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TOPIC: Coach Horses..

Coach Horses.. 27 Nov 2009 18:14 #1

  • Ray_Knightley
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Does driving Horses In the same position in the team make them crooked ??
Or at least put too much weight on one leg/hoof depending on which side the are pulling or when pulling with a stronger/weaker team partner?

Would a change from one side to the other in a 2er team be a good idea to balance them if the above question is Yes?

And what ever other thoughts you all have please..
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RE:Coach Horses.. 28 Nov 2009 01:58 #2

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Ray Knightley wrote:
Does driving Horses In the same position in the team make them crooked ??
Or at least put too much weight on one leg/hoof depending on which side the are pulling or when pulling with a stronger/weaker team partner?

Would a change from one side to the other in a 2er team be a good idea to balance them if the above question is Yes?

And what ever other thoughts you all have please..
Ray I'm not an expert but I have driven teams for sleigh rides when I was starting out and on the farm for working, plus at Quarterama.
They certainly do get use to one position and work better in a familiar position. I believe that a good reinsman is able to figure the right position for his team, to maximize their potential. Use to drive a team, one was blind, the other wasn't, not a good idea to switch them up. :eek:
For what it's worth, I'd take a 1,800lb team over a 2,400lb team if we were to work for long periods. The big boys seem to run out of steam after a while. ;)
John
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RE:Coach Horses.. 28 Nov 2009 04:47 #3

  • Jay Mickle
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I do a couple of 4 in hands and can not tell by wear patterns whether leaders or wheelers, near or off. Driver is best suited to make those decisions.
Jay Mickle
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RE:Coach Horses.. 28 Nov 2009 08:05 #4

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What i think I am seeing is that the front hoof on the out side of the team on a weaker horse is starting to toe in .
It made me wonder yesterday because its not the first time I have seen this ,also smaller weaker horse in the team and toe in ....
OR just my bad trim :D
Thanks for the answers so far
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RE:Coach Horses.. 28 Nov 2009 14:33 #5

  • ThomasRideandDrive
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Most definitely my subject matter area ;)

Ray_Knightley wrote:
Does driving Horses In the same position in the team make them crooked ??
No it most definitely doesn't.
Or at least put too much weight on one leg/hoof depending on which side the are pulling or when pulling with a stronger/weaker team partner?
When driving multiples the driver's job is to ensure that they're all working together. To do anything else isn't actually driving!

Indeed the expression "slacking" when you describe someone as "slacking" comes from driving terminology. I presume you also use that description over there???

Anyway it comes from traces going slack of the horse in a team that might be hanging back because it's work-shy.
Would a change from one side to the other in a 2er team be a good idea to balance them if the above question is Yes?
The answer is NO. But aside from that changing horses round in terms of their position is pretty often done.

Not for the reason you suggest but merely to ensure that a horse is thoroughly adaptable and useful.

However it takes a very different sort of a horse to be an offside leader than it does to be a nearside wheeler.

Not saying that the same horse can't be up to both jobs but it's very different in terms of how you want it to work and behave.

However what you are describing with a weaker horse and a stronger horse is making me think that what you're seeing is not a genuine driving multiples combination. Rather it sounds like a random eclectic mix of animals that just happen to be going in front of a cart!

When selecting driving multiples you have to ensure they are able to match each other stride for stride in all paces. Be able to work together. The driver's job is to ensure they actually do that.

No driving position reason I can think of though that if they are ill matched or in a certain position why one of them should start toeing in.
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RE:Coach Horses.. 28 Nov 2009 17:07 #6

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Thank you very much Tom
In both different teams there is a large difference in the animals Size/strength..
and as far as I can tell they are driven only on the right hand side looking from the driving seat ,so to say...
I know that one for some reason could not change the side ,the other I am not sure ...They are also in very different areas ...The team yesterday are on the steep edge of the Rhine vally and are driven up and down very steep hill roads.

What I was thinking that the horse on the right is trying to not only pull the same as a stronger partner ,but also not wanting to be driven in to the side of the road at the same time...
I also can`t vouch for the quality of how they are driven at all ...

Hope that all makes a bit of sence...
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RE:Coach Horses.. 28 Nov 2009 19:56 #7

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Ray, I don't know if this adds anything to your inquiry, but here is a team that I do half off. The other one the owner insists on doing himself and only trims her. Can you tell which one is happy to work and which one would rather be elsewhere? :cool: Nice folks, but I have given up trying to educate. :(
John
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RE:Coach Horses.. 29 Nov 2009 07:52 #8

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John Emsley wrote:
Ray, I don't know if this adds anything to your inquiry, but here is a team that I do half off. The other one the owner insists on doing himself and only trims her. Can you tell which one is happy to work and which one would rather be elsewhere? :cool: Nice folks, but I have given up trying to educate. :(
John

Who ever says that horses can`t Tell us what they feel .!:rolleyes:
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RE:Coach Horses.. 29 Nov 2009 07:55 #9

  • ThomasRideandDrive
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It happens! The lighter horse isn't actually in draft in the photo though. Don't blame it either!

They're not even harness correctly and I can see that the driver doesn't even know how you have pairs reins. He's not even got the pairs coupling buckle fastened adjusted properly or the reins correct and in effect is just driving each horse with one rein. Clueless and a disaster in the making!!

So truth is, the horses are in front of him and one is taking him for a drive whilst the other makes up the numbers and no doubt from time to time goes into draft and has a hard time of it!

Particularly with all that weight behind, no britching AND no shoes for traction either! Miracle the horse hasn't been dropped!!

UK Terminology first:

Here a team is a combination 4 in hand, or 6, 8.

2 side by side is a pair.

2 with one in front of each other is a tandem.

Here remember we drive on the left = you guys drive on the wrong side ;):rolleyes: that means I ALWAYS get my offside and nearside wrong!

If they're doing some sort of routine journey and say with all right or left hand bends then of course the horses will muscle up accordingly. So say if you're going all left hand bends then the Horse on the inside will always do tighter left turns than the one on the offside. So no different to riding horses you should vary what they do.

When driving a team of 4 or a tandem then you might well have leaders that are lighter build than the wheelers. In effect though its the horse/s at the back of the combination that's in draft and the ones out fore are getting a free or easier ride.

Don't know if you guys know but a tandem combination originally came about because it's the way that a gentleman would get his horses to the hunt in the times before trailers and trucks etc.

So there'd be the first hunter at the front just going freely in front of the carriage and once he'd got to where the hunt started that horse would be unhitched and ridden first while the other horse rested up. Then they'd be swapped about later.
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RE:Coach Horses.. 29 Nov 2009 19:32 #10

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Thomas, excellent observations, plus there's no doubt in my mind that you have extensive hands on experience in pairs, four in hands, and more. The only point I was making was/is that a properly shod horse for the job, will enjoy his work and be visibly more happy than one that is by luck and by golly. Years ago I was the show blacksmith for the Canadian Carriage Championships for most if their 17yrs. There I got to see first hand the proper requirements of harness and carriages and appointments. The folks in the photo are just plain enjoying their horses and have no intention of studying the details. Wish they would be a little more cognizant of safety, for their sake. :eek::cool:
John
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RE:Coach Horses.. 30 Nov 2009 07:59 #11

  • Mark_Gough
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John,

I can't make heads-or-tails out of that rein arrangement. It appears that the reins only engage the inside of each horse. How do they turn like that?

Why does the owner believe the inside horse can go barefoot while acknowledging the need to shoe the other? While I understand your frustration at trying to educate, they must offer some reason for the way they manage these horses farrier needs.

Cheers,
Mark
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RE:Coach Horses.. 30 Nov 2009 10:00 #12

  • ThomasRideandDrive
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I can't see precisely what is happening with those ones and tried to save the photo so I could enlarge it but my pc isn't having it!

Even when correct at first sight pairs reins often baffle folks but if looked at logically they soon become easy to understand. Though not so easy to sort out.

Basically you have 2 reins and these run from the driver's hands to the outside of each horse.

Approximately half way down each rein, another rein is buckled on which goes across to the other horse and that's called the coupling rein. There's always a mass of holes where the coupling rein is buckled to the main rein and that's to allow for a mass of adjustment.

When getting a pair of horses to work together, this is critical to getting it right (or wrong!). It gets the horses balanced to work together. To restrain one horse you move the buckle on his rein forward and at the same time move the other coupling buckle back by the same number of holes. The coupling buckles are such that if necessary you can independently use each rein on a separate horse. You also have to take account of which horse holds it's head higher so that one horse doesn't interfere with the rein of it's partner.

It's absolutely imperative that you ALWAYS put the reins on the correct horse.

I tried to find some of my photos where you can actually see the reins, where the coupling buckles are and how each horse works because of them. When a pair is truly together they should be mirror image footfall:




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RE:Coach Horses.. 30 Nov 2009 10:33 #13

  • ThomasRideandDrive
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I have a set of pairs training reins which I use when putting to a new pair or team of horses. They've got literally hundreds of holes punched in them at the points of coupling.

Even though I've been at this for decades and am a driving multiples specialist I find it takes me many hours to set a pair up so they work at optimum performance. I have to have an experienced pair of eyes on the ground too and often have video taken so I can make the fine adjustments required. Once I've got it sorted with my training reins I then move over to the pairs decent reins and copy the settings there and punch the holes where they're needed. Saves a lot of wasted hole punching.... and expensive reins!
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RE:Coach Horses.. 30 Nov 2009 15:37 #14

  • Jack Evers
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Very impressive pictures, Tom. My first experience around top flight driving was at the World games in the Den Hague (!994 - I suspect you may have been there). To watch one four horse hitch after another perform in perfect sync was amazing.

My own driving was mostly skidding logs and mostly with a single so it's good to learn.
Jack Evers CJF AFA#426

The best things about the good old days -- I wasn't good and I wasn't old.

The older I get, the more horses I shoe, the fewer things that I can absolutely, positively fix.
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RE:Coach Horses.. 30 Nov 2009 15:40 #15

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I was indeed there :D and with a pair. There were also two other combinations there that I trained.
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