We often get this question. I have written blog posts about this in the past but thought maybe we could go over a few things that have cropped up recently. **I’ll share links at the bottom of this post to past blogs talking about the different harnesses and how to make your choice!
It’s very important that you know what KIND of driving you will be doing, before you order a harness. For example, if you are going to be dragging logs out of the mountains that will be a very different harness than one used for Combined driving. If you are driving a team of work style horses that will look different than driving a pair of dressage horses. And if you are going to drive a single horse that harness is much different than a pairs harness is.
So with that, let’s discuss a few things about the different harnesses.
The Farm/Work Style or Parade Style Harness
These harnesses can be used for single driving or pairs or a 4 Up or a 6 Up or an 8 Up… you get the picture! BUT if your main goal is to drive your horse as a single with an easy entry style cart, this is NOT the harness I would recommend. There has been some confusion lately about what exactly you are able to change on this harness.
- You can NOT change out the collar and hames for a breast collar with this style of harness. The hames are literally connected to every part of the harness from the collar back to the breeching. Things are sewn together or they snap together and each part needs the other to function properly
- You can not just switch out a girth for a shorter or longer one. Because of the way these harnesses are made it’s not so easy to just unbuckle on girth and then buckle another on.
- You CAN add a crupper if you feel you need one. Often the Spider style hip straps keep everything in place nicely, but if you feel you need the added stability then by all means order a crupper!
- You can add a single cart hook up in order to change this harness style to a single horse harness. You will need to also add a pad under the “saddle” area because this style harness does NOT have a saddle. And you will need padding to help them cope with the weight of the shafts. Because cart balance doesn’t seem to be as much of an issue with the larger horses and draft horses there can be quite a bit of weight in those shafts, and maybe should be. So a pad will be absolutely necessary!
- You can’t switch the traces out on this style of harness. They are riveted to the hames. I mean you could send the hames into the harness maker and have him rivet a different kind of trace onto them, but most large horse carts have a place on the single tree for a quick release shackle or heavy duty clip to attach the heel chains of your traces to. If you need help with that please feel free to email us!
The Comfy Fit or Buggy Style Harness
The Comfy Fit harness or the Buggy Style harness are ones that can be used singly or as a pairs harness. But these harnesses are actually designed to be used for a single horse. (These style of harnesses are the ones that would be used for pairs driving dressage or doing Combined driving however!) Therefore they have a few things the Farm/Work or Parade style harness don’t have:
- They have a saddle with padding. The Comfy Fit harness has a saddle with a tree. These types of saddles provide support and stability for the horse when attached to shafts.
- These harness can have the breast collars switched out for our different styles of breast collar OR even a collar and hames!
- These harnesses are two separate parts. The breast collar is separate from the back part of the harness – the saddle and breeching.
- These harnesses come with a crupper.
I hope that clears up a few things! If you have any questions about which harness would best suit your horse and style of driving please don’t hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here is a list of blogs either I’ve written, or Janie has written, that explain the different harnesses, which upgrades are possible for each harness and what they are used for!
- Which Harness is Best for My Pony
- Which Harness is Best for My Pony – Part Two
- Which Harness do I need for what I’m doing – And how do I figure that out?
- Which Harness Should I Choose? What Can I Afford?
- Just What is a Farm/Work Harness?
- Just What is a Traditional/Pleasure Driving Harness?
2 thoughts on “Which Harness Should I Choose?”
I am really enjoying your site and wealth of information. I am working with a new horse and going through fitting harness, adjusting harness to vehicles, etc. One of my big questions right now is about adapting a work harness to go with shafts. So far I’ve realized I’ll need to add padding to accommodate the weight of the shafts across the back. I’m going to keep reading and figuring and just wanted to thank you for an excellent site.
You’ll also need the single cart hook up so you can run your shafts through the shaft loops:https://chimacumtack.com/product/single-cart-hook/
Thank you for your comment!