Team Driving Lines
Updated: Oct 10, 2019
From what I can understand, through my reading and the hands on help I've been getting, there are a few types of team driving lines. Exactly how long the V is dictates the type of lines they are.
I actually only know of two kinds and that is because my friend Carrie explained them to me yesterday. LOL!
Farm lines - which have a much short V (the part of the lines that go from where the lines are single to where they double and go to the horse's bit.)
English lines - which have a much longer V.
We aren't 100% sure why they are so different but I think it may be the fact that farm lines are meant to be driven from the ground and they are looking to give you less to get hung up on the horse's harness. The English lines are meant to be used when driving a vehicle and the lines aren't really resting on the horse's bum.
There are also Achenbach lines which have a very long V as well. From what I read, one is able to adjust the length of the lines from the vehicle when using Achenback lines. I don't have a set of those at my disposal so I can't show a photo... but they sound very nice!
I think my lines are more along the lines of the English lines. The V is long and ends at their rear ends. I definitely could not reach the buckle from a vehicle but it's longer than a set of farm lines would be.
Now onto some terminology. I kept hearing about the Check line, the Draft line, the Continuous line, the Connecting line... It was blowing my mind! How can a simple set of team lines be so darn confusing?
My book didn't label them and then explain them. Probably because it was written for a more knowledgeable person than I. I couldn't find a blog or a photo or anything that broke it down further for me. I was feeling more and more stupid as people tried to help and kept using terminology that I didn't understand. Obviously I am a driving dummy! (I'm sure there are people out there cheering that I FINALLY understand exactly how little I know and how dumb I am. LOL!)
So. I thought I would share what I've learned here. Once again.
The inside line is the longer line. This is confusing because it's also the shorter line! One of the lines has the V buckle sewn on. The other line has 4 or 6 or 11 holes in it and is the line you will adjust when lengthening or shortening the inside line. Are you confused yet? I was!
When you get a set of team lines they should both be set on the same holes and when laying on the ground most likely the inside line will be adjusted a bit longer than the continuous or outside line.
Once again I will say, the outside line will have the holes in it. This is called the Draft Line and also the Continuous Line.
The inside line has the buckle sewn onto it. It is called the Check line or the Connecting line. This actually makes sense because this is the line that connects the horses heads.
Let's say you are running the lines to the right hand horse. The Continuous line (outside line) will run through the right hand horse's neck terret and then to his bit. The other line, the Check line (inside line) will run through the right hand horse's neck terret and then connect to the left hand horse's bit. Then you will do the opposite to the left hand horse: the Continuous line will run through the left hand horse's neck terret and then the Check line will run through the left hand horse's neck terret and then connect to the right hand horse's bit.
In the above photo Zorro is the right hand horse and Sky is the left hand horse. Sky's lines are shown in blue and Zorro's in yellow.
I have been told (and saw the bigger teams had this) to put a ring on the Check Lines (inside lines) to help weight the lines and keep the horses from getting the lines up over an ear or a hame ball or hooked on another piece of your harness.
Now I still find the lines to be confusing and I suppose it will take a few more times of hitching before I feel like I am doing it correctly every time! LOL! But I am going to keep on practicing and we will keep on dragging tires and all three of us WILL get in shape!
Here is a video that shows how to adjusting the Continuous (outside) line will lengthen or shorten the Check (inside) line:
I had quite a bit of online help from my friend Claudia Hrebicek figuring out my team lines. You can find her at www.outwestwagonrides.com or over on Facebook at Out West Wagon Rides.
She is local here in Montana but about 5 hours from me. I was so grateful for her help!
**Edited to add: I knew I should put a disclaimer but thought maybe this time I could get away without one. LOL! NOPE! So here we go:
This is how I am setting up my team lines. This is how the team lines I have are working best. If you or your grandpa or your dad or your uncle or your brother set up your team lines differently that is great! I would love to hear how that works and see photos if you can share them. I am not saying any other way is wrong. I'm not saying this is the only way to set up team lines. I'm sure there are a few ways to go about it. You are not wrong and neither am I. (but I was wrong at first! There is definitely a way NOT to set up team lines. LOL!)