Shaft Length

Discussion in 'Driving Miniature Horses' started by Jules, Apr 17, 2012.

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  1. Apr 17, 2012 #1

    Jules

    Jules

    Jules

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    What size shaft do you use for your mini and what is their height/length?

    My gelding is 38- 39-ish inches (measurements depend on how still he stands- lol) long and I have ordered 51" shafts on a new cart.

    I currently have a training cart and have had him stand in the shafts but not actually hitched as he is still in green and just not ready yet, so it is hard to get an idea of an ideal length at this point. As I understand it, is it add 10-12 inches to their body length to work out shaft length?

    It is a loooooong way to freight a cart so I thought it was worth triple checking with you lovely LB'ers..

    I have no plans on getting another horse at this time, but *if* I ever did, I would probably get a similar or marginally bigger sized horse (my boy is 34.5 inches tall).
     
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  2. Apr 17, 2012 #2

    New mini

    New mini

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    I am also interested in this. I just got my Pacific Carriage Smart Cart. With the cart I had before the shafts were 46 inches but now I have the Smart Cart shafts at 43 inches. I can legthen or shorten these shafts. The shafts come to the point of his shoulder but I am wondering if I need to order again what wold I order? My mini is 35.5 inches
     
  3. Apr 17, 2012 #3

    TMR

    TMR

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    A horses rear should be 8-10 inches from singletree for stride length. For a show cart measure from front point of shoulder to back hamstring and add 8-10 inches. You can look at pictures and see where the shafts sit on a horse and measure accordingly. Just remember the 8-10 inches gap to the singletree.
     
  4. Apr 17, 2012 #4

    Jules

    Jules

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    Thanks.

    I had him in my training jogger cart (standing in shafts only) again and got DH to take some quick pics. He does look too far forward at 51" shaft length :/ The cart I have is cheapo and very light and doesn't have a single tree (will make one though) , but measuring back to where it should be just has my little pony looking waaay out in front and a bit 'lost'.

    I am now thinking that 2-3 inches less would make a big difference to look and functionality on my new cart.
     
  5. Apr 17, 2012 #5

    Minimor

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    I drive 33" to 38" horses (and they aren't long bodied) and my EE cart has 54" shafts. I consider it perfect. Yes, the 33" fellow could likely go fine in the same cart with 48" shafts, but for the 34" & taller horses I definitely prefer the 54" shafts.

    My smart carts, used on the same horses, have 44" shafts (or could go shorter) and that is plenty long for those horses. Those shafts even works with ponies that are 39-41" (measured as a Mini at the last mane hair) though my EE cart with its 54" shafts wouldn't quite fit those ponies.

    It does very much depend on the style of the cart, especially the shape of the basket. The smart cart basket has a different angle than the typical EE training cart, so there is a lot more heel room for the horse. That means shafts can be shorter.
     
  6. Apr 18, 2012 #6

    Jules

    Jules

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    Thanks Minimor, I appreciate your response.

    I am getting a wooden pleasure show cart from a Silver Penney Farm, I live in another country so am fretting a bit about having it 'right'. Still undecided really, but 51" is seeming a reasonabe shaft length.
     
  7. Apr 18, 2012 #7

    Sandee

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    If you have the opportunity to get it made to your specs., then that's great. Most show carts are 48" shafts for mini or 54" for the bigger minis. I have 32" & 34" boys that fit and look nice in the 48" shafts but my one guy that's 37.5" and a high stepper is just TOO close to me in 48" shafts. He really needs the 54" shafts but we already had 60" so that's what we use and he looks o.k.
     
  8. Apr 18, 2012 #8

    earthchild

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    Where should the shafts end toward the front of the horse? How do you tell if the shafts are too low or high?
     
  9. Apr 18, 2012 #9

    Jules

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    Earthchild, I am newish to driving, but from what I have learned and seen in my driving journey so far- the shafts should not be past the point of the shoulder and you should aim to have the shafts level in a well-fitting horse and cart combo.

    I am seeing that it is rather wonderful that they are being made exactly to my specs. I am feeling extremely happy with the vendor who has been very wise (muuuch wiser than me ;) ) in choosing the 51" given my horses' measurements. I couldn't be happier with the service and patience from Pam of Silver Penney Farm. I can't wait to get my little cart!
     
  10. Apr 19, 2012 #10

    earthchild

    earthchild

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    Jules, thanks for the advice. I guess I need to take a pic of my mini and post and get advice.
     
  11. Apr 23, 2012 #11

    hobbyhorse23

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    Traditionally the end of your shafts should be at the point of the shoulder, but bent (gig) shafts such as the Smart Cart has will sometimes end further back. That's okay because having the end of the shafts bent down and away from the horse keeps them from getting poked in the shoulder as they turn the cart which is what would happen if you did that with straight shafts.

    What constitutes shafts being too high or too low depends on the style of your cart. Show carts for instance are meant to sit low behind the horse and the shafts are supposed to go uphill to the shoulder. Providing the shafts are long enough for the horse's stride and wide enough for the animal to bend, those carts will fit just about anything! On carts with gig shafts they should sit at whatever height makes the straight part of the shaft near the back sit level with the ground. That will probably put the bent front part of the shaft up higher than Americans are used to seeing, but that's what's correct. Here's an example:

    [​IMG]

    On any cart except a show vehicle the general measure of correct tug height is having the seat sit level. If the seat is tipping down towards the horse you either need to raise your tugs to set the shafts more level, or if they're already as high as the breastcollar then the cart is most likely too big for the horse. Here's an example of shafts that are both much too wide and also adjusted too low. (This was my first show with Kody and a borrowed cart back in 2004. I'd only had him a month! [​IMG] ) See how everything is tipping slightly forward and the shafts are way below the traces?

    [​IMG]

    Here's a picture that shows how wide the shafts were on him. I could have let out my traces and raised the tugs but there's no way to fix that width issue. Keep in mind the shafts look level here but that's because he's levitating in that canter stride! LOL

    [​IMG]

    If your seat tips back excessively you either need to lower the tugs or buy a different style of cart in the case of some wooden EE's I've seen where the shafts come out far below the seat on a shallow foot basket. Those are impossible to adjust correctly and drive me nuts! [​IMG]

    Here's an example of shafts that are a smidge too high. It looked right when I was hitching him but I forgot I'd moved the tugs up for the last time I'd driven the pair and since the right shaft on my cart is bent upwards a bit, the whole thing ended up too high and the seat tipped back. Makes a great example photo though! [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The general guideline is that your shafts should run through the horse's center of gravity and the line of your traces should hide behind it if possible. EE's are hard because with the singletree mounted on top of horizontal shafts a good line of draft is almost impossible, but the closer you can come to the breastcollar, breeching and shafts all being on one plane the better off you are.

    Here's an EE cart where everything is adjusted correctly. This is a friend's turnout I borrowed at the National Drive in Kentucky in 2009.

    [​IMG]

    Jules, make sure you order your cart with the singletree below the crossbar instead of above it! Pam can do that and it will greatly improve your turnout.

    Leia
     
  12. Apr 23, 2012 #12

    susanne

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    Another option with some carts if the shafts are slightly too high or too low is a different size wheel. With an EE, another possibility is a lift kit, which raises the entire basket and shafts. Not answers to every situation, but something to consider.
     
  13. Apr 23, 2012 #13

    Jules

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    I did ask Pam to mount the singletree underneath the cross bar rather than on top as I had seen some great photos from Targetsmom showing the improvement it made to the line of draft, but Pam said she would prefer not to as she wasn't so sure it would work. She said I could easily change it once the cart was here. I just hope it doesn't leave an ugly screw mark on my carts finish when I do it. It is a loooong way to ship a cart.

    That was an absolutely briliant post Leia [​IMG]

    So informative and will provide a good resource for drivers both now and in the future (trust me I have done my fair share of old post trawling in my thirst for knowledge [​IMG] )
     
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  14. Apr 23, 2012 #14

    Jules

    Jules

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    I also took a bit of a gamble on wheel size with the cart and sized up to the 26" wooden, hoping it plays out ok for fit [​IMG]
     
  15. Apr 28, 2012 #15

    disneyhorse

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    51" seems reasonable. I drove a lot of B minis in my Jerald with 54" shafts.
     
  16. Jun 19, 2012 #16

    Jules

    Jules

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    I was just searching for the thread with the images of the too wide shafts and totally forgot they were on a thread that I started- lol.
     
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