We have noticed that many people have metal easy-entry carts, we have a few ourselves. They are affordable, user friendly and quite durable, low maintenance vehicles. These carts do however have their shortcomings; the first being the wheels/tires. When they are optimized by careful alignment of the rims, proper spoke tensioning and correct air pressure in a heavy duty tube/tire combination they will give very good service but only to a point. When a certain point is reached, when their design is challenged by excess load, speed and impacts from rough terrain, they can fail. This failure can consist of flat tires and/or folded up rims. In more dramatic cases there may also be bent or broken spindles and axles.
There are a few things that have been tried to modify these carts to prevent these problems, primarily a wheel upgrade to solid steel spoked wheels like those used on marathon carriages. These wheels do away with the issue of your wire spokes folding up. When used in conjunction with good quality pneumatic tire/tubes they definitely elevate your cart's performance up to the next level. It may seem like a good idea to also add hard rubber tires at this point as well, to fix the flat tire issue once and for all. However the air in the tires is the only suspension that these carts have. Without that, there is no "give" so some other component will "give". This will over time cause an issue of metal fatigue cracks escalating up to actual breakage of axles, frames and the shaft base. Not to mention the transference of these shock loads up the shafts to your pony.
My answer to all of this is to add the steel spoked wheels, the hard rubber tires, AND a bolt on fully independent spring/trailing arm suspension with shocks. I have the technical issues worked out and this is possible. A metal easy entry cart can be upgraded to an all metal cart with full suspension and steel spoked hard rubber (actually solid polyurethane) tires. If a shaft upgrade package is added in as well, the final product is a cart that perform very well at any level you desire.
These upgrade packages can open up a few possibilities or options.Your existing cart can be improved to fit your driving needs, rather than having to replace it, and this can be done at a lesser expense than purchasing a new cart with similar features. It is also a possibility to purchase a simple steel cart to get into the game and keep the costs modest until you see if you and your pony have fun with driving. If you do, then you can upgrade your equipment to higher levels in stages.
I've been in the shop engineering and fabricating the first of these suspension upgrade packages. I find it exciting as this is an answer to a problem that exists for many. I'll get pictures up here as soon as I can. I plan to be bringing some of these, as well as steel spoked wheels (hard tires and air filled tires) to the Mane Event at the end of April for their public debut. So all who have interest in this, get in touch with us.
Kelly was born in High River in 1961. His family moved north to Hythe, Alberta in 1973. He was raised there with horses – rode and worked cattle as a teenager.
Kelly started helping out showing draft horses at 13 years old and had draft teams on the farm that his family did chores with. He showed, pulled and trained every summer for 15 years. In 1983, he and his dad tried a winter of logging with their horses with great success, and in the process learned much about harness, and the dynamics of “pulling” – the physics, if you will, of what it takes to break things, and a full understanding of how strong something needs to be to NOT break! He spent much time with the “old fellows” in his area, learning as much as he could from them, and with that, began fabricating things on his own – the first vehicle he built was a show wagon for his Percheron team in 1985.
Since that time he has built a few other units, but has started in
earnest now, on behalf of the miniature horse. Applying all he has learned to produce a vehicle that “works”.
Kelly's Korner blog has been established to share his learnings...enjoy!