How long can a horse drive? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 04-15-2019, 07:59 AM Thread Starter
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How long can a horse drive?

Recently, a friend informed me of a 20-mile bike/walk/run that was intended to raise funds for children with developmental or intellectual disabilities. They suggested I drive my shetland in it. I wouldn't participate this year, but prepare for such in preparation of the next race. So, I was wondering if any of y'all had any idea of how long a shetland can pull a small easy-entry cart. I'm around 135 lbs, and would likely have a handler walking nearby for safety reasons and to clean potential manure. I wouldn't have my shetland do more than a walk, although my trainer is convinced he could trot for hours, as he always has a go-go persistence, but not to push him. Thanks for any input!
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post #2 of 7 Old 04-15-2019, 11:04 AM
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The rule of thumb for Amish road horses is 20 miles per day, and that's for a full-sized horse. I would be hesitant to take a Shetland on a 20 mile drive, especially if the weather was warm.
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post #3 of 7 Old 04-15-2019, 11:10 AM
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Maybe get another pony (or two) and switch them out? That could be pretty cool!

Hold on to what makes you happy! If it tries to buck you off, just hold on even tighter!
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post #4 of 7 Old 04-15-2019, 11:22 AM Thread Starter
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Twenty miles is a long distance, there's a 5k/ 3.5 mile trip incorporated into the longer one we may do instead. Thanks!
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post #5 of 7 Old 04-15-2019, 11:23 AM Thread Starter
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A team of shetlands would be great for a 10-mile trip as well!
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post #6 of 7 Old 04-15-2019, 11:30 AM
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How long the pony can drive is dependent on a number of things, the first being long, slow conditioning. Terrain, is it flat or hilly. method of hitching can be critical. and of course, speed on course. Acknowledge that you can pull your pony any time you feel it's gone far enough. Don't let anyone pressure you into going farther than the pony can handle.

Cart balance will be critical, as well as the width of your harness saddle. Carrying weight is very fatiguing for a horse that is also pulling it. On a light cart, small shifts of your body weight can add or subtract many pounds across the saddle, so you need to actively balance the cart for the pony's optimal comfort and use a saddle that's wide with adequate spine clearance..

The breast collar you select must also be wide enough to distribute weight across the chest. If your equipment is dialed in, your cart balance is optimal and you take plenty of time to condition, your pony should be able to go the distance.

I would also research how endurance riders prepare their horses, care during a ride, and critically, post ride care. I once did a distance drive with a pair of 11.2 hand ponies and my mare beat all the horses for best conditioned.
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post #7 of 7 Old 04-15-2019, 05:56 PM
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Also, you can figure it would probably take you about 7+ hours to complete the 20 miles at a walk (avg 3 mph), and that's without potty breaks or lunch! LOL!
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