Talk to me about 4-wheeled vehicles

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Abby P

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So I have noticed that with my Hyperbike, which has a 48" wide wheel track and is of course a two-wheeled cart, that if I drive over rough ground Rowan gets pushed around by the shafts. I'm sure that there is some element of cart balance and my lack of skill at compensation as a driver that enters into this but it does seem to be just a fact of physics that with a two-wheeled cart those bumps will be transferred to the horse to some degree, and to a larger degree the wider apart those wheels are. Unfortunately, the trails I have to drive on are PRETTY bumpy in spots - lots of rocks, roots, places that cross over old stone walls, water crossings, etc. And the bumps are unpredictable enough that I think that even if I become really skilled at compensation, I won't be able to do that much about it.

I've been looking around at 4-wheeled carts and it seems like this option might be a lot easier on the horse for off-roading. Rowan is 37" and ideally should weigh around 275#. I weigh around 125. So I'm concerned about the weight - but have been eyeing the Dragonfly from Patty's Pony Place, which only weighs 115lbs. That's about 80lbs more than the Hyperbike but I wonder if the exact weight (within reason) matters less than how easy the cart is for the pony to pull? However, 115 + 125 still puts us near full draft and so I don't know about hills, mud, etc?

All thoughts welcome - do I rely on improving my driving skills and balance with the Hyperbike, and try to stay away from the bumpiest areas? Go to a 4-wheeler despite the weight (or just learn to drive a team, ha ha)? Or maybe an easy-entry with a narrower wheel track would be enough to help, although those weigh nearly as much as the Dragonfly. The Hyperbike is so great in so many ways (light weight, easy to store and move, comfortable to sit in), but I do feel like it would be better if I drove more on roads and fields than woods trails.
 

Cayuse

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The only thing I know about 4 wheeled vehicles is that they are supposed to be easier for the horse to pull as there is not much weight in the shafts as the cart balances itself on its 4 wheels. And that if it's not a "cut under" with the appropriate wheel clearance at the front of the cart, the cart is easier to tip over on a tight turn. I sent you a message, too.
 

diamond c

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with either a team or a single hitch 4 wheeled vehicle or wagon, there is very little weight on the animal. The shaves or team pole pivots up and down. Depending on the suspension ( if any ) obsorbs most of the bumps. The width of the tires will determine the drag though mud and heavy grass.
 

BSharpRanch

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So here is my experience with four wheel vehicles.

As a single horse, he is still between the shafts, the only difference is that in a two wheeled cart, the horse helps support the load of the cart and the shafts float in the shaft loops. In a four wheeled car, the shafts are carried in the shaft loops and float at the axel (or connection point of the vehicle), so the horse doesn't have to carry any or minimal (just weight of shafts) load.

However, if the front wheels of the four wheeler hit a rut or rock or dip, it can jerk the shafts side to side just like a two wheeled cart does.

I know I've noticed that motion with the team pole if one front wheel hits a rut or hole, the pile will go to that side.

Susan M.
 

Abby P

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Thank you all!

Will the risk of tipping and the bumps being transferred through the shafts or team pole still be as great with a 5th-wheel style where the front wheels pivot?

And does "easier to pull" (i.e. no weight on the saddle) make up for the additional weight of the vehicle to some degree?
 

Dragon Hill

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I'm following this thread because I would love to have a four wheeler one day and worry about the weight and stability also. I do have one question to ask you Abby, does your harness have a sliding backband? I'm not sure it would matter if both wheels hit a bump at the same time, but it seems like it would help when one wheel went over a bump and the other did not.
 

Abby P

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I'm not sure, I would have to check - but from what I can see it looks like the shafts are actually shoving him to the side, not that they are moving up and down and pulling on the loops.
 

Dragon Hill

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Oh, I've never noticed mine doing that but I'm not going over as rough terrain as you. I got the sliding backband because there's not much flat ground where I drive. Mindy Schroder has a Hyperbike, and goes over rough terrain maybe she can offer some insight. I think she said her Zorro went better without a sliding backband. I don't know if anyone here does rough terrain in a four wheeler. Maybe someone does CDEs? I'm sure there is someone here that can point you in the right direction on the weight issue.
 

Minimor

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You need to get a 2 wheel cart that has suspension for the entire cart. Many carts have springs under the seat. This helps the driver, but the horse still gets all the bumps from the cart itself. The smart cart, for example, had air bag suspension for the entire cart--the horse gets very little concussion from the cart.
 

Abby P

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I'm sure suspension would help! The Hyperbike is a bit different, I think the frame is supposed to have some give, so there are no springs or real suspension per se. Between that and the extra-wide wheel base - it's a bit rough on really lumpy ground.

Any suggestions for easy-entry carts with good suspension, or kits that can be applied to EE style carts to help the situation?
 

Willow Flats

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Abby P -
I recently got a new cart (not an ee) which I am trying to get the balance just right.
I have two easy entry carts and have to say that the C springs on my Kingston easy entry make that my most comfortable cart at this point.
 

Abby P

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Thanks! Does the C spring give suspension to the whole cart though, or just to the seat? I thought it was just the seat but I'm not totally clear on how it works.
 

Abby P

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Right, I did see that. It's definitely a thought - just get a Kingston and trick it out. It seems that the EE carts sold in the US only come with suspension in the larger sizes, not the mini sizes.
 

Willow Flats

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Abby wish I could be more help! I just got this Aerocrown cart and the seat has no suspension. I thought I had it balanced but sitting up straight at a trot the back rest bops me in the back with every step. I've moved the seat forward and back, moved the axel, raised the tugs up and down, shortened the shafts, you name it and I can't stop it from doing that. I've used a level while sitting in the seat to make sure the floor is level. Have my husband holding the shafts to test for weight while I am sitting in the cart. You name it.
Am I getting that bounce because now have hard wheels instead of the pneumatic rubber tires? But still the seat back should not be popping me in the back right?
I am waiting for a call from them to see if I should move the wheels forward. That is really the only thing I haven't tried yet. I am very frustrated. If anyone can offer any words of wisdom I sure would appreciate it!
 

Abby P

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Right, if the seat back is moving it means the front of the cart must be going up and down. You've sure already tried everything I could think of! Maybe start a new thread on it since it's possible some people who might have ideas aren't looking at this one? Also Mindy has a couple of posts on balancing EE carts in her blog, so maybe check those to see if there are other things you haven't tried yet?
 

Willow Flats

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Right, if the seat back is moving it means the front of the cart must be going up and down. You've sure already tried everything I could think of! Maybe start a new thread on it since it's possible some people who might have ideas aren't looking at this one? Also Mindy has a couple of posts on balancing EE carts in her blog, so maybe check those to see if there are other things you haven't tried yet?
I watched Mindy's video but this new cart isn't an ee. I have a cart just like the one she shows and I didn't have any issues balancing that cart. That's the one that's most comfortable so far. But I think this is going to be better once I get it right!
 

Dragon Hill

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I bought it used from someone who got it from Carolina Carriage Superstore in SC. It's supposed to be made by the Amish, so perhaps you can find a similar one closer to you.DJcart3.jpg
 

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