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RE: Endurance driving competitions

Jonni <>

> We have recently revived the National Endurance Driving Assoc.  (NEDA).

While I am glad to see someone taking the lines per say, and trying to get some distance driving activities going again, I want to stress that driving horses, and teaching a horse to drive is not as simple as this post seems to make it sound.

> Vehicles which have been used range from racing bikes off the track,
> but not very sturdy over rough terrain) to wagons and meadowbrook carts,
> as effective for making time).  One of the most popular currently in use
is a
> modified Chariot with a car axle, car tires and a seat.  These are
> comfortable, very durable and stable over uneven ground.

Understanding the cart,carriage or wagon you plan to use, its design, and function will prevent accidents in the future. While it is mentioned that "racing bikes" or jog carts are not sturdy, I would like to add that the most dangerous part is the light bicycle type, or Pneumatic tires and wheels. These light weight wheels will collapse in rough terrain, or going around a sharp corner at speed. Most often followed by a horse that bolts, and a wreck.

>>  Standard well
> horse harness is used.  Most who drive single use breast collar harness,
> collars have been used as well.<<

Please, please, do not buy a cheap harness off of Ebay. Most harnesses that sell for under $200 are made in India, and the lack of quality leather, and good stitching will have the harness breaking...usually followed by a wreck. Many of the Amish made harnesses are of wonderful quality, and workmanship. Spend a little more, and be safe. Also, many are making Biothane, and Advanced Equine has the Zilco harness that is synthetic, and easy to clean.

>>> Most endurance horses can be trained to pull a cart in a few days.<<

This is the statement I feel is most deceiving. Yes, some horses can be taught to somewhat pull a cart in a few days...IF they are very well broke as a riding horse. But most horses, to be taught to drive SAFELY, take more that a few days. It is NOT a case of put harness and cart on horse and head out across the desert. A horse that bolts with a cart, and tosses his driver out, is now a very dangerous situation. They will often head straight towards other horses, spooking them as well. They continue to run with the cart "chasing" them out of fear, until said cart either breaks apart, or they get hung up in a fence, or between some cars etc. (hint: If your horse spooks at other horses pulling won't be able to break him to drive in a FEW days)

>>>> Driving one or more animals at speed over a distance course is a thrill
> is unsurpassed.  <<<

Yes, driving is a great sport, that is on the rise worldwide. But before you decide to hitch your horses so you can drive them "at speed", learn as much about driving, harnessing properly, care of the cart, carriage or wagon etc. that you can My former endurance horse had been driving for about 7 years. We have done carriage shows (not breed shows, but shows just for carriages) CDE's (Combined Driving Events) and just driving for fun along the roads and trails. We have some great resources to learn about driving, where to find equipment etc. A good place to start is the American Driving Society. They can get you in contact with local clubs.

Also the Carriage Driving Net. Click on community and Directory for some helpful links.

If anyone has any other questions on driving, feel free to e-mail me at:

We look forward to new drivers...but lets make them safe drivers

Jonni Jewell
American Driving Society Recreational Driving Committee board member

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