Monday, March 5, 2018

Harnessing up

I was discussing driving with a good friend of mine, actuallly a blogger friend many of you may know- MiKael of Rising Rainbow. We were discussing the whole process of harnessing the horse and putting them to the cart. Obviously this gave me an idea for a blog post or a small series of them.

We were also discussing how at the first Darby I entered with Katman, I drove down the hill to find Gary G. and have him look over things for our safety check. That. poor. poor. man! I'm sure he had seen a lot of things up to that point, but I doubt he had any idea what he was about to see that day. There were only 3 things he didn't 'adjust' or reconfigure on my turnout. The first one being my bridle and reins and the second being the traces on the singletree and the third being the girth and tug straps. Every other buckle on that harness got undone and redone. This one taken up, that one let down. This strap unwrapped and rewrapped...

We had been driving since March and this was mid to late August so apparently we did it horribly wrong for a few months. Gary asked if Kat would be ok with him changing things up? Sure! Stupid me I sat there on the cart for a minute before jumping down to see what Gary was doing and How he was doing it. I mean what good was it for him to fix everything if I wasn't going to pay attention enough now to look at what was going on?

Let's start with the harness parts and putting them on. With harnessing up and putting the horse to a cart or carriage, it is always good to establish and have a routine. Harness parts go on and come off in order, straps and buckles are done and undone in order, that way nothing is 'missed'. I keep my harness in a footlocker. These are available for around $20 and the first one lasted about 5 years. As I take the harness parts off the pony and put it in, next time it comes out in the order needed to go on.

Yes I need to clean My harness and the box. That is getting done this week.

My reins and bridle are always in on top. Last to go in, first to come out. The $1 store has some over the door hooks that come with either 1 or 2 hooks. These are great because they are portable and don't cost a lot. I have extras for bridlles, long lines, halters, etc. and they don't break the bank. The single hook style is good for the bridle, the two hooks good for the reins. I hang these up while I put the rest of the harness on.

The part that goes around the girth area is actually called the harness saddle. The tugs are attached to this and the shafts of the cart go thru the tugs. I used pads to keep things clean so the saddle pad goes on followed by the saddle and crupper. I buckle the girth snug, but not tight. It doesn't need to be tight while I'm still putting everything else on. Then we need to fasten the crupper in place.

Yes Little Man has a lot of dapples going on.

Many of these have buckles on both sides, some have only one buckle and if yours doesn't have a buckle at all, it might be time for an upgrade. I do body wok with my horses and one of the things in this is pressure points under the tail. I do this and as they lift their tail, I can slip the crupper into place and let them relax as I buckle it.

Next out of the box is the breastcollar and traces. Before removing the breastcollar, I wrap my traces around the neck and tuck the ends in by the buckles. This keeps everything neat and makes putting it all on and taking it off, much quicker and easier. Holding the breastcollar with the actual breastcollar towards their side with the mane, I unsnap the lead where they are tied, slip the breastcollar and traces over their head, replace the snap tying them and slide everything down into place. As I turn the breastcollar, the mane will lay flat underneath. Hair rubbing the wrong way under tack is annoying to the horse.  

The next piece to go on is the breeching. This is fairly easy because it is rather lightweight. Set it up over the rump, slipping the backstrap thru the keepers to hold it in place. Pull the tail thru, over the breeching strap.

Your reins come next. Slide the bit ends thru the turrets, leaving enough to reach the bit. Then slip the very end under the backstrap. Take the rest of the reins and slip them thru the end of the rein under the loop. Pulling the end snug, holds it all in place. Last comes the bridle and buckling the reins to the bit. Now you're ready to put your horse/pony to the cart.


Kalin said...

This is great! I've always wanted to learn how to drive but have been rather intimidated by knowing next to nothing.

Miss Izzy said...

Somehow I think I've done this before....