Today I worked more on my team lines, making them a bit safer and learning the CORRECT way to attach them to my ponies. LOL! Let me just say, there is a looooong learning curve to this. I am not the type or person who likes to do things incorrectly. I am also not the type of person who waits and waits to try new things. So of course that leads me to doing things incorrectly! LOL! It's a vicious circle for sure BUT I learn a lot as I go and hopefully others learn too.
So here we go... again!
Today I hitched them together using the breast collars. I wanted to show how to do that as well as how to set up two single harnesses as a team harness, using the collar and hames style collars. Believe me when I say, I was so CONFUSED trying to do this with the breast collars! The collar and hames was so much easier.
When using a breast collar you will need a tricky little part called the Side Hold Back Rigging. This makes the line from the breast collar back to the breeching a nice clean line. I did use snaps on my breeching but you can simply put the hold back strap through the ring on the Side Hold Back Rigging as well and that would be a neater look. For today this is what I did:
This little piece had me so confused! I spent nearly an hour trying to figure out how to attach them. Granted two of the ones I had in my shed had the part that attaches to the breast collar on the wrong side, once I figured that out, everything got much easier! (They were returns so I'm not sure if things got switched after they left the shop or if they were put together backwards at the shop. LOL! But that was confusing!) Sky is wearing her Pleasure Harness with the standard straight breast collar. **I will not use this breast collar to drive them as a team! Especially when I hook them to the drag.
The above is the Side Pair Rigging connecting the SuperFlex collar, saddle and hold back straps. When he was moving alongside Sky everything was snug and lined up nicely. While tied up things got a slack.
If I had a vehicle with a horizontal line of draft for them to pull as a team (which is not something I am looking to do!) I would have both of them wear the SuperFlex collar. But we are going to drag our tire drag and possibly the sled so we will need to use the collar and hames style.
I had so much awesome feedback from my last post, Driving My Team - Part Two!! I had one lovely lady send me a couple of emails with photos and 3 videos that she made, explaining team lines. I can't even express my gratitude about what she did to help me navigate this. I want to say THANK YOU CLAUDIA and also THANK YOU to each and every person who offered suggestions on Facebook. You are all wonderful!
After all the coaching from Claudia, I set my lines up correctly today. One thing I was NOT able to do was run them only through the neck terrets and NOT through the saddle terrets because Sky's breast collar doesn't have neck terrets. And skipping all the terrets did NOT work so I did have to run them through the saddle terrets and then the outside line through Zorro's neck terret. That worked pretty well.
I did put a long piece of paracord all the way around their rear ends today, from the outside breeching ring of Zorro's harness to the outside ring of Sky's harness. That was tricky because if the cord was as long as I need it to be, it would sag so low I was worried they would get a leg over it! So I had to shorten it and then it rubbed awkwardly on their legs. That's one that would take more figuring to get it the best length. But, hopefully, they will be pulling the drag tomorrow so I won't have to worry about that anymore!
Back to the lines - this is just a short over view because I'm going to write a WHOLE post about the lines, with lots of photos and descriptions and a video and definitions. Because that is what I needed to do this and couldn't find it anywhere.
Claudia suggested putting rings on the buckle at the Y of the lines, so if something were to go wrong and one pony got ahead of the other, they couldn't pull the buckle through the terrets and get it stuck, thereby making it so I didn't have any control over them anymore. So I did that! I had to use a lighter weight ring on Sky's lines because her lines have a buckle on the hand end so I could not take that line apart to slide the ring on. I'm not sure if there is a trick or if I'll need to cut the buckle off. I'll find out more tomorrow!
I also added a ring to the lines that cross up by their faces. Claudia suggested this, so if they shake their heads or turn their heads, they can't get the lines up over an ear or hooked somewhere I don't want them to get a line hooked! (Such as a hame ball if I were using farm style hames.)
Also I found out that I had my lines backwards the other day... So in the video where I talk about how to set up the lines, they are backwards. I will go and edit that post and make another video showing the correct way to set them up... never fear!! But as I said above (and in the video below) this is a learning curve and one I am happy to be on, so mistakes will be made. At least we are all staying safe and the ponies seem pretty happy! Sometimes they are confused (and so am I!) but we are all happy to be out with each other, exercising and doing something. I know Sky prefers coming out with us to being left behind.
I hope you are enjoying this journey as much as I am (now that I'm not as nervous as I was when we first started) this is actually starting to be FUN :)