Now that I have miniature horses again I have been getting my harness all ready for the more vigorous terrain of mountain driving. I’ve been purchasing parts and pieces that will make pulling a vehicle easier for my minis. As I’ve been shopping around for those pieces I have been dreaming about all the harnesses I would like to add to my tack room… but that’s for another post!
I am starting with a leather harness from Silver Penny Farms. I love brass so we bought our harnesses with brass fittings. This harness is actually my mom’s and was purchased many, many years ago. It’s about 13 years old now! It’s been well used and well loved and has many many more years of life left. That’s partly why I love leather! Some elbow grease and leather cleaner and walla! It looks new again!
I love the little bridle. It fits very well which can be a problem with the mini harnesses. We use a Kelly brand miniature horse bit. It’s a Myler knock off and not as nice as the real Myler bit, but about 1/4 of the cost. Years ago I had the real Myler bits and they were a work of art for sure!! As soon as this blog starts making me some money I will purchase the real deal once again. Not only does Myler make the bit miniature, the mouth piece is also much slimmer and more refined.
The Kelly does the job though. Many miniature horses have a low roof of the mouth, thereby necessitating a bit with a low port. Using a regular broken snaffle can cause all kinds of problems because when you put pressure on the reins, the bit will break in the middle and bang the mini in the roof of the mouth. The mullen mouth Kelly bit does not do that!
This little harness has served us very well over the years while driving on flat, level ground, back country roads and in parades. But now that I am going to be driving in the mountains over various terrain I need a saddle with a tree and sliding back strap. I have learned a lot about the different saddles out there and am very excited about getting one with the sliding back strap. The saddle I have now has the shaft loops attached to the saddle. So when the cart hits bumps, rocks and pot holes, the entire saddle will shift with the shafts and the weight in the cart. When using a sliding back strap, when the cart hits a bump then the shaft loops slide back and forth across the saddle absorbing the shock. I think that sounds like a wonderful idea! Also the sliding back strap was used when driving the two-wheeled vehicles. The solid saddle was designed for four-wheeled vehicles. So it only makes sense to use the proper equipment for the job at hand!
I have upgraded my breast collar from the straight, sewn-in-traces to a Deep V Comfy fit collar. This is the collar I had for my main driving mare years ago, though that was made by Camptown Harness…
I prefer breast collars with the buckle in traces as they are more adjustable. The sewn on traces can only be adjusted at the cart and sometimes they are just too long or not quite long enough! I purchased my Deep V collar from Comfy Fit. I also had to purchase the neck strap and the martingale as all the pieces work together!
I just bought a used miniature horse draft collar. I wanted this for when I either build a sled or convert a hunting sled into a sled for the minis to pull. This will result in a lower draft of pull making the deep v breast collar not the right tool! The draft type collar will also make pulling through deep snow easier for my horse.
I wanted the buggy style hames, the kind without the balls that stick up. I don’t need anything for my lines to get tangled on! I like this collar because it has a buckle so I won’t have to slide the collar over my horse’s head. This will make her happy. She looks so cute in it!
My harness has a nice double hip strap and is wide enough to be comfortable even when going down hill. Breeching is very important when driving as it acts at the brakes of your vehicle.
As soon as I am healed up and given the green light by my Dr. I am going to start Sky in the travois again. I will be sharing lots of photos and video of that process. I am so excited for the snow to fly and my horses to take me sledding in the fields!