Discussion in 'Horse Training' started by John, Dec 3, 2005.
How do you train a six or eight horse hitch?
one horse at a time and very slowly....IMHO Cathy
The only thing I know about large teams is to make sure the horses like each other.
Would I use a loooong carrot stick?
I have absolutely no idea. I do know I drove a 6 horse hitch this summer. Quite the experience.
I drive multiples - albeit teams of 4 ordinarily but I have driven more at driving demonstration days.
Quite simply anyone contemplating driving a team - whether its 4 or 6 needs to be absolutely conversant and totally competent with single, pair and tandem driving before even attempting it.
Basically I presume you do all the normal long reining and then you need to ensure that all the horses are put to harness as singles in the first instance and then drive them in pairs. Get them familiar with adopting either side in the pair. Once you have got them going well as a pair, then drive as a tandem and again familiar with either lead or draft position. Once you have done that you are ready to start a team..... then up you go to 6......
The rein configuration is similar to 3 pairs but the handling of reins is similar to that of a tandem. Experienced assistance is absolutely essential and its foolish to drive with less than 3 grooms on the carriage with you. Setting up the harness and reins is extremely complex and you need experienced help on the ground for when you start. There is numerous adjustments to be made to harness and reins and its impossible to do that alone or with inexperienced help.
The wheelers are put to first same as you would a pair. A groom should then stand to the off side of the wheelers' heads so that he can hold them while the leaders are attached. The leaders are then led into position and stood in their places a correct distance from the swingletrees to which they will finally be attached. With a groom standing in front of them, the coupling reins are done up and then the reins are run back through the rings on the wheeler bridles and terrets on the wheeler pads. Then the near side rein is thrown over to the off side, where all 6 reins can now be gathered together. Then you hook the leader traces to the swingletrees and the driver keeps all the reins together so he can quickly pick them up for control. Outside traces to swingletrees first and then the inside ones.
Our six horse hitch was a completely amazing wheel team (they are they "brakes" and in my opinion the best team ) younger horses in the middle (they get "dragged along" and they don't have to think too much so they can learn) and a good lead team, they are you direction. I do not recommend starting off with more than a single horse in learning to drive, it takes an experienced and knowledgeable lineswo/men to handle anything over a four horse hitch. I can drive 4 teams but after that the lines get confusing. Find a great driving school and take it from there, its a blast driving and I wish everyone had the chance to drive a good horse.
Multiples are hard, and should never be attempted by a novice.
We put our biggest horses at the wheel. Next largest would be the swing, the the smallest as the lead. Unfortunately, the smallest are usually the youngest and the least well trained. You need to have extremely well broke horse for the lead, and make sure they are extremely responsive to verbal comands.
Training multiples is the same as training for single. LOTS of time, patience and you have to have a horse with a good mind
Drafts, you are a lot braver than me, we put our babies in the swing so they are not taxed too much and can learn, our lead team was a mare (lead) and stud (off) and they were the best, if he got a little lazy, she would take a swing at him and jerk him a bit and he smartened right up! Our wheel team was too mares and they were amazing.
Not always! Mostly we start the babies in the swing, but about 2 years ago we had two really flashy, high stepping, level headed babies that made an excellent lead team. Not often you can you put them up front, but there are always a few instances.
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