Sizing a 2 Wheel Cart to Fjord

Hi all driving gurus! I am set with my harness, have places to drive without having to haul, and am ready to pull the trigger on a cart! I however, don’t have a whole lot of help/guidance in this area.

We took one driving lesson last October and I am in contact with the trainer, who also has two carts for sale though I am still waiting on pictures and prices. We are a good distance away from the driving barn, and between weekly dressage lessons plus everything else on the time and money side, hauling to the driving barn with any regularity isn’t in the cards at the moment. I do have a local friend that is knowledgable which does help a bit and would have the driving trainer come to me when I do have a cart.

There are a few carts for sale online that are local that hit my budget, but I am totally unsure of the sizing.

Pony is:
13.2 hands (taped not stick)
Fly sheet is a size 76
Has a horse sized IVC enhanced synthetic harness

There is an Amish built Raber Single horse cart for sale not far from me.

  • Shafts are 85 inches long
  • Shafts are 42 inches from the ground held straight out
  • Shafts are 28 inches apart at their closest point
  • Wheels are 46 inches tall and 58 inches apart

With pony being wide and short, and wearing horse sized things in everything, this is where I get unsure with something that has the longer shafts.

Any input on cart dimensions that might work for us? Any other information I can provide to help figure it out?

To check the measurements you need for the pony, put the harness on and measure:

  1. The height from the ground to the shaft loops to get the ideal, level shaft height. Shafts on some carts may go uphill a little from back to front, but the should not go downhill.

  2. The length from the point of the shoulder to about 12 inches behind the pony to get the minimum length of shafts for a pleasure vehicle. If it has marathon shafts, measure from the girth to 12" behind

  3. The width, straight across the chest plus a couple of inches for the width.

The wheel size isn’t that important, but if the measurements are close, but the shafts are a little high you may be able to swap for smaller wheels.

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I’ve got some measurements.

75 from point of shoulder to 12 inches behind him and here are the other two with the tape measure

It seems like the cart im looking at may fit or would the shafts be too long?

Shafts would be too long and they are way too wide if 28” is the correct number

@2tempe Agreed, that one I think would be too big overall. I did find a boarder at my old barn is selling an ez entry! Her horse is a retired Morgan who isn’t too much taller than my gelding.

The measurements seem a little better. Shafts are 80" in length and approximately 31" from the ground when level. Width at the cart end is 30" and tapers to 20".

The only thing I’m unsure of is the 31”; I dropped my shaft loops down tonight and measured again and we’re somewhere at 34.5 - 35. I guess the seat also moves forwards and backwards to address the balance too. I’m told this could work though and she is willing to bring the cart to me and see how it fits him.

If it’s a metal ez-entry or Morgan show type cart they will sit lower and it’s common for the shafts to rise some.

Also, if everything else fits you might be able to get larger wheels or add blocks on the axle to raise it depending on the construction of the cart.

Wonderful thank you! It is a metal cart. I just asked for photos of it hitched up to her horse so hopefully I will have a visual soon.

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Having her bring the cart to the horse would be great! Then you would know for sure prior to purchase. And even if it didnt work, the touchy-feely-visible part would be helpful as you keep looking.


I think I’m getting one better! We were texting this morning and I let her know about the shaft loop height and not wanting her to have to haul the cart out if it’s going to be off. She was reading though some of her notes and the driving manual and said that the height at the tug stops for 13.2-14.2 and is 39" - 42". She is going to hitch her mare up and do some additional measurements. The woman that did the measurement she gave me partially owns the horse and isn’t as knowledgable so they may be incorrect. Im guessing it will work for us based on the similarity in horse size, but this will be good to double check.

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Thanks for bearing with me through detailing this all out. All is good with the height of the shafts when measured again, tugs to ground are 38" which is perfect.

@Christa_P - Seller is a little concerned that the shafts may be too narrow with being 23” at the narrowest part regarding the chest width. I probably took the photo too low, but at the widest part of his chest we’re looking at 14” and sent that over to her. I’m going to measure the width of his butt and try to get my best guess about his barrel tonight just in case. Hopefully that 23” will be wide enough. Any good ways to measure him at his widest barrel point?

She’s also calling the harness shop to see what the widest ones are we could switch to as well.

He’s slimmed down quite a bit since last year too.

And photo of said cart!

Birds eye view is looking good, cart is coming over Saturday! :partying_face:

If the shafts are 23" at the narrow part you should be fine. If he’s 14" at the widest part of his chest, that gives 4.5" clearance on each side which is plenty.

He’s very cute BTW.

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Thank you!!

I agree he’s cute but I’m pretty biased lol.

This is a video from his seller before I bought him, I’m really excited to learn more with him and see where this takes us.

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Wondered if you have ridden in many carts? For fun driving, you certainly want to consider your own comfort! Hate being discouraging, but many of the metal easy-entry carts have a terrible ride, along with you not being able to see ahead of the horse while going down the trail or road. Leaning sideways the whole drive will give you a stiff neck. We had to sell our sleigh after getting a taller horse, because we could not see ahead.

You will want a seat back to lean back against, give your spine a rest. Seat cushions are nice but the board seat SHOULD have some kind of good springs under there to make the ride comfortable over rough ground. Little coiled springs, bent metal C-springs under the seat, do not really soften the ride at all. A hard riding cart will take the fun out of drives pretty quick.

Next will be the length of your legs to the floorboards. You actually need to be able to sit with feet forward from the knees. Not the 90* angle like in a chair. This lets you brace your feet to stay more firmly seated during travel, along with being able to move upper body forward and back giving and taking up reins, rather than suddenly hauling up on the reins with your arms. Short-legged people will add footrails or boxes to put feet on for that solid seat position. Longer legged people may need a different cart, not enough room to be comfortable in a proper position. We have modified our vehicles to gain better foot positions. But do not accept a vehicle that won’t let you sit properly, is too short or small, you will never be happy driving it.

We had an antique one like that, just TOO BIG for us! We are regular size, not big or small. We made jokes that the man who had it built must have had a 38" inseam, along with being a LARGE person. If we sat back, our feet stuck out like children in an adult chair!! Could not reach the floor with feet. Putting feet on the floor meant you were almost half-standing up! Carriage was in original condition, rode like a Grampa car, never felt any bumps, great view ahead of our tall horses. But vehicle did not fit US, so we sold it on.

Are tires air filled? They may be old, need replacing even though they look good. Like trailer tires, they die of age, not because they were driven on very much. Check all the nuts and bolts for rust and wear, especially the singletree and axle bolts. They DO wear thru, break off under stress. Often safer to just replace them all for safety with appropriately hardened bolts and nuts. Not all nuts and bolts are the same hardness! Metal shafts should not be able to be “bent to fit” or show signs of being bent back into place. This causes metal fatigue, which lets metal break off. Like bending paperclips until it falls apart.

Driving is exciting enough, without adding equipment problems! There are ALWAYS more/other vehicles available to buy. Very few vehicles are one-of-a-kind unique. So don’'t be afraid to pass on one, keep looking. 2-wheelers are safest for starting out horse and driver. But as he gains skill, knowledge, dependability over time, you may want to move up to a 4-wheeler for the better ride, holds bigger picnic baskets! Ha ha

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Thank you for the post!! Right now, I know I’ll be sacrificing some comfort and style and that’s ok. And I want to make sure it’s something I enjoy before investing more money into a cart and a way transport it with my horse. The ez entry will fit in our Tundra if I do end up taking it anyplace.

Basics down and safety are maybe extra big things for me? I had the unfortunate experience of having to literally jump out of a galloping runaway carriage in Dublin Ireland when the driver got out of the carriage first (learned that is a no-no), the horse spooked and took off. We were on one of the main drags in downtown Dublin on a Saturday night that intersecting streets the horse could have turned down, and the end of the road spit out onto the main drag with all the double decker busses and traffic, then to the river.

It was a quick decision after thinking of at least half a dozen ways I was doing to die or be seriously injured, because they were also working on the facades and scaffolding was coming up quickly that would have impeded said jump. THANKFULLY no one was hurt bailing out. I do think some part of the drivers foot or leg got run over by the carriage as we felt a big bump, but the horse got the carriage wheels stuck on a big post and a Volkswagen RIGHT at the stoplight to the busy street. I was terrified I was going to see that horse hit by something. My spidey sense went off the second I stepped into that cart and it was fine until we got to our destination.

Needless to say, I have a HEALTHY respect from that and want to make sure I get good and comfortable behind the reins and have my basics down before venturing out too far.

Here we are!

Seemed like a pretty good fit and the cart is pretty nice. It has leaf springs and pneumatic tires so it was upgraded from the basic models I was looking at new. I will be wearing a helmet and gloves moving forward too :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

Pony is so good. When he’s harnessed and tied, he does.not.move. When I took everything off and put his halter back on, then he’s fiddling through my grooming bag and trying to steal my tea. I think this is his jam!


Looks good

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