First Team Outing!
#21
Phil and I took the boys for their fourth drive today and it went very, very well. This was good because the boys' third drive which we took on Sunday was not so amazing. The lesson that day was that Finn hates to stand still! Our plan on Sunday was to meet some friends at the golf course and they would walk around with us as we took turns driving the goats. But when they arrived their baby was asleep in the car and they didn't want to wake her, so we stood around in the parking lot talking for an hour before we finally hitched up. Finn's patience for standing around doing nothing lasts for approximately 15 minutes. After that he gets more and more restless and eventually becomes obnoxious and even downright rude. 

When we finally hitched the boys up, Finn was completely on edge and it took a few tries for me to get in the wagon without him taking off. Once I got in I drove the team around the parking lot a couple of times to settle them before going on the road. When I said "Walk on," Finn plunged ahead full steam. When I said "Whoa," he would stop so abruptly that I almost wound up sitting on his rump. And any signal to turn resulted in a dramatic dive in the requested direction. Poor Sputnik got bumped and yanked every which way. But I am very pleased to say that he did not add to the mayhem and in fact remained surprisingly calm throughout the entire drive that day, which unfortunately did not improve much once we left the parking lot. Three times during our drive, Finn reared up and landed on top of Sputnik. Once he turned so sharply he tumped over the wagon. There was no permanent damage, but I was a little mad at him for behaving so badly. Still, I have to admit we really were pushing his buttons. Several times I had Phil walk ahead while I made the boys stop and stand still. Sometimes I made them pass Phil. Neither of them wanted to cooperate for these little "Red light, green light" exercises, but eventually we got through it and by the time we got back to the truck the boys were fairly well settled down. I thought Sputnik would be far more upset by Finn's antics, but he took it all in stride. Even when Finn jumped on him he just stood there and waited for him to get off. I think Sputnik is going to wind up being the anchor of this team. He's my "Steady Eddy" and is less perturbed by things like barking dogs, golf carts, and lawn mowers than Finn is. He's lazier than Finn, but this means he has less motivation to misbehave. Misbehaving is work! 

We didn't have time to drive on Monday and I was a little afraid that the boys would have bad memories from Sunday's drive and not want to cooperate, but they were both eager and willing today. Finn was a little fractious for the first five minutes or so and tried to insist on taking the loop to the right. I was planning to go right, but I made them go left instead just to let Finn know he couldn't have his way. Once he settled down I turned the team around and we went the way Finn and I originally wanted to go. Phil and I practiced making the boys stand while the other of us walked ahead, and we made the boys trot past us--things that completely set them off on Sunday--but we had no trouble with them today. We took some videos and I can't wait to get them edited and uploaded to the internet! I hope I have time this weekend! Here are some photos from today's drive. 

Phil and the boys waiting patiently at the side for cars to pass.
   

Me and the boys negotiate a traffic dip. I love how synchronized they are when they walk. Once they hit their stride they move perfectly together! 
   

The boys are starting to pull quite evenly now. Our starts are still rough, but they're definitely beginning to understand the concept of teamwork! 
   
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#22
Nanno
Hello Nanno
Sounds like it was a interesting couple days of driving.
When we were showing Percheron Hitch Horses it was standing orders " Get every horse fully ready and then they all up to 6 were hooked to the wagon in less than 15 minutes and put in motion even if it was just walkabout in the parking lot before  going into the show ring.
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Question for you?? the over your shoulder forward picture I can not see the spreaders on the driving lines.
Are you just hooking the driving lines on the outside rings of the halters?
When driving horse teams there is always a Y at the bit end that crosses over so you can pull the animals heads both ways equally. ??

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So You dumped over the wagon a couple times??? Get any road rash?
Also Did I not recall somebody making the statement They can not cut a turn that sharp with the double tree in the way? Live and Learn You are breaking new ground drivng goats in the 21ST Century.  Smile
Did you put the Lazy Strap on Finn's side of the double tree. That will stop him from lunging ahead.
Well he can lunge ahead but he will be pulling the whole load and learn like in the end pictures to work together.
A nylon dog collar works well.
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It would have been "INTERESTING" to have been a Mouse in some of the cars that passed you to hear the comments?  Smile
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Last note:
Friends had their horses get loose and run across the greens of a golf course, Got billed $10 a hoof print. Truth
They could have put up almost a new barn with what they had to pay for that bill.
Don't let the goat boy's get onto the grass Smile

Good Job
Happy Trails
Good Driving
hihobaron Blizzard, Fuzzy, Pete,Sam and the Troops in South Carolina.
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#23
Quote:Question for you?? the over your shoulder forward picture I can not see the spreaders on the driving lines.
Are you just hooking the driving lines on the outside rings of the halters?

Yep, driving lines are connected to the halters without spreaders. I have both draft and stub lines so yes, there is a Y in my reins. But I'm not using spreaders. Does anyone even use spreaders with anything but draft horses? I've never seen them used on minis.   

Quote:So You dumped over the wagon a couple times??? Get any road rash?
Also Did I not recall somebody making the statement They can not cut a turn that sharp with the double tree in the way?
 
Just once. No road rash. I landed on my feet (talented, eh?). However, I didn't say they couldn't. I said it would be difficult. Wink
And boy was Finn being difficult! 


Quote:Did you put the Lazy Strap on Finn's side of the double tree. 
 
I think what you're calling a lazy strap I call a stay chain. I used them on my horse carriage (one on each side) as a safety device since we were driving in town with strangers in the back every day. I haven't done it on our goat wagon yet, but it would definitely prevent the goats from getting really uneven on a turn and tumping over the wagon.  
As for driving on the golf course, we will try to avoid that. Luckily our golf course is podunk enough that if goats got loose on it folks would be more amused than bothered. Besides, deer walk across their golf course all the time. They'd have to prove which hoofprints were which before I'd pay them a nickel!
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#24
Nanno
Hello Nanno
I figured with your horse driving back ground you would have split reins to drive the goats just could not see them in the picture.
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Your right about goat tracks on the Golf course " The Deer Did it"  Smile About the same as The Goat Made me Do IT
Last walkabout here with the boy's I came back down the trail and heard people commenting "Look at the Tracks here the Deer are using this trail too"  Had to just Smile I had been over that part not a hour before with the boys.
City Folk !!!!
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Yes; Stay Chain is another term for it. In my experience it is only used on the horse that likes to charge ahead not on both sides in a team hitch. Just FYI.
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Happy Trails
hihobaron ,Blizzard,Fuzzy,Pete ,Sam, and the Troops in SC
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#25
Lazy straps are what I call the pieces that buckle to the rings on the britchen and hold the traces up on a heavy working harness. I had them on my stage coach harnesses when I did the carriage business.

I used stay chains on both sides as a safety device so that it would be impossible for my horses to get severely uneven in a runaway situation. It was recommended by Steve Bowers in the book I read on learning how to hitch and drive. He says if one horse spooks and suddenly lunges ahead, you lose rein control over the other, and pretty soon they are both plunging and see-sawing which causes the situation to escalate very quickly. Stay chains prevent this since neither horse can get far enough ahead of the other to make you lose control. I figured since I was a complete novice teamster and my horses had never pulled, it would be in my best interest to utilize as many safety devices as possible in case of accidents or emergencies. The stay chains on my horse hitch were never used, but they were there "just in case." I also chained the yoke ring to the stop on the pole so that if, say, a trace came unhooked, the pole would not be able to drop out of the yoke. Because if that happens you have no steering or brakes at all! But most people don't chain the yoke to the pole for some reason even though it seems like having an "emergency brake" is a really super idea!

So on the subject of spreaders, I have read that their main purpose is to allow the horses (or goats in my situation) to "float" in the traces and drift further apart and turn their heads more. I never used them with my horse hitch. I always just figured I should adjust my stub lines so that the critters would be positioned in the middle of their traces when properly aligned on the bit (or halter) when their heads were facing forward. So my question is, if I were to use spreaders, how would this affect the length of my stub lines?
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#26
Nanno
Hello
Spreaders from the hames in a show Draft Hitch allow a higher angle on the reins to make the horse tuck it's head/collect more.
As far as "Drift apart more or turn their heads more I don't think so. I have seen lot's of work harness with One spreader ring on the inside hame in each set of harness. I figure that was more to keep a line from tangling between the two horses. Yes you would have to let the stub lines out just a little "One hole I would think"
I don't think goats collect and arch their neck like a horse dose.
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RE: Emergency Brake and chaining the Pole to the Neck Yolk.
If you have a situation were you have a double tree brake away for whatever  reason, I want the neck yolk to slide off the end of the pole and let the horses go free. That drops the pole to the ground and with brakes on the wagon you can stop. with a Neck yolk chained to the pole you are just SOL.
If you have your traces and holdbacks adjusted correctly the pole will not come free till you lead the team off.
Nobody I have worked drafters with has ever chained a neck yolk to the pole for any reason.
I have seen "Swing " poles suspended between hitch mates in 4-6-8 horse rigs but part of hitching was to drop the "Suspension Chains" after the horse were hooked.
There are as many ways and reasons for how you hook up a horse or goat as there are people.
You use what works for you. That is what matters. Your way is doing good for you, use it. Smile
But expect from time to time for me to dangle a hoof in things. Smile
Happy Trails
Good Driving, You are going were no Man/woman has gone before in the 21 Century ( Think Star Trek Smile
hihobaron and the Troops in South Carolina.
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#27
So, as someone who has not driven as much as you, I'm curious why having the doubletree break would be that big a deal as long as your yoke could not come loose from the pole? The doubletree is only there to pull, not to stop or steer, so if your doubletree broke, wouldn't it be better for your pole to stay hooked to the yoke so that you can stop the horses and unhitch? The wagon isn't going to run into them without a doubletree, but if for whatever reason your pole came loose from the yoke while the traces were still hitched (it shouldn't but sometimes things that "shouldn't" happen still do), you'd be in a real fix. I can't see any downside to having the yoke chained to the tongue.

As Steve Bowers puts it:
The way some teamsters dismiss this important safety precaution, you'd think that having a slip-off neck yoke was some sort of safety device. Slip-off neck yokes are definitely a safety liability! The only reason neck yokes were made to easily slip on and off was for the convenience of the farmer who would use only one neck yoke for his several vehicles and implements.
Even if you are properly hitched, simply having a trace come unfastened from a singletree can allow the horses to get far enough forward on the tongue to have the tongue drop out of the neck yoke... Having all the pulling ability, but none of the stopping or steering ability (when the tongue drops) is a very bad thing.


I never thought about what might happen if a doubletree broke, but now that I do, having properly adjusted stay chains in place as a safety device would ensure that each of your singletrees would still be individually hitched to the wagon if the doubletree snapped. In this way, they'd act like the safety chains on a trailer. That's kinda cool! They are also one more way to keep the horses from being able to get too far forward on the tongue. When it comes to horses, I like having redundant safety features in place. Horses are very big and fast and powerful. I have to say, goats are an awful lot easier! Smile
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#28
P.S. Not trying to be argumentative here, but definitely trying to understand why it might ever be safer to drop a pole than than to have the yoke fixed to it. Wonder if there's something I'm missing.
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#29
Nanno
Hello Nanno
Your not being argumentative, You are asking good questions.!!!!  We are having a reasoned  Discussion Smile
All I can do is pass on the things I was taught by old horsemen.
Then apply it to goats which is a whole new world. We are both learning and you are ahead. Smile
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Here is the reason no teams I ever worked with "Chained" the neck yolk to the pole.
If you have a major double tree fail, hitch pin falls out,breaks, bounces out. the horses are free to pull off the end pole.
You have a double tree fail you want the horses away from the wagon when they tangle up in the harness not right on top of you.
Get some pictures of Combined Driving Rigs especial when they are doing Cross Country with the pairs,and 4-6 in hand, This is the part were they drive through the streams/mud holes etc. No Chains on the poles and they drive those "Crash Wagons" (Slang Term) are built even more heavy the my wagon here that you saw.
I have seen one application were the neck yolk is "Bolted" to the pole, that was on a grain binder.
As we talked about you can find in Fine Harness driving (Show) chains being used instead of a neck yolk.
Reason: So that a Judge can see the high action of the horses front legs and there is very little weight to the cart they pull in a fine harness class to have to stop. The person driving weighs more than cart. Also with that kind of high leg action they would be banging their knees on the neck yolk.
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OK enough on the above topic for now. Not ending the discussion, just going to wait for your response.  Smile
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Moving On:

Now that you are having some success with driving you need to "Improve" your wagon Smile
A brake system is what I am talking about.
Tell Phil you have a project for himSmile No computer needed. For some reason I think he will jump at the chance. Sad
You need to put brakes on your wagon, Wether they are scrub brakes or hydraulic like your carriages used is up to you. I built several wagons and put hydraulic brakes on all of them even disk brakes like my wagon here has.
For your little wagon a simple scrub brake and goat power would probably work fine.
Think Stage Coach Old style not Modern with drum brakes on the read wheels. That is a Scrub Brake system.

Happy Trails
hihobaron and the Troops in SC


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#30
What's the "Man Stops Runaway Horses" article? I can't read it.

So, if the doubletree/lynchpin breaks, what's the big deal? It seems like as long as the yoke stays hooked to the pole, all that would happen is that the load would "bump", there would a clattering of broken doubletree on the road and it may strike the horses' back feet and spook them, but no more than any other type of spook that could happen. It seems they would be better off under control of the reins with the carriage in tow than running wild down the street with a broken doubletree smashing along at their heels. If they're going to spook badly and bolt from nothing more "scary" than a broken doubletree, they aren't a very good team and I'd say they need more groundwork. The only thing that should happen if a doubletree comes loose is that the load would "bump" back a few inches until the pole slid to the end of the chain, at which point the point of draft would shift a little since the horses would now be pulling the wagon by the tongue instead of by the traces. With the tongue in place, your britchen will still be engaged so you'll have full braking power to stop the horses, turn them off the road, and unhitch them safely. Sure, they'll raise their heads and get all bunched up and kicky while the doubletree is rattling at their heels, but it shouldn't be enough to make them bolt unless the driver panics. The second they stop, the dangling doubletree will quit bothering them. If they get loose from the wagon and the driver, that doubletree will go on chasing and frightening them until they crash.

On the other hand, what happens when just one trace comes loose from a singletree and that horse gets far enough forward to pull the yoke off the pole? At that point, your whole wagon will come crashing into the backs of your horses and good luck to the driver involved in THAT wreck! Most trained horses aren't going to spook badly at a broken doubletree, but very few of even the best-trained horses will stay calm if the whole carriage smashes into their hindquarters.

So that's why I like the logic behind chaining the yoke to the tongue even if not many people do it. No one around here wears a riding helmet either and I get a lot of funny looks, but some things just make sense to me even if they aren't common practice. Wink
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