Correct balance is essential for driving a two-wheeled horse-drawn vehicle.
As a result you and the horse/pony should be able to enjoy a comfortable and relaxed drive out.
The balance of a two-wheeled vehicle ensures a comfortable sit for the driver and his passengers and an evenly portioned weight bearing on the shafts.
If weight bearing is correct, the horse will neither suffer from a sore back because of a shaft heavy cart, nor will a shaft light carriage cause pressure on its belly, which is most uncomfortable for the animal.
Shaft materials are influenced by incorrect weight bearing.
Breakages may occur with time because of weakened material.
Wood does usually show first cracks, which can be detected if carefully looked for.
Or you can see cracks on the paint on top of the wood.
Metal shafts break suddenly.
You usually will not see any alarming signs of cracks or splints!
How is Correct Weight Pressure Achieved and Maintained?
Different methods of maintaining the correct weight pressure have been invented:
In traditional carts the front seat position can be altered forwards or backwards to achieve a position customized to the individual needs.
The vehicle body can be moved to the front or the back to become adjusted to the wished degree of weight shifting.
This was invented and patented in 1883 for high Dog Carts.
It is used a lot in modern traps as well.
This kind of vehicle is kept in a correct angle by the driver’s and passengers’ positioning.
The driver mounts first and seats himself comfortably, then the passengers seat themselves in a way that the whole trap is well leveled.
A Gig has got a fixed seat.
You see in this case the correct built determines actually the correct weight shifting of the whole vehicle.
Driver and passenger need to “find” and “hold” the right position.
Rally Carts can carry four people.
The seat can be moved forth- and backwards.
But only light people should be carried in the back, as heavier passengers can still cause the vehicle to tip backwards and cause shaft lightness (= extreme uncomfortable for the horse).
Sometimes putting a plus weight on the carriage (floor or back) seems to keep it leveled.