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Driving a Team of Draft Horses

Driving a Team of Draft HorsesDriving a Team of Draft Horses















Driving a Team of Draft Horses


How to Drive a Team of Horses

"Uphill, go easy. Downhill, light and breezy. On the level, watch me trot and in the barn, forget me not," are the words to the driving horse's prayer. Driving a team of horses is almost a lost art, but you can revive it for fun. You'll be tired after a day of harnessing and driving horses, but it is a good kind of tired. Here's what you need to know to drive a team of horses.

Things You’ll Need:

Brush and comb
Cold water
Clean, oiled harness
Wagon, buggy or implement
Long buggy whip
Step 1:

Clean the horses with a brush and wash them with cold water where the harness will rub to keep them from chafing. Keep your harness clean for the same reason.

Step 2:

Place the harness on the team, making sure not to cut off their wind by drawing the throat latch on the bridle too tight and placing the breast collar too high. Leave about a foot between the horses' rears and the breeching as they are standing with straight traces.

Step 3:

Hold the lines that attach to the outside of each horse's bit and run up through rings on the harness in one hand and climb into the wagon or other implement and sit or stand as you like.

Step 4:

Take one line in each hand, arms bent at the elbows with the lines taut, your elbows should be about three inches in front of your body, so if you have to pull back hard to stop the team, you can do so without leaning back.

Step 5:

Use a light hand to either flick the lines over the team of horses or whisk their backs with a whip while you give voice cues. "Get up," or "Giddy up," means get going.

Step 6:

Practice a give and take on the reins as the horses respond to your cues, keeping a light contact on each mouth. Give them enough slack to travel with their heads at a natural level so they can breathe normally.

Step 7:

Pull up a little slack on the rein that will pull one horse in the direction you want to go when making a turn, or bend, and give slack on the other. Use your whip to reach up and tickle the outside horse on the barrel about where a rider's leg would put pressure on him to turn, if there was a rider on him.

Step 8:

Use the voice cue, "Jee," when you want to turn right and "Haw," when turning left.

Step 9:

Give a steady, even pull back on both lines and say, "Whoa," when you want to halt the horses.

Tips & Warnings:

Ensure your team of horses is calm and accustomed to all kinds of disturbances to avoid a dangerous run-away.


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