Does anyone on here drive four-in-hand?

pennyturner

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Having gotten two pairs going nicely, I'm starting to think maybe I should think about putting them together next year.
What are your experiences? Crazy, or the next natural step?

One technical detail may give me trouble; I have a set of suitable team bars, but would have to bodge a pole-head extension, as my vehicle has only a pair pole. Has anyone done this?
 
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Having gotten two pairs going nicely, I'm starting to think maybe I should think about putting them together next year.
What are your experiences? Crazy, or the next natural step?

One technical detail may give me trouble; I have a set of suitable team bars, but would have to bodge a pole-head extension, as my vehicle has only a pair pole. Has anyone done this?
I think you might be better asking on a driving website, or going along to an international competition, I would b very wary of any home made devices unless I was 100% sure, the forces are tremendous, and the kit used in marathons, is always super strong.
also ... you need two grooms, but hey, I might still be tempted!
 

pennyturner

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Are there any good driving forums Bonkers? The BDS web site is lousy!

Luckily, I have a whole heap of teenage children who've grown up jumping on and off moving carriages, so I'm OK on that front, so long as it's at weekends / school holidays.

I agree with you about the forces. I'd rather get something proper ... will be tootling along to Reading in November armed with measurements!

Of course, this is a long way off, in any event. As well as the extra kit (my smaller pairs harness is currently made up from two part single harnesses and a whole heap of sundry straps, plus some bits I made myself), I would want to be damn sure of both pairs before putting them together, and probably need to set up some kind of rein-board to train myself. Not sure my rein handling would be up to a tricky left turn right now!
 

pennyturner

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Whereabouts are you based? And what pairs carriage do you use? How big are the pairs? Sorry- many questions!
We're in Hampshire, not far from Andover. I have one pair of matching 14hh NF's, and a scratch pair consisting of a very experienced Welsh, and a recently introduced NF which I recently threw together, who are about 13hh.

The latter would have to go at the front, which I think would work, as they're forward, unflappable in any traffic, and both prefer it if I leave the whip in the socket and just talk to them. All four are quiet to put to, stand well, and default to stop if there's a problem :)
 

pennyturner

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The SCDA http://www.scda.co.uk/links.htm may seem a long way from you, but there are a few links, and tips you might like.
It seems that most society sites concentrate on competition, rules and regs etc. I'm only interested in pleasure driving - even though I'm constantly training and improving them and me. I'd like to think that eventually I'll have my team doing perfect serpentines in the local park, and be able to rein back straight enough to parallel park (In my dreams!!)
 

Katastrophy

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Barry Hook is in Hampshire. I'd strongly recommend sending all four to be put together and give him at least a week with them to get them going. I've never seen a bad report, he deals with all sorts (and I know of two world class drivers that send him their competition WB's straight from Holland to be put too, which tells me enough!) he'll get you set up and going safely. Good luck!
 

fatponee

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Barry Hook is in Hampshire. I'd strongly recommend sending all four to be put together and give him at least a week with them to get them going. I've never seen a bad report, he deals with all sorts (and I know of two world class drivers that send him their competition WB's straight from Holland to be put too, which tells me enough!) he'll get you set up and going safely. Good luck!
Ditto this ^
 

pennyturner

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Yes, Barry is just down the road. We sometimes meet him out and about.
Daft as it sounds, It's unlikely that I will have any problems with the ponies... by the time I put two in front of the other you'll be able to drive them through a war zone. However, it's inevitable that I will be a bit of a muppet until the rein-handling is second nature, so I am the weak link! Hence thinking about setting up reins with weights and pulleys for a bit of practice.
 

stormox

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Have u got a team set of harness and reins? Yes I have driven a team, not easy,but I used to work for a chap who provided carriages for films-period dramas and hammer horror mainly. You need two grooms to go out with a team safely, one for leaders, one for wheelers.
 

pennyturner

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I have two pair sets (one's functional but fugly, as mentioned above, so will be upgrading that), and I made team reins earlier this year from two matching sets of single reins I didn't like :)
There is a set of team bars currently doing service as swingletrees on a different carriage.
I have spare terrets which can go into the wheeler pad, and plenty of carabiners etc which will serve as roger rings on the wheeler bridles.
My whip will be too short - I have another which I use in my governess cart which might just reach the leader's bum, but the plan would be to have them totally on voice before we get to that stage. An overly long whip will be a PITA to start with, if I don't need it and can't use it effectively ... I'll spend half my life fishing it out of trees.
 

popsdosh

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Having driven and competed fours < I personally started off with tandems to get used to handling a fist full of reins first then moved on from there putting together two pairs does not give you the rein handling skills you need. Or you have to become an instant learner with the chaos that can cause.

I would go as far as to say driving four is easier than a tandem !! :)
 
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millikins

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Other than BH, there's Pippa Bassett near Dorking who would teach you the rein handling skills, I don't know if she offers lessons with her team. The IHDT website has a very good forum including a for sale section, several team drivers on that.
 

pennyturner

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I agree - a tandem can jack knife a lot quicker than a team
Absolutely. A bit easier for the grooms, but harder for the driver.
I have a bit of work to do getting both pairs more used to off-road before I try tandem ... I don't really want to start one off on the road!
 

pennyturner

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... what about that idea that a jockey rides one or more of the team , if you have an infinite number of children?
Is using children as postillions even legal?
A slightly safer idea might be to have a virtual 'random' with the first pony being ridden, not connected to the others, in front of the tandem. I could see that getting the tandem to move off together more easily, and reducing the chance of the leader napping... but it feels like cheating.
 

popsdosh

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Is using children as postillions even legal?
A slightly safer idea might be to have a virtual 'random' with the first pony being ridden, not connected to the others, in front of the tandem. I could see that getting the tandem to move off together more easily, and reducing the chance of the leader napping... but it feels like cheating.
Since when has anybody using child labour with horses worried about the legalities :) Just a groom at the leaders head things will soon sort themselves out. Have you already set up your pairs as natural leaders and wheelers paired. You dont need to be sorting out any squabbles as well as learning the ropes yourself.
 
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pennyturner

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They're bonded field mates, and used to being ridden out closely together, so squabbling shouldn't be an issue, though it's a good reason to try them as tandems.
 
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