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SlideStop 02-02-2013 03:16 PM

Tandum ground driving/training
Hello everyone!!

I decided to ground drive the donks today since it was a bit chilly, not good working weather. I didn't want to do them individually so I decided I would try out driving them next to each other. All went surprisingly well! I don't think they were ever driven as a pair because it took a while form them to realize "ohhh, you want me go stay next to him/her". We did have a mishap when JJ, the grey, decided he would randomly hook a right. I ended up having to rest set them. Other then that it was 30 awesome minutes of them ground driving together! I wish wish our cart and harness could be converted for a team, but I'm broke so its a big fat NO. This got me thinking....

I could drive them tandum! Does anyone have any suggestions as to how I should begin? Obviously NOT behind a cart any time soon, I'm gonna be ground driving them until their little hooves fall off! Lol. I will make sure I have someone to head for me, incase we need help. I'm a bit nervous about connecting them in any way, especially with the reins through the (what the heck is that ring called by the crown piece that the over check goes through?!) and the terrets. Am I able to skip that for a few sessions? Also, didn't someone have diagrams on this a few months ago?

I haven't done much research yet, I've only been thinking about it for a few hours, so I apologize if I sound like I have know idea what I'm talking about!

Thanks in advance!

This was them today! Venus is the brown one and J.J. is the grey.
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Clayton Taffy 02-02-2013 05:42 PM

Your little guys are adorable!!

I came across this conversation recently, I did not read the entire thing, as I do not drive pairs. This conversation is between several different people.
Sorry I did not weed through the unimportant part. I hope it helps a little.


Can someone direct me to info or advise me on how to ground drive a pair? I have a rock steady driving horse that I'd like to pair up with a green horse. The green horse has been ground driven but I feel she could benefit from driving along side the more experienced horse. I do not have a pairs harness but do have two different harnesses. How does one begin and how/where do you connect the two horses so they work as a pair. Any links to websites, videos etc would be appreciated.


It's really not difficult at all. You don't need a pairs harness, but you do need pair lines, a whip (and the ability to use both simultaneously), and another person who can keep up with you and, ideally, knows what they're doing.

Look up how to hook lines. The straight-through line goes on the side the horse works on. The horse are not hooked together except for the lines. Make sure your traces are secured,especially for your first rounds. Lots of info is online, but a very good book for illustrations and pictures is the Work Horse Handbook by Lynn Miller.

Leave new horse's halter on under bridle and have friend lead that horse with a lead rope while you're driving them the first time or two, until both of you catch on. Always carry your whip so you can keep them moving forward. Do lots of turns and stops and starts. When you are comfortable foregoing the lead rope, keep the person walking alongside for a while until you're confident you can control them yourself.

This is just the way I do it... And I drive very gentle, willing ponies.

Your situation may not mirror mine, but this is what works for me


You can't beat Hardy Zantke's articles on learning to drive a pair, found

Pair Driving 101 | drivingpairs


To the person who asked the question about ground driving I would STRONGLY recommend that you start out with 2 horses that are trained and going as singles. Your work with them as a pair will be easier and the end result will be better. If you think about it putting a green horse next to a horse that drives is like tieing some one to a person who knows how to swim and throwing them into a lake hoping the nonswimmer will catch on without being so frieghtend that something bad happens. Take the time to get the green horse going as a single first. I have started many pairs and repaired many pairs. Take the time in the beginning and good luck with the project.


A video worth viewing is of Boyd Exell long lining a pair of Welsh ponies, on a circle. Boyd Exell 'Long Reining a Pair' on Vimeo. He makes it look easy. Believe me, it is not. You do need a long set of pairs lines, or the handler will be pulled around. Watch Boyd work them at canter!


"All this discussion and the video that someone sent reminded me of an old video tape I have of George Bowman long lining a pair of horses, it was in the '80's but I was very impressed. Think the video is called "Driving". "


I believe the video you are talking about is "The Horse In Sports: Driving". I have it too and the section with George Bowman is one of my favorite parts. It is a great video, but, some of the marathon scenes just about turned me off ever trying CDE's. I now can enjoy watching it and I also enjoy driving in a CDE. There was a whole series of The Horse In Sports. They were shown on public television, at least in our area. There was show jumping, eventing, and rodeo that was shown here but there may have been even more horse sport videos made.


I, too, have that tape of George Bowman ground driving that grey pair, and thought it looked like fun, so was really disappointed that it didn't work for me. Turns out that with the usual connection, you can't keep proper rein contact unless you are directly behind the horses. George must have been using fixed coupling reins do do those figure 8s.

Also, in the early stages when the horses are not used to walking close together, they will have a tendency to swing apart and end up facing each other. I found it helpful to tie the ends of the outside traces together (outside trace to outside trace) with a piece of twine to discourage this.


There is a picture in Max Pape's "the Art of Driving" (page 155) and an explanation or Agricultural Vehicles, where the driver walks beside the pair. It looks interesting and might work (I don't really drive a pair, and when I do it is more like controlling a small herd) but just thought I toss it out and let a pair driver comment of its feasibility. (scale of 1 to 10... 10 being why didn't I think of that.... 1 being what were you thinking!!!)


"Agricultural Vehicles, where the driver walks beside the pair"

Not having a husband, and a grown son who thinks he should have his own life, I use my ponies when I want to move heavy items. I put bales of shavings or whatever in the carriage, and walk next to or behind it. (Don't tell Hardy.) BUT I drive a pair of drafty old-style Shetland ponies, with relatively calm demeanors. I have shanked bits on them for lots of control -- they can, and have, run though a snaffle. And I don't do this next to traffic, etc.

I don't recommend doing this with "normal" (non-shetty) horses unless you are really experienced -- you could get in A LOT of trouble. Including getting your foot run over by a wheel. (Wonder how I know that?)

I'm not assigning a number because "math is hard".

By the way, only an idiot would try to lead a pair by leading just one horse, because the other-side horse will charge forward and then in front of the one you are trying to lead. (Wonder how I know that?)

Clayton Taffy 02-02-2013 06:04 PM

3 Attachment(s)
I just read your post again you used the correct terminology I thought you refered to a pair as a tandem. I'll keep this post here incase someone else is interested.

two light horses side by side is a pair, draft people call two drafts hitched side by side a team.

Four light horses hitched together is a team, draft people call it several different things, four up or four in hand being two of them.

Two horses one in front of the other is a Tandem. This is Michaelvanessa and his two ponies in tandem.

Attachment 127990

Attachment 127991

I saw this driving trough Amish country last fall. I have no idea what this is called! Six abreast?

Attachment 127997

SlideStop 02-02-2013 06:53 PM

Yes, I want to do what Michaelvanessa is doing with his (her? Lol) ponies! It would be a nice way to work both at the same time when I'm limited on time. Plus the grey one goes bonkers without the brown one. I don't really care but I know they are VERY noisy in the barn and it irritates everyone. Lol.
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michaelvanessa 02-03-2013 08:58 AM

driveing tandem or a pair
hiya you said that you want to drive tandem for your leader you need to use your pad driveing saddle as a trace carier if you can get a back band remade you can have 1 small loop so the trace slides through and your breeching to be replaced as a strap rein carrier ill have to check my harness and take pictures for you so you can study it or i can use tricky as a mock leader with the harness.
on my tandem leader there is another trace carrier strap were the belly band is as i have not driven tamdem i have forgotto slightley.
your traces need to be a little longer with 2 cockeye spring clips as well i will measure them and give you the lengths as well.
the wheeler in the shafts needs rein rosetties on the driveing bridle were the reins pass through to the leader the pad driveing saddle needs a doubble rein terrets so both pairs of reins pass through on small small roler on thre terrets.
the other important thing is your tandem spoons thay fastern via the buckle pin on the wheelers traces on the colla and the front eyes on the spoons thet is were the leaders traces couple up to.
alternativley you can get a set of tandem bars a bar were the trace couples on to the wheelers traces (small traces on the wheeler side of the bar and a smal chain or strap to stop the bar comeing lower then the wheelers knees.
ill have to check things out for you and if you let me know the sizes of your donkeys my ponys is tricky 12hh and tammy 13hh rip and i could trot canter walk i have even gone a flat out bolt to clear the cobwebbs out of them thay were a great team i made a dvd in the school and i dont know how to show you on here.
the other thing i use to lunge them togeather on sepert lunge lines and all on vocal commands i would let them run out in to the circle 20 meters 60 foot and the best way i can discribe it is 2 rockets reaching an orbit around eath spirleing out till one reaches his maximum rein length and the other is slightley in a lower orbit so to speak thay work side by side.
it takes a lot of practice and a great deal of patents to reach this stage.
so in real terms i had them going as a pair and thay were going great.
i used my pair harness once i payed 3500 patent leather as my frend had hart trouble and passed on so the harness is at home gathering dust as we speak.
i took the 2 ponys had them measured for the pair harness full collars the works lets say i have got a pair of buxton bits for them to as ell as liverpool bits.
going back to tandem the wheeler had a bridle form a book by sally worlround it had an auxillary throat lash and a leather bar from there like a head collar to the nose band as the leader could pull the wheelers bridle off so had a bridle made to thoes specefacations.
i hope this helps keep me in the loop as well.
also you say you have a single horse veichle you can train them to geather as long as you have a strap to a pole but collar to collar and have the out side trace remade longer with your breeching with a trace carrierso it goes round the others hind quatersto provide draft as well as to keep the out side wheeler in and dont forget to cross your reins as well in the centure 1 left 1 right x 2 left 2 right.

clairegillies 02-03-2013 09:09 AM

in my younger days I worked as a driving groom and my boss's main team were tandem. I never drove them though I drove single and pairs.
the lead horse she drove had never been trained to carriage drive... we used to comment that he must just of thought he got long reined a lot.. lol.
so the wheeler has to do the pulling, and the leader has to just prance about looking pretty. thats what we did anyway.
my apologies for having no practical advice.


michaelvanessa 02-03-2013 09:11 AM

geting them going in tandem ect
the thing i forgot to mention all ways leave class on a good note if you dont feel well or you have had a bad day leave well alone and have a lesson on another day.
in work all ways reward with a little bit of feed or apple or carrot as your donkeys will learn faster and you will have a good pair eather in tandem or as a pair on a pole is there any one near you that you can take them and borrow a set of harness and a veichle for a few hours so you can get use to harnessing up and puting to and finaly working them for half hour as not to spoil them little by little youll get there it takes time and should not be rushed.

michaelvanessa 02-03-2013 09:28 AM

to claregilles
hiya clare i set mine up as thay both were in draft the times when thay were out of draft was turning as the trace goes slack one side or at woah at a stand thay were a gerat team i wish tammy was still here and i would invite people to drive them and for 2 old ponys the power of them out driveing was awesome and thay were very responsive via voice and got titbits every time thay preformed well the old saying is a happy ship is a good ship so to speak like i said i have a dvd in the school and it also has a problem matic section were tricky decided to go for the open door and thay jacknifed and tricky got his leg over the trace whic could have made a disaster but like i said training and talking to your horses goes a long way.
the best way is titbits to a horses stomach also reaches the brain its supriseing how a horse can levle to your way of thinking like i said it takes time with quincey it has taken 4 months and you can see the results of him in my albums he also drives he was broken in in that time period.
and is a well behaved and happy horse in his work all dew to titbits and geting him to learn and the results are to be seen.

ButtInTheDirt 02-03-2013 09:40 AM

I have no practical advice to give you, but ASKDFJ;WLEAFSIGHIWJEFI, those donks are all I have ever dreamed of! I have somewhat of an obsession with mini donks and driving, but alas, no such donk has come into my life. ;) Good luck, I'm looking forward to more pictures of those cuties.

SlideStop 02-03-2013 11:29 AM

Thanks Michaelvanessa! I'm gonna have to re read your post with a fine tooth comb! Pictures would be lovely, I've been looking but no one has actual close up of the tack. Also, finding this stuff isn't easy! Lol.

I've been trying to take a mental inventory of what I'm going to need/have made. It took my a while to fine the terrets, but I did find them! I'm thinking I can go to the local leather shop to have them alter the harnesses, like put D rings on the breast collars. Also, they both have rings for over checks on their bridles, I assume those can be use? As for trace keepers could I use the tugs and the breeching ring?

Also I found these two articles, would you say they are useful?

Trying Tandem
So You Want to Drive a Tandem? | drivingpairs

We ALWAYS end on a good note. Especially with these donks, they forgive but they DON'T forget. Lol

I lunged them together last spring since we had our small indoor. The hurricane belew it away so I have to wait for warmer days so the round pen thaws. They naturally follow one behind the other. Venus, the brown one is always behind, though I would like to use her for lead instead of wheel as the grey is stronger. But I want them to switch off anyways, they both need work... There ummmmm... Fluffy! Lol
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