The other day when I pulled my cart out to drive I noticed that my seat felt like it was tipped back quite a bit after I sat in it. I had my son come out and take a few photos and sure enough there was quite a tilt!
My Handsome Hubby had today off so after church, I asked him to come out and help me figure out how to fix this. I sat in the cart to show him how it was tipping. He held the shafts and there wasn’t any weight in them. The cart was well balanced. He said he didn’t really see a problem. LOL! Well the problem is I’m a perfectionist and I know that the seat doesn’t have to tip like that. And in fact it seems to me if it is tipping then something is still not adjusted correctly.
So we spent quite a bit of time studying our set up. Did we need to move the suspension kit forward or backward? We couldn’t really move the seat forward or the balance was going to be off. We decided we couldn’t really move the suspension kit forward or it was going to be very difficult to get INTO the cart as the wheels would cover the side opening. Hmmm. If we moved the suspension kit backwards then I felt we would have a very hard time keeping the end of the shafts light enough.
Handsome Hubby was sitting in the cart. He noticed that the seat in relation to the axle and where the wheels sit is important to the balance and we had that pretty much perfect. He wiggled around, bounced around and had me lower and lift the ends of the shafts. He said “the height of the horse matters in the balance of the cart too right?” and I said “YES.” (And here I would like to add that before I had the suspension kit it would have been very difficult to balance my cart to a smaller A sized mini. Now with the suspension kit I could easily balance it to a smaller mini and it would ride very nicely.) Anyway, back to my story. He asked if we could adjust the height of the shafts! And I said YES!
So we hauled the cart back into the garage and raised my shafts another hole. (And in so doing I realized that I had told you incorrectly how to raise and lower the shafts. It had been a while since I had done that kind of adjustment on my cart. I went back and fixed it so it’s all good!) We moved the brace back one hole, closer to the front of the cart and raised the shafts no more than 2″ total. The photos are deceiving because the back of the shaft actually lowers a bit in order for the front of the shafts to lift up.
After we did this the seat was level! And I mean the bubble was in the center of the level, level! What an easy fix that was and shows exactly how important the height of your shafts is to the overall balance of the cart.
These two photos were taken one day apart. I think it’s so interesting to study things like this!
The moral of this story is… getting the balance right on your cart takes constant tweaking and adjusting. Don’t be afraid to try something, anything, to get things to look right! And just because it feels balanced doesn’t mean everything is actually adjusted correctly. This goes for cart and harness. I’ll go into harness adjustments more as Sky sheds out. I know I need to touch on saddle fit, crupper adjustments and breeching to round out my harness posts. Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten!