There are many styles, sizes and options to consider when ordering harness. Ask yourself these questions:
- What type of driving do you plan to do? Farming Harness will require different parts than Carriage Harness; heavier harness will be needed if your are working the fields than if you are pulling only a cart or carriage. Pleasure harness will be different from that for competition.
- What size is your horse? Most harnesses can adjust to a few different sizes up and down, but a draft horse harness won’t fit a pony! You need to start with your horse’s size and body type.
- What type of vehicle or implement will you be using? The way the harness attaches to the vehicle will affect the traces, collar style, etc.
- How many horses will you be driving? A harness for driving single is not the same as that for a pair/team. But you can get harness that will accommodate both single or a pair.
- What material do you want? Leather, nylon, synthetic, bio etc.
- What hardware do you want? Nickle, brass, stainless steel.
Whether for pleasure or competition, for carriage drivers we recommend the quality and value of Ideal Harness. Made in The Netherlands, Ideal Harness is used by serious drivers all over the world for singles, pairs, and 4-in-hand. Fraser School of Driving is one of very few dealers in the United States, and orders can often be shipped to you within a few days. To see their full catalogue, click on the logo below to view their website, and then contact us when you are ready to order.
Farm Style Harness
There are several harness makers who build very nice farm-style harness with neck collars and hames. We place orders depending on our clients’ needs, and can get leather or synthetic. Draft horse harness can be ordered for parades, farm work, logging, training and just pleasure driving. The advantage of having us order for you is that we have specific parts that we prefer and others that we don’t need, so we can often save you money and get you exactly what you need. The terminology will be different when ordering farm style harness then it is for the light carriage style.
There are several top quality makers building show harness. This photo shows a rose wood leather with brass hardware. Alex Fraser designed and helped to make this harness for our hitch of Belgian geldings. Most show harness is made with black leather and either brass, chrome or stainless steel hardware.
How to measure your horse for harness
A. From the corner of the mouth on one side, over the head to the corner of the mouth on the other side.
B. Girth – all around
C. From the line where the breeching or would fit across the hip to the other side.
D. From point of the tail to where the saddle would fit.
E. Breeching. This would be measured around the point of the buttocks.
How to measure for a collar style harness
The best way to know what size collar your horse needs is to try on a collar, and see how it fits. You need to have room at the bottom for your hand to slide between the collar and your horse’s neck. If you don’t have a collar to try, you can either buy a horse neck measurer or use the suggestion below as a guide line.
Take two carpenter squares. Place them together to form a “C”. Place the top of the “C” in front of the withers, place the bottom of the “c” two inches in front of the shoulders. Be sure to allow finger room at the base of the throat. Measure the inside of the “C” to obtain the size.
Sweeney Collar: The thicker a horse’s neck, the less material they need on the “inside” of the collar. This is apparent approx. 1/3 the way down the neck of the collar.
- Very thick necked horses, usually stallions, will require a “Full Sweeney” Collar. An average horse will take a Half Sweeney, and a thin necked horse will take a Full Face, as will a mule. Mules and donkeys will have even more material as they are thinner necked by nature.
- Most draft geldings and mares, as well as most quarter horse type horses and Haflingers, will use the Half Sweeney.
- Full face would be used by Standard bred or Saddle bred horses, as well as Arabians.
- Keep in mind these are “most” definitions. The key to getting the most from your horse depends on making them as comfortable as possible.
Hames will be 2 inches larger than the collar measurements on most farm style collars but may only be an inch larger for a light driving collar.