How to Connect a Harness to a Mini Horse & Cart

Updated April 17, 2017

Adults should not attempt to ride miniature horses, but these mini-horse breeds are excellent for driving. Despite their small size, miniature horses can pull large carts with significant amounts of weight. Hook up the harness correctly before driving.

Place your mini horse on crossties or tie him up in some other way so you are free to harness your horse.

Ensure that your horse and harness are clean. If they are not, clean all dirt off the harness and horse to avoid any irritants while driving.

Place the breast collar and traces over the horse's head. Place the breast collar so it lies just below the base of the horse's neck without constricting his breathing. Leave the traces hanging for now.

Bridle your horse. Push with your thumb at the corner of your horse's mouth to slip in the snaffle bit. Position the blinders so they are not bothering your horse's eyes. Position the check rein so it goes up the middle of your horse's face, between her ears, and lays comfortably down her mane. Leave the end loose for the moment. Leave the regular reins loose.

Place the driving saddle on your horse and tighten the girth; it should be snug enough not to shift but not too tight to restrict breathing or movement. Pick up the check rein and hook it to the middle hook on the saddle--the water hook. This keeps your horse's head in place.

Pick up your horse's reins and thread them through the hooks on either side of the breast collar and then through the two rings on either side of the driving saddle. You will use these to steer your horse.

Place the crupper snugly around the tail of your horse, around the sides of the tail and up the horse's hindquarters. Run the straps over the hindquarters and attach them to the saddle.

Place the breeching snugly around the horse's hindquarters. Tighten the loin straps.

Pull the cart up to the horse. Raise or lower the shaft loops on either side of your saddle so the cart's shaft is at the same level as the traces. Attach the traces to the cart. Pick up your breeching straps and thread them through the metal fitting on the shaft of the cart. Wrap the straps around the shaft a couple times as needed but do not make the breeching too tight. Pick up the reins and place them in the cart. You are now ready to drive.


If your horse is skittish, this is a two-person job; one person can calm the horse while the other assembles the harness and cart.

Things You'll Need

  • Driving harness
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About the Author

Julia Koontz has been writing for as long as she can remember. She focuses largely on short stories and articles, but will sometimes tackle other genres as well. Koontz has a Bachelor of Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and now resides in Washington, D.C., where she works in politics.