What kind of harness should a newbie buy? - The Horse Forum
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  • 3 Post By Clayton Taffy
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post #1 of 7 Old 07-16-2013, 11:04 PM Thread Starter
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What kind of harness should a newbie buy?

I have decided to teach my pony to drive! We were told he pulled a cart a few times before we got him (he was probably 2-3 years old then; now he's 15 years old) I have a cart but I need help choosing a harness for him. I've been looking at some on ebay but it's hard to tell what's good and what isn't. My little guy is a 11.2-12 hh Welsh pony and is a little round. I'm planning measuring him Friday when I'm home; I've looked at some diagrams but if anyone recommends a certain one, please share.

I would prefer a leather harness, and black leather would be fantastic since my cart is black and red. I would prefer to keep it under $150 since I won't be driving much. I know I won't get the BEST quality harness for $150, and it doesn't have to be the prettiest thing in the world, but I just want something that will last. If you've run across any nice harness sets for sale that fit the description, please let me know!

I've looked at the harness "lots" on ebay and they all seem to include the bridle, reins, girth, breast collar, breeching, and crupper (not exactly sure of the purpose of the last two), so is that all I need? I know next to nothing about this stuff so ANY help at all would be greatly appreciated!

Also, I do plan on ground driving, getting him used to the cart, etc. first... I'm not going to just hook him up to the cart and take off. ;)
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Last edited by Snugs; 07-16-2013 at 11:06 PM.
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post #2 of 7 Old 07-16-2013, 11:19 PM
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go to facebook and look up "carriage driving classifieds" and ask to join, there are alot of good quality used harness there. Try not to but off ebay you never know what you are getting.
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post #3 of 7 Old 07-16-2013, 11:26 PM Thread Starter
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I will go join that group now, thanks!

Yeah, I have had good luck with ebay in the past with tack but since I don't know much about harnesses, I'm not too sure about it. I was looking at these harnesses but again, just not sure...

New Leather Horse Pony Clinchers Driving Harness Set Training Cart Black | eBay

New All Leather Black Color Pony Size Harness Set w Brass Fitting | eBay
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post #4 of 7 Old 07-16-2013, 11:57 PM
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the links did not work.
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post #5 of 7 Old 07-17-2013, 01:43 PM
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I bought my harness from someone in the Carriage Driving Classifieds, and I really liked it. Most of the people are very willing to work with you to ensure that you're buying a harness that fits your horse correctly.

As a word of advice though, you might want to look into finding a driving trainer to help you. Your pony hasn't been driven in a very long time so he may not remember much, or anything. A trainer can teach you to harness him correctly, ground drive him correctly, hook him up, and give him the right aids to get the reactions you want. You're also going to need a driving whip.

Getting a good trainer will help you learn what each part of the harness is for as well. I had a poor one at first to help me train my mare to drive, and I had no idea even after she was already under cart WHY the breeching had to be connected a certain way or WHY cart-to-harness balance was very important. I nearly messed up my poor little pony by not understanding that, but as soon as I learned the theory behind each piece and how it worked, I was able to adjust my harness correctly and my mare really started to come into herself. She's a joy to drive now!

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post #6 of 7 Old 08-18-2013, 03:09 AM Thread Starter
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Okay, I bought a harness and it's a bit big for my pony but I think with some punched holes, it should work. It was said to fit a 12-13hh pony and my guy is a hair under 12hh so I figured it would work, but he's a dainty little Welsh so everything's a bit loose.

Anywho. I got the harness all figured out except for these things. I know they're the "traces" that attach to the cart, but I'm not sure I see how exactly they connect? The other end of the traces have holes in them and attach to the buckle on the collar.

Here's my cart. I'm guessing they just connect to the clips between the shafts? The curved buckle thing just kind of threw me off.

One more thing. Does the "cut-out" space on this breastcollar serve any purpose? (the buckle that goes over it is what attaches to the traces)

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post #7 of 7 Old 08-18-2013, 09:21 AM
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Congrats, looks like a pretty good harness.

On the breast collar, your traces go from the horse side through the cut out, then to the buckle. It is like an extra "keeper" to help ensure the traces do not come unbuckled.

As far as the other end of the traces, the cart side, I can not see the photo very well of your cart. Do you have a singletree? That is a very important part of the cart, without it the pony's shoulders will become very sore.
Can you take a better photo of the front of your cart, where you attach the traces to it?

Again, congratulations, cant wait to start reading and seeing your progress in driving.
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