An important piece of equipment for any draft or light horse teamster to have in their stable is the forecart. So, we are happy to present to you our Guide to Buying a Forecart.
Forecarts are very sturdy work carts that can be used to perform any task where you need to pull something – hence the name FOREcart. A few examples of implements you could use would be harrows, manure spreaders or trailers.
It’s here! The ACS Forecart – made in Alberta.
Every Teamster Should Own This Piece Of Horse-drawn Equipment. Built To Our Specifications. Made For Canadian Conditions. Durable And Affordably Priced.
But it doesn’t end there. They can also be used for pleasure driving and training horses. Remember I said they’re very sturdy? And versatile? You can even use them for camping because it’s easy to attach a cargo tray to the hitch plate to carry your gear or pull a little holiday trailer.
What to think about when looking to buy a forecart
Ability to change from pole to shafts. You want maximum flexibility with how you use your forecart. If you can switch from a pole to shafts, then you can use the forecart for a single horse or change to a pole and hook as many horses as you like. Our carts have a receiver that makes switching the shafts and pole as easy as changing the ball on your pickup truck.
Balance is another aspect to consider. The horse is supposed to push the load with their shoulders, not carry it on their neck. So balance is important to ensure the weight is well distributed. If the forecart is well-designed, you can hold the shafts or pole – with someone sitting in the forecart – and there won’t be excessive weight on the end of the pole (and therefore on your horse’s shoulders or neck).
***Remember to check this with someone sitting in the seat. You’ll be amazed at the difference in the weight that an empty cart versus a loaded cart will put on a horse.
Line of draft is critical if you are using the forecart to pull loads. The evener must be mounted so you have a straight line from the shoulder of the horse to the load. Too high or low can cause sores spots on your horse’s shoulders.
What do we recommend including on your forecart?
The standard forecart comes with very functional (some would say utilitarian) individual metal seats. However, a bench seat with springs can make things more comfortable and secure if you’re taking a “non-horsey” person along for the ride. Not many forecarts have a suspension and if they do it’ll be a pricey option.
Fenders while not necessary add a definite degree of safety and will help keep you clean when you run through that inevitable mud hole.
Brakes, like fenders, aren’t really necessary. However, they add a degree of safety by holding the cart steady when you’re hooking up to the implement you’ll be using or when a passenger is getting on or off. A brake system that can be locked on is a plus.
And here are a few more recommendations from our experiences
A guard or tubular dash is a must. In the event that you need a better vantage point while performing your chores, it’ll give you the option of standing while underway and keep you on the platform out of harm’s way.
Check the hitch plate to make sure it’s large, wide with multiple holes. It should be robust enough to handle the task of pulling whatever load you might hook to – a set of harrows, a stuck pick-up or even a semi-truck.
Last but not least, have a look at the finish of the cart. Are the welds nice and smooth? How’s the paint look? It might not affect the operation of the forecart, but it’s an indication of the quality. And if you’re buying used, it might be a way to see how it was used in the past.
And just because … remember this is a horse-drawn vehicle
You (probably) won’t be doing highway speeds, so you can also increase the comfort of the ride by adjusting the tire pressure. Even though it says “maximum air pressure 35 PSI” on the side of the tire you can decrease it to 20 or 25 pounds. You’ll enjoy the increase in ride comfort.
In short, a forecart gives you the opportunity to do more with your horses. For work and play. It is another way to put your horses to work!