Draft Horse Tack
The tack for driving and draft horses includes the bridle, bit and harness which varies according to the type of horse that is being used, the type of carriage, buggy or plough and for what purpose a show harness will be different from that for racing.
Draft Horse Harness
Horse harnesses vary depending on their use and the type of horse that it is to be used on, for example
show harness, carriage harness, racing harness, draft or plough harness.
- Collars - A collar is the main apparatus which the horse uses to push against in order to pull the carriage. A collar can be either a full padded collar or a breast collar:
- Full Padded Collar - A thick padded collar that encircles the base of the horses neck. Full padded collars are used more for draft horses and for pulling larger loads.
- A breast collar is a wide padded strap that looks similar in design to that of a breast plate used for ridden work. The breast collar goes around the front of the upper chest at the base of the neck, with straps sitting just in front of the horses withers. Breast collars are used more for carriage and sleighs.
- Hames - Used in conjunction with a full padded collar, it is the hames which take the main puling force. Hames can be made out of metal or wood and curve around the padded collar.
- Traces Straps Or Chains - The traces are broad straps or chains used to pull the weight of the load in conjunction with the hames. The traces are attached to the hames on the collar and then onto the main weight being pulled such as the cart.
- Rein Terrets - Small metal loops through which the reins pass through. The terrets are positioned at the top of the saddle pad and also at the side of the bridle on driving teams.
- Reins - A long thin strap attaching to the bit in the horses mouth that is used by the driver to control the horse and indicate direction.
- Crupper - In the event that the harness and surcingle may slip, which can occur if the horses conformation has a low wither and round barrel, a crupper can be used. A crupper attaches to the back part of the surcingle or to the back strap and travels along he horses back to the tail where it loops under the dock. Careful fitting will help ensure that if the harness or surcingle should slip forward or move then the crupper will then come into action.
- Brasses - A decorative ornament that are often hung around the horses chest for decoration.
- Tugs - Leather straps from the surcingle which attach to the shafts.
- Back Band - A broad strap that attaches to the saddle pad to keep the harness in position, the crupper is attached at to the back band.
- Breaching Strap - A leather strap going around the back of the horses hindquarters and over the rump which is attached to the shafts and allows the horse to slow down or stop the vehicle.
- Loin Strap - Attaches to backstrap and breeching strap keeping the breeching apparatus in position.
- Surcingle - When a light harness is used the saddle and girth which sits around the main trunk of the horse is known as the surcingle.
- Saddle - The area of the harness that sits on the uppermost part of the horses back, where a riding saddle would sit. It is at the top of the saddle that the rein terrets sit, through which the reins pass.
- Girth - A broad strap that goes under the horses girth area and attaches to the back band of the harness.
- Belly Band - A strap that runs underneath the horse alongside the girth and prevents the shafts from rising up.
Draft Horse Bridle • Driving Horse Bridle
The bridle is essentially similar to that of a traditional English bridle with the addition of the blinkers and blinker stay which help to maintain the horse attention in a forward direction.
- Blinkers or Winkers - These are positioned at the side of the bridle at eye level and are used to keep the horse looking forward.
- Winker Stay - A leather strap that attaches the top of each blinker to the centre of the browband and on the the headpiece, ensuring that the blinkers remain in position.
- Browband - A leather strap that attaches to the headpiece of the bridle and goes around the front of the horse face just below the ears. The browband helps the bridle to remain in position and allows attachment for the winker Stay.
- Throatlatch - A long leather strap that forms part of the headpiece, the throatlach goes under the horses jaw and helps the bridle to remain in position.
- Noseband - The noseband sits approximately one inch below the cheek bones and is often a cavesson.
- Head Piece - The uppermost part of the bridle that sits across the poll of the horse and provides attachment for the browband, cheek pieces, noseband and winker stay.
- Reins - The reins attach to the bit in the horses mouth and travel through the rein terrets on the saddle to the drivers hands for steering and control. Driving reins are considerably longer than those used for riding and provide the driver with the means of control. The reins are often joined when driving teams to minimise the amount of reins the driver has to hold.
- Rein Terrets - In teams of driving horses a ring through which the reins will pass can be found on the outside of the bridle of the wheel horses, which is the horse closest to the carriage or cart, this is so that the reins can pass through from the driver to the lead horses.
Draft Horse Bits
The most popular driving bits are the Liverpool, Butterfly and Kimblewick as these offer several bitting pressure points such as the poll and curb chain, although many horses and ponies in light harness may also be driven in snaffle bits.
- Liverpool - One of the most popular driving bits it has several mouthpiece variations and the shanks contain slots offering different amounts of leverage control as well as the action of the curb chain.
- Butterfly - These bits have several mouthpiece options with rings forming the shank to allow different leverage options. The Butterfly driving bit also has the addition of a curb chain for chin groove pressure.
- Kimblewick - The Kimblewick has a fixed mouthpiece with several different mouthpiece options such as mullen or jointed. The cheeks can also have the addition of slot settings to allow for leverage control and there is also a curb chain for chin groove pressure.
There are several types of horse drawn vehicles available today that are used for carrying heavy loads or passengers such as for pleasure, show and competition purposes.
The amount of passengers each vehicle can take and the level of seating luxury will differ dramatically depending on the type of vehicle, with some only having seating for the driver and some having seating for several passengers such as is found on a wagon or cart.
These vehicles will usually be:
- Two wheel - Theses are often light carriages that are pulled by one or two horses and can be either open or closed often with limited seating, such as found with a buggy used for racing or a light one horse trap for leisure driving.
- Four wheel - A larger vehicle usually pulled by two to four horses with more seating for passengers. These carriages can be either open or closed often with additional areas for drivers and footmen.
- Open - A carriage that does not have a roof that is often used as a summer recreational vehicle.
- Closed - A carriage that has a roof over the seating, enclosing its occupants inside.
- Folding Top - A carriage that has a hood that can be collapsed as required, such as found with the Barouche and some buggies.
- Vis-a-vis - The seating in this type of carriage allows the passengers to face one another.