Pleasure driving horse in a show harness with overcheck.
The type of equipment you will need will vary depending on what type of horse you have and what type of driving you intend to do.
If your plan is to drive your horse in a carriage, you have several options for vehicles and harnesses. Besides the addition of breeching, carriage driving harnesses may also have a full collar instead of a breast collar. The full collar is considered appropriate for heavy carriages and is not necessary for lightweight vehicles. While show harnesses typically include a running martingale, carriage harnesses may not, or they may include a standing martingale. Overchecks are generally disfavored for carriage driving and are prohibited in competition, but sidechecks are optional. A sidecheck may be a good option if your horse or pony has a tendency to try to graze while hitched as it will prevent him from putting his head all the way down without excessively restricting his ability to bend and flex.
Your selection of an appropriate vehicle will depend upon your goals. If you hope to compete in carriage pleasure driving classes, it is essential to select a carriage and harness that match each other and complement your horse. The nuances of selecting appropriate equipment and appointments are far too extensive to address in this article. Consult the USEF or American Driving Society rules for more information.
If you intend to drive only for pleasure and exercise for your horse, the style of your cart becomes less important. However, fit is of utmost importance for the safety of you and your horse. The American Driving Society has a sizing chart to help determine what size vehicle is appropriate for your horse. Click here to view the chart.
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