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Admiral Biscuit


"This was quite well written, and the characters had a very natural feeling back and forth. Shame I didn't like it at all."

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Jul
27th
2020

Worldbuilding X redux: part 5 · 1:17am July 27th

Because who doesn’t like to sit around and gossip about harnesses?


Source


I came across a fascinating article from Rural Heritage about harnesses which does a good job of splitting them up into the functionality of their parts:

The communication component is the reins and accessories, which ponies wouldn’t need.*
The draft component is what does the pulling.
The stopping and backing component is what stops a load and allows it to be backed up
The support component is the parts that keep the other parts in place.

Except for extreme specialty applications, ponies would always have the draft component on their harnesses, which would at a minimum consist of a yoke or a breast band. The rest would be applied as needed; however, ponies who used their harness for multiple things might use the complete harness even when they didn’t need the stopping or backing components, for example (like when pulling a plow--the plow stops itself when the pony stops pulling, and you certainly can’t back one up).
_____________________________________________
*Historically, equines were sometimes worked without this, if they were either very well-trained, or if the driver walked along with them and gave them direction. Skidding logs and pulling ore-carts were often done without reins. Not having any kind of reins was called ‘loose-headed.’


I also found some additional types of harnesses I hadn’t mentioned before, and I’ll give a quick summary of them. I don’t want to bog this down with a billion pictures, but if this strikes your fancy, you can easily find more information on most of the harness types below.

Field or Plow Harnesses significantly don’t contain any stopping or backing component. They do have supports across the hips to help hold the traces in place (the angle is important; you want the traces to be at nearly a right angle to the yoke).

Box Breeching or Western-Style has a breeching strap (of sorts) mounted above the tail.


Source

Butt Chain or Short Trace has a breeching strap under the tail, and the chains (for the load) attach in front of the hind legs rather than behind. Two of the big advantages are that the traces are shorter and less likely to get muddy or stepped on by the horse.

Yankee or Hip Breeching has a low-mounted breeching strap (like the Butt Chain); one of the advantages is that when backing, the weight of the load pushes down on the horse’s hips, giving them better traction. It apparently doesn’t work well for single horses in shafts, although I don’t know why (it seems like it would from the drawing and the pictures I found).

Y-Back appears to stop the hip assembly short of the tail, although I haven’t been able to find a good top view. Historically, one of the advantages was that it gave the equine more neck movement, letting them eat and drink without having to unharness them . . . this was important with large teams.

Side-Backer had a breeching strap that continued forward in a level line all the way to the collar at the front; the trace lines crossed it. None of the styles mentioned previous had a continuous strap from the breeching to the yoke.

D-Ring harnesses were designed to keep the angle of the trace at the collar fixed at 90 degrees, while allowing the position of the trace attached to the load to change. It also puts tongue- or shaft-loads on the backpad rather than the collar. It’s apparently finicky to get it adjusted right.

Norwegian Harness has breeching similar to the Side-Backer, and does not have any components which go under the back part of the horse’s belly--it’s got two straps behind the forelegs, and that’s it. One of them is sometimes a diagonal piece for additional stopping power.


Source


Of course, besides the conventional harnesses, there were ones that were purpose-built for a specific application, and there’s every possibility that ponies have those, too. From harnesses that allow for carrying some tools as well as pulling a wagon, to the Royal Guard having harnesses of some sort integrated into their armor, there are a lot of possibilities for variations.


Source

Also, in case you missed the first round, here’s a link!

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Comments ( 10 )
KMCA #1 · July 27th · · ·

Got to love a fic about dicks that ends up being educational... Seriously, I sometimes wonder how you come up with this stuff.

I thought I remembered this from reading Black Beauty
checkrein a short rein looped over a hook on the saddle of a harness to prevent a horse from lowering its head Wikipedia
Or it was used on horses pulling a coach to keep them from lowering their heads

I couldn't think of the name, but I've seen it used in circus acts. It hooks a horse's head tightly to its chest, so it trots around with its head down.

IMO, they don't have either in EQ, maybe some of the other races use them on slaves

Thanks for another interesting and educational blog post. :)
(And the link to the previous one, which I think I might have read before but read this time just in case. :))

also a yay for rose from first pony view (unicorn from the last picture, also the inspiration for the pink in my mane)

5322994

Seriously, I sometimes wonder how you come up with this stuff.

Usually somebody says something and then I think what if, and it goes from there. And in my case, it was regarding a comment that fanfiction is a ripoff of the source (which isn’t entirely wrong), followed with me saying that I put more about harnesses in my story than Hasbro ever thought of, and . . . well, it went from there.

5323170

I couldn't think of the name, but I've seen it used in circus acts. It hooks a horse's head tightly to its chest, so it trots around with its head down.

IMO, they don't have either in EQ, maybe some of the other races use them on slaves

The piece you’re thinking of is the martingale (they’re also called tiedowns or head checks), and it’s used to control how high a horse can lift its head. There are various designs for various purposes, and they are not allowed in some Equestrian sports.

5323246

Thanks for another interesting and educational blog post. :)

You’re welcome!

(And the link to the previous one, which I think I might have read before but read this time just in case. :))

:heart:

5323695

also a yay for rose from first pony view (unicorn from the last picture, also the inspiration for the pink in my mane)

I haven’t actually read that yet, although it’s been on my RiL for practically forever. I was surprised when I found the picture and the source link was to a story . . . but if ponies did have sky carriages of that type (or any type) the harnesses would have to be specially adapted.

5323870
It's a pretty cute and great concept for a story, especially when it was first started. set in an earth where ponies have been for quite some while now

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