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Bought a used Amish cart, need suggestions please.

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Dragon Hill

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I bought a cart and harness from someone who purchased it new from a carriage store, and never used it. It was set up for a 38" pony by adding 2" blocks and 26" wheels. I really like the wheels because they are flat free and the spokes are heavy duty. I took the blocks out and took the wheels off to grease the bearings/axle. On one side the inner bearing was jammed where the axle tapers, so wheel came off without it. But I got it off and it spins freely. On the other wheel the inner bearing was froze, but I took it apart and got it moving again, but it does not spin freely. I spoke to someone and he told me what to do to fix it (thoroughly clean and repack).
acwheel.jpg
In this picture you can see the blocks I removed between the cart frame and spring. The springs is the other thing I really liked about the cart. But here is the part I don't like, the singletree.
Amishcartsingletree.jpg
The harness I got with the cart is biothane (with spots) and the trace holes are big enough to fit over the ends, but a leather strap inserted into that hole is all that holds it.
KIMG1597.jpg
The cart and harness seems in good shape. The wood looks good. Some small bits of surface rust here and there. One wheel does have some rust and lifting of the paint. I plan on replacing the singletree. I don't know how well balanced it is, or isn't, yet. I believe with the blocks removed it will work for my 36" mini. Can someone with more experience tell me what else I need to look for to be sure it's safe and ready to use? I'll get a picture of the wheel with rust, and of the whole cart. The person I bought it from was told it was Amish made and top of the line. Any thoughts, opinions, suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
 

MajorClementine

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There are a couple of things you can do. For the single tree you can purchase spring loaded metal keepers from most carriage shops. They will offer more security. Or you can replace the single tree with a metal one with hooks to slip the trace slots over. That is what I did. Can you post a picture of the whole single tree so we can see the attachment setup?

As for the bearing, replace them both. They are inexpensive. Take them to a bike shop or auto parts store and they can help you get the correct thing. You don't want to mess with bearings. If they seize or come apart you'll be in a wreck. Whenever I buy a used cart the first thing I do is replace the bearings no matter what. I don't know if the cart was driven in water or what and better safe than sorry.
 

MajorClementine

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Here is a link to a shop that has a couple of different style trace holders. They also have hook end single trees if you'd rather just swap out the single tree.
 

Dragon Hill

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Thank you MajorClementin for the link and advice. Even though a metal singletree will look out of place, I think I'd prefer one. But they had a trace holder I liked the look of on that site if I decide against replacing the whole thing. In the meantime, I found a couple of small linch pins I can make do with in the meantime. The pin is small enough to go through the hole and the ring is big enough to go around the end. I imagine they will rattle awful. Yeah, I was concerned about (and disappointed with) the bearings, but I didn't know what could happen. I wondered if a bad bearing would cause a wheel to fail. I didn't get to take any pictures today but will get some soon.
 

Dragon Hill

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Ok,
here's a few more pictures of the singletree.singletreefull.jpg
How it's attached.attmtsingletree.jpg
And my quick fix.linchpin.jpg
And one wheel has rust on part of the rim and a few spokes.rustwheel.jpgOnly one wheel, and only part of one wheel. You can see the bearing, there's one on each side of the hub. That's grease around it, not rust. I put a spacer on the inner side of each wheel to give a little more clearance between wheel and side of seat and to keep the bearings from being able to jam against the axel taper.
 

Dragon Hill

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Finally got a chance to put my cart back together and get some pictures. Please tell me what you think and if you see anything wrong with it.
crack.JPGThis is the worst crack I found on any of the wood.
Does this look like enough clearance between the wheel and seat?cartback.JPGwheelclearance.JPGamishcart.JPG
And this is the harness.acharness.JPG
 

MajorClementine

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IMO if the wheels aren't rubbing you're good in an EE cart because the wheels don't "turn". Just watch kids/passengers that they don't get hands or feet into the wheel.

Keep an eye on that crack. They can go from tiny to split in half in a big hurry if there is pressure in just the right place.

The bridle looks like it has an overcheck. Overchecks are used to hold the horses head into a certain position and can be quite severe and not allow the horse to use it's body in a correct and effective way. If you feel you need a check rein on your horse research the difference between a side check and an over check. I have one I use a side check on so she can't dive for grass when we are driving. I have it set to a length that it only engages when she stretches out and drops her head to the ground for grass. Otherwise it doesn't engage at all while we drive.
 

Dragon Hill

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Thank you MajorClementin. I've looked at hundreds of pictures of carts/wheels, but couldn't find any info really. I didn't know if there would be any vertical deflection of the wheels going over uneven terrain. The other thing I noticed is there are no tug stops! I'm considering replacing the singletree and the shafts with metal ones and be done with it. Have you ever done this?
Yes, the bridle has an overcheck. I have used one before just to prevent grass diving, but my horse doesn't really need one. It's removable on this harness.
 

MajorClementine

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None of my vehicles have tug stops. I think they would be more important in a cart you don't use a breeching with. Your footman's loops, holdback straps, and breeching n negate the need for tug stops I believe.

I have never replaced wooden shafts with metal but I imagine it would work with a little ingenuity. There are a few Facebook groups dedicated to restoring/converting horse drawn vehicles that would be helpful.

I would still suggest researching the difference between overcheck and sidecheck. Tightening an overcheck enough that a horse can't drop it's head to graze is tight enough to keep the horse from turning it's nose. This greatly effects their ability to bend. The side check is much more gentle and, adjusted correctly, does not interfere with the horse turning it's nose.
 

Dragon Hill

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Thank you MajorClementin for the information on tug stops. I will have to look into those groups on Facebook. I'd like to eventually restore my Jerald cart, too. I will be taking the overcheck off this harness. The harness I use now on my mare doesn't have an overcheck or sidecheck.
I hope no one was put off by my little old man in one of the pictures, he doesn't have any teeth so his tongue sticks out and he drools all the time. He's not allowed outside by himself so he loves running around getting into things, mostly whatever I'm working on, or digging in the dirt. He's a 4 lb long coat Chihuahua named Cisco Kid. My Doberman is in the background.
 

MajorClementine

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I groom dogs for a living and have had a number of them with their tongues hanging out. I'll do you one better, my riding gelding has EOTRH and has had several teeth removed... So his tongue hangs out all the time. Looks really classy when we're riding 😂

I have a Jerald Viceroy I'm currently restoring. I've gotten so much help from the FB groups. I picked it up at an auction last fall and it's a slow but gratifying project.

And I love Dobies! My grandmother always had one and they are a favorite. Wow... Now I sound like a crazy stalker.

I hope I didn't come across as pushy about the overcheck but I've seen so many used by people and for horses that had no need. It's a soap box thing for me I guess and sometimes I need to keep my mouth shut.
 

Marsha Cassada

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Concerning the overcheck: I had a trainer explain to me that it helped the horse to know where his body is because the overcheck contact, through the bit, goes all the way to the crupper. She never drove her beautifully trained horse without it.
I believe her, but I do not use a check (except for my grass grabber, and that is a poor excuse to use a tool). I'm at an age where I just want to enjoy a nice drive with my horse and not worry too much about being fancy.
 

Willow Flats

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I just ordered Chimicum's side check for Rocko because he is a big time grass grabber, not so much when he's hitched but when ground driving which is no fun for either of us.

I only use side checks and just for that purpose alone.
 

Cayuse

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Side check did not stop my grass grabber, lol. Had to go to a loose overcheck. Funny thing with him, my instructor could drive him with no check and he'd never dive for grass. With me, well I'm not so lucky 🤪

That's a VERY pretty harness Dragon Hill, I've always wanted a spotted harness but can't find one that fits Peanut.
 
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Willow Flats

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I bought one of their corded side checks for Annie and it works great. It is exactly what they are selling it for. If anyone is interested here is a link to the one I have been using. Nice and light weight and does the job. :)
 

Dragon Hill

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I groom dogs for a living and have had a number of them with their tongues hanging out. I'll do you one better, my riding gelding has EOTRH and has had several teeth removed... So his tongue hangs out all the time. Looks really classy when we're riding 😂

I have a Jerald Viceroy I'm currently restoring. I've gotten so much help from the FB groups. I picked it up at an auction last fall and it's a slow but gratifying project.

And I love Dobies! My grandmother always had one and they are a favorite. Wow... Now I sound like a crazy stalker.

I hope I didn't come across as pushy about the overcheck but I've seen so many used by people and for horses that had no need. It's a soap box thing for me I guess and sometimes I need to keep my mouth shut.

No problem about the overcheck issue. I have used training tools with horses and dogs. Many get a bad rap because people try to take shortcuts without understanding what the tool can or cannot do, how it works, and not knowing how to properly use it. I have a few pet peeves myself.

Dargo is my third Dobie. I love them.🐾

I'm looking forward to seeing your Viceroy when you finish. I saw a picture of it in a post when you got it... Now I sound like a stalker, too!

I had to look up EOTRH, poor guy. But I'm glad you can still ride him. I had a friend with show horse that would stick his tongue out the side of his mouth in the ring...talk about classy 🤪
 

Dragon Hill

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Interesting discussion about overchecks and sidechecks and grass divers. I count myself lucky that my mare isn't too bad about it, and she's not so quick. I also teach a "head up" while on lead.
 

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