Types of horse harness

In the modern world, a carriage dressed in a horse harness causes a storm of emotions on the streets of cities. We seem to fall into a fairy tale, there is nostalgia for the times when such carts scurried along the streets of villages and villages.

Horse harness

The European horse is entertainment and pleasure, and in the 19th century it was an indispensable helper for man, the main nurse in the family of a peasant. Plowing in the field, transportation of people, goods - all the hard work was done on it. Horses were the first helpers in the conquest of land, in the transport of military equipment, in travel, etc.

Those who kept the horse on the farm understood that it would help provide for the family. Each person, regardless of age, knew that to prolong the life of a horse, it was important not only constant care, but also good equipment that did not overload the neck, high-quality and correctly sized horse harness. What horse harnesses exist? Is it possible to make them yourself? What criteria should I look for when choosing a horse control?

What is horse harness

Such terms as a horse harness or harness are the totality of all devices that provide the ability to control the animal, sitting behind it in a wagon. In other words, this name implies a complex of belts with reins and reins, worn on the body of the animal and allowing you to control the trajectory of the horse. The word harness in the dictionary has the following synonyms: harness, harness, harness.

People who masterfully own a horse cart are called:

  • coachman;
  • coachman;
  • riding;
  • cab;
  • drover, etc.

Only they get the right to drive a horse through the reins attached to the reins.

In order not to hurt the animal when riding, you need to correctly select and fit all the elements that make up the device. If the belts are not properly tightened, then in contact with the body you can get a “burn” of soft tissues or other injuries. As a result, the horse’s performance will decrease.

Origin and History

According to archaeologists, the first horse cart was invented by a man about 2000 years BC. e. Since the old wagons were simple and primitive, it is easy to guess that harnesses were to match them.

The Persians were the first to notice the beauty of the harness. When they began to use four mares harnessed to closed wagons, then the idea came up to make a horse harness, which was also beautiful and allowed to evenly distribute the load when riding.

Later, horse carts appeared among the Greeks (where much attention was paid to their manufacture). The richer the owner, the more colorful was the horse harness. Among the Romans, chariots equipped with the simplest designs were widespread, but the details of the harness were distinguished by splendor, were trimmed with gold, jewelry with precious stones was also used. In the arenas, such a team of horses was visible from afar.

In the middle of the XIX century, in connection with the appearance on the streets of carriages and carriages, the beauty of a horse harness again returned to fashion. Today, a harness on three horses is decorated with bells. It is not known exactly where this tradition came from, but according to one version they were hung so that the coachman (coachman) would not fall asleep on a long journey.

Today horses are used in private households, in sports and competitions, as well as for entertainment.

What a harness consists of

The harness elements in each outfit are approximately the same, so it makes sense to consider each harness element:

  • Clamp Perhaps this is the most important part of the harness, the task of which is to evenly distribute the weight of the wagon on the neck and shoulder of the horse’s spine. This element is placed near the withers and along the base of the neck. It should not prevent the mount from moving and breathing properly. The size of the clamp is chosen not too wide or long so that damage does not appear on the horse's body. The fastener, called the upper clamp belt (belt arc), requires constant checking to avoid breaking.
  • Bridle. A bridle is being put on his head. It can be with one or several bits or without them.
  • Shlea. The use of a harness when moving a mare provides tight retention of the clamp. Harness means leather longitudinal, transverse and sloping belts.
  • Rein.

These harness harnesses provide remote control of the horse. Included are two reins, left and right (one longer than the other). Their edges are connected with a bit.

The considered parts are made in the form of strong smooth (without rings and additional fasteners) belts. At the end of the left reins is a finger loop, at the end of the right is a buckle or hole.

  • Girth - a wide, durable strap for fastening the saddle.
  • Also in the equipment there is an emergency latch, in case of danger, a pin is removed, and the horse is disconnected from the crew.
  • Blinkers are put on the eyes without touching them. These parts of the harness are needed in order to eliminate distracting factors for the horse and to secure the crew.
  • Shore-holders, so that blinders do not hesitate from the air flow (needed to avoid additional excitement of the horse).
  • It is better to decorate the headband of horses on one motive so that the group in front looks harmonious.

This is what the device consists of, which is used by the one who controls the harness of horses.

Types of Harnesses

Over time, the device of the harness changed repeatedly (one arc was added, the other was removed, converted), depending on the use and the number of animals harnessed to the wagon. Currently, there are 3 types of horse harness:

  • Agricultural. In the team one individual or a pair of horses.
  • Transport. They are multi-horse (from three or more). Use - transportation of goods, cargo, people.
  • Exit or ceremonial (for example, in the summer - for weddings, in the winter - for a sled). They used a different number of horses (2 or more).

Therefore, depending on the purpose of the harness, they began to produce it (you need to strengthen the main part, decorate the other, etc.).

Varieties of harnesses

Currently, there are the following types of harness:

  • Line-by-line. Such a model does not have a drawbar and a shafting, and it also lacks a wooden part (arc). The devices under consideration are most often equipped with an additional hand brake, since when moving forward it is impossible to hold the wagon (traction is performed due to the clamp and the lint).
  • Combined. This variation is adapted to large and strong horses (sometimes it is also used for bulls). Usually 6-8 horses are used, each of which performs its function (they go one after another). For example, adherents are harnessed to the roots. Their task is to turn the cart. The root crops are the strongest and highest, which allows them to restrain the crew. Remote horses, which set the pace and trajectory, are put in the beginning.
  • Tachanka. Today, a slightly outdated look. In the center, a pair of workhorses harnesses to the drawbar, side horses - for building, no carts are used. The patterns are attached to the wagons.
  • Linear drawbar. The main thing in this harness is the drawbar (used as a movement regulator and for turning the cart). Suitable for single and parokonny harness.
  • Zug. Six work horses are used, root sticks are attached to the drawbar, the remaining horses in the harness are remote.
  • One-window (European harness) arc and arcless. In both species harnessed one horse. In an arcless harness, the entire weight of the wagon is provided by the harness.

There are 2 types of harnesses: a bib and a collar. The collar is made to the size of the animal, and the bibs are fitted with buckles to fit the horse.

Now you know what each type of team consists of, therefore, you can easily pick up a harness for one or another purpose.

Cheaper when buying a fully finished harness. But it happens that not all items are suitable for your animal, so it is recommended to buy parts separately.

Horse Riding Methods

To control the horse, an experienced rider uses 3 main commands:

  • The body is a tilt to the side that the horseman will apply, the horse will understand what is required of him.
  • Reins - the horse is heading in a certain direction.
  • Schenkel - the rider's legs are located on the sides of the horse.

Additionally use whip and spurs. Although the whip looks intimidating, it does no harm to the horse. Spurs are used to enhance the action of the Shenkel.

Competition, horse racing and horseback riding

Horse racing is a competition that cannot leave indifferent horseback riding enthusiasts. The atmosphere is mesmerizing, but few people wonder how important the technical side is: equipping a horse with a harness.

Training a horse, tactics, preparation of a harness are the main stages of preparation for a competition. Any kind of harness should be safe for both humans and animals. In any case, whether it’s a pony ride, a victory in elite competitions, a simple jogging, winning titles, the master must always ensure safety to the horses.

Some nations have a horse mounted without special tools. In reality, it’s better not to do this, because even the most flexible horse can show excitement and aggression.

To date, there are many equestrian clubs that provide the opportunity with the help of a trainer to get acquainted with the horses, learn the riding techniques on them and, accordingly, the elements of harness. Despite the fact that the process takes place there under the supervision of a trainer, one should not forget about the preparation (check the saddle, reins, remember the correct fit) and contact with the animal. After a horse has been saddled, it is not necessary to approach him from behind, you should always be in the field of view of the animal.

Correct fit: relaxed shoulders and arms with a straight back, toe above the heel, head slightly raised, gaze directed forward to the center between the ears. Bending forward or backward should not be.

Riding implies a pose in which you can not tear off the saddle from the saddle. You need to lead the animals body. For example, the rider's forward tilts cause the horse to move forward, the tilt back - the command to stop, the tilt of the body - the direction of movement. In order not to fill your cones, you need to move with the horse at the same pace. Before getting off the horse, you should calmly release the occasion and get your legs out of the stirrups.

Instructions for harnessing a horse

It is necessary to put on the harness carefully so that no arc of which the harness consists does not rub the delicate skin of the steed, and the pole does not interfere with the movement. Walkthrough:

  • When putting on the bib, the distance above the sternum should be approximately the width of the palm. The collar is worn over the head upside down (narrow end down). Turning it over is allowed only after the ears have crawled. If a fist sticks between the clamp and the body, it means that it is worn correctly.
  • Harness put on withers on the straps, slowly tightening the cinch. The back belt (belt arch) runs straight along the back, fitting, it will remain connected to the armrest.
  • Only after the tail has been straightened is the dorsal belt adjusted and fixed. Then the edging is attached and the reins are passed through the rings and connected to the snaffles. So, the headband is in place, it remains to check the links in the gutter (they are not twisted around the chin chain).
  • Further, an assistant will be useful, who will push a cart (stroller) to the mare. The shafts must be lifted, only then the delicate skin of the animal will not be affected. Having omitted the shafts, we must tie them to the construction. To avoid strong lifting, the hinges should be in front of the brackets. It is necessary to attach a stitch with a harness, which should remain horizontal (parallel to the ground).
  • Finally, you need to tighten the cinch.

Harnessing a horse also needs to be done correctly. This procedure is performed by mirror harnessing. Having freed the horse from the wagon, you need to inspect the harness so that it does not rub, and the animal - for bodily harm.

Harness cleaning

Naturally, after work the harness is saturated with sweat, so it needs some care. To remove dirt, thoroughly clean it with your hands using a wet sponge.

2 times a month, you need to wipe all parts of the harness and the pole with saddle soap, having previously disconnected them. Then you need to let the elements dry in a natural way (without sunlight), otherwise they will begin to crack.

It is important to lubricate the washed harness with wax, in addition to the highest grade (patented) leather, which is wiped with a soft, dried cloth. Even after drying, they are lubricated with either fat or technical oil.

Harness storage

After use, it is necessary to hang a harness on a specially prepared hanger. The room should be well ventilated.

To facilitate your work and keep the harness, you can use the hangers on wheels that roll up to the mount, with each element must have a separate hook. We must not forget about the whip (if it is not straightened, it will be bent).

The quality of belts is driving safety. The harness should be light, but durable, easy to care for, and in case of breakage - without difficulties in repair.

Before harnessing a horse, make sure that the harness is working (belts, buckles, latches are intact). You should also check from the inside for garbage or creases.

A horse harness is an integral part of a safe crew, the choice of a variety of which depends on the type of wagon chosen. The one who controls the horses will have to remember that the harness should be on the animal like underwear on a person. Only then management will not cause discomfort to the mare and the coachman.


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