Harness recommendations

Discussion in 'Driving Miniature Horses' started by Lisa Ripley, Aug 30, 2019.

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  1. Aug 30, 2019 #1

    Lisa Ripley

    Lisa Ripley

    Lisa Ripley

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    Hello all,
    I am a dressage enthusiast who has just acquired my first two minis. I am thinking I would like to teach them to drive. My only previous driving experience is ground driving. I have no idea where to start when it comes to purchasing driving equipment. How do I choose a cart and what type of harness/collar set up is best? How much can a mini pull? Currently I am focusing on ground work. These little guys are merely halter broken, they really know nothing. So I have time to find the right equipment. Thanks everyone!
     
  2. Aug 31, 2019 #2

    Marsha Cassada

    Marsha Cassada

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    I know you will enjoy driving! But, my goodness, advice about harnesses and vehicles is almost as varied as drivers, who are technically called Whips. The biggest challenge, imo, is finding a good bridle. Harnesses can be tweaked and mix-matched, but a bridle is pretty much a done deal. And you've probably discovered that horses like different kinds of bits.
    I started out with a Big Dee harness 15 years ago and it's still the best bridle I've ever owned. But there are a lot more companies carrying miniature equipment now so the choices are broader. I did substitute a Freedom Collar for the slim breast collar that came with the Big Dee harness.

    I think a lot depends on what kind of driving you want to do. With your dressage background, do you think you will do fine harness driving? That might determine what kind of equipment you want. I do rough rural terrain so my equipment is sturdy. I really enjoy my old sulky; if I didn't have it, I would definitely buy a Hyperbike. But I like sharing my horses with old folks and children so a cart is a must also.
    My 32" gelding has no problem with a wooden Jerald Runabout and two good sized adults. He is a sturdy powerhouse.
    Keep us posted!
     
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  3. Aug 31, 2019 #3

    Minimor

    Minimor

    Minimor

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    Do you like leather? Or biothane?

    I prefer leather harness and currently have 4 of Ozark Mtn's Mose Miller carriage harnesses. They are good quality leather, nicely made and they fit well. 2 are B mini size and 2 are small pony size. I do need a larger pony harness--these do not fit quite big enough (very unfortunate)--and I have not decided where to order that from. I refuse to buy a comfy fit on principle alone, but am considering a Camptown (I know they are not leather, I just think that is my best option for the size I need unless I can get another carriage harness custom fit.)

    The cart will depend on the driving you want to do. Do you plan to show in breed shows? ADS? CDE? Just around home for fun on roads and trails?
     
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  4. Aug 31, 2019 #4

    Lisa Ripley

    Lisa Ripley

    Lisa Ripley

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    Lord have mercy, Minimor...I have no idea what I'm going to do with them or what kind of driving. I don't even know what my options are...I am so happy to have them, They are filling my newly empty nest. They are quite brave, they had no fear of the riding lawnmower today. My brother in law used to drive goats, and has some kind of cart/wagon that might be the right size. They also have some mini mule and goat harnesses, so I might be able to start there...clearly I have a lot to learn, and I have no idea what show opportunities are available locally. Thanks your suggestions. I'm off to Google more about minis
     
  5. Aug 31, 2019 #5

    Minimor

    Minimor

    Minimor

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    Ha;):p and they are young so you have plenty of time to figure out what they might like to do too. Just watch out, they are addictive! I should know...how do you think I ended up with so many, plus an equal number of Shetlands, 4 harnesses, 4 carts and 8 show halters--all Because I rescued 2 minis that a neighbor wasn't feeding?!! It snowballed from there.
     
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  6. Aug 31, 2019 #6

    Cayuse

    Cayuse

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    I have both a biothane harness and leather harness. I am also much happier with leather. As far as breast collars go, I have used a straight pleasure breast collar like you would see on a "pleasure driving show harness" and a fancy "deep V shaped" breast collar that is supposed to make it easier for the horse to pull (or technically, to push) the cart as it takes pressure off the wind pipe area. Both myself and my horses actually prefer the plain old ordinary breast collar. I do use a thick fleece pad for comfort.
    For.pleasure drivng and small local "fun" shows, easy entry carts will work just fine. I have one made by Kingston and one made by G and S Carts and like both of them. Heavy duty tires are a great upgrade and worth the extra money.
    Good luck with your new hobby!
     
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  7. Sep 1, 2019 #7

    pegwillen

    pegwillen

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    I just started a mini, my first experience with minis, using Parelli 7 games (which is ongoing) to gain respect and leadership, then ground driving using a regular riding headstall and a french link snaffle to teach voice commands, then adding a surcingle, then started with the harness saddle/breeching for ground driving. Then moved to adding the breastcollar/traces dragging a singletree to get noise acclimation, then onto a homemade PVC travois for acclimation to shafts. This week we went into the cart, and I think we will stay with an open bridle and no check....all I can say is this has been a wonderful experience, I love driving and minis rock it....check out Chimacum Tack for equipment, and Mindy Shroder’s YouTubes for guidance.
     
  8. Sep 1, 2019 #8

    MindySchroder

    MindySchroder

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    I agree that the harness options are vast as are the recommendations!

    I think it will depend a lot on what TYPE of driving you want to do. And what kind of vehicle you get. The type of breast collar versus collar and hames depends on the line of draft on your vehicle.

    If you want to do pleasure/trail driving then there are vehicles that work great for that but they often don't cross over into the show ring. So if you want to show the type of vehicle AND harness will change.

    I do trail driving and pleasure drive. I have a Hyperbike because it's well balanced and only weighs 30 pounds. I can pack it in the back of my Tahoe all by myself and it's easy to hitch to my pony and just go!

    I like to distance drive so we go for miles and miles. The comfort of my pony is #1 and how the harness looks is #2. But I am lucky in that my harness is both pretty and comfy!

    I have recently designed a harness that I am calling the Trail harness. It is appropriate for a horizontal line of draft and is well padded and comfy for the pony no matter how far we drive.

    I have a blog where I share TONS about driving, training to drive and pictures of my vehicles as well as how-to's for harness fit and balancing two wheeled vehicles. You can find that here: www.theessentialhorse.com

    I have also written a book about how to train a miniature horse to drive that you can find on Amazon. Just type my name, Mindy Schroder, into the search bar and my book will come up!

    Driving minis and ponies is my passion. I absolutely LOVE hitting the trails with my ponies. We go camping and have also joined a local driving club where we drive with a group of big horses and mules. I love it all!!

    harnessadjustementwebsite.jpg
     
  9. Sep 1, 2019 #9

    Patty's Pony Place

    Patty's Pony Place

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    You do indeed have time to really research all of this - I highly recommend you go to both my Patty's Pony Place FB page, and my Supertonk FB page. I shared much of my knowledge with many people, one gal, for over a year privately, and it has ended up in her blog, but there is a whole lot more on my two pages for you to check out. Several informational videos - some correcting false info, or "facts" that have been put out there for the sole purpose of selling.
    We use full neck collars - only Coblentz made - as they have been the leader in the industry for mini collars for quite some time. I have done many videos on collars - and some have now even been trying to improve the collars they have been selling for years, by getting their chosen collar shop to make them as close to what Coblentz has been making from the start. We stay totally away from the soft Euro style collars, as the are hot, massy, and unnecessary. I have several videos on both my pages about the soft Euro collars as well. If you are going to use a breast plate style harness - a standard, soft curved one will do just fine. For a good look at the collars - here is one of the "needing improvement" collars that were sold for years to people with minis - side by side with one of our Coblentz collars, and a photo of the poorly made one by itself. Easy to see the lack of quality, and the big front rim always made them look really huge on a little mini! The Coblentz collars are simply a far superior quality collar. Do lots of research, and I do mean lots!!!
     

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  10. Sep 1, 2019 #10

    Patty's Pony Place

    Patty's Pony Place

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    An additional note on how much they can pull. This is a loaded subject as well, and just recently, I was commenting on a post on FB about it - me suggesting the rule of thumb as equal to - up to 1.5 times their weight. There were several on the thread that pushed two to three times their weight, which is far, far, far too much in 98% of the driving scenarios you can envision. As photos and especially videos "talk" - I am going to do a mock-up video of my little 245 pound Tonka to a wagon that we have, with my hubby sitting in it to show what 3 times Tonka's 245 pounds looks like!! I am not sure where people get the idea that these little horses should pull three times their weight - but not one that has ever said it - has SHOWN it - so I intend to show it!
     
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  11. Sep 2, 2019 #11

    plaid mare

    plaid mare

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    Mindy your harness is beautiful, I love the blue accents. I want to join you all in the driving someday, but for now I'll just enjoy the education.
     
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  12. Sep 2, 2019 #12

    MindySchroder

    MindySchroder

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    I think you will really enjoy driving! It's such a blast, especially when the pony is enjoying it as well :)
     
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  13. Sep 4, 2019 #13

    plaid mare

    plaid mare

    plaid mare

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    I can't wait!
     
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