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LadyGallows09

Driving Breeds?

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What breeds of smaller horses or ponies seem to be more inclined to have the right mind set to drive? I'm very new to driving, and I can ride well, but I have a bad back and my Chiropractor has forbid me riding. I mentioned driving and he was fine with that. I think it'd be fun to have a chariot or a lil 2-wheeled cart to ride around in.

I'd like to stick with a smaller horse, some 14 hands or a lil smaller. What would be some good suggestions? I wouldn't be opposed to a smaller mule either if it would be a good option. I don't plan on buying for some time, I'm just information gathering and learning for now. I do have a friend at church who has mules and give wagon rides, so I have someone I can also learn in person from.

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I love my little APHA mare. She has a kind and gentle disposition with just enough flair and fun thrown in to be a joy to drive. She is 14.1 hands right now as a 4 year old so probably will not get a whole lot taller. She has that good ole laid back QH additude. I like her well enough that I am seriously looking for a match for her. I'd love to have a pair of black bald faced overos.babyinharness-1.jpg

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Does anyone have any experience with driving a TWH or SSH?

I lost my beloved Just Katie, an Arabian, in early March to colic. I am now thinking about beginning the search for a new riding and driving partner.

I am leaning towards a gaited horse due to back issues.

However, I love driving and want to continue to do both. FWIW, I only plan on recreational driving, no showing. The ND was a great experience and I would love to attend again in the future.

Any thoughts, hints, tips, advice, dire warnings?

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just about any horse can learn to pull a cart. i drive a new forest pony and fjords two-in-hand. my tastes run to small to medium-sized breeds but it really is "a matter of taste".

about your back, if you start looking around at carriages or gigs one thing to consider is schock absorption features. i drive a marathon carriage which has this is built into the seat. otherwise you might start having problems depending on the kind of surfaces you drive on and the kind of driving you wind up doing.

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Thank you for the replies folks!

Hey nice picture Pine Glenn, thanks for sharing that.

Nick, you brought up a very good point, I hadn't even thought of shock absorption! Mostly paved roads in my area. Do you have any recommendations for literature on different carts/wagons/surrys/ect?

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Usually vehicles built for "pleasure driving" tend to have a softer ride than competition, marathon type vehicles which ride pretty stiffly. Antiques have usually got a "grampa-mobile" ride with sway and cushion, like Grampa type big cars ride.

The seat that gives, is usually listed as an "air-ride" type seat. You can adjust the ride for comfort. Even so, they can be a bit stiff in their rides.

Thick seat cushions help, spring in those seat cushions, make it better. We have one special seat cushion for an antique, with "memory foam" so it is a very cushy ride for the driver.

Older vehicles with more worn springs, tend to be a tiny bit softer ride than new vehicles. Wooden vehicles usually are softer than the modern metal body, metal wheeled vehicles. The less expensive, easy entry, 2-wheel carts usually have a hard ride, with little to NO cushion to soften things from the ground up. People put up with that for the cheap price and light weight of that vehicle to move around.

As a beginning driver, you do need to learn to drive some, in a 2-wheeler because they are safer, less easy to get in trouble with on turns. But if you continue driving, you will want to move to a 4-wheeler because the ride is SO MUCH better.

As for animals to drive, will you be doing most driving alone or taking passengers along? What kind of local roads to you have, hills, flat, sandy or really steep trails? You need an animal to drive that can manage the load you have behind him. 2 people weigh more than one, a wooden vehicle is a bit heavier than the very light, no-spring, 2-wheel cart, with a 4-wheeler being heavier than both kinds of carts. Flat ground with good surface is much easier to pull a vehicle over, than doing trails on dirt and hills. I wouldn't want too small of an animal, they just can't manage much of a load on anything but flat, firm surfaces and one passenger. Small is the minis, pony under 12H. Going larger to 14H, solid body animal, they can have an easier time pulling a couple people, do a bit of rougher ground or hills, with few issues.

I would strongly suggest you look for animals already trained to drive, older, experienced with traffic and quiet. Could be any kind of breed, you are buying EXPERIENCE here, so they behave well for you in various conditions. Willing to stop and STAND for long times, with no dancing or pulling on the reins. This is the BEST GAIT on your Driving animal, STAND quiet! People can talk, get in or out of the vehicle without injury!! The other important feature is animal STOPPING when told to WHOA. He stops NOW, waits for further instructions, NO ARGUMENT, no pulling to keep going.

Such an animal to learn with is worth paying well for, if it is fairly sound. Age is pretty unimportant, but he should be able to work and do (with getting it fit first) several miles a day on your drives. Some rather elderly animals (20+yrs) still can go very well for you, and remove the worry about "ruining him" while you learn better driving skills.

We drove our older mare, 26yrs, quite a lot this summer in a Pair, and she worked the young horses into the ground over a 7mile route! She is fit, not fat, conditioned well for doing those miles, though we would not ask her to do a much longer milage, since we are going at speed for a lot of the distance. She REALLY helped get the adjustments trained into the younger horse partner, in these work sessions. She has about 5 trots, with huge extensions, and the young horses needed to learn how to do this too.

So do look at older animals, but get one with few or no bad habits, cooperative, to go with the steadiness you want between the shafts on your drives. They can be found when folks want to upgrade their driving animal, so they let Old Spot go on to teach another learner! Do you know any local Driving Trainers or Driving Clubs, where you can get lessons, help, and connections to find an animal, harness and vehicles? That might be where you want to start first, all the Driving folks interact to move our specialized horses, ponies, and equipment around when we sell.

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Any horse can be taught to drive.

Pulling horses (horses that drive, plus pull significant loads, have traditionally been draft horses. Not only do they have the body mass, but also the conformation that help to pull a heavy load

Pleasure driving horses where basically how riding horses and driving horses first had a major division, with driving horses mainly being trotters and riding horses being gaited.

I'm referring back to a time where we still depended on horse power, using horses as both transportation and ,well, horse power in the fields

As horses became more of a recreational pursuit, the boundaries became blurred, with traditional pulling horses changing in type, when used under saddle. The Freisen and Gypsy Cob is an example . Freisens were traditionally driving horses, and as more and more people started to use them under saddle, a distinct different type emerged

I would suggest a Welsh, as that breed has been used for along time, both for driving and riding, has the size range within the breed you are looking for, and is an ellegant pony type.

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What breeds of smaller horses or ponies seem to be more inclined to have the right mind set to drive? I'm very new to driving, and I can ride well, but I have a bad back and my Chiropractor has forbid me riding. I mentioned driving and he was fine with that. I think it'd be fun to have a chariot or a lil 2-wheeled cart to ride around in.

I'd like to stick with a smaller horse, some 14 hands or a lil smaller. What would be some good suggestions? I wouldn't be opposed to a smaller mule either if it would be a good option. I don't plan on buying for some time, I'm just information gathering and learning for now. I do have a friend at church who has mules and give wagon rides, so I have someone I can also learn in person from.

Canadians make excellent driving horses. Depending on the bloodlines, some of them were bred with driving in mind, other lines have lighter and taller Canadians. They tend to be very willing and easy to train. If it's your first time getting into it, I would suggest to look at horses that have lots of miles and experience to give the best possible opportunity to learn. What kind of driving were you looking at getting into?

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