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23 days ago

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I have been driving 3- abreast over the last few months, mostly to exercise all 3 horses, but also to experiment with different line configurations of such a hitch. I tried the Amish method of bit-to-halter line between outside and inside horse, as well as bit-to-hame ring line configuration that is so commonly used. I bought a jockey stick, but haven't tried that method yet. Currently, I am playing around with my new set of custom-made 3 abreast lines, which gives me direct contact to both sides of each horse. I ran into a question, though. Although I got the lines adjusted so I had nice, even contact to every horse, the pressure on the lines resulted in some odd angles were each check connected to the main line. It didn't cause me any issues per say, but I wondered if the angle has any downside in terms of signaling the horse? Should I use line spacer rings to decrease the angle at the game ring somewhat? I looked at a few photos and sketches of the setup, and all showed such angles; it just seems odd to be looking down at it. You can see my lines are brown in the photo, while the harness is all black.

Todd NE WY says 2018-02-23 10:25:50 (CST)

In looking at the picture I think to get the geometry you are looking for, essentially a straight main line back. You will need longer secondary check lines. If you lengthen the check line going to the opposite outside horse it will allow the main line to straighten out. Now I do not mean to move the line adjustment, I mean physically make the check line longer so it attaches in the same spot but lets the main line straighten out. Now for the disclaimer, this answer is based solely on the geometry of the lines, I am not sure if you will continue to have the same contact with the same amount of pressure if you change the length of the line. I would be pretty easy to experiment with and see though.

I am watching the answers here on this because this year come you-know-what or high water I am driving 3 abreast and I have a set of lines like yours I picked up.


22 days ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Klaus Karbaumer says 2018-02-23 11:02:29 (CST)

Danielle, although I have never driven a three abreast this way (I drove the unicorn), a look at your line constellation gives me the impression that you do indeed have some very odd angles, which could result in a diminished communication. The stubb lines are awfully short and that causes the sharp angles. When the buckles are way further back , you get longer stubb lines and that gives you flatter angles. Whoever made those lines, obviously saved on the material. And you do need to have rings sewn in where the lines separate to avoid having them pulled through the hame rings! I couldn't see on the picture if you have those.

22 days ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Redgate says 2018-02-23 14:51:56 (CST)

This was a tough one to figure out. Any fault is not on the harness maker, as we worked together to design it (he is Amish). He had heard of them, but never seen one. I could only find one harness maker who built and sold these, but they were standardized for large drafts and didn't tell the actual lengths, which made me nervous. Mine are smaller (16'ish hands). I looked up the suggestions given in the Workhorse Handbook, and here on Rural Heritage. I knew the basic length I needed for the main line and normal team check line, in order to get the buckle properly set just behind the harness' saddle. The tough part was figuring out the setting of the second, long check line. After trying multiple adjustments on the horses and fiddling with it in the shop, we decided to base it on the ratio given in the Work Horse handbook. That's how we came up with our lengths in the end. That put the second buckle just over the spider area of the harness (it looks short in the photo, but in fact sits over the spider when the Lines are somewhat relaxed). So, then we took it for a test drive. I fiddled with it, but any added length to that long check seems to cause the outside horses heads to flare outward. This is the most equal adjustment I got.....good contact and good response from each horse equally, nice parallel positions, and so forth. Literally the only thing was the aesthetics of the angles, particularly at the hames. Of course, at faster speeds or with increased pressure, the angle of the long check increases, while slower paces and less pressure cause it to decrease. This photo was taken at a trot, so it is a steeper angle due to the increased pressure (horses were feeling frisky!). I wish I could find more info on designing these, but it doesn't seem to be that common.

22 days ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Uncle Joe says 2018-02-23 19:45:44 (CST)

Not sure why Danielle's photo uploaded upside down. I can't edit or fix an uploaded photo, but can download it, fix it and re-upload it. Here is the same photo right side up.<br />
<br />

22 days ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Klaus Karbaumer says 2018-02-23 21:29:58 (CST)

Thank you, Joe.
The outside(long) lines should not be broken in their direction, because that alone puts a lot of pressure on the buckles, which you want to avoid. The closer the buckles are to the hame rings, the more one gets that change of direction of the stub lines. A good way to figure that out is if one lays out the whole line system with strings on the ground, puts rings there, where they would be at the hames, respectively at the bits( this depends on your horses neck lengths) and then by juggling around gets the required measurements. You are right, Danielle, the outside horses shouldn't be flared out, but that is a problem of adjusting all the buckles at the right places. I have seen five ups, with three in front and two as wheelers, where it worked just fine. It is also a function of how the three horses are spaced.

22 days ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

K.C. Fox says 2018-02-26 11:33:03 (CST)

every time that I tried something new like 3-4 abreast the first 1/2 day was changing something working the teams and more changing then I could get to working. It seemed like something was always needing adjusted it seems like once you got done adjusting things that it worked always helps to be able to see how someone else does it.

19 days ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Dris Abraham says 2018-02-26 11:56:41 (CST)

Impossible to say for certain with picture,
!. Evener space
2. Neck yoke Space
#. Trace adjustment.
4. Line up the family and each child is a horse, hold lines and see where your difficulties
5. Not a fan of spacers as they can cause line hang up.
6. Are these lines made for these horses?
7. Bowman harness makes these line for regular drafts.
8. Three and four horse abreast lines are made to be on a peice of equipment that gets you up in air so lines do not become entangled in tails and what not. You will have to get a hole punch and line them up. Quick thoughs from Southern Plains

19 days ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Scott S says 2018-03-07 21:14:05 (CST)

Guessing the angles are the way they will be in that set up. I think the reason for check straps in more than two abreast is for the simplicity, also when you use check straps you only control two animals instead of 3-4 etc (easier on you arms and hands, you let the animals do some of the works for you) For me I would not enjoy getting in the middle of the teams every time you hook. I suppose once you get used to it wouldn't be as bad as I think. I guess when you say the Amish way it is the Amish you know. The Amish I have visited with are big on hold back straps and Jockey sticks. I suppose the Amish have many different ways of doing things depending on the person. I personally use and like the bit to hame configuration, but as I think when you do this you need the middle animal or team needs to be you most broke because this, these are the ones you control.

10 days ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Redgate says 2018-03-15 08:47:11 (CST)

I appreciate all the inputs. After driving this configuration a few times, the lines actually straightened out quite nicely when the horses relaxed and pulled steady, so I think we did OK on the measurements. That being said, I definitely prefer the bit to hame checks. It is much easier driving. Then again, I admit the direct contact is nice for my less responsive or younger horses. We got these lines mainly due to a public event where I wanted the best control and direct contact to each horse. I was happy at the event. We actually ran into one situation where my youngest horse, who was out in such a venue for the first time, unexpectedly threw a fit. It was embarrassing, and equaled out to be a major toddler temper tantrum. I suspect he just hit sensory overload. I was able to easily face him to a wall and let him throw his fit. Once he calmed down, I walked the hitch up and down the lane a couple times, then unharnessed. I liked that direct contact! For other's reference, I will admit though, that if the team gets jumpy or spooky, the 3-abreast lines mean you are pulling against 3 horses instead of essentially 2. It takes a lot more muscle. I don't have much as a smaller woman, so I suppose that could get dicey if you aren't careful and lack a good team. It has been a fun experiment, and I'm sure I will use it on occasion to tweak things, but for the most part, I plan to use the bit to hame line when driving 3-abreast. It is nice to have the help of the inside horse to hold back the outside ones. It just works nicer and with less worry.

2 days ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

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