Breaking a Horse to Harness
Horse breaking is the process which involves getting a horse to accept a rider, or in this case, a horse harness. Horses are naturally jumpy and it is their instinct to largely run from danger or something they are unsure of. Once the horse has been trained to ride, it is not that hard to break to harness and this guide outlines how.
• The first step is to introduce the horse to the new horse harness. Allow him to sniff it and then drape it over his body, make sure that you prise the horse during the horse breaking process every time he does something correct.
• The next step when you break to harness is to buckle the horse harness and allow the horse to walk around in it to get used to. Next, begin lunging him and then attach the shafts of the horse harness so he can get used to them. To begin with this part of the horse breaking process, have somebody run behind him with the shafts and then allow them to drag along the ground.
• Continue the horse breaking by introducing the horse to the cart. Let him walk all around it and smell it. Make sure you keep heaping plenty of praise on the horse. The horse needs to be as comfortable as possible with the cart before you properly attach it. You could try following him around the ring with it while the shafts drag on the ground.
• When you feel the horse is ready, you can progress with the horse breaking process. It is best to break to harness in a secure location such as a round pen. The next step when you break to harness is to attach the cart; the horse should be comfortable with it by now. Walk him around while he is towing the cart, make sure the horse is completely comfortable with the horse harness and cart before you consider getting in.
• While you are in the cart, have somebody lead him around. This part of the horse breaking process will be strange for the horse because he won’t be used to the extra weight pulling him back. Reassure him and praise him all the time.
• It is important that you only attempt to break to harness a horse that is well experienced with riding and is at least four years old. It may help the horse breaking process if you take and already broken horse with you on your first trip.