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YIKES! Anyone else have back ache from uncomfortable Marathon Seat?

I love my Trotter Marathon carriage, but after I drive for an hour or two, the shape of the back cushion wrecks my back. Had an upholsterer make me a cushion but that didn’t help at all. Anyone know of wedge-shaped cushion for sale (there seems to be little lower back support in my seat) or does anyone have a photo of a super-comfortable Marathon carriage seat (for a 5’3" woman) that I could show to my upholsterer?

So is the seat flat now? With a small back rest that maybe is about mid-back high?

I hate to say this, but Driver really is not supposed to be leaning against the seat back when moving. You are using your upper body instead of greatly taking in or letting out the reins.

Having a wedge seat gives you better seating position, with not much bend to the legs. Probably not ANY back support when you are sitting up higher on a wedge. Again, easier to move upper body forward and back without backrest to get in your way.

If it is just the fact that seat itself is hard, no cushion effect to your rearend over hard ground or ruts, you may want to think 'air ride seat" for yourself. Usually is a wedge seat supported on a spring system or hydraulic shock absorber that can be adjusted for weight of seated person. Still no backrest though.


here’s what seat looks like. After about 2 miles on the gravel road, I like to sit back and relax to drive. I looked up the air ride seat and there are lots of kinds – can you direct me to one specifically that you’d recommend? It is the small of my back that really suffers – no support there at all. Perhaps the problem is that I use my marathon to drive around the township roads. So there’s not a whole lot of rein work although your comment does make me think perhaps I should be swaying forward and back more than I do.

I’m guessing you need more core strength and your position is making you sore

Are your feet against the wall with the brake pedals? Sitting on a wedge with your feet flat might be tough on your back, and being 5’3" reaching that wall could be tough too. On my one marathon vehicle the seat is able to be adjusted up and back, not much but maybe two inches or so. Can you move your seat forward at all?

Jim R you are right on the money. I called CDE and spoke with Jan who designs marathons and she said it is likely not the back cushion but the height of the seat. She recommended I call the man I bought the carriage from but he said the seat does not go up and down. I can move the seat forward but I think I need to also drop it down. I thank you and goodhors for your input. Back to the drawing board – the carriage maker suggested I go to a machine shop. I dunno if I’ll go through all that – perhaps sell this Trotter and get a carriage in which the seat goes up and down.

You might be able to remove the seat and put on one with adjusting mechanisms. Maybe a shorter wedge height if you don’t need the height to see over the animal ahead.

Our marathon vehicles came with the air ride seats on them. Brand names Kuhnle, Van den Huevel, Warco which is an old company. The seats adjust both forward and back, along with up and down. I am sure other companies also supply vehicles with air ride seats, but you would need to call and ask. Getting a copy of Driving Digest would give you Dealer names and numbers to call to ask about such seats. I believe the seat and mechanism are made as a unit, to put on the carriage, so perhaps you could just get the seat and mechanism.

Getting just the mechanism to attach to your present seat or another wedge seat, is where you would want to check out the semi truck supply places. Bigger, commercial trucks often have air ride, or the spring type adjustments under their seat for driver comfort. With heavy springs for big loads, the ride in big trucks is AWFUL unless cushioned by the mechanical seat. Terms might be confusing, what we call air ride on the carriage, is actually a hydraulic cylinder you can adjust for comfort or an adjustable spring mechanism under the wedge. Trucks have air pumps that keep their seat working with air pressure, so are not practical on a carriage.

We lucked into two spring seat mechanisms when someone changed his truck seats to air pressure mechanisms. Husband mounted one spring under the wedge on our Fun Line vehicle and loves the ride. Similar to your vehicle with air tires, not a marathon carriage. Before the spring was on his seat was like riding a hay wagon, you felt EVERY bump even with the air tires. The other spring is destined for the single horse marathon carriage, which we have not needed until now with the young mare coming along. Husband said it was not hard to add under the existing wedge seat.

Selling then getting another carriage works, but also depends on your budget. Sometimes getting a buyer for what you want out of the vehicle can take some time. If you like everything else about the carriage, getting the seat changed around is usually not terribly expensive once you locate the parts. You will almost certainly want a shorter wedge, since the mechanism will probably raise the seat at least a couple inches once mounted on the carriage frame. Wedges come in heights, smaller might be more useful and comfortable for you, keep your feet on the floor.

You might make or have made, a wedge in your choice of height, to use on the mechanism. Get wedge covered with black vinyl. Looks like one you bought someplace! We have made wedges when we were changing things to suit us on vehicles.

On the feet, can you make your feet flat on the floor beside brake pedals? Correctly seated on the wedge, your legs are almost straight to the angled floorboard, which gives you strength in holding your seat, power to pull reins if needed with your upper body. No dangling legs and feet, only being able to touch with one leg while seated. Legs bent at a 90* angle (chair seat) are not helpful in driving. You probably won’t be seated all the way back on any wedge, as you are on a chair. This also helps keep that upper body movable, with good posture keeping you up straight, elbows at your sides so arms can move forward and back without hitting anything.

I’m not thinking the height is the problem. Being able to move it forward so that you can have your feet against the wall that the brake pedals are on is what you want to lock yourself in. Since you are using it for pleasure driving and are not really looking to be locked in, a seat with no wedge might help you out. Just a thought.
Do you have any back issues when driving a Meadowbrook type vehicle with a flat seat?
If it was me I would try a drive with the seat off and a thin cushion just to experiment or try sitting next to the wedge just to try it.
My motto is do something even if it’s wrong. Never know what you might learn.
Selling would be my last resort .
I am a machinist and don’t really know what I would do to change it with that in my bag of tricks. What did they suggest?

Wow! Jim R and goodhors … thank you for all this input. I am armed now with things to try. I love the carriage and do not want to sell it so I am going to try these suggestions you both provided. Thank you so much.