This week we went off to the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, to their annual Horse Ploughing and country skills day. Apart from anything else it was a good chance to go and have a look at everyone’s harness, as it turns out that literally every single set seems to be different in some way, and we fancied seeing how ours compared. New harness is not cheap, so we’ve assembled a basic set by way of kindness and ebay.

You may remember that Rain the horse went off up to Antrim to learn how to pull things, and John McDermott who trained him kindly lent us some harness to be going on with. John also found a collar needing some repairs, which is of a fair vintage; and some hames. We sent the collar off to the very capable Marian McArdle up at Seeconnell Saddlery. Here’s the collar before –

with its stuffing adrift, and lining torn. It is probably at least half a century old, but still has a lot of life left in it. Here it is after repairs-

The next stage was to make new hame straps, repair the back band and crupper (which was huge) and a couple of other bits and pieces, and fit up the hames properly.

Now at last we have a repaired collar and hames, back band, crupper, chains and bridle, so the next step is getting out and testing it all with Rain. More to follow….

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