cart size and bridle question

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Max's Mom

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Hi! I'm new to the forum.

My daughter and I are self taught drivers, though we both have lots of horse and riding experience and I read a LOT. I bought this cart about 7 or 8 years ago from an old guy who told me he had used it on his 10 hand shetland, and I just assumed it would fit our 37 inch gelding, Max (stupid newbie mistake). I didn't do anything with the cart for several years, then when I was ready to use it discovered that it was way too big! I shortened the shafts as much as I dared (to 60 inches),fixed it up, repainted, moved the footman's loop, put in new no flat tires, etc. Then we finally trained Max to drive, and have used this cart for 2 years.

I now realize that even at 60 inches this cart is a small pony cart that is too long and too wide for him. He handles it well, but I've been saving money for something more appropriate. How terrible is this sized cart for now? Could it cause problems? I don't want to mess up again, so I'm taking my time figuring out exactly what to get and what size would be best. I want an easy entry type that is sturdy. I love Smart Carts and that type of cart but it is way out of my price range.

Second question: Bridles. The harness I bought has a bridle that is not only too big, but also has no wires in the blinder stays so the blinders touch his eyes and are unusable in my opinion (another newbie mistake). SO I'm using a size A nylonIMG_3108a.jpg Video 40 0 01 13-26.jpg draft style bridle with the overcheck removed. If I add a leather caveson to this, do you think we could "get away" with showing at a schooling show, or is this just too tacky? We drive for fun, and while I want a leather bridle, I don't want to spend $ on a custom made one and I am worried that if I get a less expensive one it will not fit! He doesn't like vision restricted! (We have driven him with an open bridle but he goes better with the work horse blinders)

I know this is long! And ideas you have are appreciated.
 
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dangerranger

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There are several things you can do to make that cart fit your horse. If you know a wood worker who can make you some new "Bent" shafts, or easier to make but not as nice they can be bent from 1" electrical conduit or 1 1/4" if its better proportioned. I like the wood shafts better, They are much quieter and better looking. Also you can easily change the wheels to lower the cart. If those are 20" you could swap to 16". We drive our horses in an english bridle, And they seem happy with that. Good luck DR
 

Max's Mom

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Thanks for the suggestions! I hadn't thought about having a wood worker make some new shafts, but that might be cheaper than a new cart! I prefer wood, as well. The wheels are fairly big- I think they are 24".
 

horsenarounnd

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While the shafts are a little long, they are really not too bad. From the picture, it looks like you could move the cart ahead a bit, maybe as much as 6" and that would help a lot. I'd use it as is and save your money to buy a nice easy entry cart. Or, spend your money on a bridle that really fits your hors so you can get the best performance from him. As long as the cart is sound and safe, have fun!
 

rabbitsfizz

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I agree it does not look that bad- I also agree that smaller wheels would make a huge difference- far more so than shorter shafts, which, if you need to do it, could be done at your leisure. Also- you do not appear to have a swingletree- if this is so then getting one put on would be a good idea.....If your boy is happy in blinders then I would leave him in them- even though I have never used them myself I think the correct tack for any horse is what is goes best in, and what the driver is most confident using, so I would just focus on the small things that need sorting. If the harness is black I would say you could get away with it- and I would have a nylon noseband made or even make one yourself, if you have a hand sewing machine it is not hard, although a saddler would make a moments work of it!!

Forgot to add you have done a brilliant job on your gelding, he looks really happy in that cart- as do you!
 
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Max's Mom

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Thank you all so much for your encouragement and advice! I feel a lot better about our current cart, though I wish there were some way to narrow the shafts by a few inches.

It does have a swingletree, but strangely it is attached behind the dash! I couldn't figure out how to move it, but now that I think I will be keeping the cart for a while more I'm considering simply putting a new one on in the correct location.

The one driving in the photos is my daughter. Max and my daughter have been "partners" since she was 3 and he was 6. Now they are 15 and 18! Rabbitsfrizz, your compliment meant so much to her (well, and to me, too)! Thank you.
 

Sandee

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If the single tree is behind the dash, is it possible that the dash was added later? Is it possible to remove the dash so the single tree can swing (move back and forth)?

I agree that where you have the shafts in the picture is too far back on him. The end of the shaft should not extend beyond the point of his shoulder but we nearly always have ours close to there.

I haven't read any of your other posts so I don't know what type of schooling show you Re referring to but the harness you have would be fine for local AMHR shows. As you said just add a nose band. It should fit into the headstall some way. Or if you're familiar with English equipment, a cavesson would be more correct (and easier to order).
 
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Max's Mom

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Thanks, Sandee. I looked at the dash again today, and I'm not sure it would look right if removed, but maybe that's the way to go. There is some movement of the swingletree, but not probably what it should be. I have no idea what the history of this cart is.

We tried moving the shafts further forward today. It seems awfully wide, though, with about 3 inches on either side. Maybe that's okay?

Max is only registered with World Class. A local club just started that includes all VSE even if they aren't registered, so we are going to try that. We'll get a cavesson. I can get one through Ozark or Star Lake.

We're glad we can continue to use this cart, although my daughter and I do eventually want to get something we can fit in to drive together! (We squish together very uncomfortably in this one seat cart!) And I want something I can get into easier...
 
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dangerranger

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Thanks for the suggestions! I hadn't thought about having a wood worker make some new shafts, but that might be cheaper than a new cart! I prefer wood, as well. The wheels are fairly big- I think they are 24".
Just changing from 24 to 20" wheels will lower the cart 2". and that might be enough. or you could unbolt the shafts and move them under the metal atachments[ instead of on top as they are now] . This would also give you 2" without any cost. With the shafts off you may also be able to re drill the front attachment points slightly narrower.. This will narrow the shafts at the tips but not where they meet the cart. you wont be able to gain much without bending the tips outward tho.Maybe losing 3" at the tips. Good luck DR
 

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