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MiniCrown or Pacific Smart Cart?

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KellyAlaska

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Hi Everyone,

I have my cart selection down to the MiniCrown by Bellcrown and the Pacific Smart Cart by Pacific Carriage Company. I have my husbands approval to pick either cart and originally the Mini Crown base price of $1795 was the only cart that was in my price range but after adding on the upgrades to the BellCrown the price has now jumped to the range of the Pacific Smart Cart (or maybe a little more) .

I would love to hear what people have to say about both carts. I am hoping to make a decision by next week!!!

Help,

Kelly

Links to Carts:

http://www.pacificcarriage.com/smart_cart/smart_cart.html

http://www.bellcrowncarriagesusa.com/minicrown.html
 

Elizabeth Pannill

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I have a Pacific Smart cart and love it . Plan to add the patent dash and the new fenders now available to it so for shows it will look even better. For a B size mini I think the Pacific is your best choice. If you have an A the Bellcrown might be better as it is a little lighter weight . The balance of the Smart Cart is wonderful so many A size minis do just fine with it. There are also so many ways to adjust the Smart Cart to fit different size horses and drivers . I don't think all those adjustments are available in other mini carts . There is a used Smart Cart advertised on another carriage driving list today -located in California -they don't come up for sale very often -another testimony to how much people like them !

Elizabeth in Texas
 

RhineStone

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I don't have any experience with either, but both come with a great reputation! Good choice!

Myrna
 

ClickMini

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I have owned an Smart Cart and just purchased the Bellcrown Aerocrown, which I received last week. What are you planning to do, and what size/type horse do you use? How you answer will impact how I answer. They are both fantastic!
 

KellyAlaska

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I have a Pacific Smart cart and love it . Plan to add the patent dash and the new fenders now available to it so for shows it will look even better. For a B size mini I think the Pacific is your best choice. If you have an A the Bellcrown might be better as it is a little lighter weight . The balance of the Smart Cart is wonderful so many A size minis do just fine with it. There are also so many ways to adjust the Smart Cart to fit different size horses and drivers . I don't think all those adjustments are available in other mini carts . There is a used Smart Cart advertised on another carriage driving list today -located in California -they don't come up for sale very often -another testimony to how much people like them !

Elizabeth in Texas
Elizabeth,

Thank you so much for your reply. I looked for that used Smart Cart ad and was not able to find it. I would love to purchase one used if I could find one.

Thanks,

Kelly
 

KellyAlaska

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I have owned an Smart Cart and just purchased the Bellcrown Aerocrown, which I received last week. What are you planning to do, and what size/type horse do you use? How you answer will impact how I answer. They are both fantastic!
We are planning on trail driving and doing some small shows. When we move back to the lower 48 we will probably look into some CDEs. My Mini is a B size and about 36 inches at the withers. The shaft loops sit about 30 inches from the ground. (So with the MiniCrown I have to get the larger upgraded wheels for him). You can see a photo of him in an earlier post I made a few weeks ago titled Our New Driving Horse.

Thanks,

Kelly
 

ClickMini

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Since he is larger and you are not wishing to do CDEs right away, the Smart Cart would probably be a fantastic buy for you. Check shipping rates as I believe you will probably get it cheaper from the manufacturer than shipped from the person selling it in California.

I will say I am quite impressed with the Bellcrown Aerocrown for folks who want to be competitive in Combined Driving. The advantage of being able to drop the floorboards for the marathon, especially for water hazards, just can't be overlooked!
 

KellyAlaska

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Since he is larger and you are not wishing to do CDEs right away, the Smart Cart would probably be a fantastic buy for you. Check shipping rates as I believe you will probably get it cheaper from the manufacturer than shipped from the person selling it in California.

I will say I am quite impressed with the Bellcrown Aerocrown for folks who want to be competitive in Combined Driving. The advantage of being able to drop the floorboards for the marathon, especially for water hazards, just can't be overlooked!
I am so thankful that I can get an opinion from someone that has experienced both! I was wondering whether you think the Torsion Axle or the Air Bag suspension gives a better ride. I am about 125lbs and most of these carts feel really rough to me. When I was learning to drive we practiced in an easy entry with springs and it was such a rough ride! I am looking for the best ride available on dirt/gravel roads and pastures.

Thanks,

Kelly
 

RhineStone

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That style of Easy Entry is probably one of the worst rides available in a mini cart. Comparing that to the carts you are looking at is apples to oranges. Those "springs" might as well not even be there, and you probably get more cushion from the seat foam than the coil springs. Other forms of springs produce a much better ride.

Myrna
 

MiniHGal

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Hi Kelly,

I too have both carts and LOVE both of them. Well, technically I have the Aerocrown, not the MiniCrown.... I don't really think you can go wrong with either. In fact, those are the only carts I use to drive in right now because they are comfy, solid, and not so fancy that I fear to drive in them every day (like my show cart).

Both balance extremely well. Pacific is more readily adjustable and has more adjustment points, so better if you are driving multiple horses of different sizes. Bellcrown is a little finer, a little more stripped down. I like the look of the marathon shafts better than Pacifics. Both can have lowered draft (easier to pull if you have the right set up), but the bellcrown comes with it, whereas you need to do some adjusting for the Pacific.

As far as torsion vs air bag....Air bag is amazing and you can adjust it for everything! The torsion axles are nice, for sure, much better than most other carts, but the air bags provide an exceptional ride. You will probably be happy with either, but I recommend the air bags.

Pacific can fit larger people (more adjustable floor/seat) in general than the MiniCrown.

Here is my Pacific, set low for marathon type driving (you can also adjust it so the seat is higher, above the wheels):



And my AeroCrown, on it's first drive. I don't have a better picture for you...this is the only one I have access to right now--Sorry!



Good luck in your decision making!

Breanna
 

KellyAlaska

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Good luck in your decision making!

Breanna

Breanna,

Thank you so much for your post I was already leaning towards the Smart Cart and your post just reinforced that. I LOVE your horses they are beautiful! What size Mini is that in your Smart Cart picture? I really like the look of the larger wheels. I agree with you about the marathon shafts I do like the Bellcrown look better. Again thank you for your post.


Kelly
 

MiniHGal

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Hi Kelly,

The mini with the Smart Cart is 34" at the last mane hair, but 35" at the withers. The other is 36" at the withers. So both somewhat larger, but not maximum height.

Hope that helps! Enjoy your new car and horse, when they come!

Breanna
 

hobbyhorse23

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I have also ridden in both carts across rough ground and while the Bellcrown is my preference for the littler refined guys (33") the Pacific is a fine choice for a larger or sturdier horse and is a very nice cart indeed. I think you'd be happy with one! I weigh even less than you do so I know about the rough ride from carts that are designed for heavier people.
I have my torsion axles adjusted for my weight when I buy them new and that solves the problem but the air bags can be adjusted if you want to take a passenger or something and that would be a really nice feature.

Leia
 

shorthorsemom

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I have also ridden in both carts across rough ground and while the Bellcrown is my preference for the littler refined guys (33") the Pacific is a fine choice for a larger or sturdier horse and is a very nice cart indeed. I think you'd be happy with one! I weigh even less than you do so I know about the rough ride from carts that are designed for heavier people.
I have my torsion axles adjusted for my weight when I buy them new and that solves the problem but the air bags can be adjusted if you want to take a passenger or something and that would be a really nice feature.

Leia
Is there a weight difference between the two which makes you choose the bellcrown over the Pacific for smaller horses? On line they look to be about the same weight. If you wanted a cart that could be used for both 33 and 36 inch horses, would the Pacific be the better choice? It looks to be the most adjustable and looks to be a good choice if you are looking for a cart that can be used for two different size horses. Or is it the difference in the draft between the two carts? Just trying to learn more about carts while I am looking at different models and trying hopelessly to make a decision on something.
 

hobbyhorse23

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shorthorsemom said:
Is there a weight difference between the two which makes you choose the bellcrown over the Pacific for smaller horses? On line they look to be about the same weight. If you wanted a cart that could be used for both 33 and 36 inch horses, would the Pacific be the better choice? It looks to be the most adjustable and looks to be a good choice if you are looking for a cart that can be used for two different size horses. Or is it the difference in the draft between the two carts?
Both carts balance very well and therefore feel pretty weightless to the horse on level ground, but for me personally I feel the Bellcrown is a little lighter. Especially the Aerocrown, and especially when you take off the floorboards! Most of what I prefer about the Bellcrown for smaller horses however is that the cart looks more refined to me with narrower tubing and less visual bulk (barring that big marathon seat, which I'm not fond of.) For refined little dudes like I have that's important. Breanna's mares are much more powerful, much broader than either of my boys. (I've been lucky enough to drive them- I actually took that photo of Peekaboo in the Pacific!
) I'm also a very small person so for us the lighter the framework of the cart appears, the more in-scale the picture. The Bellcrown is my presentation vehicle so I was quite concerned with that.

Most of my preference for the Bellcrown stems from the look I wanted- I wanted gig shafts, low draft, a low center of gravity, and I custom-ordered mine with a mahoghany-stained oak seat back and dash to compliment Kody's coat color. I couldn't do that with the Pacific. Turbo would probably look fantastic with a Smart Cart as he's going to be a little more formal, a little fancier, and he'd look awesome with a patent dash and rein rail and all that stuff. I think he'll look very nice with the Bellcrown too however and I'm sticking with what I have.

The Pacific is definitely more adjustable and the larger your second horse, the more you might want to look at it. A 36" horse IMO isn't going to have any trouble fitting a Bellcrown sized for a 33" one, the shafts will just sit up a little higher. I know if I'm regularly driving two horses in one cart I'm not going to want to have to adjust a bunch of stuff with wrenches every time I hitch up; I either want two perfectly-fitted carts or one that can do double-duty without a lot of fixing! That's not a knock at either cart, just me admitting that I wouldn't use that adjustability past the first fitting anyway.
It's nice to have though!

As in anything, pick what you, personally, like. For my particular horse I preferred the look of the Bellcrown. For others the Smart Cart is stellar. What do you like?

Leia
 

shorthorsemom

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Leia, I honestly have no idea what I like. I like them all for different reasons. LOL. My current driving boy I am learning on is around 33 inches, right now he is a bit wide, he has short legs and he has more body depth than length of leg. He is a good little man and has plenty of go. I don't know if I will ever show or do CDE, but I have interest in maybe heading that direction someday, right now I am just doing trail driving, learning cones, doing some round pen work and getting lessons to get me educated and gain experience. I have another mini I have to the ground driving stage. He is more refined, smaller build but a bit taller than my driving mini. I will not advance to the next stage with him until I feel confident that I am well educated and ready. Green on Green equals black and blue.

As you know my current cart is a meadowbrook but it is a bit heavy for my boy and not what I want for trail driving. I have longed for a hyperbike and plan to keep saving toward one, but for now my trainer is hesitant for me to have wings yet (due to lack of my experience and that my driving horse has only been my boy for 6 months and I am still learning what makes him tick.) She would like me to look seriously at either the bellcrown or the Pacific smart cart for now and keep saving for my hyperbike later. What I want is to keep the meadowbrook, sell it later, buy my hyperbike and start saving for the bellcrown or smart cart. Or, ditch the meadowbrook, buy the bellcrown or smart cart and save for the hyperbike LOL, I alway tend to do things in reverse, but want to pay attention to my trainer because she has years of experience, but I can also see myself tooling around the farm with the hyperbike because I used to ride and that seems so much like real riding. My boy seems very solid, doesn't flap easily, stands decent for entry but he wasn't always that way, we did some serious training on the stand since he came.
 

Minimor

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I went for the Smart Cart and am extremely pleased with these carts. (yes, after getting the first one we had to order a 2nd one so that we'd each have one.) We debated about trying some other vehicle instead of having 2 the same but there wasn't anything else that we really liked, and we were afraid that after having 1 Smart Cart we'd be disappointed in anything else.

For myself, I simply didn't like the look of the Aerocrown, so it wasn't even one that was in the running. Other people prefer them, so it's largely a matter of preference when choosing.
 

KellyAlaska

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Thank you to everyone that was so kind and posted your feedback about the MiniCrown and the Smart Cart. I purchased my Smart Cart today and it should be here in a few weeks. I am so excited! Finally my search is over and I can feel good about my purchase. I think this will be the perfect cart for our family. Now all I need is to get our little horse here and hit the trails. I will post a picture when he arrives.

Thanks,

Kelly
 

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