Sledding with the Boys
#11
That diagram is awesome!  I know understand what is suppost to pull the load.  I would have done it 100% wrong with 25% of the parts required.  I can still build the harness. the whiffletree and know incooperate the traces appropriatly.

I do have a question for you though, done the whiffletree need to be wider that the goats widest point so the load bearing traces dont rub on the sides of the goat?  Also just for absolute clarification the lower traces are what pull the load, not the shafts.  However the shafts must be secure at a set distance and attached to the britchen to stop the sled when doing down hill.

Again thsnks for holding my hand through all this.  I look forward to sending you a picture of the finished product in action.
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#12
Depending on the steepness of the terrain, the distance you're going, and the heaviness of the load you may not need a whiffletree. But if you plan to have your goat do a lot of pulling, a whiffletree sure helps spare their shoulders from rubbing and soreness. I made one for my sled from a dowel rod. I can measure it on Wednesday. And yes, it should be a as wide or a little wider than the width of your goat's hind legs so the traces don't chafe them. Your shafts help keep your goat's body straight so the traces can't chafe him when he turns.

Yes, the traces are what pull the load. The shafts are what turns and stops it. You are correct that the shafts need to attach to the britchen to stop the sled. There is a small loop on the underside of each shaft called the "footman's loop" which is what you thread your holdbacks through. The holdbacks buckle through rings on the britchen and this combination provides your brakes. There are different ways to configure this sort of thing, and for dragging a sled you don't have to usually be quite as meticulous as when you're dealing with wheeled vehicles. The frictional drag on a sled means you don't have to worry so much about proper suspension between breastcollar and britchen as you do with a wheeled cart that wants to keep rolling even after the goat stops. I'm also a lot pickier about harnesses when I'm riding in the vehicle because there's the comfort and safety of the passengers to consider. It's difficult to control a goat properly when you get a big jolt every time he stops and starts! I've seen harnesses with the britchen sewn into the surcingle (the surcingle is the saddle/girth combination), and the shafts clip to rings in the surcingle with snaps. These don't have shaft loops (on the harness) or footman loops (on the shafts) since the clips on the end of the shafts hold the shafts up and provide the pulling and stopping mechanism. This configuration doesn't give you as much fine-tuning adjustment the way I like with a cart set-up, but it should work for dragging a sled.

The most important thing when designing your harness is to make sure your goat is pulling with his shoulders and not with his back. Similarly, he should be stopping the load with his butt and not with his back. You also want to watch for any rub spots forming at his shoulders as he pulls. If he gets them, you may not have quite enough play in your whiffletree, or your breastcollar is adjusted too low.
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#13
Nanno,
Construction of my pulling harness has begun!!!

Today I built what I think is a pretty nice Whiffletree.  Its amazing how simple, effective, and relavent such a old piece of technology can be.  I made a set of fully adjustable lower traces that attach to the Whiffletree.  I also made a breast collar and neck strap set with large connection rings for the lower traces.  I began working through the process of constructing the britchen, the harness pad and girth strap.  Luckily I had already made the pull poles or in harness pulling terms the shafts.  I am feeling pretty good about what I have gotten done so far and my plan going forward.

Are there any issues that are jumping out at you?  I know my traces are long but I can easily adjust that at the Whiffletree knot.  

The first picture is of my sled rigged for a person (me).

Again thank you so much for your time and expertice!!!


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#14
Tried out the pulling harness and whiffletree on each one of my guys today.  I had them dragging around  a 12ft tree with limbs.  
The good news is my guys did not care about being harnessed or the act of dragging some thing around behind them.

I definatly have to make my neck strap shorter.  And I see the need for all the other parts of the harness.  

I work again Sunday so I think I will be able to finish up the rest of the harness then.
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#15
Very awesome! I've found that goats are natural pullers. I think it's their stubborn and determined nature that makes them want to lean into the harness and drag whatever is pulling against them. I also love that goats are not generally spooky by nature, so you don't have to spend a lot of time calming them down when they see something dragging behind. Can't wait to see photos if your rig in action! One thing that can happen is your whiffletree can swing too much and whack the goat on the hind legs if he gets to trotting. You can fix this by adding a string from each end of the whiffletree back to holes in the sled. The strings have enough slack in them to let the whiffletree move back and forth an inch or two, but not enough to get out of control. You might also see if you can raise your whiffletree by attaching it to the top of your sled instead of underneath. The higher the pulling point, the easier it is on your goat, and the less likely he is to step over the traces when he turns.
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#16
Ya steping over the traces was the cool thing to do yesturday.  I dont if I will raise the attachment point or extend tge attachment point further forward.  That would raise the whiffletree, it would also make the whole system longer to which is a bumber.  I was also thinking of just padding the hip strap and putting a adjustable "trace" loop on it.  Maybe even a combo of the two.  One thing is sure its going to be alot of trial and error.  It should be super slick when its done!!  I am going to post pictures for sure.
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#17
Be careful of putting a trace loop on your hip strap. If it lifts your traces too high and breaks the line from breastcollar to hitch point, it will cause your goat to dip his hips down as he pulls because the weight on the traces will pull on the hip straps. Raising the whiffletree even a couple of inches can help prevent a lot of step-overs. Your shafts help with this too since they keep the goat's body straight when he turns.
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#18
Got it.  Thanks for all you input!!
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#19
Nanno,
Well put a solid effort into my harness to.  Sewed, cut and resewed some stuff.  But I am really happy with where I am at for today.  I have a short laundry list of stuff to complete.  I have to connect the neck strap to the breast collar, connect the girth strap to the saddle, put on the trace loops left and right, connect the hold backs to the britchen and figure out where or how to put foot man loops on my shaftes.  

I am thinking may be prussik loops connected to the holdbacks and skip the footmans loops.  I think it will have to be a trial and error process.  I an most stoked about the structure I added to the "saddle" strap.  I heated and flattened piece of half inch PVC then bent it to a angle the is less than 90%.  I then threades it through the saddle pad.  It gives enough space to get any weight of the goats spine.

Are there any issues you see?  Thanks, I hope I am not bugging you!!


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#20
Awesome! You're not bugging me at all! So cool that you were able to make a tree for your saddle. For footman loops, these are very easy to bolt onto the bottom of your shafts:  

.jpg   FootmanLoop.jpg (Size: 12.54 KB / Downloads: 26)

You can find them at any hardware store. Might be easier and neater than using prussik loops.
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