Sledding with the Boys
#1
It was a beautiful sunny day and I wanted to build on my great time driving Finn yesterday, so Phil and I took Finn, Sputnik, and the sled to a quiet sloped street with good snowpack. We would lead the goats up the hill pulling the empty sled and then have them pull us down the slope. They're not big enough or old enough to pull a big load, but we want to get them used to pulling some weight and to the driving commands while they're still young. The hill was not steep, but it was enough that Phil and I had to scrape our boots along the ground to prevent the sled from overtaking the goats, which is why you'll see our feet dragging in most of the photos. 

I started with Sputnik. He's a flighty little goat and put up a lot more fuss today than Finn did yesterday. I spent quite a lot of time untwisting him since he would sometimes turn suddenly around to face me--a problem you have when your vehicle has no shafts. Even so, he did really well for the most part and exceeded my rather low expectations. 
   

With Phil there to help when he got tangled and Finn to lend moral support he did alright.
     

Sputnik is extremely sensitive to being touched with the whip, so I had almost no trouble getting him to go. The problem is that he's also extremely irritable about the reins and kept swinging his head down quite violently any time I tried to steer, stop, or even slow down a teensy bit. Then he would get upset by the action of the reins caused by his own dramatic movements and would swing even more. This is one goat who would probably do well in a check rein since it would prevent his being able to whip his head around to the point of upsetting himself. 
   

Finn did amazingly well to the point you'd think he'd been driving his whole life. He already knows "Walk on" and "Whoa" after his one lesson yesterday!  
   

We have a tandem hitch! Not really, but it sure looked like it a lot of the time. Phil likes to call the tandem a "hot dog hitch" for some reason and it makes me laugh. Smile
   

Mario Andretti coming around the corner! I think Phil wants a steering wheel on this thing. 
   
   
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#2
Hello Nanno and all goat drivers.
I was doing some research on goat driving.
Why Not?? I drive horses and Nanno's "Sled" and Carting Pictures  have given me a "Itch"
I am very bad when I have a "Itch"  Smile
Came across this "Classic" goat driving picture I thought all of you would like.
London,KY about 1950 ish
The other thing is my Carriage and horse harness friend  has a perfect match for the goat wagon in the picture.
Except it is set up with a pole for a team of goats, not shafts for a single goat.
Enjoy the History of your Animals.
hihobaron Pete and Sam


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#3
(01-10-2016, 04:52 PM)Nanno Wrote: It was a beautiful sunny day and I wanted to build on my great time driving Finn yesterday, so Phil and I took Finn, Sputnik, and the sled to a quiet sloped street with good snowpack. We would lead the goats up the hill pulling the empty sled and then have them pull us down the slope. They're not big enough or old enough to pull a big load, but we want to get them used to pulling some weight and to the driving commands while they're still young. The hill was not steep, but it was enough that Phil and I had to scrape our boots along the ground to prevent the sled from overtaking the goats, which is why you'll see our feet dragging in most of the photos. 

I started with Sputnik. He's a flighty little goat and put up a lot more fuss today than Finn did yesterday. I spent quite a lot of time untwisting him since he would sometimes turn suddenly around to face me--a problem you have when your vehicle has no shafts. Even so, he did really well for the most part and exceeded my rather low expectations. 


With Phil there to help when he got tangled and Finn to lend moral support he did alright.
 

Sputnik is extremely sensitive to being touched with the whip, so I had almost no trouble getting him to go. The problem is that he's also extremely irritable about the reins and kept swinging his head down quite violently any time I tried to steer, stop, or even slow down a teensy bit. Then he would get upset by the action of the reins caused by his own dramatic movements and would swing even more. This is one goat who would probably do well in a check rein since it would prevent his being able to whip his head around to the point of upsetting himself. 


Finn did amazingly well to the point you'd think he'd been driving his whole life. He already knows "Walk on" and "Whoa" after his one lesson yesterday!  


We have a tandem hitch! Not really, but it sure looked like it a lot of the time. Phil likes to call the tandem a "hot dog hitch" for some reason and it makes me laugh. Smile


Mario Andretti coming around the corner! I think Phil wants a steering wheel on this thing. 

Hey Nanno,
I just got a military Scow cargo sled and I am going to be taking my kids winter campind with it using it asa Pulk.  I have already made ridgid poles for it and have made attachment points on a padded lumbar belt for me as well as on my large pack.  I have been toying with the idea of making a sled harness for my guys as well just for fun.  In these picture your sled harnesslooks fairly strait forward.  Would this be the style of that you would style recomment for a medium duty harness that may only get used once a year?  I found this harness on Amazon and it is simple enough I could easily make it.  Do you think its design is correct to pull a 120# well waxed sled over relativly flat packed snow for about a mile and a half?  As always thats so much for your time and knoledge!!!


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#4
That looks like a decent harness for basic pulling work. I would like to see a wider padded strap over the withers because it supports the front part of your traces. See how the strap from the breastcollar goes through (or is sewn into) the surcingle? With a low attachment point such as you have with a sled, the traces will put downward pressure on the spine. What you could do is take two heavy pieces of felt (1/2" thick and probably 2" wide) and sew them to the underside of the saddle on either side of the spine. You don't need to leave much gap for the spine. The saddle should "hinge" in the middle just enough to create a little "tent" for the vertebrae when the pieces of felt touch. If the felt is gapped too widely the nylon harness strap will still compress the spine. Does that make sense? I find it funny that the harness has a nice thick pad for the girth but not for the saddle. With harnesses you don't usually tighten the girth all that much, so padding under the belly is largely unnecessary, but it is very necessary over the spine.

The traces on that harness are also too short for dragging anything low, but it's easy to make extensions. I don't know if you're even planning to use traces. You may be able to hook straight into the shafts and get away with it. Shafts are generally for turning and stopping but not for pulling. If I'm hooking a goat to heavy loads for any sort of distance, I like to make a whiffletree and hook the traces into it so the goat can walk without rubbing his shoulders. Whiffletrees are very easy to make for a sled. If you decide to make one you'll also want to make sure your traces are not sewn into the surcingle on your harness. In fact, I'd unstitch those traces anyway to avoid putting pressure on the spine when the goat is in draft. It's better to have a straight line from the breastcollar down to the load than to have it broken by having traces that are sewn to the saddle.

Finally, you need some way to stop the sled so it doesn't run into the back of your goat. Your shafts can only do this if you have some kind of britchen on the harness or a false britchen in your shafts. You are probably using straight shafts, which means they will angle downward too much to use a false britchen. A false britchen is a strap that runs between your shafts behind the goat's butt and stops the vehicle before it can hit the goat. But if your shafts are angled a false britchen would be too low and would hit the back of the goat's legs instead, so you need a britchen on your harness. This is a strap that runs around your goat's butt and hooks into your shafts further forward so when the goat stops, the butt strap engages to stop the sled. Without a britchen, your sled is going to push your harness forward into your goat's elbows and withers and make him very uncomfortable, especially if he ever has to drag it down a hill. The other option is to have a person stationed behind the sled with a rope attached to the back so the person can act as brakes any time you stop or go downhill.

I love this kind of stuff, so if any of my explanation is not clear please ask questions! Here's a "technical" article I wrote for Goat Tracks Magazine a few years ago that is about harness function and fit:
https://www.goatorama.com/wp-content/upl...etrees.pdf
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#5
Nanno,
Sweet!!  I had already planned on making a padded britchen because ss you said going up hill with that harness would be ok, but any down hill would turn the harness inside out and hang up on the boys horness.  As I was looking at tge amazon picture I was wondering why the pad was on the girth strap.  I have a nice pice of 2.5 or 3 pad for the Withers and for a nice britchen.  I am going to make thr same style of britchen suspention system that Matt Lion uses on Mark Warnkes Beta Rigging.  I also have a few cool ideas to make a padded ridgid yoke.  

I did not know any of your points about trace length or height.  I have no idea what a wither tree is so I will do some google research.  I will as readyour article.  Thanks for you insights.  If you dont mind as I do through tge building process can I send you pic to get your opinion?  Thanks
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#6
If you read the article there's a diagram of a full driving harness with parts labeled. The traces are the straps that hook to the vehicle and pull it. A whiffletree/singletree/swingletree is an arm on the front of your vehicle that swings back and forth to accommodate the goat's shoulder movement as he walks. I have a picture of one in my article. I made one for the sled we haul water with out of a wooden dowel rod with some screws on either end to hook the traces to. I can post a photo of it if it would be helpful.
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#7
(12-29-2018, 03:48 PM)Nanno Wrote: If you read the article there's a diagram of a full driving harness with parts labeled. The traces are the straps that hook to the vehicle and pull it. A whiffletree/singletree/swingletree is an arm on the front of your vehicle that swings back and forth to accommodate the goat's shoulder movement as he walks. I have a picture of one in my article. I made one for the sled we haul water with out of a wooden dowel rod with some screws on either end to hook the traces to. I can post a photo of it if it would be helpful.

Nanno, If it is not to much trouble can you attack the labelled diagram of a proper pulling harness and of the whiffletree.  The more I read about this the more exited about making one I get.  Thanks for the help!!
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#8
The harness parts diagram isn't much good without the parts key in the article I linked. I'll try to get a picture of the singletree on our sled today. It's a little different from the one on our cart that I photographed for the article. Is the article hard to read on your phone?
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#9
(12-30-2018, 08:55 AM)Nanno Wrote: The harness parts diagram isn't much good without the parts key in the article I linked. I'll try to get a picture of the singletree on our sled today. It's a little different from the one on our cart that I photographed for the article. Is the article hard to read on your phone?

No I saw the saddle tree and understand its use and construction.  I did not see a harness diagram or parts key attached to your article.  Your article explaned the saddle tree very well. Thanks.
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#10
Oh, that's because I forgot to also include this link: Wink
https://www.goatorama.com/wp-content/upl...ssGoat.pdf

It was part of the same article in Goat Tracks, but they are two different documents on my computer and on my website.
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