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"Circling Cart" Breaks Horses To Harness
"It's a real safe way to break horses," says Ernie Herschberger, Humboldt, Ill., about his home-built "circling training cart".
  Herschberger runs a sideline business training horses, many of them Tennessee Walkers. His circling cart gets the horses used to the feel of harness and exposes them to the normal day-to-day noises they'll experience.
  The horse is hitched to a metal bar on front of the circling cart and is fitted with a harness. The driver guides the horse around a circular sand track. The cart is held like a hot walker to a 20-ft. length of pipe attached to a post.
  The circling cart rides on two wheels off a garden tractor and is built largely from an old field cultivator frame. A fence panel on one side keeps the horse from kicking anyone standing on the platform. There's even a 2-ft. wide expanded metal seat alongside the horse where someone can sit and rub the horse to get him used to that. The seat is hinged so that it can be folded down out of the way.
  "It gives me complete control of the horse - I'm amazed at how well it works," says Herschberger. "It's very safe to use because once the horse is hooked in, there's nothing he can do but pull the cart. Sometimes while I'm working somewhere else, I turn the horse loose so that it can trot by itself."
  He sometimes drags a weighted harrow section behind the cart. He says three or four workouts with the cart are usually enough. The horse is then ready for hitching to a real cart or wagon.
  "To get horses used to noises, sometimes I hang some shredded plastic bags on the bar in front of the horse. Once in a while I'll park a running tractor alongside the track, and then make the horse stop there so he gets used to it. Or I'll start up a chainsaw to get him used to that noise," says Herschberger.
  "I got the idea from my uncle, who had built a somewhat similar cart. However, it wasn't as safe because there were no platforms to stand or sit on."
  He says he already had most of the materials, and that his total cost to build the cart was less than $100.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Ernie Herschberger, 4136 E. County Road 1600 N., Humboldt, Ill. 61931 (ph 217 254-1107).

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2009 - Volume #33, Issue #1