The Chronicle of the Horse
MagazineNewsHorse SportsHorse CareCOTH StoreVoicesThe Chronicle UntackedDirectoriesMarketplaceDates & Results
Results 1 to 11 of 11
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug. 3, 2008

    Default meadowbrook cart price and sizing


    I *may* have the chance to get a meadowbrook for $450. I've been training riding horses all my life but have comparatively little experience with driving.

    Is this a decent price for a meadowbrook?

    How can I tell if it fits my horses?

    What do I look for in "vetting" it?

    Is this a decent vehicle for a newbie?

    Thanks so much! I can't wait to learn more!

    Warmly, Kirsten
    Real Horses. Real Riders. Real Results!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr. 4, 2007
    Jasper, GA


    I "peaked" at your other posts and saw that you have a draft (Belgian) and a draft cross. So, you are going to need a draft sized meadowbrook.

    I like my meadowbrook, for the price. I bought mine almost new, eight or nice years ago for $900. It is a Raber (not made anymore) and is very good quality but it is not an easyentry. As I am fit, so that doesn't bother me but it is hard getting passengers in who are not in good shape (ok, I 'll say it -obese) or people with knee/hip problems and sometimes little kids, if they are scared and me -when showing in a skirt (I do have a technique though...). Is it an easyentry (does the seat hinge up or to the side to let people enter the carts easily) or just a straight meadowbrook?

    When I bought it, I don't think you could hardly get a marathon cart for a draft. Sounds like you are on a budget, so that is probably out.

    I have put hundreds and hundreds of miles on my meadowbroke driving down country roads, in rings, over hill and dale, through small creeks and it has held up amazingly well.

    It has a tight turning radius, with only two wheels. The disadvantages are that it doesn't have brakes (careful with those inexperienced horses and downhills), doesn't have back support and isn't easy for some people to get into. Oh, about the non-easyentry. When you have a difficult or green horse, not having easy entry is a little more edgy, in my opinion. Also, I used to hitch by myself, and again, the lack of the easy entry thing made it more edgy (hitching by yourself is kind of an "edgy" thing to do anyway -not something I would recommend). Otherwise I love it.

    It you are even thinking of entering draft horse shows or CDEs with it, make sure that it is "good enough." But if this is just a starter vehicle, just make sure that it is in good repair. Things to watch for are any sort of rot in the wood, looseness in the axles (give it a good side to side "shake" and see how much play is in the axles), wood that has been damaged -especially cracks that run through the wood. Ask if it has been kept inside the barn, if it has been kept outside, it is more suspect in terms of soundness.

    I have seen meadowbrooks repainted and they can be brought back to life (cosmetically) that way.

    For a basic draft style training cart, they are much better than forecarts. I like a 52" wheel but 48" will work also for most drafts. Don't get something much smaller for a draft. Ask the owner whether it has draft sized shafts and whether the cart is draft sized, they should know. Get them to measure wheel size.

    If it is clunky or not made professionally, take a pass on it.

    I do drool over the new marathon vehicles but alas...not in my check book this year.

    This is the one I bought almost new -many years ago:
    I could easily sell this for $700., as a ten year old cart but it has always been kept inside.

    A new draft horse show cart runs from $2400 (for a stud cart) to $4000. Meadowbrooks can still be bought new for just under $2000. from the Amish. A forecart is running about $900 new. Most are made in Amish communities or up in Canada. I do not like the Robert's brand as they have a reputation of not holding up well.

    I hope this helps!
    Luistano Stallion standing for 2013: Wolverine UVF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug. 3, 2008


    Wow, thanks for the great info! That gives me a lot to go on.
    Real Horses. Real Riders. Real Results!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug. 26, 2008


    Me too, great post CieloAzure!

    Not that I am going to be buying anything right away...

    That "green horse downhill" thing is one of the many reasons I am scared of this driving adventure. Yay for lessons!
    Lifestyle coordinator for Zora, Spooky, Wolfgang and Warrior

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun. 28, 2003


    Many things get called a "Meadowbrook" cart now and you need to decide what features about them are desirable to you.

    Typically a meadowbrook is a rear entry cart. This can mean stepping on the floor (from the back) and OVER a fixed bench seat. OR walking thru a seat that flips up - either toward the center or toward the outside.

    For comfort it is nice to have seat backs on the seat - but to make it work you need those to be folding so they can get out of the way when you need it to. These are pretty easy to install later if the cart does not have them now.

    We have found that having the hinge of the flip seat in the middle - so the seat flips from the outside toward center gives you a lot more room than the seat that flips outside - which is hindered from flipping far by the fender and the wheel.

    Another problem that used to happen on some older carts was that the flipping seat was not made wide enough (though it did not look too narrow) and over time the shafts would spread a bit and the seat would collapse thru the opening and you were sitting on the floor - bad!

    What people generally mean when they say "easy entry"
    is a cart that you enter in front of the wheel. For most Amish made EZ/front entry carts - for horses - this will usually mean some kind of step up onto the floor of the cart. Depending on how high that step is - it can have its own challenges getting into.

    You may hear from people that the rear entry meadowbrook cart is a "death trap" This is because once you are in the cart, you are sitting "in" a box and there is no obvious rapid exit. Although in an emergency you are probably best staying with the cart and if you really need to bail, you are going to dive out over the wheel of either the front or rear entry cart.

    We have had a rear entry "marathon" cart for more than 20 years and I love my cart. We lost our first cart in a fire and ended up buying another with upgrades and I love the new one just as much.

    Cielo mentioned many things to check on but basically what you are looking for is a cart that both looks and feels solid.

    Plan on re-doing the wheel bearings - that should only cost about $20 for new bearings and a couple hours of time and dirty hands.

    IF the cart does not have roller bearings, you need to find out what kind of axle it has which will tell you how to care for it. In any case, a good thing to check is the tightness of the wheels on the axle. Have someone hold up the shafts and then stand to the side of the wheel - grab the top of the wheel and give it a good shake forward and back - try to make it rock on the axle (side to side). It really should not move in this way. If it does, something has worn to allow that movement.

    The axle may have a hub or be a "flush hub." A flush hub is likely to be newer. An axle with hubs sticks out about 4 inches. There is no real functional difference in how the wheel works but the flush hub is desirable for CD competition as it is less likely to get caught on things. But then a cart is no longer as useful in CD marathons because of its length and turning radius compared to a 4-wheeler.

    Get measurements on the cart for the width of the shafts at the cross-bar and at the narrowest point which is where the cart shafts will sit in the harness tugs - or at the girth of the horse. You also need the length of the shafts from the crossbar to the tip. This will tell you how long a horse will fit in the shafts.

    The wheels for a typical horse sized cart should be 48 inches diameter. The taller the horse is, the more desirable it would be to have taller wheels but without going into full draft carts you generally dont see larger than 52 inch wheels

    You want to look at the rubber on the wheels. This can be a flat bottom or a more pointy shaped solid rubber insert wrapping around the wheel. There are some functional differences in how each tire will work but they are minor. What you do want to look for is the condition of the tire. First is it solid all around or do you see a split somewhere in the circumference that leaves a gap. Or are there big chips and gouges in the tire material. This could mean the need to replace the tire. While this is not a major job, if you are not near places that do it - it can become a big deal.

    Look at where the spokes go into the hub and where they go into the wheel fellow. They should be solid and firm, and especially at the fellow - neither side should look dried out or separating.

    There should be a singletree and it should move freely. If it is stiff or locked, this can be fixed with replacing some minor parts but it often says that other things might be wrong too.

    The American Driving Society website has a chart on it with "typical" cart measurements and how they relate to size of horse. These should work well for this type of cart. (They are less useful for really modern cart designs.)

    And by the way $450 is a great price if the cart is sound.
    Last edited by Drive NJ; Nov. 2, 2008 at 12:09 AM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar. 2, 2004
    Corbyville, Ontario, Canada

    Default Meadowbrook cart

    We had a custom made meadowbrook built in western ontario for our Percheron filly about a year and a half ago. I couldn't be more pleased with it. It's comfortable - easy entry with a split seat and folding seatbacks. It has 52 inch wheels and also a slight block under the seat to raise the seat up for greater visibility. We also added a solid back step to allow easier access to the cart (it's also been used as a back seat by young kids on a drive. It always gets positive comments and I'd certainly recommend it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct. 5, 2007

    Default cart options

    Meadowbrook cart


    We had a custom made meadowbrook built in western ontario for our Percheron filly about a year and a half ago. I couldn't be more pleased with it. It's comfortable - easy entry with a split seat and folding seatbacks. It has 52 inch wheels and also a slight block under the seat to raise the seat up for greater visibility. We also added a solid back step to allow easier access to the cart (it's also been used as a back seat by young kids on a drive. It always gets positive comments and I'd certainly recommend it.
    I have sometime very similiar to this poster, had it made for me by Amish up in Gap, PA. You can PM me for the details.

    You can customize, based on needs and extras too. Some folks don't want all those fenders because of looks but I like the safety feature of keeping fingers and hands out of the spokes of the wheels.

    BTW.. $450 is a steal.. just make sure it is still solid and not weak somewhere in the structure.
    Pao Lin

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan. 29, 2006


    Depending on how the cart is built, I've seen wheels used as small as 44 inches on a 17 hand draft, with the shafts still level. That's an absolute minimum to me. Taller is better. The weight of a two wheel cart, balanced, is nothing to a draft horse. They are so light, and short of traction, that brakes, to me, are useless and unnecessary. Any draft in a state of excitement could run off with it at will. My cart has shafts that can be adjusted up or down, wider or narrower for horse size.

  9. #9
    horsemix12 Guest

    Default Driving Beginner

    Im so glad I found this forum on driving.

    Ive been looking for an Easy Entry cart for my 17.2 hand Percheron mare.

    Im learning a lot as I go.

    I found a cart that has 36" wheels. The manufacturer said that would
    be fine to see over the horse with. Im unsure about that, so told them
    no. Then they called and said they sold a cart where the lady didnt want her
    44" wheels and she would sale them to me. The manufacturer will not ship just the cart no wheels at a discount, so Id have to buy the package deal, then purchase the wheels from this other lady seperatly. I think just from what Im reading, that that would be a better fit to see over her backend.

    So wanted to clarify, do I need a bigger wheel then 36"'s?
    What would you pay for brand new 44" wheels?


  10. #10


    Check the shafts under the patten leather (or faux patten leather) that has the loop for the traces to pass through on the shafts. I have seen serveral that have rotted there and broke even though they were only a couple of years old. Some carts years ago were not varnished until they were completely put together so the wood that is over lapped or covered is not sealed. I bought a new one years ago from an Amish in PA. that was built this way, so I took it apart and polyurethaned it and put it back together, pin striped it and replaces the painted and chrome hardware with brass. I sold it about 8 years later, it looked like new. The other thing is to check the castle nuts on the axles and make sure there is a cotter key so the nut can't work loose. It sounds like a great price even if you need to fix a few things.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun. 28, 2003


    Is the Easy entry cart you are looking like similar to this?

    or like the one at the bottom of this page?

    I've never seen one like the top link with a 36 inch wheel so I'm suspecting its the lower link.

    Typically I'd place a 36" or 48" wheel for ponies, not large drafts. The top carriage is not going to work with a draft. Its just too light and they could easily turn it into a pretzel if they caught a wheel in a rut while turning sharply - really

    The bottom one is more popular with some folks, but I've always had a few 'questions' about whether I'd want one.
    1. The springs look cheesy and I wonder how they hold up
    2. The draft model I saw with appropriate sized wheels was hugely long in front of the axle to allow space for you to get out in front of the wheel... absolutely no way to brace your feet while sitting in the seat

    If you are looking at one of these and can actually go see it, check on these things.

Similar Threads

  1. Meadowbrook type cart?
    By Remudamom in forum Driving
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: Oct. 12, 2012, 11:11 AM
  2. road cart vs meadowbrook
    By buck22 in forum Driving
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: Nov. 17, 2011, 10:57 PM
  3. Meadowbrook carts
    By Eimile in forum Driving
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: Mar. 27, 2010, 11:19 PM
  4. Refurbishing the Meadowbrook
    By lisae in forum Driving
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: Jul. 2, 2009, 04:42 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts