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Thread: Can I get some general advice about harness, driving, learning etc?

  1. #1

    Default Can I get some general advice about harness, driving, learning etc?

    I'm sat here having a day off work after being smashed into the arena fence again, and have hurt the same area of my back that I hurt years ago and has give me endless gip ever since. So thats it, I give up. No more riding Jimbob!

    However he does live off fresh air, and has had laminitis in the past, so he needs a job to do. I'm thinking of putting his breeding and those massive shoulders into good use and getting him pulling something. I'm thinking more old farm vehicles, chain harrows, logs, rolling the paddock etc. I don't particularly want to drive a carriage, as being in such an urban area its a challenge to go for a safe hack out, so I would have no where to drive to.

    So, what do I need to know about harness? Whats a good make/bad make, is the synthetic stuff any good?

    Any websites/books and things I can read up on? Anyone have experience on here of the type of work that heavy horses do? Is there any of it thats turned into a sport? I think log pulling is a sport, but I can't find much about it.

    Just to add I won't be doing this on my own, my YO has mucho experience of breaking to harness, and using horses in the fields. I just want to get swotted up! It's actually quite a relief to have made the decision He doesn't seem to like being ridden, I don't enjoy it anymore, he is staying with me for life anyway, so we just need to try and find a job he enjoys.
    Equine and pet photographer, Manchester
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  2. #2
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    I'm not sure if you could call horse ploughing a sport but it is certainly competitive (in a good humoured sort of way). Just think of all the jobs that horses used to do in and around the farm and woodlands, out on the roads hauling goods etc - the subject and variety of uses to which they were put was vast!

    Vast too is the amount of literature and other media that is available nowadays, it would be easy to write a book in answer to your questions. I'd start by looking for something that covers training the horse to harness - however by the sounds of it your YO is probably going to be your best source of hands on knowledge and help. Seek out and get to know the old ploughmen and horsemen or those that knew them, there are still some around who earned a living working horses on the land - IMHO it is they, or many of them, who knew the true meaning of horsemanship, their living depended on it.
    Last edited by Micawber; 13-07-2010 at 10:58.
    [SIZE="2"][FONT="Book Antiqua"]1. Don't mess with old men, they didn't get old by being stupid.

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  3. #3

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    Thanks Micawber, I know my questions are pretty vague I just don't know where to start! All the old farmers I knew when I was a kid, who had all the old machines and the knowledge have now passed away. I'm gonna have to try farming forums and things I guess.
    Equine and pet photographer, Manchester
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  4. #4
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    Look if there are any working horse societies near you (mostly draft horse people I'd imagine), maybe you can find something on the FECTU site http://www.fectu.org/. I remember some people from the UK participated in last year's "Pferdestark", that's Europe's largest working horse event.
    Or you might look for a farm that produces bio foods and works with horses and ask them if you could spend a few hours there, watching?
    Over here, there is a quite large working horse community, the section I belong to even offers things like ploughing classes for beginners (take a look in the driving section on the forum, I posted some pics a little while ago). The knowledge about these things hasn't really passed away - a friend of mine makes his own hay, a farm a few miles from my yard works with horses, I know several people that work in the woods with their horses, I even know several people that take part in the annual German ploughing championship! Even poor little Moppel has to harrow our outdoor school

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by horsy View Post
    Thanks Micawber, I know my questions are pretty vague I just don't know where to start! All the old farmers I knew when I was a kid, who had all the old machines and the knowledge have now passed away. I'm gonna have to try farming forums and things I guess.
    You have a point, I think I'm guilty of going off on a tangent a bit but I have a lot of time for the old country boys lol! There are plenty of working horse societies dotted around - whereabouts are you?
    [SIZE="2"][FONT="Book Antiqua"]1. Don't mess with old men, they didn't get old by being stupid.

    2. You can please some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time but you can't please all of the people all of the time.

    3. Let's eat Grandad.
    Let's eat, Grandad.
    Correct punctuation can help save a life. [/FONT][/SIZE]

  6. #6

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    Thanks Bine, I was hoping you would reply! I remembered you posting some pictures. I will have a look at that website, thanks.

    Micawber, I am in Manchester. The only societies I can find are for proper heavy horses. I do look after a shire horse aswell, though he isn't broken yet, but I don't know if I would be accepted with my little cob! Maybe I'm just being daft, I may get onto them anyway and see if they can point me in the right direction.
    Equine and pet photographer, Manchester
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    Your in East Anglia have you asked the Suffolk Punch people?

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    Quote Originally Posted by jinglejoys View Post
    Your in East Anglia have you asked the Suffolk Punch people?
    I'm in East Anglia but I didn't ask the question - horsy did and and is in Manchester
    Last edited by Micawber; 15-07-2010 at 12:53. Reason: Apparently I cannot spell Manchester!
    [SIZE="2"][FONT="Book Antiqua"]1. Don't mess with old men, they didn't get old by being stupid.

    2. You can please some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time but you can't please all of the people all of the time.

    3. Let's eat Grandad.
    Let's eat, Grandad.
    Correct punctuation can help save a life. [/FONT][/SIZE]

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    Quote Originally Posted by horsy View Post

    Micawber, I am in Manchester. The only societies I can find are for proper heavy horses. I do look after a shire horse aswell, though he isn't broken yet, but I don't know if I would be accepted with my little cob! Maybe I'm just being daft, I may get onto them anyway and see if they can point me in the right direction.
    TBH I'd definitely go along anyway, after all the techniques are basically the same and you'll probably pick up a lot just by being around people in the know. My local heavy horse society hold an annual auction and there are often items up for grabs for smaller horses and ponies
    [SIZE="2"][FONT="Book Antiqua"]1. Don't mess with old men, they didn't get old by being stupid.

    2. You can please some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time but you can't please all of the people all of the time.

    3. Let's eat Grandad.
    Let's eat, Grandad.
    Correct punctuation can help save a life. [/FONT][/SIZE]

  10. #10
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    Naughty Jimbob.

    Sorry, no knowledge on the driving front but best of luck!

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