- “Brown or russet harness is appropriate for vehicles of natural wood finish, black harness with painted vehicles.”¹ In all cases your lines are not dyed.
- The metal on the harness should match the metal on the carriage. For example, the brass turret rings on your harness saddle should be matched with a brass rein rail on the carriage. The horse’s bit is not required to match the rest of the metal.
- There are three things that every driver should have – an driving apron or lap robe, gloves and a hat. Your gloves should be brown leather. Helmets are encouraged. “A driver’s summer apron is made long enough to reach from a little below the waist to just above the ankles and wide enough to be tucked under the legs at both sides.”²
- Driving whips are required. A proper whip should reach the horse’s shoulder when the driver is seated. The whip should be in the driver’s hand, not left in the whip holder. ³ (A well balanced whip is worth investing in!)
- Be sure to clean and polish your harness, carriage and horse! Even if you don’t have the most expensive turnout in the ring you can catch the judge’s eye by having a really polished turnout.
- Read the show’s rules. They can and do differ from organization to organization.
Good luck and have fun!
- Driving the Horse in Harness by Charles Kellogg
- Carriage Turnouts: Guidelines for the users of horse-drawn vehicles edited by Tom Ryder Available for purchase here.
- American Driving Society Rule Book – Article 8: “An appropriate whip should be carried in hand at all times while driving. The thong on the whip should be long enough to reach the shoulder of the farthest horse.”