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Pony Driving Equipment

Updated on December 27, 2014

Pony and Miniature Horse Driving

Have you ever seen a pony, horse, or donkey pulling a wagon, cart or other horse drawn vehicle in a parade? The pony driving equipment used to pull the wagon is a harness. The ponies or minis are "hitched" to the wagon by way of the harness.

Besides parades, there are many other driving activities: from pleasure driving, to harness racing, to farm work, horse shows, and even International driving competitions. If you ever have the opportunity to watch a harness event, you'll find it fun and fascinating, and those miniature horses are so darn cute!

Driving Harness

Driving harnesses are all pretty much the same except that ponies and miniature horses have a smaller harness of course. Here are the basic parts of a harness:

* A collar to allow the horse or pony to push against the harness with its shoulders and chest. Much more comfortable for the animal.

* Hames (if a full collar is used).: Two padded metal or wooden strips which take the full force of the pull.

* Breeching: A strap around the horse's haunches (rear area) allowing it to set back and slow a vehicle, usually hooked to the shafts or pole of the vehicle.

* Traces: The straps or chains which take the pull from the breastcollar or hames to the load.

* Girth; A strap that fits firmly around the girth or belly of the horse to attach the harness.

* Reins: Long leather straps running from the bit to the driver's hands, used to guide the horses.

* Bits for harness: A mouthpiece that has adjustable leverage to help balance the effect of the reins on different horses in a team.

Miniature horse driving harness from Amazon

Here are a few types of harness from Amazon.

Amish Beta Miniature Horse Harness with Collar & Hames
Amish Beta Miniature Horse Harness with Collar & Hames

The Amish are known for their quality products and attention to detail..

The famous clydesdale horses pulling a heavy wagon
The famous clydesdale horses pulling a heavy wagon

Horse Drawn Vehicles

Carts and Wagons pulled by ponies and minis (horses and mules too)

There are many types of horse drawn vehicles. Keep in mind that a horse drawn vehicle is any vehicle pulled by horses, ponies, miniature horses, mules, etc. A two-wheeled horse-drawn vehicle is called a cart and in that category there are many types of carts. Some carts (and wagons) are very light weight and can be pulled by many animals including llamas and goats.

Four-wheeled vehicles have many names, but the most common type is a wagon. Some heavier wagons are pulled by large animals such as oxen, water buffalo, camels, or yaks.

Heavy wagons, carts and agricultural implements can also be pulled by other large draught animals such as oxen, water buffalo, yaks or even camels and elephants.

What Kind of Apparel do Drivers Usually Wear?

During practice you are allowed to wear anything, although most people wear sturdy boots, jeans etc. Many people like to show their harness ponies or minis in parades and horse shows. This is when the outfits can get pretty fancy.

Some drivers wear a fairly formal outfit usually consisting of pants or long skirt, boots, a tailored jacket and shirt or blouse. They always wear a hat and gloves. The women wear colorful, feathered and fun hats to go with their outfits. Some of the men wear tweed with regular neckties, some wear black jackets and stock ties, or other colors. Top hats and derbies (bowler hats in Britain) can also be worn. Most drivers have an apron (kind of like a lap robe).

Miniature Horses in Competition - Beautiful examples of carts, harness, apparel

This video of miniature horses from you-tube is over 7 minutes long, but well worth watching. This is serious competition and the minis are adorable!

Do you have driving ponies or minis?

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    • Pat Broker profile imageAUTHOR

      Pat Broker 

      5 years ago from Templeton, CA

      @PNWtravels: It is fun! The ponies are especially lively and very willing.

    • PNWtravels profile image

      Vicki Green 

      5 years ago from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA

      I've never done any driving with a horse or pony, but certainly looks like fun!

    • Pat Broker profile imageAUTHOR

      Pat Broker 

      5 years ago from Templeton, CA

      @OhMe: Thank you for the comment and the referral. I appreciate it.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 

      5 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      We have a friend who has a pony and cart so I will sure share this page with her. Thanks

    • Pat Broker profile imageAUTHOR

      Pat Broker 

      6 years ago from Templeton, CA

      @Countryluthier: You would like it! The minis are so willing!

    • Countryluthier profile image

      E L Seaton 

      6 years ago from Virginia

      No, but on the Seaton Spread one day in the distant future, I can see giving this a shot. Great lens. COUNTRYLUTHIER blessed.

    • Pat Broker profile imageAUTHOR

      Pat Broker 

      6 years ago from Templeton, CA

      @Natalie W Schorr: Thanks for your comment!

    • Natalie W Schorr profile image

      Natalie W Schorr 

      6 years ago

      Too cute!

    • Pat Broker profile imageAUTHOR

      Pat Broker 

      6 years ago from Templeton, CA

      @Annamadagan: Thanks for the comment! It is fun!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I have never drove ponies or mini's, but it looks like fun!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I have never drove ponies or mini's, but it looks like fun!


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