Harnessing Up-----The Breeching
Now for what I think is the hardest to fit and get hooked correctly to the vehicle.
Again I refer to the Article by Bill Morong.
Camptown Harness - camptownharness.com and horseharness.com - 800-717-0957
Part 5 - The Braking System
For carriage driving, the usual braking arrangement comprises a breeching 45 and holdback straps 47. The breeching is essentially a wide strap, connected by its extension, the holdback straps, to the vehicle. When the vehicle pushes forward, force is applied to these two straps, which transmit the force to the breeching seat, which bears on the horse's buttocks. The breeching seat and holdbacks work for braking analogously to a breastcollar and traces for acceleration.
The breeching seat should be of such length that the loin strap 43 passes over the highest portion of the croup. Though they are uncommon nowadays adjustable-seat breechings can allow proper fit to different horses.
Like the breastcollar, the breeching seat is fitted (usually) with four uptugs 44, which receive the billets of a forked loinstrap. The loinstrap passes over the horse's croup, thus supporting the breeching seat. The level of this seat is adjusted by buckling into the correct holes on the loinstrap billets. The seat must press safely below the point of the buttocks, lest upon deceleration the seat ride up, causing the force of the vehicle to bear at the base of the horse's tail, likely causing a runaway turnout, kicking, or both. The seat must not be so low as to interfere with the movement of the legs. The chape of leather passing through the rings at the seat ends is subject to wear by thinning. Examine these parts carefully when harnessing up, as their failure can allow the vehicle to overrun the horse, causing an accident.
The holdback straps are looped through rings 46 at the ends of the breeching seat, through footman loops 52 on the vehicle, and around the shafts. These straps are adjustable in length by buckle holes and by wrapping around the shafts. They should be adjusted to give a clearance of four fingers between the breeching seat and the buttocks with the horse in draught. During the first few minutes of driving, the harness may stretch, necessitating readjustment of the holdback straps. The loop through the rings of the breeching seat is a common point of wear by thinning, as is the place on the holdback strap where the ring rubs. Examine these parts carefully when harnessing up.
A crupper strap 41 retains in position the loin strap, which passes through a slot in the crupper strap. The crupper strap is looped through the staple at the rear center of the saddle. It then passes directly along the spine, past the loin strap, then is split into a fork. A smooth tubular leather loop called a dock 42 is attached to the two branches of the crupper strap. The crupper dock passes under the base of the tail, retaining the crupper strap in correct position. If, as is usual, the dock is buckled on, the distance from the base of the tail to the loin strap can be adjusted. Adjust this distance before adjusting the more forward portion of the crupper strap. Then snug up the forward adjustment, but be gentle -- the strap shouldn't twang like a bowstring. The dock is stuffed with linseed (flax seeds) which are full of oil. As the dock is used, the seeds are bruised, releasing oil into the leather casing keeping it soft. It must be soft, for the underside of the tail is an exquisitely delicate and sensitive portion of the horse, very subject to being galled. When harnessing up, always examine the dock to assure that it is smooth, soft, and clean. Even a good dock sometimes disagrees with a horse if its texture, size, or way of moving is not right. This problem can cause violent kicking.
William Morong, Harness Maker
This breeching is too small. The backstrap is pulling on the saddle, tilting it backwards, it is also on the last hole so no adjustment. The crupper is to tight and also on the last hole. The breeching should wrap farther around horses rump, And the hip straps should go further up the croup as it goes over the horse. The back strap should have a keeper on it. I loose them all the time, it seems every time I clean the harness.
Does anyone know how to put text in between photos you uploaded, that would be much easier to point things out?
Oh boy a new installment! How does the top of the breeching go under/over the crupper strap. I see loops and buckles on the photos but I can't quite tell what goes over/under what.
^^I will try and get a better photo from above tonight.^^
The kitchen isn't swept but the barn is:lol:.
Okay on photos one and two can you see how the hip strap goes through the back strap? There is double leather there with both ends sewn down at the keepers, so the hip strap has a place to cross and will not move around. This back strap has two places where the hip strap can cross, the second one I marked with a pen. Most harnesses have just one place to cross. I have no idea what that area or part of the harness is called.
On photo three this is a longer back stap but the same too short breeching. you can see how the hip strap is better because the back strap is longer but it still wants to pull a bit. There is plenty of extra leather on the back strap for adjustment.
This backstrap on photo three only has one place for the hipstrap to go through the back stap to get to the other side.
I am being super critical on the harness fit for these threads. Photo three is the breeching I use every day, I know it is not 100% correct and I watch for any problems that might arrise. I am currently looking for a larger breeching seat for my everyday harness. I would never use the breeching in the first photos, downright dangerous.
I will claqrify, The reason I feel the breeching in the first two photos is dangerous.
There is not enough leather on the back strap to go through even one keeper, could come ondone,
With the back strap too small the crupper is way too tight and horses do not like that, it can cause soars, kicking, balking, and serious discomfort.
The hip straps go too far back at an angle, they just don't offer as much support fot the breeching seat, keeping it in the proper place.
Here is my breeching. The harness is new and stiff. What can I do to make it fit as it should?
^^^This is what happens to me with new harnesses - they never make one that fits the horse I need to fit - the saddle might fit right, but the breeching is way too big for my horse's rear or vice versa....
I hang mine, I lay it on a barrel (as if it was on a horse) and sometimes I put it in a bag and it still never holds its shape - my fault mostly - I don't mess with it enough to keep it supple. I drive in spurts - sometimes every week, sometimes not for months.
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