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After a year and a half with our big guys, and a lot of great lessons in working with draft harness horses, I am considering expanding my horizons a bit and trying to teach my little mustang to drive. She has a solid riding foundation, and could use the extra work, and I figure it would be good for me to learn how on something smaller.

That being said, I love the idea of introducing the harness and moving her around in the round pen for a few days, then introducing her to pressure on the traces until she’s comfortable with that, then progressing to simulated shafts, then to light pulling, and so on. My actual question, though, is about the possibility/safety of hitching her to my best draft boy for her first real working lessons. I have seen several folks on the front porch take this approach, and since my big boy knows his voice commands, is very soft on the lines, and I’ve used him with several other (experienced) horses, it seems this would be the safest approach. The upside is that my little mustang mare can’t pull him around at all if she spooks. HOWEVER, she is 14 hands, and he is 18.2. Is that too drastic to hitch together just for introductory purposes (no real loads necessarily, maybe the wagon)? They would also have to use the draft tongue to do that, and she is so small, I worry that would be too much weight for her. Another option would be to just tie her to the hame of my big team when they are working. At least she would get exposure to commands and equipment behind her.

I would love to know your thoughts on that future aspect. I want to have a plan in mind before investing in her harness. I attached a photo of the two side by side to show the size difference. It’s when we were riding, but gives the idea.
Redgate says 2015-10-25 20:34:07 (CST)

Many folks have or use mismatched teams in a hitch. Your biggest concern would be adjusting your neck yoke so as the larger horse is not banging his knees against it. You may also want to adjust your check lines to keep them working evenly. This may take some trial and error. You may want to ground drive them a few times before attempting to hook to something. Good luck and have fun.

3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

wally b says 2015-10-26 09:01:27 (CST)

A good way to go would be to drive your little horse in a three abreast with the other two. Either way three or two, I think the most important variable is the evener. You should offset the evener so as to give the smaller horse less load, a lot less especially in the beginning. You can drill a few extra holes in appropriate places or you can use a stay chain off the broke horse's evener back to the load to let them do the work. If on a wagon or something that is a rolling load behind the horses if I could I would put the little horse in the hitch such that that horse isn't using its birchen on the tongue. You can also drag a lite tore or something behind the forecast or light wagon to help it keep from running up on the horses.

Good luck

wally b

3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Klaus Karbaumer says 2015-10-27 10:43:06 (CST)

If you hitch two different -sized horses with great weight differences together, the length of the evener on either side of the tongue has to be fairly proportionate to the horses' weight in case you pull more weight than just a rolling light weight vehicle.
Horses which have to pull against much heavier horses on same length eveners in most cases tend to get quite agitated.

3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

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