HISTORICAL HARNESS (BEFORE 1950)
Historical entries depicting any harnessed horses in use BEFORE 1950 go here. Fire Department horses, military service, street vendors, delivery wagons, stage coach, circus baggage stock, historical chariots, royal carriage, buckboard wagon, private carriages, mining pit pony, horse-drawn ambulance, covered wagon, horse railway, Omnibus, horse cab, road crew, ancient history, hearses, historical farming, etc.
Judged On: Suitability for the task shown, overall impression of entry. Working horses mainly walk or trot (typical 1800s city speed limit is 7 miles per hour), but stage coaches, chariots, fire department, emergencies, or other appropriate entries may canter or gallop.
Required Equipment: Collar or breastcollar harness appropriate to entry will vary greatly. Harness may be fancy or a plain working style. Cart harness should have a wider saddle to spread out the weight of the cart on the horse’s back. Express harness is a collar with hames, back strap, and breeching only, with optional girth. Military often used harness without girths. Fire Departments generally used Express harness with a special hinged quick-hitch collar, and clip-on bits or reins. Ancient harness may use yokes similar to those used on oxen. Documentation is highly recommended.
Optional: Bells may be used where appropriate. Whip, gloves, lap robes where appropriate. Very large hitches may use short reins or jockey sticks to eliminate some reins. Stone boats (rough sleds used in the summer to remove stones from fields) are allowed. Harnesses may be fancy and decorated where appropriate.
Driver: Driver attire is historic period clothing appropriate to the entry. Low-cut dresses with bare shoulders are considered evening dresses and would rarely be worn by lady drivers. Most ladies’ traveling clothes were dark colors to hide dirt. Men and women often wore hats or bonnets for shade. Long pants or a long skirt were most common. Very fancy entries may have grooms dressed to an older period’s style as a sign of the owner’s long-standing family wealth.
Prohibited: Modern entries (after 1950). Fire Department horses should not use check reins of any type or blinkers. Modern tack items.
Extra Credit: Leather fly fringes. Historical accuracy. Detailed documentation.
This site is maintained by IMEHA.
Updated: January 15, 2013