Harnessing up the Horse

Rule for harnessing a horse:

Always put on the collar first.

True whips refuse to drive a horse onto which the pad has been put on before the collar, as it is believed that an accident will happen, if it was tacked up in that way.

The collar is put on upside down, because in that way its widest part is passed over the horse's eyes.
If the collar is slightly narrow it can be widened temporarily by stretching it with the knee and holding the other long side with the hands.

Then the hames are placed over the upside down collar and the hamestrap is buckled.

The collar is then turned round at the narrowest part of the neck right behind the head.
Turn it into the direction the mane lies.

Next the hamestrap is tightened.
Then the false martingale is buckled round the collar and hamestrap (or hamechain or kidney link).

Now the traces are buckled on, twisted over the buckle and pulled at the free end to prevent them from falling on the ground.

Next the pad with the backstrap and the crupper can be put on.

Parts of the single harness include the back-band, belly-band and tugs and the breeching. They are harnessed up part by part from front to back.

The girth is threaded through the false martingale and buckled. The belly-band is left undone until the horse is put onto the vehicle.

This way it will be easier to pass the shafts through the tugs. The traces are laid over the horse's back, the nearside trace on top of the offside trace.


Now the reins are threaded through the pad and collar terrets.

Finally the bridle is put on and the reins are buckled to the bit.

Then bring the vehicle up to the horse and slip the shafts into the tugs.

Unloop and thread the traces inside the belly-band and hook up both sides.

Fasten the breeching sraps and include the traces within the straps.

Fasten and adjust the belly-band and check the tugs and shafts for the correct height and sit.

Take out and un-harness a horse:

Carefully replace the reins on the pad before loosening any straps.

Un- harnessing the horse works the same way as described before just that the whole procedure is being reversed.

The vehicle is being taken back away from the horse.

There is another Golden rule to avoid accidents:

Never lead the horse forward out of the shafts and never remove the bridle whilst the horse is still in the shafts.

Harnessing up a pair or a team is done very similar:

The collar and the pad are put on as described earlier on.
The pad, the back straps and the crupper are put on with a trace bearer or breeching for a pair or teamwheelers.

The girth is threaded through the false martingale and buckled.
The buckles on the shoulder tugs are secured to the points on the pads.

The traces are laid over the backs with the outside trace on top of the inside trace.

The reins are threaded through the collar and pad terrets.
The rein with the buckle or loop goes on the offside and the rein with the point ends are put on the nearside.

This habit derives from those times when the coachman stood on the offside and reins were thrown over to the offside. A buckle on the nearside rein could cause serious injuries.

Next couplingsare adjusted carefully and they should not be put on the wrong sides.
The draft rein is put on the outer side in every case.

Finally bridles are put on and the reins are buckled onto the bits.

The draft rein is buckled onto the outer side, the coupling rein is looped through the throatlash and ready to be buckled to the horse of the pair when they are put onto the vehicle.

Keep in mind for safety reasons:

  • - a horse should never be tied with the bridle. Better is a halter that is still underneath the bridle and can be removed later, when the horse is ready to put onto the vehicle.

  • - allways doublecheck all the straps and buckles if they are fastened and correctly buckled.

  • - allways check for wears and tears on straps, buckles and pinch-wholes.

  • - a functioning, well-maintained harness is your life-insurance

See also:

What is this?
Add to My Yahoo!
Add to My MSN
Add to Google

ADD TO YOUR SOCIAL BOOKMARKS:add to BlinkBlinkadd to Del.icio.usDel.icio.us add to DiggDigg
add to FurlFurl add to GoogleGoogle add to SimpySimpy add to SpurlSpurl Bookmark at TechnoratiTechnorati add to YahooY! MyWeb
Copyright© 2013 www.discover-horse-carriage-driving.com