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1 year ago

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Since we downsized our big Belgian team to a trio of Spotted Drafts, I have been eager to work all 3 together. Turns out, Pioneer came out with a new adapter for the equipment that allows you to convert the forecart or wagon to an offset tongue for driving 3 abreast. We hooked it up for the first time today, and went at it. It was a first time for all, including me! We plugged the 2 year old gelding in between the more experienced 5 year old mares, so I had 2 lines on him. It took them a lap or two to get the idea behind the new feel of lines, but they got it. We did a lot of practice stopping, from both walk and trot. Once they seemed to be doing well and working as a team instead of 3 singles, we went to work on some farm chores. We moved our big chicken coop (about 1000 lbs), introduced some noisy stuff, and finally did some driveway grading. It was a light work day, but a good start that ended on a good note. The horses did much better than I expected, and I am just thrilled to have a way to keep all in condition. Here's a couple of videos for fun.

Klaus Karbaumer says 2017-07-08 08:22:41 (CST)

Congratulations, Danielle. We have been watching here on the Front Porch the tremendous progress you have been making from a literal novice in the draft horse world to a skilled teamster, now driving three abreast ! Good luck with these fine looking horses.
Did you find a good place for your big Belgians ?

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Redgate says 2017-07-09 08:59:42 (CST)

I did, thanks, and didn't even have to advertise. A girl who previously worked with Dris, and actually knew the horses, contacted me about looking for a team. I told her about Our boys, and she jumped at the chance. I never had to advertise, and I couldn't have asked for a better home!

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Dave T says 2017-07-09 22:04:24 (CST)

I'm sure happy to see that you have the colt going so well. Good for both of you. Steady, light work will do him a lot of good at this stage.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Ralph in N.E.Oh says 2017-07-09 22:06:20 (CST)

Yes sir, you're doing great. Keep hitching them and enjoy your horse and family time.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Charlie says 2017-07-10 07:50:50 (CST)

Looks great! Thanks for posting the videos,

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Redgate says 2017-07-10 08:59:57 (CST)

Dave, the colt's doing great. We finally got him over that nasty cold he had. He developed an allergy to the antibiotics the vet was using, so we had to let it run its course. Took nearly 2.5 months to completely clear up! Seemed like the poor guy was quarantined forever. I introduced him to the saddle this month, and have done a couple of very light walk/trot rides, in addition to the hitching. I try to work each horse at least once or twice each week, whether by riding or driving. Here's a clip of his first ride last week, just for you!

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Dave T says 2017-07-10 11:42:51 (CST)

You two certainly have him looking good and obviously learning. He's on his way to making a good horse. His dam is one of the smoothest riding horses I've ever had. I hope he is, too. Phone is a handy thing to have for the first ride. Take video as long as things go well. Call for help if it turns sour. You're doing great.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Scott S says 2017-07-24 00:11:37 (CST)

I like the three abreast hitch I use it a lot. It looks like you are doing well with them. They are a pretty team. One suggestion. When driving three abreast put your most experienced in the middle and the less experienced on the sides. If your middle animal decides to spook or bolt you will have very little control on your outside animals because of the way your check lines work. Your middle animal is your control. In bigger hitches your middle team is your control, usually your best broke and most experienced. In a bigger hitch you can put a colt between two well broke animals but you will still have lines to your broke animals. Once your animals are well broke you will want your faster animal in the middle to spread them out. Good luck.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Redgate says 2017-07-26 16:59:39 (CST)

This is a conundrum. We did a lot of research prior to hitching the three together, and it seems every book, and every person has their own recommendation. I could certainly feel the lesser control of the outside horses with our setup. We went with what seemed to be the majority rule on it..."put the least experienced in the middle, so you have two lines on him." We did buy a jockey stick as a backup plan, and it was pretty unanimous that the jockey stick went on the least experienced, on the outside of the hitch. However, we have been strongly cautioned about using that set up in general, from a safety aspect, by Englischers. The Amish teamsters we talked to, however, pretty unanimously swore it was the way to go. Doc Hamilton recommends the custom lines with two lines on each horse, while every Amish teamster we spoke with cautioned against. Very confusing, indeed! We are always most concerned with safety, so, I am wide open to other thoughts on the issue. With time and experience, we will move the team around, not just to keep them versatile, but to really ensure I have a good feel of how it all works best. Thankfully, everything has gone well so far!

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Dan in Illinois says 2017-07-27 08:11:11 (CST)

Most Amish I know prefer jockey sticks. Red gate, are your check lines hooked to inside horse bit or to hames? Just curious getting ready to hook pair of draft mules maybe one at a time with my draft horses. Hope everyone is getting enough rain.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Klaus Karbaumer says 2017-07-27 14:50:20 (CST)

I'd prefer to have two lines to each of the horses, they all need to know where to go. Also, a three abreast usually consists of two experienced horses with an add-on, so it would be natural to have the add-on on the right side.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Redgate says 2017-07-29 22:14:29 (CST)

Dan, our Amish mentors recommended we hook the outside horses' inside bit ring to the inside horse's bottom halter ring. That way, which ever way we turned, the off horse would receive the proper pull on his bit when the middle horse turned his head. At the same time, though, the middle, newbie horse would have no additional pressure on his bit from the outside horses that might confuse him. He only felt my lines on his bit. It seemed to work well. It took a lap or two around the pasture for them to figure out the new setup, but within a few short minutes they all responded well to any cue. The only thing I didn't like was that it seemed to take a bit longer to "Whoa!," but I am still working to improve their stops anyway. The are getting better, but the lack of bit contact with the outside horses seemed to confuse them a bit at the whoa. Worth noting. We just did LOTS of stop/start practice. I have them pull my heavier wagon when doing stop training which makes it a bit easier to reinforce the "release" of all pressure when they stop. Hope that all makes sense.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Dan in Illinois says 2017-07-30 09:16:58 (CST)

All makes sense. Thanks

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Scott S says 2017-07-30 21:07:11 (CST)

I can see few problems hooking to the halter of inside horses halter without buck back straps. The first and biggest is until the middle horse is way behind outside horses you have no whoa on outside horses without buck back straps. When you hook from inside bit to hame as soon as you pull on lines and the middle horse slows down you have pressure on bits of outside animals to slow or stop. Another issue I see is if middle horse starts throwing head around it will be very ruff on the mouths of outside horses. This is also still true if you are hooked to the hames if your middle horse starts throwing a fit and jumping around this is why your middle needs to be your broke horse with check lines. With the check lines hooked from bit to hames as soon as middle horse starts to turn the outside horse will fill pressure and turn along. The system hooked properly works well. The middle horse is your control in systems using any sort of check lines. Doc Hammill has some very good diagrams on three different systems for hooking three abreast. Just Google Doc Hammill three abreast. It used to be, probably still is on this site. The way you are hooking is dangerous. I'm worried about your safety. If you want to put the colt in the middle you need the lines made for three abreast. I'm glad you've got along good so far. Probably shows what good heads you and your horses have and what a good job of training you have done so far.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Redgate says 2017-07-31 00:50:43 (CST)

I am familiar with Doc Hammils diagrams. We studied them for quite sometime and discussed the different options with the folks we spoke with as we prepared. I will definitely agree that I wasn't thrilled with how the outside horses can get ahead of the center horse when hooking to the halter ring. They generally did OK, just because they responded well to the outside bit pressure to keep them in line, but still, I could see a potential issue there. We are considering a big outing with 3 abreast this weekend, and I think I'm going to try hooking the inner bit rings to the hame rings like the diagram suggests. I am still not totally clear why my center Horse should be the best horse. It seems I'd want the most control on the least experienced horse, while the outside, more experienced keep him in check. I think that is the single issue we have found the most disagreement on between English and Amish. It would be interesting to know why the discrepancy.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

K.C. Fox says 2017-07-31 09:58:50 (CST)

Just because they don't do it that way does not make it wrong, just different. Do it the way your most comfortable with, some of my ways are not the most popular. But I feel good when doing it that way.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

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