Updated: May 23
Today we hitched Zorro and Sky together again and they were total rock stars. Today went SO MUCH BETTER than yesterday, as expected. They will get tomorrow off and then I'll hitch them together again on Saturday but I'm going to show how to do that using breast collars so things will be a little different. In this way I am hoping to avoid the Third Day Syndrome!
On Sunday I am hauling Zorro and Sky to Helena to work with my friend that drives Percheron teams. I'm sure my two will be a nice "little" break for her. LOL! She also has an indoor arena and I would rather hitch them to my tire drag for the first time in a fenced in area.
I am using two single harnesses to show how one would go about turning them into a team harness. I wanted to use two harness that are not alike to demonstrate this. Zorro uses the ComfyFUN Trail harness and Sky wears the Pleasure (Buggy) Harness - which is the MaraFUN harness - just black strapping.
I am using collar and hames because we will have a low line of draft with our tire drag, so I am setting up these two harnesses in a more traditional, farm/work harness way, using a long martingale (with a ring on the end) that buckles around the collar and hames, runs under the girth and then the hold back straps snap onto the ring.
Next, I have a strap that has a snap on each end that clips them together at their collars. This is a pole strap, the strap you would usually use to attach the collar and hames to the yoke, which attaches to the team pole, if that is the kind of vehicle you are using.
Today I tied their rear ends together using a piece of twine and simply tying their breeching together at the rings. I had a quick release knot in case anything went wrong and I told my boys how to release it if they needed to help me.
When they are hitched to my drag the traces and the evener itself will help keep them together and in line.
Next we have the team lines. These are confusing!! In the book I've been reading (shown below) it says the line with the buckle will go on the left hand horse and the line without the buckle goes on the right hand horse, when using the English style team lines. This was very helpful today in organizing my lines! (It's funny that I had read all the very same stuff before I first hitched them, but when I got out there and started putting everything together, I totally forgot everything I read! I did much better today.)
I put the outside line through Zorro's saddle terret and his neck terret and attached it to his bit. At first I also ran the inside line through the saddle terret and through the neck terret, then connected it to Sky's bit. (Later I took the inside lines out of the neck terret which I'll show in the video!)
I ran the other outside line through the saddle terret and the neck terret on Sky's harness, then attached it to her bit. The inside line was run through the saddle terret and the neck terret, then connected it to Zorro's bit.
They understood everything much better right from the start. I unclipped their lead ropes and they simply turned and off we walked!
Here is a photo of the tire drag I made. I used the Pony Evener that I got from Chimacum Tack and then bolted several tires together, using eye bolts and chain and chain links and snaps. It's a bit complicated! But I think it will work just fine to get them a bit more exercise and also drag my track and the driveway this winter. Now I need to figure out how to attach the evener to my sled!
Here is one of the books I spent quite a bit of time studying (even though much of it doesn't pertain to what we are doing). At the back they do talk about "farm" work with a team... the hitching is the same with a team regardless if you are using a vehicle or a drag so all of that was very helpful.
I read quite a bit from Doc Hammill. I would love to be able to go participate in one of his clinics but I simply can not afford to do that. They are pricey (and I'm sure totally worth it!) and long. It's hard for me to be gone from my ponies and my family for very long.
Here are a few blogs I read about driving teams:
Andy Marcoux had this blog which, ironically, came out just before I hitched my two! LOL!
I watched several videos on YouTube but to honest I didn't find them very helpful. I watched and watched and they still didn't answer some of the questions I have. So I will continue to practice and try different things.
This is the start of some fun things I think! Today was way more fun than yesterday and I was far less stressed which was nice for everyone. We were able to communicate better and they understood turning, walking out and staying together much better. Now... onto the video! **Edited to say, I have to re-do the video as I STILL had my lines wrong. LOL So when I get that new video done I will share it here.