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Adell Equine

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I want to know just how bad a job I did on getting Hazel in harness.
I do want to learn to do it right.

Thanks

 

Margo_C-T

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That's an unusual looking harness; can you tell us a bit more about it? It doesn't seem to have a crupper, nor actual tug loops or breeching holdback straps... to me, it looks sort of like half of a pairs harness??

Best I can see in the photo provided...the shafts are WAY too low, and your donkey appears to be pulling with the harness saddle-i.e., bearing what appears to be a lot of weight over her back via that 'saddle'...which may need a pad, since it appears to be 'treeless'. Is there someone actually IN the cart in the photo? If so, and the cart is properly balanced, there should not appear to be so much weight on the donkey's back.(An empty cart will actually put MORE weight on the animal's back via the harness saddle--but of course, you shouldn't be 'driving' with the cart empty!) The traces appear somewhat 'slack', even though the donkey is moving; this should not happen, as the animal should 'pull' via the traces. The breast collar is very narrow; not as comfortable for the animal, especially if the cart is fully occupied, and/or the terrain isn't level, or the ground is heavy, deep, or soft.

The bridle really should have a browband, to keep the crown from 'sliding back', leaving the blinders/blinkers improperly positioned. The breeching *could* be just a bit higher, though with the donkey conformation, that might be just where it 'needs' to be...certainly, it should be no lower!

Maybe you could describe or show better photos of the harness, and the configuration of the cart? It appears that the cart might even be too small for the donkey, as the shafts are about level in the pic, yet it they were higher, it would mean a rather extreme upward slant, IMO....we can probably tell more from more decription and pics...

Margo
 

Adell Equine

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I can't really tell you that much about it. I found a lady that was selling Hazel and I asked if she had a cart and harness that she would also sell. She said yes. I bought it. This is the 2nd time we have had it on her. The lady before us said Hazel was green broke started.

Mom and our friend both have a leather harness. I can try those on her. I don't have any other photos. I wasn't really thinking that I would ask for help, but then I found out this photo shows off the harness.

Can you tell me what to do about the shafts? Would larger wheels help that?
 

garyo

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We are still very novice drivers but I see a few mistakes I recognize (because I've made them). IMO you should shorten the tug loop to make the shafts higher. A higher cart might be better as the shafts are level as Margo pointed out. You should fasten the strap that goes across her wither to hold the breast strap a little longer so that the breast strap is not on her neck. The pads would also be a good idea. We have gotten saddle and breast pads at a reasonable price and I always feel that they make the harness much more comfortable for our two. Your traces do look very loose. If you are actually driving in the picture can you tighten them at the singletree (put it through the next hole?)

I love mini donks and miss the two we sold. I hope you and she are having a lot of fun.
 

Alex

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Personally I would ditch that harness and inest in one with padding areound the surcingle and het one with actual shaft loops.

Bigger tires wouldnt help that, you need to fasten the strap that is connected to the sircingle up a few nothches. You need to shortn the traces, and lower the breast collar so she is actually propelling from her chest muscles not her neck.

I dont know if its the picture, but I dont even see the crupper strap, the strap from the surcingle to the crupper. Tighten your crupper so it is around the horses dock. The breeching looks alright to me, but why is it connected to the same spot as the shaft "strap".

The biggest harnessing mistake you have is they wayyy to low shafts, low breastcollor, and that your donkey isnt pulling from the fron, she is pulling from the back, surcingle.

 

jbrat

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It looks like your check rein is attached to the browband or blinders. I've recently removed all my check reins and drive with out them.

I think Larger wheels would help raise your cart. (If not, someone please explain.)

But there is alot of tweaking yet to be done on the harness fit as mentioned. Here's a good harnessing link, maybe it will help.

http://www.regencymini.com/booklet/harness1.shtml

Hazel looks like a good fun Driving buddy.

Good luck ~ Enjoy driving:)
 

rabbitsfizz

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Check reins are a no-no with Donkeys- you can see she is not a happy Monkey by the cant of her ears!!

I would also strongly suggest you ditch this harness, basically it is cheap and nasty and not a correct...well, anything, basically!!

*[SIZE=8pt]sorry!!*[/SIZE]

If you want to persevere you need to get a loop and a tug stop fixed to the shafts- you can buy them on a lot of web sites and you can drill and bolt them, or, if you are handy with a welding torch you can weld them on, mine are welded, but they came on the carts...not sure why a cart would be made without them, but there you go.

You need to play around with the breast band, it is a bit high, but this is a difficult thing to get right on Donks, so it needs fiddling with, it also needs tons of padding...I hate these cheap strappy harnesses!!..Oops.... *[SIZE=8pt] sorry again, not your fault, I know...[/SIZE]* ditto the saddle, LOADS of padding needed.

Breaching should attach to the shafts further back, Saddle (tugs) should attach to the shafts in line with the saddle itself....oh, hang on, I can see a loop on the shaft...what the heck is that doing there??

What you really need is someone there in the yard with you, who knows about harnessing...any chance of that??

When you have padding under the saddle it will pull the tugs higher, so hold off adjusting them...take the tugs out of the loop on the shafts and put it straight down from the saddle..OK??

Heighten the shafts, and run the traces under the tugs, (not through them) and anything else in the way and straight to the swingle tree.

Tighten the traces until they take up pressure as soon as the animal starts to move forward, the animal MUST pull from the traces, NOT from the saddle.

Fiddle with the breast strap until the Moke looks happy.

Throw the check rein away!!!

Make sure the blinders are well clear of her eyes- a lot of Donkeys are driven in open bridles, over here very few are driven in blinders, might be worth asking her which she preferred?

A lot of Donkey Harnesses have a buckle at the top of the bridle so that you can open the bridle and get it on without pulling the ears through, my Mokes HATED that with a vengeance but when I made them bridles that opened between the ears they were OK.

That is a very nice Donkey you have there, and she looks ideal for driving...with a bit of time and effort you will get this sorted, so please do persevere.
 
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MiLo Minis

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I wholeheartedly agree you need to get yourself a new harness but whatever you do don't shorten the traces by moving them another hole on the singletree. That would put her further into the shafts and they would stick way out in front of the point of the shoulder instead of just a little too far as they are now. You could cut them shorter and make new holes.

I think you have done a relatively decent job of harnessing with what you have to work with.

That loop Jane is seeing on the shafts is actually the footmans loop for the holdback straps to go through. It is not really intended to be a tug stop but with this harness you do need one as it doesn't have any wrap straps. This one doesn't work as you can see it is pulling the tug back too far - it should hang vertically along the backband. Your breast collar could hang a little lower - just above the point of her shoulder and then it wouldn't interfere with her throat.

Take that check off as it isn't on properly anyway so is nothing more than an irritation anyway, if necessary cut it off as you really have no need for it. Make sure to run the traces behind the tugs and inside the holdback straps.

You most certainly need either a new cart or larger wheels as this one is just too low for your donkey. Larger wheels will raise it up to the level you need. Set your cart up on blocks till the shafts are at the height you need them (relatively centered on her body) then measure from the center of the hub to the ground to see what size wheel you need.
 

Slinkky

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I agree with MiLo. I think you've done a very good job with what you have to work with.

Where do you live? Maybe you are close to someone on the forum that can give you a hand.

It's worth a try.
 
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Champ

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Hazel is definitely a cutie


The only suggestion I have is if there is a a driving instructor in your area maybe you could take a few lessons and have the instructor show you how to fit the harness as well as teach you how to drive.....driving can be VERY dangerous and I wouldn't want you or Hazel to get hurt
 

Adell Equine

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I think I am going to be printing this off so that I can read it over and over again.

I am not sure if there is someone in my area that could help. But I will start my looking. Would people that drive drafts work? I mean is harness a harness?

I have a millwright as a father in law, so I think we can weld what we need to. I will try to get that worked out before the next drive as well.

I am going to put Hazel in moms leather harness and take some more photos - I hope you all don't mind me posting some more.

I think I really really lucked out getting Hazel. She is a dream to have. I know she doesn't have much driving under her belt, but she still seems to give me that look like "what are you doing?" I know if I can just get my act together we will be a great team.
 
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barnbum

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I think I really really lucked out getting Hazel. She is a dream to have. I know she doesn't have much driving under her belt, but she still seems to give me that look like "what are you doing?" I know if I can just get my act together we will be a great team.
I know way less than you--it's like another language just for me to read the suggestions
, but I just wanted to say what a neat attitude you have! I love your words in the quote.
 

MiLo Minis

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On a whole HARNESS is HARNESS. If you can find someone that knows how to harness a horse to a cart they should be able to help you out.

Your Hazel is indeed a treasure if she is willing to put up with your ineptness as a beginner.
Do be careful not to take advantage of her good nature though. It is only fair to her to make it as comfortable as possible for her in harness or one of these days she is likely to teach you a lesson you don't want to learn the hard way. Before asking her to work fix the existing problems. Most importantly - the height of the cart which is making it harder for her to pull as the draft is wrong, and the length of the traces as that too is making it harder for her.

Feel free to post pictures of her in your other harness and I, for one, will help you all I can.
 

rabbitsfizz

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It's not that we don't mind having more pictures...more that we insist that you post them...also, have you tried the Donkey Forum??

Lots of people on there would like to see Hazel, I know.
 

Bunnylady

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It's not that we don't mind having more pictures...more that we insist that you post them...also, have you tried the Donkey Forum??

Lots of people on there would like to see Hazel, I know.
Would that be the UK-based Donkey Forum? I don't know, Adell Equine might need a translator there. A lot of "us 'Murcans" have a little trouble with "Britishisms." For example, I keep expecting someone to ask you what a "Moke" is. I don't think I've ever heard anyone call a donkey that in this country!


Just kidding. I for one am really glad for this thread, right where it is. I am hoping to teach Betsy to drive, and I have picked up a lot. Okay, so Betsy's a mule, and we have to do our own brand of translating, but there have been many things that ring true with us. For example, that business about bridles and donkeys'ears. I found out by trial and error that unbuckling the cheekstrap and putting the top part of the bridle on (kind of like putting on a hat, ) then putting the bit in her mouth, made her fuss much less than trying to put a bridle on the usual way.

Following this thread with rapt attention!
 

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