Your miniature horse or Shetlander is much more than just a fun animal for pasture or breeding. For example, many facets of equestrian sport are already practiced with mini horses and Shetland horses. Some examples are freedom dressage, obstacle courses, jumping, long lines and of course the harnessed sport.

Too small? Or not ?!

It is often said that miniature horses and Shetland horses are too small to walk in front of the car, but this is big nonsense. Of course, a horse of 80 cm cannot pull a cart with four people, but with the right carriage (light weight) it is not strange at all to go out with two people. There is a simple rule of thumb that applies to almost all horses, if trained and in condition of course:

  • On a hard surface without much difference in height, a horse can pull 3x its own weight;
  • On a soft surface without much difference in height, a horse can draw 2x its own weight;
  • On a soft surface with height difference, a horse can draw its own weight 1x.

For example:

When we have a 150kg mini horse or shetland horse, it can tow 450kg on normal paved roads. If we have a double span this is doubled again. Of course, it is nice when the cocking is lighter. This ensures that the horse lasts longer. In addition, do not underestimate the power of a trained (miniature) horse or Shetland horse.

When you ride a sulky, the shetlander or miniature horse does not have to carry the cart on its back. A sulky is supposed to be in balance and does not lean on the horse. The only force involved here is the pulling force. This is also the case with a four-wheel car.

We tested it ourselves with a four-wheel 135 kg car with a 70 kg person on it. The pulling force - this is the force required to pull the carriage out of its place - is only 12 kg. Once the car rolls, it rolls lighter and the tractive effort is even lower. Usually large cars with a mini horse or small shet look more bulky than it is actually too heavy.

Are you unsure about this? Then ask someone with experience or your instructor for help.

Harness for miniature horses

The rigging is of the utmost importance when driving under tension. Harness must be of good quality and well maintained. This means that the harness has no cracks and the stitching is intact. A leather harness must be well oiled before it is used for the first time. This means that it is oiled in such a way that the oil no longer absorbs immediately when it is lubricated.

Maintenance of the rig

Wherever oil is in the rig, no water can enter. This makes the rig waterproof, as it were. After that it is important that the rig is regularly greased with leather grease. This ensures that the rig remains smooth and clean.

Never apply the oil and fat the other way around. If you do this, so first apply the fat and then the oil, then the oil can no longer soak into the rig. Therefore, always apply oil first and then the fat.

If a harness is not properly maintained, there is a chance that it will snap while driving. If a harness snaps, major accidents can happen, as a result of which a horse often no longer dares to walk in front of the car.

The right fit

In addition, the harness must also be properly sized. This prevents the horse from getting scrapes or pressure marks. Furthermore, the correct size is required for the harness to function optimally.

Not sure about your rigging? Then ask someone who is knowledgeable or your instructor for advice or help. In this way, the harness can be tailor-made so that you can start the harnessed riding of your mini horse or Shetland horse without hindrance.

If in doubt about the correct size, we advise you to consult the accompanying size chart. MHS Ruitersport has a clear size chart of all harnesses available on the website. This way you can measure your mini horse or Shetlander according to the size chart instructions. At a glance you can see with these sizes which harnesses would be suitable for your miniature horse or Shetlander. So, you only have to choose which color you like and whether you go for leather or plastic.

Carriages for miniature horses and Shetland ponies

There are various types of mini horse and shetland carriages on the market. These can be divided into two simple categories, two-wheeled and four-wheeled cars. A two-wheeled cart is also known as sulky.

The carriage must be in good proportion with the horse. This is more important with two-wheeled vehicles than with four-wheelers. With a four-wheeled wagon it is important that the lamon - this is the drawbar in which the horse walks when it pulls the wagon - is the right size and that the wagon is not too heavy. With large horses, the correct distance between carriage and horse is about 80cm. This will be about 50 cm for miniature horses and Shetland horses. Most importantly, the horse cannot reach the swing or carriage with its heels in any gait.

With a two-wheeled vehicle, particular attention must be paid to the balance of the vehicle. It often goes wrong here. It must be the case that when the coachman (possibly with groom) is on the trestle, the car is exactly in balance. This is easy to check by measuring the height of the light eyes of the harness (of course neatly on the back of the horse). Then hold the lamb at that height. The coachman who usually drives / will drive this car must sit on the box. If the cart is well balanced, you should be able to leave the lamon on your little finger without feeling too much pressure. In this way you basically feel the pressure / weight that the horse will feel on its withers. This should be as little as possible.

Even with new cars this is often not the case and the car will have to be adjusted by placing the sofa / chair backwards or adjusting the height of the lamoen. The horse is not supposed to "lift" the carriage. This hinders the horse in the movement and ensures a jerky ride in the trot.

Two-wheeled vs. four wheel

A two-wheel and a four-wheel car both have their advantages and disadvantages. With a two-wheeled car (sulky) you cannot drive a double span. This means that you can only drive one horse in front of the car. Double span trees are offered for some sulkies. However, it is impossible to balance the car in this way.

We therefore really recommend a four-wheel car for double driving. The lighter four-wheelers are easy to use with single horses and Shetland horses in both single and double spans. If you are only going to drive a double team, you can also opt for a slightly heavier car.

Go for safety and quality

There are a lot of different carriages and harnesses on the market for mini horses and Shetland horses. But what should you choose? As for the cars, we can only say: Go for quality and don't save on small things. A good car is important for both your own safety and that of your miniature horse or Shetland horse. The same goes for your rigging. Choose a good quality harness that fits neatly on your mini horse or Shetland horse. Just like your car, have it adjusted by someone with experience before you set off. This gives you both convenience, comfort and safety.

On to many beautiful rides!

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