest.


Ok my shaft measurements for Pilgrim would be 44.5 - 47.5"
That is ideally where I would like my shafts to be when my horse is hooked to the cart. We can probably extend that measurement an inch on each side. Remember we are measuring from the bottom of the tug to the ground.

Now I am not going to pretend that everyone has the $$ to go out and get the perfect fitting cart, but this gives you some parameters to work with.

If you do not have a harness yet you can measure from the center of his barrel to the ground.
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post #7 of 11 Old 12-28-2012, 09:37 PM Thread Starter
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Another measurement chart:

American Driving Society

I tried to put the chart on this post but it doesn't work. If anyone can do it it would be great.
There is some very usefull info on this chart.

Again, it is a recomendation. There will be variables on some horses.

Like for instance Pilgrim has a very big rump, so I like a very wide single tree about 4" longer than recomended.
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post #8 of 11 Old 01-01-2013, 10:49 AM
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Awesome thread!

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post #9 of 11 Old 01-03-2013, 06:37 PM Thread Starter
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In bold if from the American Driving Society website.

One of the first questions people ask when they go out looking for a carriage is "How do I know if it will fit?" Over the years there have been several charts printed to aid people by giving dimensions to help in buying the right size. This is a compilation of some of that information into one chart. How is this kind of chart possible? While horses body types are not identical, there is a dimensional ratio between various parts of the body compared with the height at the withers and this is adequately similar for the purposes of shaft design for different sizes of horse or pony.
What parts of the body need to be considered? Wither height, width at the shoulder, width at the saddle girth, croup width, length of trunk from point of shoulder to buttock and location of the stifle. An additional consideration is normal length of stride. Taking all these factors together helps define the space needed to give the horse sufficient room to move and to be comfortable, while also allowing room for the harness, and some leeway for a slightly larger or smaller animal. The information in this chart defines approximate dimensions needed to build or buy a traditional style of two-wheeled single horse vehicles or 4-wheeled pole type vehicles to fit a wide range of horse sizes. Adjustments may need to be made to accommodate heavy draft type horses, donkeys and small ponies or mini-horses. Vehicles designed for specific purposes like the modern marathon vehicle or an antique gig will often differ in dimensions to meet their specific needs. For example: marathon shafts are shorter and end at the saddle girth, or some gigs are made with narrower widths between the shafts. The size and design of the harness may also affect how a vehicle fits. A bulky saddle could require more space between the shafts. Style of breeching may affect the position of the breeching staple. Also the chart describes wheel height for two-wheeled vehicles. Wheels will be smaller on four-wheeled vehicles.

Ok you now have some measurements of your horse, where the tug stops are hand its' height. Now what about the cart.

After measuring the cart and checking if the measurements are somewhat close to the American Driving Society's chart above, for your horse.

For example if I have a 15.2 hand horse I would look for a cart that has these measurements:
Length of shaft from single tree to tip: 75 - 80"
Height from ground under shafts at back band tugs: 49 - 52"
Width between shafts at back band tugs: 23 - 24"
Width of single tree 31 - 34"

(I like measuring the width between the shafts at the cross bar)
Length of back band tug to shaft tip: 20.5 - 22"
Length of back band tug stop to trace hook: 50 - 53 (singletree hook)
a lot of carts don't have tug stops, you can use the measurement from the tug to the singletree hook.
Distance from breeching staple to trace hook: 27.5 - 29"
(holdback irons to singletree hook) (these irons can be moved)
Wheels diameter: 45 - 48"

Again this is just a guide, I like to err on the large side, especially in the width between shafts and singletree size. I have big horses though.
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post #10 of 11 Old 01-03-2013, 07:05 PM Thread Starter
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The singletree and the crossbar on my cart are almost the same size. Sometimes they are not, The singletree should be about 2 inches smaller or the same size than the width beteen the shafts at the cross bar. You can replace the singletree with a larger one, if you need to.

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I prefer my holdback irons farther forward than the chart suggests, as I always have long holdback straps on my harness, otherwise I will need to wrap the straps about 7 times around the shafts, makes for a messy apearance. Of course there is a line where they are too far forward never want them to be infront of the tugs or even within several inches. The irons are easy to move.

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It is difficult to measure from the tugs to anywhere without the horse hooked up.

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