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VSE marathon safety. Best to avoid turnover

I know wider wheel base is best. My VSE and I have moved up to Preliminary this year and are doing very well. Actually too well in hazards. She has definitely gotten the hang of speed in obstacles. I am currently driving a easy entry Kingston cart which I have done upgrades to. It was fine at training level but now at preliminary I have had a few close calls with almost tipping… until Friday when we did. Luckily horse and I are ok with the exception of a few cuts and bruises, but I am now shopping for a prelim worthy two wheel cart. Best suggestions out there? I am looking at several. Of course I am in California and all of the dealers area couple thousand miles away…

I’ve had the Frey Sprint cart and a Bellcrown Badger. Both are solid carts with adjustment options.

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Maybe consider a Marathon vehicle.
There’s a Canadian Mfr that makes an aluminum I covet (but at Training & rarely competing cannot justify buying :roll_eyes:).
I asked here & they got good reviews.
Sorry, can’t recall the name. Voiture something?
Mini size is 180# & $2700US

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I’m sorry to hear about your accident, I agree it sounds like it’s time to upgrade that cart! I don’t have much advice as I’ve only ever driven in a Frey Sprint, but wish you luck in your search.

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A friend of mine just purchased a Frey cart for her mini and loves it! Now she doesn’t do CDE’s so I’m unaware how it would do at speed, but it is a very nice cart.

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A friend went up to intermediate in a cart and she said it was always a challenge to keep it upright. Tree roots are always where you don’t want them in hazards. I think she had a Bennington…

A friend of mine reps Tidaholm carriages. They are a swedish brand that specializes in vse/small ponies. They have a training carriage for 70-100cm that weighs 70kg, it looks very balanced and has a decent wheel size (it’s a fine balance, small wheels weigh less but are harder to pull). His company is A to Z horse driving, may be worth checking out if you are serious about competing.

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Thanks for the info! Maybe when I transition into driving pairs, this could be an option. Right now I am driving singles and want to stay with a two wheel cart. :blush:

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Thank you! I will check it out.

Are you moving up to hard rubber treads or staying with pneumatic tires? It does seem that the air filled tires give that “extra bounce” over bumps of any sort. Next bounce throws you out. I have seen the various brands of easy entry carts tip out the people after a bounce. There does not seem to be any way to stop the tipping once it starts!

Hard tread wheels are not a guarantee against tipping, but not nearly as common as the lower level carts with tires.

I second the Frey carts and Bennintons, as very nice, good quality vehicles. Suitable for more advanced levels of obstacles. Benningtons are not as common, tend to be a bit more costly, even used. Freys are more common to find used. Check the FB groups for both make of carts. If possible drive the vehicle before purchase.

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For what it is worth, Todd Frey passed away today due to illness. He created some lovely & functional vehicles.



How sad to hear that about Todd! I did not know he was sick.

He certainly set a high standard in restoring the antiques to usefulness and beauty. His self-designed vehicles were built to be used hard and still be attractive, easy on the equines. It was a small shop, seemed driven by his enthusiasm, high standards of finish. Not sure there will be anyone to step into his place.

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I have both the bellcrown aerocrown and minicrown. The aerocrown is fantastic. Regularly do trail driving in both of them, but the aerocrown is very secure because of the single seat. I used it on the cross country course at the Avon Driving Park show here in NY and at Orleton for the marathon last year.

Unfortunately, my horse slipped going up one of the many hills at Orleton and fell and landed on his side, but that cart stayed upright - the shafts did turn a bit since they’re just screwed in, but horse, me, shafts, and cart were all fine. If that isn’t a great example of avoiding turn over, I don’t know what is :sweat_smile: