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Skijoring 11-23-2013 08:53 PM

Curved shafts vs. straight shafts?
Hi everyone,
I was just wondering what the pros and cons of straight shafts vs. curved shafts are. The cart I'm looking at can be made with either, but when I tried researching it online, all I came up with were listings for weed trimmers :-|

P.S. Still checking all classifieds I can find for a used cob harness but no luck so far (I posted about that a few days ago). I've found several reasonably priced new ones so I'll probably just get one of those for now and upgrade in the future. The quality looks pretty good, they just don't have any fancy show details, which is fine for me.


ButtInTheDirt 11-24-2013 12:45 AM

I suppose it is more personal preference, but I have always used curved shafts. In my mind, if we are talking about the same thing, curved shafts leave a bit more room for a broodmare belly, making curved shafts much more flattering to my old gal. The only cart I have with straight shafts is on my donkey's cart. Said donk is the star child for obesity and could go with a bit more width in the shafts, hence my preference. But being recently procured he hasn't gotten the chance to slim down yet, so perhaps his cart will be the correct shape. I also believe that curved shafts just have a better look to them. If not aesthetics for the sake of aesthetics, what else?

churumbeque 11-24-2013 09:37 AM

Are you talking curved in or curved upward and back down. A lot would depend on the style of cart as to what the shafts would be like. A road cart or meadow brook would have a straight shaft that say a gig as an example.

ButtInTheDirt 11-24-2013 10:14 AM

I also wondered that. Our normal carts for road driving, starting, and just pounding the bajeesus out of have shafts that extend straight from the cart. Both our cultimulcher, (not much elegance there,) and our runabout have shafts that curve where they connect to the cart. They are jointed and move with the cart when we use them, generally on things that have more than two wheels. A two wheeled cart the horse carries the cart, more or less. (Properly balanced it should not weigh the horse down.) But other carts have more on the ground and are just pulled, so for give when the horse trots the shafts move up and down. Then again, this is how we make them, not particularly how it must be done. But there might be other reasons.
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Skijoring 11-24-2013 10:30 AM

I'm sorry, I should have been more specific. I meant shafts that curve up and then down toward the tips so you have to "thread" them through the tugs instead of sticking them straight through. I don't mean shafts that flare out a bit to accommodate for "broodmare bellies" (to put it politely).

In my mind, the straight shafts are probably fine for pleasure driving and curved shafts would be safer for trail driving and marathon type driving but I just made that up so I thought I'd ask someone who actually knows :).

Here's a link to the cart I'm looking at. The price seems too good to be true. It's similar to a GS trail cart but several hundred dollars less. It's just what I'm looking for! I'm super psyched, and will be measuring my Morgan today. I'm just not sure about the shafts.
Kingston Saddlery Supply


churumbeque 11-24-2013 10:38 AM

I am thinking you need curved shafts on that cart or it will tip upward. I would like to se a photo of that cart with a horse to see at what point they have the tugs in relationship to barrel and point of shoulder

ButtInTheDirt 11-24-2013 10:41 AM

Ah! I see now. I dont personally use any similar to that. How much safety it adds? Im unsure, but if your horse is harnessed and hitched correctly, there should not be much worry for you cart to stay on. You will have the traces on the single tree, quarter straps (?) hooked to the shaft, and run through the loops which will be tied down again to keep from bouncing. That is already a bit to factor in. Maybe someone with more wordly experience can fill in the blanks.
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Skijoring 11-24-2013 10:46 AM

Here's the listing for the same cart with straight shafts
Kingston Saddlery Supply

I clicked on their Photo Gallery but it's only a page to send them pictures. I can email them and ask for some photos of the cart in use.

churumbeque 11-24-2013 10:50 AM


Originally Posted by Skijoring (Post 4171314)
Here's the listing for the same cart with straight shafts
Kingston Saddlery Supply

I clicked on their Photo Gallery but it's only a page to send them pictures. I can email them and ask for some photos of the cart in use.

Because they cart is low to the ground and they do not put on taller wheels depending on how tall your horse is I would do curved. It will sit more level and not tip upwards.

Skijoring 11-24-2013 10:54 AM

Oh also, I can order the cart with 30" wheels instead of 27" which bumps the height of the shafts up another inch when held parallel to the ground. That's why I'm measuring my horse today (14.2h Morgan) to see exactly what mid-barrel height on her is, to hopefully avoid shafts pointing upward and cart tipping back.

I just like this cart because I can handle it myself, it can fit on carriage trails, it's less cumbersome and easier to get in and out of than a meadowbrook, and would just be a great little cart to zip around the farm in. And I can actually afford it! I've been drooling over the Frey sprint carts but even the used ones are a smidgen out of budget. I'm really hoping it works out! The woman who owns the barn where I board has a gorgeous collection of antique carriages and carts that I'm sure I could borrow when I'm feeling the need for an upgrade. But for now I just want easy and zippy.

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