Teamsters Roundtable 2001 Part 2
Teamsters Roundtable 2001 Part 2
Left to right; Bulldog Fraser, Bud Evers, Clay Maier, Bud Dimick, Charlie Jensen, Ed Triplett

Teamster’s Roundtable 2001 Part 2

Teamsters: Bud Dimick – Charlie Jensen – Dr. Don Mustard – Bud Evers – Bulldog Fraser – Clay Maier – Dr. Doug Hammill – Ed Triplett

Moderator: Lynn Miller

February 3rd 2001, Sisters, Oregon

DOUG HAMMILL: …set the horse up so they do it to themselves. If a horse knows we’re doing something to them, they’re apt to fight us.

BULLDOG: He’ll fight you all day, but he won’t fight himself.

DOUG HAMMILL: He’ll fight us all day, but he won’t fight himself for 30 seconds.

BULLDOG: As soon as he finds out he hurts, he backs off.

DOC MUSTARD: Nobody has said anything about it but like Bulldog put the young ones on the outside of his team. You start out with a broke horse. Nothing scares me worse than seeing someone get a pair of colts and start them out together.

BULLDOG: It happens.

DOC MUSTARD: Yes, it happens and it makes other things happen. I wouldn’t start out without a broke horse. My stud breaks all the other colts for me and always has. He’ll do anything I want him to. He won’t sit up and beg yet, but that’s the next step.

BULLDOG: If you’re going to commit suicide, use a gun. It’s a lot neater. If you go out there with two colts, you’re going to have a wreck, and more than one.

AUDIENCE: When you get done with the wrecks and everybody survived and came out alright you think you had a good one.

DOUG HAMMILL: Not the ones where a horse or person gets hurt or killed and there’s no difference when you take off from the ones that end up that way, or the ones you luck out on.

AUDIENCE: Don’t you kind of think that after working with horses and mules for quite some time that enters into the quotient of controlled wreck versus just a blown out wreck that say, a novice doesn’t even know that he’s about ready to have a wreck, and he has a major wreck whereas someone who has been around awhile could say we’re building to have a wreck and do something about it or work into it.

DOUG HAMMILL: That’s the key to the whole business.

LYNN MILLER: Personally, I think a controlled wreck isn’t a wreck, it’s a lesson. Everybody learns something.

DOUG HAMMILL: Prevention is the key.

CHARLIE JENSEN: Old-timers years ago never used anything like that bit (Buxton or Liverpool) on a horse, they’d just use a straight bit or one of those broken snaffle bits. That’s all come on after they quit working horses. They never used to use bits like that.

ED TRIPLETT: What they did with them, was work them.

CHARLIE JENSEN: Yes, get your horse up, a lot of them use the straight bit like that. You don’t need to kill the horse to make him so you can drive him. That old mare I have at home, that’s all I ever put on.

LYNN MILLER: I use snaffles …The ones I like have an egg butt on them …

DOUG HAMMILL: Without that egg butt you put your finger and wiggle it back and forth a few times, you can really pinch your fingers with them.

ED TRIPLETT: Well the biggest problem with all the horses nowadays, there’s nothing for them to do.

CHARLIE JENSEN: No, they’re not worked.

DOUG HAMMILL: We had a question on how this curb chain functions. And the curb chain goes underneath the jaw. There’s bone there, on you or on a horse, and there’s nerves between the bone and the skin. And that curb chain comes up against the bone on the jaw and works there like a hackamore. A hackamore puts pressure, not so much over the nose, but comes together under here and puts pressure on the jaw. It’s sensitive. The horses will respond to it. They’ll go crazy if you abuse it. And so with the different amounts of leverage up here, you’re not putting any pressure on the chain, you’re putting pressure on the bar bit in his mouth. Down lower you’re putting most of your pressure on the chain, very little on the mouth and way down here you have the ability to put a lot of pressure on.

LYNN MILLER: With almost any of these bits there is still the opportunity for abuse. I bought a mare in Topeka, eight year old mare, the man couldn’t drive her anymore and I bought her for some new bloodlines. She has a calcification under her jaw from the curb chain that has some raw, tender tissue and if you put that bit on her, she’ll stand perfectly still, she will not move, she’ll just shake because it hurts her so bad, any pressure at all. I brought her home, put a snaffle bit in her mouth and we mow with her, rake with her, do anything in the world with her with that different bit in her mouth. That’s not to say that one is right and one is wrong. There’s lots of different approaches here.

ED TRIPLETT: Lynn, just one quick question I’d like to ask…several years ago this old horseman, was a pretty good old horseman and cattle buyer, and I had this mare that was real high strung. And she’d dance and prance and stuff and he asked me if I had a pocket knife? I said yes. And he said, let me cut those blinders off. And I did and it worked real good. She calmed down and I drove her with an open bridle without blinders on. He said he’d got all kinds of horses, and I don’t know this to be true, I just tried this one time. So I wanted to know what these guys knew about that. Does that have anything to do with it?

BUD DIMICK: Could have. They’re all different, just like human beings.

ED TRIPLETT: Yes, and he said if they could see…

CHARLIE JENSEN: Well, Dan Kintz, no it wasn’t Dan Kintz, it was a guy up in Montana, what was his name? He used to pull his horses without blinders on. Who was that?

AUDIENCE: Can you talk a little bit about curb adjustment?

LYNN MILLER: Bulldog, do you want to respond to the question about how tight or loose you’d want to adjust your curb strap or chain. And do you want to talk about whatever your preference is relative to chain or strap?

BULLDOG: The difference is how far you want to slide them. When you put your bit in your horse’s mouth usually have your chain unhooked as a rule. It’s a good idea. And just hook it up to where it’s just loose, even. Not too tight, just where it hangs loose. And you can move the bit just a little bit with your hand. If you can move the bit about this far on the shank and it tightens, then you’re alright. But you don’t want it to where its clear all the way up and it’s not tight. You don’t have anything. Put the bit in the mouth, hook the curb chain where it just hangs free. And you can move the bit just a little bit, you’ll be able to ratchet it and you can tell.

CHARLIE JENSEN: And when you used them that way, then after you’ve used them a few days, take them off. Forget about it.

LYNN MILLER: Is that the curb chain or the bit?


BULLDOG: And if you’re up there to where’s it’s hanging loose just about like that, you’re alright. But if you’ve got it down to where it’s hanging clear out at the end you ain’t got nothing to start with then. They’re free. You don’t have to be mean, just get respect with the bit. You don’t have to set them down and break their jaw with it. Just use common sense.

DOC MUSTARD: That’s the next endangered species. Common sense is an endangered species.

LYNN MILLER: On that note, I’d like to get us rolling here by asking Bud Dimick to tell me the story about what he had to do to get that balky horse going.

BUD DIMICK: Put a fire under her. We done that when we was a kid. My brother, he wouldn’t get in the wagon with me but he lit the fire and that old mare did prance and dance and pretty soon she took off and he had to walk home. Boy, she left there and we were on our way.

Teamsters Roundtable 2001 Part 2
Doc Doug Hammill

DOUG HAMMILL: I know of a poem about a balky horse and this poem covers most of the techniques I’ve ever heard about for getting one going. Do you want me to read it to folks? This was written by a fellow named Bruce Kiskadon. He was a cowboy and went to Hollywood to work in the movies but found out it he could make more money and it was a lot easier to be a bellman in Los Angeles hotels. So for the last 25 years of his life, he was a bellman and when he wasn’t busy, he’d sit over in the corner with a stubby pencil in the lobby, writing poetry. You can tell by his poems that he was a fellow that had been there and done all the stuff he writes about.

The pleasant recollections is the ones that mostly last
But there’s sometimes other memories that come a’creepin’ from the past.
How you lost your summer wages on a horse you thought could run
How a big buck stood and watched you when you didn’t have a gun.
Then one evening at a shindig you thought you’se doing fine
Until some people came and told you, you was gettin’ out a line.
You rode ten miles to a dance once, when you got there you was sore
You got your dates all tangled, it’d been the night before.
You’ve got some recollections of some gal that let you down
But remember when your hoss balked on the main street right in town?
Yes, you had a sneaky feelin’ that you maybe wasn’t boss
When he turned around and throwed his head across the other hoss.
You would like to took a rifle and downed him with some slugs
He was lookin’ at you pig eyed standing crossways in the tugs.
You hated the old critter ‘til you wished that he was dead.
You would like to took a hammer and just knocked him in the head.
Then the crowd all gathered ‘round you for to get in on the show.
Every one of them could tell you what to do to make him go.
There was some that said he ought to just be tickled with a switch.
Some said beat him with a stay chain, others said, go get a twitch.
Some said to get a jockey stick and that would help perhaps
While others said to put one ear inside the headstall straps.
Some said punch him in the belly, others said pick up his feet
And one allowed he ought to have a little bite to eat.
The tough guy said to choke him and shut off all his wind
Or maybe so to knock him down and let him up again.
One said he could start him with some paper and a match
Or put a rope behind his knees and saw to make him stretch.
Oh yes, there was a hundred things they wanted you to try.
One was to take tobacco juice and squirt it in his eye.
You tried to keep your temper, you was shakin’, you was pale,
Every now and then some wise guy asked you if he was for sale.
But it wasn’t no use in trying and your temper got plum lost
When some fellow on the sidewalk yelled and asked how much he cost.
And when you got to hating everybody in your heart
The hoss got tired of waiting, straightened out and made a start.
It surely was a big relief to get out on the road
Got some cuss words off your stomach, eased your mind quite a load.
You swore to God you’d never drive that hoss to town again
You swapped him to another man you thought he didn’t know
But he hadn’t any trouble gettin’ that old hoss to go
That sort of set ya thinkin’ and the idea came to you
That there might be balky horses but there’s balky drivers too.

LYNN MILLER: Somebody asked just a couple minutes ago and this might be a good time, her question was about imprinting. Doc Mustard, do you have any ideas or feelings about the value of that?

DOC MUSTARD: Well imprinting has become the fashionable thing but I’ve been doing it for 30 years before it was fashionable. I think one of the most important things you can do is take the colt and get him used to you handling him all over. Pick up his feet when he’s little enough he can’t fight you. Don’t wait until he’s six months old and stronger than an ox and then try to pick up his feet because he doesn’t want to do it. But imprinting just means getting the horse, the colt, to know you and know you’re not going to hurt him and you’re going to run your hands all over him, his back and his belly and between his front legs and between his hind legs and down his legs and they grow up used to it.

LYNN MILLER: Clay, what do you think of the imprinting business?

CLAY MAIER: Well, I think that it’s much like Doc said. It begins with training your horses in the first part of the program, it’s easier to pick their feet up when they’re younger, it’s easier to get used to handling them. But all those things, I don’t see it as separate from anything else. It’s all part of the big picture. By the time they’re two year olds I like to hang a surcingle on them maybe and maybe not. I’m not going to do nothing with it. But I might throw that on if he’s up there getting his vaccinations or getting his feet trimmed. I might add that to it but I think that when they’re a baby and you’re getting your hands on them and they’re getting used to it, it’s just part of the overall program.

LYNN MILLER: What about the hazard if there is one, of someone making a pet out of the animal? Or the animal getting to where it’s calling the shots.

CLAY MAIER: You can teach a horse not to respect you at an early age.

DOC MUSTARD: That’s the most dangerous horse there is, one that won’t respect you.

CLAY MAIER: You can let that baby take and strike at you and pretty soon think that’s cute and develop some bad habits that would be real dangerous when they get older.

AUDIENCE: I’ve never messed with draft colts. I messed with a bunch of mules and a bunch of saddle horses. Do you guys do, or have you seen fellows do, with your draft colts, hobble them when they’re colts to teach them patience? We hobble the mule colts and you get to messing with them and you go to town and everybody wants to paw the side of the trailer off and they’ve got hobbles on and they think well I’m supposed to go to sleep and be pleasant. Does a draft colt react the same way or have you ever hobbled one?

DOC MUSTARD: I’ve never hobbled a horse.

DOUG HAMMILL: I train them all to hobble. I train them all to have a hind leg tied up, not so much as I need to do that but because I think it’s good for them. A horse that’s broke to hobbles and a horse that’s broke to have a hind leg tied up, and they get caught in a wire, they don’t fight it like a horse that’s never been tied.

BULLDOG: Yes, he’s not scared of it. He knows it’s not going to hurt him.

AUDIENCE: We’ve found that if they encounter something they’ve never seen before, you can put the hobbles on them and it’s like a security blanket. They go, oh I have my hobbles on, nobody’s going to hurt me and they’re going to accept whatever you’re going to do and then you take the hobbles off.

BULLDOG: A lot of guys use like a running W and stuff like that too.

AUDIENCE: I don’t like that, that hurts the animals.

BULLDOG: Yes, I know.

AUDIENCE: I’ve never had one get hurt with the hobbles. If you do it when they’re young, I’m not saying hobble some of those big, old horses that are 1800 pounds.

BULLDOG: You can hobble them no matter how big they are. The only thing is you gotta be careful where you do it so if you hobble one that’s never been hobbled and he’s big, he’s going to blow up. Don’t have him where he can bounce into a fence or something like that.

Teamsters Roundtable 2001 Part 2
Charlie Jensen and Ed Triplett

ED TRIPLETT: But you talk about somebody’s pet, I’ve bought a couple of somebody’s pets and they’re the hardest horses in the world to break.

BULLDOG: You got that right.

ED TRIPLETT: You just can’t do nothing with them.

DOC MUSTARD: They’re dangerous. They have no respect.

LYNN MILLER: Some of the easiest horses I’ve worked with have been 5 and 6 years old and never been touched. All their feral instincts in place and it’s amazing how quick they learn as opposed to one that’s learned a lot of tricks and been around a lot of people.

Teamsters Roundtable 2001 Part 2
Bud Dimick with Clay Maier behind

BUD DIMICK: Well, I worked, when I was 17 years old, I went to work for a guy out on the desert and he had five or six hundred head of horses running out there and we broke a lot of them. We’d keep 6 or 10 head tied up in the corral all the time. We’d ride ‘em or work ‘em day after day. Drive one and then the other one and then the other one.

LYNN MILLER: How old were they when you went to them?

BUD DIMICK: Oh, some of them probably ten years old, how are you going to know getting them off the desert. But if they’d make a good saddle horse, we’d break him to ride and if he’s big enough for a work horse, we broke him for a work horse. Tie ‘em up and we go out and when we worked on them, tie a hind foot or hobble it, either one. Put the harness or saddles on them and they’d get so they’re not afraid of you. You got to keep them under control. If you’re going to harness him and he’s loose, he can get back away from you and he can buck it off or kick you or whatever he wants to do. But if you got him hobbled then he’ll give up a lot quicker. I broke a lot of horses. Dozens and dozens of them. Worked them and rode them and you’ve got to control them first thing. You don’t need to abuse them. He comes around a lot quicker if he can’t get away from you. It doesn’t hurt him. He finds out you’re not going to hurt him, well then he’s a lot different horse.

CHARLIE JENSEN: Last year we were going up on the wagon train and we were going up this real steep hill and I’ve got stay chains on my wagon, back to the wagon from the singletree and Lori was sitting there by me. There was a big team of Belgians ahead of us. They had stopped. They had played out. The guy had to take them off and Morris Elverud came back and pulled the wagon up the hill for him. Well, anyway, we were going up this hill right behind him and I told Lori I was just going let loose of these lines and see what happens. And that mare pulled that wagon herself up that hill. I didn’t let her go but for twenty or thirty feet but she’s just that type of a horse. So it all depends on what kind of horse you got.

LYNN MILLER: We talked about the difference between working horses in a collar with or without pad so I know you guys are going to have different feelings about it. Doc Mustard, working a horse with or without a pad, what would you use.

DOC MUSTARD: I’ve never used them.

LYNN MILLER: Never used them. Doug?

DOUG HAMMILL: I like a pad if a horse is going to get a lot of shock or jarring, logging, where you might get hung up on stumps, pulling contests for extra cushion. Other than that, I use pads to make collars fit better, if I need them to get a collar to fit better. You have a limited number of collars and adding a pad or taking out a pad or using a thin pad or a thick pad, if it will make the collar fit better. We had some pads back in the ’70’s when we were doing quite a lot of farming and they were deer hair pads and I don’t know whether they had just started using synthetic thread to stitch with, we couldn’t figure it out, but we couldn’t keep horses from getting sore with the pads on. We’d take the pads off and work them without pads and their shoulders would stay sound. So we use them or don’t use them depending on those various factors.

ED TRIPLETT: The thing I found out with pads, you want to take them off every night and get them good and dry if you want to put them on the next morning. Because if they’re wet, you’ll get some sore shoulders.

LYNN MILLER: Bud Dimick, do you like to use pads or not?

BUD DIMICK: I like the pads better but I don’t know whether it’s any better or not. You can use them both ways, but I like the pads. Maybe the horses don’t, I don’t know.

LYNN MILLER: We’re going to bring a pad out here to show you. A conventional pad requires a two inch difference. So if your horse is wearing a 25 inch collar and you want to put a pad like these conventional pads on, you got to go to a 27 inch pad. I’m a real stickler for how the collars fit and you can have a 25 inch half Sweeney collar, you can have three of them here. And they all measure the same and they all fit different. And they might even look exactly the same and they might fit different. They fit the horse different. Horses necks are different and depending on how much work the horse does, if you take a horse out in the spring of the year and they’re weighing 1800 – 2000 pounds and you work them hard for a couple of weeks, even if you feed them well and you keep up their weight, the neck size and shape changes. I’m having to change all the time. It’s very uncommon, other than with just light recreational use, that the same collar will be on the same horse forever. That just doesn’t happen for me. I prefer that a collar is a little tight than at all loose. I found that if the collar is at all loose I’m just increasing my chances of a sore shoulder. What do you guys think?

Teamsters Roundtable 2001 Part 2
Dr. Don Mustard and Bulldog Fraser

BULLDOG: I don’t use the pads when I’m farming because I like them to run cooler. Pads hold heat. I do use the pads logging, pulling, something like that. Like Doc said, shock. All I use farming is top pads around the neck. That keeps them from getting sore ingrown hairs. I’ve never had any problem.

LYNN MILLER: I was having a little bit of problem with some sore shoulders and somebody had recommended something to me which I now keep all of the time. I check my shoulders when I’m working the horses regular. I check them as soon as I unharness them. I feel over the whole thing for any change in how tight the skin is, any change at all.

BULLDOG: I salt the shoulders down. Salt water. When you’re done working wash them down with salt water.

LYNN MILLER: This is a good example. I know very good teamsters who won’t use salt water. Some who swear by just regular water bath. Some who won’t do anything. One of the things that I’ve taken to doing is allowing my horses to cool down awhile before pulling the collars. Rather than bring them into the barn and yank the harness off right away, as one old teamster told me, it’s kind of like walking all day long, sitting down and yanking your boots off, your feet swell up instantly. But if you wait a few minutes until the blood has changed in your feet before you take your boots off. Doug?

DOUG HAMMILL: In veterinary practice I see a significant number of problems with what is called pressure release bumps. If you have a saddle on your horse and someone has been the weight in the saddle for a long time, you hop off that horse, pull the saddle off, the compression and the weight they claim, kind of paralyzes the nerves a little bit. Makes them go to sleep around the blood vessels. Blood vessels have nerves around them that control the tension of the blood vessel. If you paralyze those nerves with your weight and the pressure and then suddenly release the pressure the blood rushes into those blood vessels, they don’t have the tension in the walls to resist that pressure and you get micro ruptures of the capillaries and little blood blisters in the tissue. Then a lot of times all it will amount to is a little bump, but then the next day you wear a saddle sore on that bump. The same thing conceivably could happen to a set of shoulders that have had a load of compression from a loaded draft.

LYNN MILLER: I keep Ichthammol ointment in my tack room and it’s a black tar kind of stuff. If I feel anything at all I put that on. I don’t know the technical terms but it seems to tighten the skin. And I’ve had some serious problems in the past and paid close attention to it and by using this I’ve just done away with it. I’ve caught them early enough to where I just don’t have sore shoulders at all anymore.

DOUG HAMMILL: For friction that works good. But the only way to prevent these pressure release bumps that I know of is to leave the saddle on and leave it cinched for a bit and then take some pressure off the cinch and then later pull the saddle. Because if you release it too quickly, if you release the pressure too quickly, there isn’t anything on the market that’s going to keep those capillaries from rupturing.

LYNN MILLER: Salt water versus regular water versus nothing.

AUDIENCE: Warm water or cold water?

BULLDOG: Just tap water. What you were talking about there, tightening the skin, Preparation H does the same thing. It works good on a cut too.

LYNN MILLER: I want to talk about the difference between these deer hair pads and the foam pad and this one is a plastic pad or neoprene. I’ve never used plastic before. It’d be too hot in the summer, the horses would sweat and sweat and sweat. Now everybody had their comments about pads. The only time I don’t use a pad on my horses is if I haven’t got one to fit. I pad all of my horses.

ED TRIPLETT: I never have used that kind of pad but it takes a long time for them to dry doesn’t it? You’d have to change pads every day or something.

LYNN MILLER: I use the same pad the next day but it’s dry the next day.

DOC MUSTARD: Yes, but you’re up in the desert.

BULLDOG: Yeah, there’s no moisture up there.

AUDIENCE: Do you have any split pads?

LYNN MILLER: I have some split pads, a few of them. Where you would use a 27″ collar would fit a 25″ neck and a 27″ collar would take a 29″ pad. Is that confusing? The pad is two inches longer than the collar. The collar would be two inches bigger than it normally would be without the pad. It’s a one inch difference split rather than the two inches. That’s the difference in size.

ED TRIPLETT: My dad always told me; he says you get a collar on your horse where you can just about put your hand in between the collar. That’s the size of collar you want and I never saw him have any problems.

DOUG HAMMILL: Something that I try to point out with respect to collar fit in my workshops is you need to be paying attention to the posture of that horse when you’re checking collar fit. Because if you get a horse and push his head up, you put a collar on him you think fits just right and you push his head up and get his neck up in the air, it’s going to be too tight. You get him to put his head down it’s going to be too loose. If he’s looking over this way and you check this side, it’s going to be a lot tighter over here than it is there and the other way around. I like to try to figure out where my horses work with their heads. If I got a horse that works with his head a little bit low that’s where I want it when I’m fitting the collar. If he works with it up in the air more, that’s where I want it when I fit the collar. And then when I hang a neckyoke and the weight of a tongue on there, that has an effect. So don’t just check them when you are standing there with a harness on unhitched. When you put the hames on, your hames adjustment are going to effect that collar fit.

ED TRIPLETT: Squeeze it together.

DOUG HAMMILL: Yes, squeeze it together and it gives you more room at the throat. And also under load. You may hitch them up to the wagon and the weight of the tongue and the neckyokes pulling them down and they look just fine, but you get them under load and it can change things a bit.

LYNN MILLER: Charlie Jensen, what’s harder? Driving one horse, two horses, 4-abreast or a four-up?

CHARLIE JENSEN: Well, four horses are the easiest to drive if you’re driving the four head.

LYNN MILLER: There are a lot of people that think when you start working horses that one horse is going to be easier than two. A lot of the equipment, a lot of the procedures are set up for two horses already and as Charlie said, it’s certainly been my experience and I’ve seen this in students, how much easier it is for them to work with two. It looks like it’s more imposing, but it’s easier. Once you know how to drive horses and I don’t know if you guys will agree with me or not, the four-up is easier to drive and certainly more interesting than the four abreast. That’s where I would differ with you Charlie. I know you’re a master.

CHARLIE JENSEN: You asked about driving them though. Four-abreast is easier to drive than 4-up because you’ve got to drive your leaders and your back horses.

Teamsters Roundtable 2001 Part 2
Clay Maier

CLAY MAIER: Well, I don’t know. I guess it depends on what you’re going to do with them. If you’re going down a winding road it’s nice to have your horses two-by-two and if you’ve got good leaders that go right out and go, it’s a pleasure and fun to drive. If you’ve got leaders that are not moving out, it’s kind of like pushing a rope. They’re not going out.

AUDIENCE: If you were going to put a colt in this outfit of 4-up, where would you put him?

CLAY MAIER: It depends, what I would do with him, is he a forward goer, is he a leader, is he a go getter? I’d put him in the lead still. If he’s more of a quiet horse, most of the time people would put him on the wheel. And that’s what I would do most of the time. But if he’s a real extrovert, strong goer, I’d put him in the lead.

AUDIENCE: But you’ve got the most control of him back there.

CLAY MAIER: Yes, but if he’s a go getter and is just ready to go, for me, and all of this is a personality thing, for me, if that horse is a go getter, I want him up there in front where there’s nothing in his way and he’s not feeling confined.

CHARLIE JENSEN: You don’t have as much control over him though up there.

CLAY MAIER: Yes, you don’t have as much control on him but for me, what’s he going to do? He’s not going to take the other three with him if I’ve got him up there in the lead. If he’s a real bad apple, he could get in just as much trouble on the wheel. He can jump over a tongue or something like that just as easy and cause you just as much headache. But if he’s up there in the lead and he’s a natural born leader, then let him lead. But if he’s a dog and you put him up there in the front, he’s going to cause you a bunch of trouble.

LYNN MILLER: We’re going to talk in just a minute about what a leader is but Bulldog, what about this four-abreast, four-up, two, one?

BULLDOG: Six abreast is easier to drive than fourup.

LYNN MILLER: Six abreast? Except for the gates.

BULLDOG: No, bring them in sideways. (laughter)

LYNN MILLER: Drive them in sideways?

BULLDOG: You can do ‘er.

LYNN MILLER: Fan them through the gate.

BULLDOG: I drive six abreast with two lines and four abreast the same way, with two lines. You take a four-up and you got to have four lines. I can only count as high as two. But like he was talking about leaders there, one of your best leaders are about half runaway horses. You can’t drive them if they are against the bit to drive them fast and good.

Teamsters Roundtable 2001 Part 2
Dr. Don Mustard

DOC MUSTARD: I found out that when I started out with a tandem because I didn’t have four horses at the time. I knew that when one horse was in front of the other, you don’t just pull on both left lines because they are going to go like this. You want them to go one behind the other. So my mind was telling my hands what to do. The problem was my hands weren’t listening to my brain. I had one helluva time. But before long we went up to the Extravaganza, went through, didn’t win any prizes but we were driving tandem.

BULLDOG: Can’t go anyplace when your leader’s looking at you.

DOC MUSTARD: She was a good mare, my leader was a good mare. She was right out there, she was a leader and she kept it strung out but it takes awhile.

BULLDOG: That’s what happened to me, they took to looking back at me and that don’t work.

DOC MUSTARD: It takes awhile for your hands to learn to listen to your brain so that when your brain tells you pull left on this one but right on this one and then start going around.

BULLDOG: And then you get an itch.

DOC MUSTARD: That’s a problem. I’ve only driven 4-up once and one horse wasn’t very well broken. I had him on the wheel and I wanted to put the wagon in the barn so my oldest son, who was a natural horseman, says, ‘Dad, why don’t you take the leaders off?’ And I says, ‘No I’m going to try backing it in with four horses.’ And I did and I quit. I just didn’t need four horses at my operation.

BULLDOG: When you start 4-abreast and end up with a 4-up, that isn’t very good either. (laughter)

CHARLIE JENSEN: Well, actually if you were driving two on the tongue and two in the lead, all you need to drive after you get to going is the lead team. Because your wheel team will go right where your lead team goes. There’s nothing else they can do, they have to. And when they get used to that, they’ll just circle right around with them.


DOUG HAMMILL: Well, I tend to think of these things in terms of first of all safety and then complexity for newcomers and people learning. And I guess, Addy Funk, one of my old time mentors, the primary one, he hated to drive one. He claimed one horse could get in trouble a lot easier than two. And I notice in my workshops that when we’re driving a team, beginners have better success driving a team than they do a single horse initially. Because with a single horse, things could happen so quickly whereas the team, the efforts of the two having to be coordinated, kind of tends to slow the whole process down. Four-abreast, while you have, to some degree, the same control system, you still have four different horses and personalties to be dealing with there so that increases the complexity of it. But to me, four strung out, and the potential for something to go wrong and a beginner to get in trouble with four lines, you not only have the dynamics of putting your teams where you want them, one behind the other, but you’ve got the dynamics of the distance between the leaders and the wheelers. So you’ve constantly got to keep that pole from hitting the leaders in the rear end and if they’re good leaders, they should stay up there. The other thing is there’s a lot of difference between driving a four-up strung up in an arena or on level ground or in the mountains where I live. You are constantly shortening and lengthening the lines to allow for uphill, downhill, going through dips and cross country on wagon trips and stuff like that. To me, driving four-up, if you’re doing it right, and particularly cross country work is about ten times as complex as driving four-abreast.

LYNN MILLER: Somebody passed a question up asking if it would open a can of worms to get each of you to give your opinion on the use of a Running W.

AUDIENCE: I’d like to know what people do if they have an accident. What is the first thing that you guys do?

LYNN MILLER: Okay, that’s a really excellent question. He asked that considering these different hitches, if you have an accident, some break down of some kind, what do you do? Now I’m guessing that your question is a mechanical one? In other words, if a double tree breaks or are you talking about a runaway situation, what you’re doing when you’re moving or…that’s a good question and we will get back to the Running W thing in just a second. One of the things that happens and they’ll all be able to talk about this, we take for granted an intuitive understanding of the mechanics of the architecture. We know that we don’t want to drop the neckyoke while the tugs are still hooked up. You know that. Somebody who is just getting started, may not understand that. We understand where the pressure points are if something’s falling apart and you’re on a hill, going up or down, and everything is stopped there and you’ve got to try to unravel it. Do you guys want to speak to that at all about what you would do if something fell apart? Head for the house? (laughter)

CHARLIE JENSEN: I think that it would depend upon what type of horses you had on a rig. If you couldn’t trust your horses to stand still, you’re better off to drive them up and tie them to the barn or something than you are to leave them standing in the field because then you would have problems.

LYNN MILLER: What you’re saying is take them apart right out there in the field?

CHARLIE JENSEN: Yes, unhitch them and put them in the barn or put them away or tie them up or something.

BUD DIMICK: I was in Sisters in a parade one time and the parade was over and somebody started to unhitch the team and took the neckyoke off and laid the tongue on the ground and all four horses took the wagon. I said, ‘I want to get out of here quick.’ I don’t know whatever happened to them, but I didn’t stay and see. One of those horses could have moved and the tongue would have hit him on the leg and he’d of been gone. They put the tongue down with all four tugs hitched up.

CLAY MAIER: That’s the first sign of a greenhorn.

DOC MUSTARD: We went on a bicentennial wagon train and another couple wanted to go along with us. Well, they had a team and they did that very thing. They strapped the horses up on the tongue and the woman would hold them and he’d hook up the tugs and then he put the neckyoke up. When they stopped, he dropped the neckyoke and then he’d undo the tugs. And I don’t care how many times I said it, you don’t do that, that way. Put the neckyoke up. I was coming down a hill one time with a load of people and the wagon was rolling forward, pushing on the horses and a tug came loose off of the singletree. I had the brakes on and the horses went ahead and the tongue fell out of the neckyoke and that was the last time I used a neckyoke with a ring on it. I want them bolted now. Anyhow, there I was on a hillside with a load of people and cars going by right beside us and the only thing I could do was hold that wagon with the horses rear ends and by golly, they stood there and they let the wagon run up to them and they stood there and held it and I got the neckyoke back on the tongue and all the time I’m praying, Dear God. I came out of it but it could have been a real accident with 8 or 10 people in the wagon with canvas over the top like that and they couldn’t get out.

LYNN MILLER: If you’re in the middle of some confusion with your animals hooked to an implement, something’s broken down in some way, you need not jump in thinking that you’re going to do something real quick that’s going to save the day. You got to back up for a second, catch your breath. My suggestion is, with lines in hand, get off the implement and just stand there and look at the mechanics of what there is there before you do anything. Because sometimes you can’t see what’s broken. You can’t see what caused it to happen. There may be something that’s broken or come undone, and it’s for a reason that you’re not quite sure about. Something is wrapped around where it doesn’t belong or whatever else.

I get a lot of people that’ll just show up when I’m working horses and a lot of them know something about working horses. Their inclination is to step up and help. I don’t want them to help, I don’t care how much they know. I want to be the one that hooked that line on that side of that gelding. I don’t want to guess that it was done. Not because the person who’s offering to help couldn’t do it right, but maybe they guessed I already did it. So I want to make sure I go through every single step of the procedure. By the same token, if I have somebody with me and something breaks down, I don’t want somebody bailing off and running out and starting to unhook or undo something because they may not know the character of the animals or the mechanics of the situation. So I suggest to get off, to be calm, as calm as you can possibly be, because you telegraph how you feel in that situation. Keep the lines in hand and take a minute just to assess what’s there and try to use common sense about the mechanics of what it is.

BULLDOG: I always like to pack a little bit of something to help. Snaps, a little bit of halter chain, Mormon buckskin, whatever, so you can get something tied up to get back in to get help.

LYNN MILLER: That’s a very good point, Bulldog. When I go out in the field and I think I’m going to be out there for half a day, I take certain things with me. What do you guys take? If you’re going to go some distance, whether it’s a wagon train or out to the field or whatever, and you’re in charge of your outfit and you’ve got two, four, whatever number of horses, Charlie, is there anything that you would not go out there without? A crescent wrench or whatever?

CHARLIE JENSEN: Well, you got a crescent wrench, a screwdriver and a pair of pliers.

LYNN MILLER: I’ve got crescent wrench, screwdriver, whiskey, Preparation H, (laughter) bailing wire, bailing twine. What’s hanging on my harness when I go to the field is two extra hame straps. I just loop them in so they’re hanging there in case I need them for whatever purpose. I like to take an extra couple of bolts, like a pin for the shackle or plow hitch or whatever. So I take a couple of bolts and two hame straps. Anything else to put on the list? Pliers.

BULLDOG: I use a lot of those beaner snaps anymore. That’s a mountain climbing snap. You hook them on to a buck chain and the horse won’t pull them apart.

DOC MUSTARD: Carabiner. That’s what he means by beaner.

LYNN MILLER: What else in the toolbox?

DOUG HAMMILL: Depends on what I’m doing.

LYNN MILLER: I know you always take a couple extra lead ropes.

DOUG HAMMILL: I’ve always got lead ropes on the horses. Halters and lead ropes.

LYNN MILLER: That’s another question. Do you leave your halters on under the bridles.

DOUG HAMMILL: Yes, and I get teased when I go in parades, but that doesn’t matter.

LYNN MILLER: Charlie? Halters under the bridles?

CHARLIE JENSEN: Well, it depends on the horse. I had some horses that never had a halter on, never needed it.

LYNN MILLER: Bud Dimick?

BUD DIMICK: On a green horse, when you’re breaking one, you can leave the halter on him but after he’s half broke I don’t put it on.

LYNN MILLER: Bud Evers, do you leave halters on under the bridle?

Teamsters Roundtable 2001 Part 2
Bud Evers

BUD EVERS: No, not on my Fjords.

LYNN MILLER: What’s the difference?

BUD EVERS: They got too short a neck. No room between the neck and the bit.

DOUG HAMMILL: I only leave them on because I often times have to tie up. I don’t leave them on because of anything when I’m driving unless I’ve got a jockey stick or something. I just leave them on because a lot of times when I go out, I don’t know if I’m going to get back that day or the next. A lot of times I’ll drive out to the woods and tie up while I’m working up logs and then bring in a load with me when I come in at night, things like that.

CHARLIE JENSEN: I got something else I’d like to say. That throat latch, keep that tight. I’ve seen one runaway with a guy that wouldn’t tighten up his throat latch and he went clear out of business. He had horses into the doctor and everything else. That was up in Corvallis.

LYNN MILLER: The reason you’re saying that is because they can rub the bridle off.

CHARLIE JENSEN: He got his bridle off. Get that, not to where it chokes him, but get it tightened up to where he can’t get it back over his ears.

LYNN MILLER: What do you gentlemen do about horses that rub their heads? Bulldog just hit the buzzer over there.

BULLDOG: Zap them.

LYNN MILLER: Bulldog zaps them. Doc Mustard, do you sell them?

CHARLIE JENSEN: A lot of times check reins will help that.

AUDIENCE: I had a question about check reins. What is your opinion of check reins and what is the proper way to tie them onto the harness or attach them.

DOC MUSTARD: How do you fasten them to the harness?

LYNN MILLER: Some harnesses are set up so that there is a ring on the check rein that slides around and the harness is set up with a strap that comes forward on the brichen assembly to snap in here to hold it in place. In my particular case, I’ve got one set of harness that’s like that. What I do is I loop this over the outside hame on the team so they are on opposing sides. I adjust it so that it’ll work to that outside. And it just seems to be more comfortable for them than if I loop it over both of them. Plus if it’s looped over both of them it has two contact points so when they go to turn their head, there’s more friction and less freedom of movement for them. It’s easier for them to move free on just that one point. I’m sure there’s as many different ways of doing that as there are guys up here. Doug?

DOUG HAMMILL: I don’t use them except haying. I use them to keep them so they don’t always have their heads in the grass and if I’ve got a horse that likes to root with his nose or something like that, I’ll put them on just to break that. But otherwise, I’m in rough country. I’m up in the mountains and I don’t want them on there most of the time in case a horse stumbles and needs to catch his balance. I just loop it over the outside hame.

LYNN MILLER: Clay, you don’t use them at all on your show harness?

CLAY MAIER: I’ve never used them.

LYNN MILLER: So you’re not setting the heads at all?

CLAY MAIER: No. There’s a lot of times when you want to make adjustments, there are things, I like to do with my horses when they are being broke to drive. I teach them not to rub their heads on one another when you’re working. If they start to, I can say, ‘No, don’t.’ And they’ll quit doing it because I taught them when they were young, don’t do that. You don’t need to do that. Or with a check rein for what I do, I don’t care to have them on there because I don’t have any problem with them putting their heads down.

AUDIENCE: How do you teach them not to rub their heads together?

CLAY MAIER: Well, when I’m breaking them to drive, kind of like Doug Hammill was saying, in little bitty pieces over a long period of time, teaching them this and that. Early on in their training, when I’m just ground driving them, we’ll just stop and stand still and I teach them to be patient and stand on all four feet square with their head right up there like that. Then when they come to stop and stand, they automatically know that that’s how I expect them to stand and behave. And it isn’t like I’m pecking at them all the time or anything like that. These things are just habits.

BULLDOG: Bad habits.

CLAY MAIER: Bad habits. And right away I’m not being mean to them but when they come to a standstill I don’t want them to stand halfway in stride.

BULLDOG: You guys are working with younger horses, whereas I start with the older ones. It’s not all about horses rubbing this and that. You find one that does and some are really bad at it or they stop and they paw or whatever. I use that vice breaker (electric shocker) on them when they start rubbing, they do it maybe twice or three times and they quit. And pawing is the same way. We had one there, I think he’s cut proud or something because he’s pretty cranky. He’s wanting to eat everything up there on the place. I broke him of that. The vice breaker isn’t as effective as the dog though. It’s made by a veterinarian and a horse trainer. It’s amazing what you can do with it when you use it right.

DOUG HAMMILL: I put a jockey stick on young horses. Older horses that have come in to be tuned up or spoiled horses, I put a jockey stick on them. If you’ve got a young horse then that keeps his head where it’s supposed to be. You don’t have to fuss with that, you can concentrate on teaching him to drive. He can’t get his head up over and hung up on the other horses’ hame or his neck so I use a jockey stick to start out with. I’ve got a nine year old horse, every once in a while I stick it on him because he gets to doing things with his head that I don’t like. I don’t have to fight with him, I don’t have to peck at him. I just put it on and he does it. He corrects himself. He hits it when he tries to do things.

AUDIENCE: A lot of people here might not know how a jockey stick is used. Can you explain that?

DOUG HAMMILL: Well, Lynn, do you want to make some drawings? The other thing is I teach my horses, not right off the bat because I’m teaching them the basics, but at some point I teach them the word “Quit.” It doesn’t sound like anything else that we use to drive them with. I teach them “Quit.” That’ll keep them from rubbing, that’ll keep them from pawing, that’ll keep them from doing all kinds of things because if they hear the word quit, they just kind of come to attention.

BULLDOG: That’s the same way I use that vice breaker.

LYNN MILLER: There’s differences of opinion on how to use a jockey stick. I use a pipe because I don’t want it to break. I use a lightweight pipe, with a snap in either end, that’s a certain length. The length that works for me to hook it to the bit ring or the halter, depending on what I want to do. Like for instance, if I have a stallion who is really feeling snippy, I don’t want to be beating up on his mouth all the time by hooking into the bit, so I’ll leave the halter on, and I’ll hook it underneath the halter. And you can either hook it from nose to nose, bit to bit, halter to halter, or over to the rings on the hames, depending on what you’re trying to accomplish. I’ve found it works better for me if it’s a minimal kind of control situation to have it snapped on the outside right underneath of the halter and then to the hame. You guys have different opinions on how that works?

DOUG HAMMILL: I’ve probably put it on every different way there is for different situations and different horses. On our chin straps we use mostly straight bar bits, and on a chin strap I’ve got a ring hanging on each chin strap that I can snap into and if I do put it on the bit then that gives it a little bit of play so that it’s not completely solid there. I use hame fasteners rather than bottom hame straps and I can strap right into extra chain on my hame fasteners and have it coming right of the center of the collar. That allows me to use the same length jockey stick whether I go between the heads or down to the hame fastener. Depending on the length of your evener and your neckyokes it might be too long to go from the bit to the hame ring. If you hook to the outside hame ring you can get by with a longer stick that way.

LYNN MILLER: All of these different gimmicks and controls and devices can get you in trouble. In my opinion, if they lead you to the conclusion that the horse is a dumb animal that we have to do these controls with, and we’re talking about the vice breaker and so forth, my personal opinion is that if I give the best horses the chance to trust me by trusting them, that has paid huge dividends when it’s really mattered, when something is broken down. And I’ve had my share of wrecks and, knock on wood, for the last 20 years those wrecks have been a situation where a piece of equipment broke down or something happened that was unexpected and my horses stood there while I took care of it. It wasn’t a situation where they said, now it’s time to leave because we’re free, the bridle’s broken or something’s come undone or something’s happened. They are there, paying attention to me. You want and deserve the very, very best horses you can have to work with and again the ones that are going to be the best horses to work with are the ones that are the smartest. Now the ones that are always thinking, I’m going to disagree with Bulldog, they’re going to figure out you got that button in your hand. They’re going to know you’re giving them that shock. The smartest ones will. So when it comes time and you need to trust them, I mean would I trust them if they had that button in their hand and I knew that if I wasn’t doing exactly what they wanted, they would give me that shock?

If you don’t know what a Running W is, imagine a surcingle on a horse that has three different anchored rings on it. You got a rope tied off here that comes down and goes through a ring and a strap at the fetlock moves up to a center ring at the belly, comes down from the center ring, back up and off. If you pull that rope at the right time, you’re going to drop that horse to the ground. It’s especially easy, with tremendous leverage on that double block, if the horse is moving forward. So you can put a Running W on a horse or mule and as they are moving forward, tell them Whoa and if they won’t stop, pull that and it’ll drop them right on their nose. There’s people that believe in this as a training tool. I don’t. You guys are welcome to your opinions. Bulldog, what about the Running W?

BULLDOG: I think they are a good thing. My ex-wife, she got to running and I put it on her and I dumped her three times, told her to take her clothes away and she did, it worked! (laughter) I’ve never put one on a horse, I’ll never put one on a horse but I have salvaged horses that have had them on. That’s what I think of Running W’s. But they’re alright on women.


BUD EVERS: I’ve never used one and never would. Too easy to injure their knees.

DOC MUSTARD: I wouldn’t have one on the place because if you go down on hard ground or gravel, they ruin their knees. I’ve seen them knock their front teeth out. I wouldn’t have a Running W on the place or have a horse on the place that had ever been trained with one.

BULLDOG: Boy, I’ll tell you, it’s a mess to get them over it. Like I said, you salvage them. Because they don’t stop to think, they learn to blow up when anything happens. There is a guy that uses Running W’s all the time and I’ve redone some of his horses. They start running and that’s all they know. You have a heckofa time getting them over it. It takes a year and half or better to get them down to where you get their trust again to get them to thinking and they turn out to be good horses after awhile. You lose about two years.

LYNN MILLER: Bud Dimick, do you disagree with Bulldog?

BUD DIMICK: I’ve seen people use them and I’ve used them. Depends on how you use them. You don’t have to be too wicked with it to teach your horse to stop. You don’t have to throw him to the ground and bust his knees or anything unless you want to.


CLAY MAIER: I think what Bud’s saying is that it’s like any other tool. It’s no worse than Bulldog’s zapper. It’s all in the hands of how you use it. It’s no worse than a spur. It’s no worse than a Buxton bit. You can sure kill a horse with a Running W. But like what Bud’s saying is if you got just enough, if you know how to use one, there are some horses, and I’ve seen people use them on mules, where you can just pull just enough to where he feels it, okay, alright I’ll let you up now. You don’t have to yank their feet out from underneath them. But I’ll tell you one story, I used one, one time in a situation with these two black mules and they were spoiled, ruined. They were about 8 years old. They were real cute. Stocking legged mules and they had white rings around their tails. From the earliest, they were just treated as cute little critters. And one of them just became an outlaw. He just became a treacherous runaway. You know, you could take and not only just hook to the wagon, but you could take and start to pull his bridle off, about half way off and if you didn’t have him tied to an oak tree, he’d just bust and run to the corral. He had that kind of mentality to him. He was useless. We put a Running W on him and the next time we started to take that bridle off and he took off for the house and he hit the end of that thing, he quit that. But the thing was, this was a real intense situation. He went on to become a good driving mule but you had to be a good driver to drive him. You had to have certain confidence about yourself. You couldn’t be tentative. You had to have the sound of your voice like you’re the kind of man that would use a Running W. But again, my opinion on it is it’s a tool no worse than his shocker or that Buxton bit or a pair of spurs or a 2 x 4. It’s just how you use it.

Teamsters Roundtable 2001 Part 2
Bud Dimick and Charlie Jensen

CHARLIE JENSEN: I had a pair of broncs that I bought over in eastern Oregon when the wife and I was first married and every time you’d go around one of them, she’d kick. Boy, she finally got me. And the other one would never kick at all, never tried to kick. So I put her in the corral, put her in the squeezing chute. I put hame straps around each hind foot and then tied them up to her halter. I turned her loose in the corral and left her there for two days. She never did kick again. I never knew her to kick again, that was it.

LYNN MILLER: Ed, Running W?

ED TRIPLETT: Well, my dad used to use one but he always picked his spot in either snow or a soft place in the meadow or something like that. I never used one but my Dad has.

DOUG HAMMILL: I probably ought to comment on that. I’ve never used a Running W but old Addy, who I spent a lot time with, used what he called a Running Y. You don’t have quite as much leverage as with a W. And I can’t deny not using one because this picture on the back of their little notepad, that offside mare has one on where I’m discing. We, probably over the years, back in the ‘70’s when I was helping Addy a lot, we reschooled and worked out a lot of problem horses for people and I was his assistant. I helped him, he was getting up in years and he had the knowledge and I had some muscles then. But I would say that for every horse and mule we put that on we wore out one one inch cotton rope with it. But I don’t think we ever actually dumped three, maybe four at the most, out of dozens and dozens that we worked. And some of them were pretty much outlaws. But what we did was we used it like what Clay was talking about. There is a way of restricting their front legs partially and getting their mind off of whatever they were going to do to cause us problems. Because they couldn’t quite get their front feet ahead to take a step like they were used to so they’d forget about what they were going to do, to blow up, and start focusing on just walking and staying on their feet. When we did have to use it, we never used it on any kind of a hard surface, not even pasture sod. It was always deep plowed earth with no rocks or deep snow.

CLAY MAIER: Also, with a Running W, you can pull a little bit and just one leg will come up. That’ll darn near cure them right there.

DOUG HAMMILL: We did a lot of that on the bad ones.

CLAY MAIER: If you’re about ready to go over a cliff, you better bring them all up. It’s all in the use of it.

DOUG HAMMILL: I might add that there’s other ways of accomplishing the same thing and I probably haven’t used one for 20 years.

LYNN MILLER: Someone asked if we would talk about the differences in harnesses and something about harness care. We can’t possibly have everything here in all different styles but we have a parade harness here, a spotted harness, a western brichen style harness, two drop straps on the brichen.

This harness right here is Yankee Brichen style harness. The difference is that this brichen rides above the tail and comes on down in a quarter strap assembly under the belly. Some people swear by this style of harness because it’s in more of a natural position on the horse’s rump. That’s a basket style brichen that you have there. This brichen is riding relatively low down the backside of the horse and serves as a backing and braking system. When you are getting some young horses started, this will be a bit of surprise to them because it feels like it’s gathering them up. It’s pushing down as opposed to the Yankee Brichen style when the pressure’s up above the tail and as horses back up, if they are really backing up a heavy load, they tend to lower their back end anyway. The Yankee Brichen actually ends up being in a pretty good position relative to the horse’s anatomy as they are backing up. You only need a backing and braking assembly if you’re going to be hooking the team to a tongue.You can get away in logging situations and with some light work without that brichen assembly at all. There is a lot of new synthetic harnesses being made. They are relatively light weight. They can be about half the cost or less of leather harness. They are easier to put on, you can hose them off. They are a lot easier to take care of in the long haul than leather. So all that said, you guys want to talk about your preferences as far as harness.

BULLDOG: I like leather. And I like brichen harness. I don’t like that Yankee Brichen.

LYNN MILLER: So you like the basket brichen instead of the Yankee Brichen and you like the leather. Bud Evers?

BUD EVERS: I use Yankee Brichen on mine and I like it real well.

AUDIENCE: Bulldog, why do you prefer the leather as opposed to bio?

BULLDOG: Well, I don’t care too much for plastic myself. But sometimes you’re stuck with the stuff. I used to run the poles and things and everyone is so proud about it but it got to breaking on them up there. I just don’t like it, it’s flimsy harness and it just doesn’t seem to fit a horse good as far as I’m concerned. If you’re out working them, I like leather.

LYNN MILLER: You have to be a little more careful with the biothane and synthetic harnesses because they are not all equal. Some of them are not very well made and they have a real sharp, rough edge to them that can be very abrasive on a horse.

BULLDOG: And that nylon harness will eat the hair off your horse too unless you cover them with leather.

BUD EVERS: Leather breathes where that other doesn’t.

LYNN MILLER: But there are people who swear by the biothane harness. They use it all the time. They even show in it.

AUDIENCE: There is a really nice product called Zilco which you’d have a hard time finding a problem with. I would never touch nylon but have any of you used Zilco or any of the upper end synthetic harness?

BULLDOG: I’ve never used any of that stuff.

BUD EVERS: I’ve seen several used. Most people that buy them get rid of the reins and put leather reins on.

AUDIENCE: A question about tugs.

BULLDOG: Well, you take your nylon harness tugs and put leather on the outside, you got a good one. Otherwise you got to stretch in there and get your horse out of step from your pole.