Anyone have a Frontier Traverse for pairs?

Discussion in 'Driving Miniature Horses' started by xrdh, Apr 19, 2019.

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  1. Apr 19, 2019 #1

    xrdh

    xrdh

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    I'm considering buying a new four wheeled, CDE type carriage from Frontier called a Traverse. I plan to order the team pole and drive a pair of minis. Does anyone have any experience with that? What modifications will I want to make to it? My husband is a welder and really handy in the shop. Does it come with the two single trees, or a double tree, as well? What about the brakes? They say they are to stabilize the carriage on a hill, but not stop a horse. How good are the brakes? Has anyone upgraded them? How about the suspension? Any need to upgrade that?

    Photo of Traverse without team pole. frontier traverse.jpg
     
  2. Apr 20, 2019 #2

    Minidreamz0581

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    That looks like a nice little rig...I hope someone here has experience with it and can answer your questions! I had considered that one actually when I was on the hunt for a new trail vehicle, but with the type of driving that I wanted to do and since I only have my one little guy I got a Hyperbike instead. I know Frontier’s easy entry carts are lacking in the suspension area like a lot of entry level EE carts but I would imagine that with something four wheeled they would have something with a little more substance. Best of luck to you with whatever you do! :)
     
  3. Apr 20, 2019 #3

    xrdh

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    Thank you, Minidreamz. My other cart is a hyper bike. My husband and I modified the heck out of that one, too :).
     
  4. Apr 20, 2019 #4

    Cayuse

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    I think one of the members on here, MajorClementine has one. Maybe if you message her she could fill you in.
    Or post on the "Driving me Buggy" thread with your question, she is on there often as she is keeping track of our hours :). I bet she could help you out.
     
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  5. Apr 21, 2019 #5

    MajorClementine

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    Hi sorry I'm a little late to the game. Yes I have one (well the slightly heavier one but same rigging I'm sure). I have a team pole on mine and we ended up mounting the two single trees up-side down on the underside of the pole. They were knocking into the pole itself when they were mounted to the top but it was a simple fix to turn them over. It also dropped the line of draft a little bit. The breaks won't stop a determined horse and sure won't stop a team. But it is enough pressure to keep them steady at a stop if you have one that is a little anxious to get going.

    Go through the whole thing and tighten screws/bolts and add loc tight where needed. They get shipped over from his manufacturer overseas and things tend to giggle loose. Especially the break assembly. I also drilled a hole each end of the long threaded rod that attaches the shafts/pole so I could put a cotter pin in each end. It has an nut on each end but I wanted to be sure that nut didn't screw itself off the end of the post on a bumpy ride.

    Overall it's been a great little cart.
    0.jpg
    My single minis can pull this as well. I only drive them single on smooth hard surfaces where it rolls nice and easy though. A team could pull this thing anywhere. It didn't weigh a lot more than the one you are looking at so I went for it.
    0.jpg
    Here you can see where we've put the single trees upside down mounted to the bottom of the pole.

    Let me know if I can help answer anything else. We have the large horse marathon cart from them as well. We've tweaked a few things on it too but nothing major.

    Oh... the seat vinyl is crap. It fades really quickly. Plan on re-doing it after a couple of years. I don't mind though because it means I get to do whatever color I want. Mine is kept in the barn and I've had it 2 years. I give it another 2-3 before it needs new seat vinyl.
     
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  6. Apr 22, 2019 #6

    xrdh

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    Thank you, MajorClementine. Sorry I hounded you :). It (the Traverse) only has a 37" tire track width. Does that ever make you feel tippy? You lowered the line of draft - was that a good thing? As for the vinyl seat - I always change the seating material to something less slick. I add more foam rubber and even a layer of memory foam to really lock my butt in place.
     
  7. Apr 22, 2019 #7

    MajorClementine

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    I like the lower line of draft but if I was running very hard with them I would want them in a collar and hames instead of the euro collar I have them in. The reason being that breast collars and "euro" collars are designed for a straighter line of draft and can restrict movement if used with a very low line of draft. We are usually doing a parade route at parade speed with this setup or trotting at most. We lowered it out of lack of a better option. The trees knocked on the pole which was A: annoying and B: restricted the singletree movement.

    It seems like we did have to do some minior cutting/welding to the mounting blocks for the single trees now that I look at it.

    We measured and it lowered the line of draft about 3" total.

    I measured and the wheel track is 37" as well. I haven't felt tippy in this cart but mine is a bit heavier so I don't know if the Traverse would be top heavy. I'm also not running CDE with this cart so I'm not sure about tight corners and speed. Also, of course if you spin the horses at 90 degrees and put the front wheels under the cart, it would get tippy as would any cart.

    The wagonette I've got is 170# so only 15# heavier than the Traverse. I don't know if that helps it feel more stable or not. It looks like the majority of the 15# weight difference is lower on the cart which may make it more stable.
     
  8. Apr 22, 2019 #8

    xrdh

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    Good point about the line of draft. I'll be driving in light harness with the Comfy Fit deep V breast collars. Every time I think about buying three new pairs harnesses and fitting three minis to working collars I get an anxiety attack :). I only plan to do some trotting on gentle paths in the woods, but you never know when one turd will want to spin and bolt, so stability in a vehicle is important to me. Well, if team driving doesn't work out for me, I can always sell my Traverse. Used carriages are SO hard to find in the Pacific NW.
     
  9. Apr 22, 2019 #9

    MajorClementine

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    For light driving like you're doing I think it would work well for you. And your deep-v collars should be fine. I run mine in Euro Collars which are just the deep-v with a neck piece attached. They function just like a breast collar for the most part. My guys have never had a problem. Also with your husband having welding experience you may find a better way to fix the little issues.

    It's a fun little buggy. For the price it's a great little cart. The guy sells tons of them. Every time we go to a horse auction (Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, you name it) he's got his buggies there. They always go for about the price he sells them online but if you can pick one up at an auction and haul it home it saves you the cost of shipping.

    There is a sale in Denver in July and I'm guessing his buggies will be there.
     
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  10. Apr 25, 2019 #10

    xrdh

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    OK, a new question for you. I've decided that the Traverse doesn't have enough leg room. Brad put his 5'8" son in one for me and emailed me the photo. So, I ordered the bigger one - same as yours, but with both seats facing forward. My question is about the turning radius. How far can the buggy turn without interference? What stops the wheels from turning completely under the cart, like a Robert's carriage? And, has the turning radius ever been an issue with yours? BTW - the singletrees bumping issue has been remedied. The new design attaches higher, so Brad said.
     
  11. Apr 25, 2019 #11

    MajorClementine

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    If I remember correctly (sorry the buggy is down south with the horses but I can call tomorrow and double check) the wheels will turn fully under the buggy. I've never had a problem with it and always just been careful not to get the wheels too far under.

    Like I said, I double check in the morning when the family is down at the barn feeding. They can see if the wheels stop at all or if it's a full fifth wheel vehicle.

    Glad he fixed the single tree issue. When we called him about it he sent us a shorter set of single trees but they were too short for the horses to be comfortable. Now if he'd just put a double tree on there as well... ;)

    Any idea when your buggy will arrive? They are a lot of fun to drive. In lots of ways a team is easier.
     
  12. Apr 25, 2019 #12

    xrdh

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    We finally made contact again today and I asked Brad to turn the buggy as far as it would turn and send me the photo. He sent this. I have no problem with this range of motion, but if there is a problem my husband may be able to modify something. They are boxing it up now and it should ship next week. The shipping cost is $570, but I can't find a carriage any closer, so I just went with it. I'm shopping for a singles-to-team harness conversion kit now. I have two really nice Comfy Fit harnesses with the deep V breast collars and I don't want to replace them. Brad said that the pole has a spring on it, but I don't see it. Am I missing something?


    tb1.jpg
     
  13. Apr 26, 2019 #13

    MajorClementine

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    Do your deep V collars have the "D" rings sewn on to them? There should be one on each side. You'll need that "D" ring to be able to attach the pole straps from the collars to the end of the team pole. If not you'll most likely need new collars. I asked LeRoy if he could add rings to the collars I already had and he would have had to deconstruct the entire collar. I ended up with new collars... something I hadn't expected to have to do.

    Ours does NOT have a spring. The pole rests on the ground when the horses are not hitched. The horses hold the weight of the pole. I can't tell in that picture if he's rested the pole on something to keep it raised or if it's holding itself up. That pole has been totally re-designed since my cart so I can't say for certain if it has a spring now or not.
     
  14. Apr 26, 2019 #14

    xrdh

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    Conversion kits have their own neck straps that hang down with rings to attach to the poles. You can get them with a side braking system, or belly braking. The one in this photo uses a belly brake strap. Both systems snap into the breaching for brakes.



    Screen Shot 2019-04-22 at 10.26.42 AM.png
     
  15. Apr 26, 2019 #15

    MajorClementine

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    Those are really cool! I haven't seen them before. I have full comfy fit harnesses so I just ordered the parts to make them pairs (quarter straps, pole straps, etc) and take off my shaft loops. Which is why I ended up needing a new collar (luckily just one since I was ordering the second one at the time and just got it with the rings). How much does a conversion kit like this cost? Such a great option!

    Shipping is a bummer on those things. Luckily I had family out in that area that was headed this way with a big half empty stock trailer.

    You'll have to let me know if the pole does indeed have a spring when you get it. It's very possible there is one underneath where we couldn't see it in the photo. Our big wagon has one so they may have added it to the new pole design of the mini cart.
     
  16. Apr 26, 2019 #16

    xrdh

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    That conversion kit I sent you a photo of cost $220, but I bought one very similar to that 3 years ago for $120 from someone else. Those prices include the pairs driving lines. But, this morning I ordered this style conversion kit (see photo of pintos) for $84 - and that includes the driving lines! It's hard to see in this photo, but it has a splitter bar that hangs from the neck strap and separates the two side braking system straps that go through the tug loops and snap into the breeching. The team pole snaps onto the bottom of the splitter bar. It looks like a better system, to me, and it's so much cheaper, too. Biothane, either shiny or mat. I actually got to speak to the man (Willis) who is going to make the kit for me next week, so he understands that I will be teaming a 34" mini with a 38" mini, and I will also be driving a mini donkey (they have longer bodies). I'll post a photo of my set up when it all arrives in a couple of weeks.
     

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  17. Apr 26, 2019 #17

    MajorClementine

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    That looks like a really great setup. I can't wait to see pics after you get everything and get going with your team. You'll have to give me pointers on pairing a team with 4" difference in height. In that pic of the pinto team only one horse is mine. The other belongs to a good family friend. We get together and drive them as often as we can. I'd like to pair my pinto with my bay mare but there is about a 5" height difference. I've been housing them together so hopefully they'll get along well enough in harness to work as a team. They still scuffle at feeding time but otherwise don't mind each other. That's probably more info than you needed ;)

    I imagine having a team that different in size would benefit from a pole with a double tree to help even them up. That's one thing I really wish the Frontier mini buggies came with. Although, with the re-designed pole and your husbands welding abilities you could probably make one. Then I'd be really jealous!
     
  18. Apr 27, 2019 #18

    xrdh

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    Would you mind drawing up what the pole configuration should look like when driving an unmatched pair? Even a pencil drawing would help. Or, grab a photo from the internet. I can't seem to find one. I've never driven a mis-matched pair, so you've got me a bit worried now.
     
  19. Apr 27, 2019 #19

    MajorClementine

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    You'll be just fine. Totally nothing to worry about. A double tree helps on any team but especially on a mis-matched team. It gives about a 2-6" buffer. Since it moves back and forth like any tree it helps by keeping even pulling pressure on both horses even if one is getting a little ahead of the other. If each single tree is on a fixed point then one horse can easily slack off and let the other do most of the pulling. If the single trees are on each end of a double tree then if one horse slacks off, the tree moves and he's still pulling even weight.

    But if you have a horse that is bigger or naturally a heavier puller you just adjust where he stands with the heel chains or by adjusting the length of the traces. A double tree (I think it's called an evener sometimes too) is a great option but it's not a deal breaker. You just have to make more adjustments yourself. And once your team gets going and you get to know them you'll know who to shorten up (the lighter puller) and who to give an extra link length of chain (heavier puller).

    I hope it's okay to post a direct link like this. This is a Kingston EE team pole. You can see that each single tree is attached to one end of a much bigger double tree. It helps even out the team when pulling. https://www.kingston-saddlery.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=30

    Is that what you were looking for? I think it's an easy thing for your husband to do if you decide you need it. My guess is you'll figure it out without it. It's like getting leather seats in a car. Nice but not life changing.
     

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