Theresa's Saddle Chariot Page
Saddle Chariots – Pony Power at Pwllyn
V1.101 6th June 09
Saddle Chariots and Pony Drawn Hoes – part 2
At the beginning of June, Simon and Obama returned to the farm. Simon has created a prototype tool carrier.
The tool carrier is now off-set, to run on the bed.
Obama, the pony, needs to learn to walk down the ‘tramlines' made by the tractor. When he's reliable at doing this, the handler will also walk down the tramline behind him.
The next things to work on are adjustable wheel width and cultivation depth, and to put a good steering system in place for the hoes.
Simon is currently travelling (on foot) to a city farm in Birmingham , with Obama, towing the saddle chariot and a trailer with his camping gear. Hopefully he'll be back soon, and we can carry on experimenting!
Last Reported nr Evesham ( see link for photos)
A chance encounter with Simon Mulholland, the wonderfully eccentric designer of the Saddle Chariot, has led us to the possibility of using a pony to work on the farm.
Simon was kind enough to drive Obama (the pony) up to Pwllyn in early May, in his saddle chariot.
Not only did we get some rides on the chariot – which is enormous fun – but we explored the potential for using a pony and chariot for jobs such as moving muck and compost, moving logs when coppicing our woodland, hauling veggies in from the fields, and using a pony-drawn hoe for weeding. The chariot seems infinitely adaptable, removing the saddle facilitates the fitting of a spike for log hauling; a tow hitch allows for a trailer; and various implements can be attached as necessary
Whilst we have discussed the possible use of horses and ponies on the farm many times over they years, there has always been concern over the safety aspect. If a horse takes fright and the handler loses control, with a piece of machinery attached to the horse, the consequences can be disastrous. However, the saddle chariot has a unique safety feature, which can be used either when it is being used as a form of transport, or as a ‘forecart' for other attachments – if at any time the handler perceives it necessary to detach the pony from the chariot, it is a simple procedure to pull one rope, which releases the entire ensemble from the pony – although, obviously, if you are on the chariot at the time, it is important to remember to step off first!
Simon argues that this is the safest horse-drawn device available today – and after viewing and test-driving it, we find it hard to disagree with that statement.
Currently Simon is away on a road trip – and can be found somewhere between Brecon and Birmingham(!) but he is due back in June as he is booked at a number of events to demonstrate the saddle chariot. The plan is that he will design and build a prototype hoe, with which we can experiment throughout the growing season. We will also be on the look out for a suitable pony, and commencing its training for farm work.
Appropriate technology (E. F. Schumacher)
We will keep this page updated with photos and reports of our progress.
In the meantime – enjoy the pictures!
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