Teamdonk’s 2012 Harness Upgrades

One of the pitfalls of driving Teamdonk is the hours and hours of “thinking time”, how to improve what I have and still stay within my tight little budget.  2012 was to be the year to change the pole on the Buckboard for Teamdonk #2 adding a longer one with a different end and change the neck yoke but…. after looking at various Teamdonk #1 photos the pole I have now may work after all so that plan has been moved to the bottom of the want list. I’ll know more when I finally get around to hitching Merlin and Hank to the Buckboard, soon I promise soon!

There is one buckboard change happening, a box is being built to go underneath my seat.  It is to raise me up six inches for a better view of what is in front of the team and hopefully the eveners, which I always pay close attention to when driving.   The bonas is 6 inches of storage…..YIPPEE!!

Click on Merlin’s photo to get a better view.

Merlin's first drive hitched to the Pacific Carriage Gig. Notice how sleek and clean the collar looks with the buggy hames. I like this!

I acquired a pair of buggy hames that needed a dee ring added to give me a place to attach the back straps, with black zip ties the ring was attached to the hames.  When I tried it out on Merlin last spring  the lighter weight and the clean look without the chrome hames balls was exactly what I was trying to achieve, but it still just wasn’t 100% right. 

Later I found buggy hames that were built with an extra ring that accommodates draft harness it was exactly what I was looking for, until I spotted the price and knew that was’t happening.  Then In January while I was at the local harness makers browsing thru his books I spotted the same style of hames.  YES!  These are the ones I have been wanting forever and the price was just right… I suddenly felt like Goldie Locks…. this one is”just right”!  The order was placed and the waiting began.

When the buggy hames arrived I could see they had to be returned as my inch and a half trace connectors were not going to fit, which meant shipping them back to Canada.  When they arrived the second time… oh my, they were “just right”! They fit the collars smartly and have also solved the problem of the neck yokes hanging to low.  The screw in hame bolts, are a great way to shorten or lengthen the single drop ring.  I’m adding extra metric washers to shorten the ring all the way up next to the hame.  The other awesome feature is my beloved hames bells will work great, which was last spring’s big rebuilding project.  With a little practice hitched to the buckboard, Teamdonk #2 will be ready for their first parade debut!

Along with the new hames, there are now trace cockeyes and snap shackles, a couple of safety items I have been trying to figure out how to add to my draft setup. 

These are the trace cockeys

With one end connected to the singletrees and the other end snapped into the cockeyes this gives me a quick release setup in case of an accident. Everything swivels and I'm thrilled to finally have these on my road vehicles.

Side check reins that connect to the breeching rings have been attached to Merlin and Hank’s harness.  I had tried them on Galahad and Luc last year and they worked super.  The boys want to hang their heads low to the ground and it would be too easy for them to get hung up on a snap and get into trouble, hence the side check reins that add pressure to the breeching when they lower their heads, self correcting themselves.

The connecting lines for four up, unicorn and tandem are also ready to be tried out and the modifications made to the 3 and 4 abreast lines should work easier for my small hands changing the size from one inch to 7/8th. 

The final addition is a drop ring to lower the angle of the line ring on the hames.  This is to give a gentler angle from the bit.  Here is an older photo showing how steep the angle of the line is from the bit to the hame ring on Luc.

Click on any of the photos to enlarge them

I’ll post an after photo of this on Galahad to show how it will change the angle when I test it, check back for this photo.  The hip drop ring I added last year was a huge success and I think this will work very well on my short necked boys to deliver a clearer message from my hands to their mouths.

This may seem like a lot of changes but what it all boils down to is simply fine turning.  It won’t be long now, just looking for some nice weather to knock the mud off the boys, hitch them up and continue to explore the back country roads of the Camas Prairie in North Central Idaho!


About Teamdonk

Teamdonk is all about Kristi's three driving and riding donkeys. Join us as we share our adventures. Meet the boys Luc, Galahad and Merlin. Don't forget to visit the older blogs at, 2010, 2011, 2012 13 & 14 add the year like this
This entry was posted in Driving Donkeys, Mammoth Donkeys, Multiple Hitches, Teamdonk #1, Teamdonk #2 and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Teamdonk’s 2012 Harness Upgrades

  1. Marla says:

    Sounds like you have been busy researching! We have had a couple of days we could take our granddaughter out for a short ride. Too much wind here :))

    • Teamdonk says:

      I know what you mean about the wind… we must have about 2 or 3 inches of new heavy wet snow here today and it’s still coming down hard and heavy! Hopefully soon we will both be out hitched and driving.
      Yes, way to much time over the winter to think about harness changes! Now I can’t wait to try them out!

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