Theres a reason we should practice in private

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Well-Known Member
Apr 26, 2006
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The Exact Center of CA, 3,158 mi from the north p
I went out today and was going to hitch up Phebe for the first time to the new cart. We did our ground driving and everything was going so well that I decided to put her to the cart. down the street from us is a public arena thats perfect size for driving. so I loaded up the cart and horses an away we went. because its rodeo weekend I thought we would have the place to our selves. I was right it was deserted. I unloaded the cart and horses and started harnessing phebe. this is about when the first wave of kids showed up, The baseball tournement had ended.[ they use the arenas parking lot as an overflow]. I waited till this had thinned out before putting her to the cart. Because this was her first time in this cart I had to make several adjustments before I was happy. to start with I had her to far back in the cart and she was using the shaft ends to scratch her neck. before I could do anything about that she got the shaft end cought in her throat latch. I was hooking the traces and the shafts went up! I at first couldnt figure out how she was doing this. I thought she was holding them up in her mouth. Its about this time that the first wave of people came back from the rodeo.[ the kids rodeo had ended ]. So I untangled her and should have gone home then because everyone that has a horse was there to show off theirs to some friends and of course pet the minis. we did make a couple of feeble passes, but with all the comotion she was already about to jump out of her skin. So I ended it there. Next trip out Ill try to get some pictures! she was so wound up and we had so much extra help that I didnt even try to take pics. For those that know harnessing, when I had her set with the traces tight and about two fingers space between the breeching and her[ I have thick fingers ] there was aprox 12 inches between her and the single tree. is there any advantage to moving her back? If theres any advantage to moving back I could cut back the shafts and move the foot loops and gain 5 or 10 in. the slots in my traces are in 5 in increments. what do you think? DR.
Twelve inches sounds about right DR but pictures (eventually) would help those of us who are measurement-challenged.
There is an advantage in having the horse closer to the cart (sharper turn radius, for one thing) but you want to make sure there is NO chance of them striking the basket with a hoof and that they have plenty of room between their rump and the singletree. A lot of it depends on the design of your cart and the stride of your horse; hence the picture thing. But generally 12" sounds good.

Good for you for being sensible in taking Phebe home when things weren't going right! You may have prevented a spectacular accident.

Good for you for being sensible in taking Phebe home when things weren't going right! You may have prevented a spectacular accident.


I agree, you were very wise!!
I would always practice at home first. Make sure she is use to the cart in quiet. So you know if she's agreeable or not. Then take them out to more public places. Its a lot for a horse to take in all at once and for a greenie, I would suggest a more quiet place to start her out at.

I use to live by an areana and I would watch to find the perfect time when no one was around and then take them. Seems the big horse people are quite rude when you're going around on the cart and it spooks their precious horse! And then they would try and cut me off. Needless to say, I got peeved quick! So I took my lessons there when no one else was for the peace and quiet.
First and foremost is safety -- were you by yourself? I really hope not. If something were to happen, strangers wouldn't be my first choice to be there to help. Did you have the hold-downs tight enough? The shafts should not have been able to move up at all.

Regardless, you did the right thing by going home.
thanks all I did have some help, altho she wasnt that much help. she was more intrested in all the other goings on. I did have the hold downs snug but not tight yet.[ we were still making adjustments]. and Ill try again wed and get some pics. Ill put my big yard stick in the pic so you can see how far from the horse to the single tree. DR.

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