My new Comfy Fit harness just arrived. Overall I like it, a couple key features I *really* like, but there are some weird things too .
I can return/exchange parts in the next few days, so I'd love to get some opinions other than my own...
First thing I'm iffy on is the saddle has floppy terrets. I had requested floppy terrets on the neck strap, but they put them on the saddle too. Its strange, a triangle shaped "dee" is sewn in where the terret would normally screw in and a solid ring is attached to that. So it flops around. At first I hated it, now I'm not so sure. Does anyone have experience with floppy terrets on a saddle?
I hate to send the saddle back, I'll be waiting for weeks for a replacement, I'm wondering if I can learn to love the floppy terrets.
The other thing I noticed and found very interesting is at the bottom of the saddle, where the billet is sewn in, they have a large keeper sewn in too. The saddle came with the tug billet threaded through this keeper. This keeps the overgirth smack dab on top of the girth and allows no swing or play. I don't like a buckle laying on top of another buckle, that just seems problematic.... but I find it really strange to want to keep the tugs from being able to swing on a marathon harness. Is this a feature only to be used in a fixed shaft vehicle? If my tugs are held fixed by a keeper, wont my independent shafts pull the whole saddle around if they can't move at least a little bit?
So confuddled. Tried calling the distributor and got voice mail so waiting for a call back.
ewww, i dont think i would like floppy terrets on the saddle... Totally for a "looks" purpose. I dont know it would effect anything i guess, but looks wise it just doesnt seem as pretty?
None of the yonnies/country carriages or my carriage house harness had the keeper by the billet that you describe. I would think along the same lines that you are, that especially for a vehicle with independent shafts, that maybe it would need SOME play?
I dont know, i think i would be sending the saddle back if you can...
49'er, do you use independent shafts with that harness?
I have to admit when I first saw the keepers I thought what a great idea, but then as I thought about how much the shafts move around when we go through turns I figure its going to start pulling that saddle all over the place.
I'm going to fit the harness today, nice thing is that I have 10 days to send back any parts for replacement lengths, etc. Already pretty positive the girth is too short. Not sure what the story is going to be on the saddle however I did request floppy terrets on the neck strap, I just reviewed the work order I asked them to send me, and it says floppy terrets on saddle too. I remember seeing that and blowing it off as a mistake as I didn't even think it was possible to have floppy terrets on a saddle (I bought the saddle through an equine products reseller, I didn't expect them to be accurate)... but lo, floppy terrets on the saddle.
So I went over the harness yesterday with a friend and she gave me the thumbs up in terms of quality, etc. She said for biothane its really nice. I'm still getting used to the biothane, but I keep telling myself "no more mold!" "no more cleaning a harness for 45 minutes every day!". I *will* learn to love biothane.
I fit it to my horse and - as I'm sure is typical of new harness - I love some parts, other parts don't fit so good. The nice thing is, they are willing to swap out whatever parts I want to improve the fit, which is great.
The girth was far too short. When I put on his leather girth, it seems the billets that come off the saddle and tugs are too short too. The other thing I didn't like about the saddle is that the gullet was narrower than I'd hoped, given my horse has back issues. I called the dealer and it turns out Comfy Fit harnesses are Amish made. I asked about swapping this cob sized saddle for a horse sized saddle so the billets are longer, he said no problem. And when I asked about possibly getting the gullet customized to be wider, he said no problem either!!! Hurray!
Of course I took pictures.
I like the way the bridle fits a LOT, but some parts, cavesson and throatlatch, are too short. Dealer said no problem on replacements.
One of the key features about this harness that drew me to it was the connecting strap from the neck strap to the waterhook on the saddle. My horse is sensitive over the neck from his back issue (he has problems with sheets/blankets that don't fit "just so" too). I think a connecting strap is a great idea, it'll spread some of the pull to the saddle and equalize things a bit. The connecting strap must be too short however, because even on its longest setting it pulled the neck strap back on an angle and dug into his neck, right ahead of one of his broken withers. I'm hoping the replacement strap will be considerably longer, if not at the very least I have the dee sewn in on the neck strap so I can create my own to the proper length for him.
The final thing that bothered me about the harness is how they set up the hip straps. They're two independent straps that criss cross. There is another slot to slide one in ahead and separate them, but the slot is only big enough for one strap not both.
The problem that I'm seeing with this design is that at least one strap wants to be up on its edge rather than lie flat. I wonder if this is going to be an issue? If it is, I'm sure I can find a zilco or some other replacement someplace that has the two straps together.
For the breeching I would definitely do the 2 straps flat across (not crossed) and seperated
I may be the natur of the bio material (not sure - I dont use) that it doesnt want to conform so much on the back strap
but another thought is that the breeching may be a hair too short
(hard to tell since you have his tail in the way taking up some of the breedhing fit)
and that the back up buckle may be further back than works for your horse
If you took the hipstrap out of the buckle and laid it flat on his butt - where would it want a buckle to be on the breeching
and even that is a balance between too far forward and the breeching sags vs too far back and it twists the hipstraps
we are fighting this issue with Alex's huge butt and the placement of the up buckles so the back of the breeching doesnt sag - I may have to go to a draft spider type hip arrangement - since his butt is so drafty
The gullet on the saddle looke like a good upen and clear gullet - you may just need it customized since your horse has specific issues - very few people out there want a gullet as wide as 3.5 inch as it gives too much leeway for a saddle to start to drop down onto the back
But take care to get your measurements correct when asking for replacements
you are requesting some custom changes that they wont be readily able to re-sell so may not exchange a second time IF they met your requested measures
get someone else to look at how you want fit changes before you make the final requests - so you dont end up paying for something that doesnt quite work
Harness looks nice
Agree with Drive NJ re the hip straps. I dont get why they would criss-cross them really. Mine are double hip straps and in different slots. Both of the back straps curl up a tad, though my hip straps do not seem as wide as these, so it's not really noticeable. I dont think it effects anything on either harness.
It's hard to tell with it over the tail here... But i wonder if they would lay better if you lengthened your back strap and used the crupper buckles on a shorter hole? This would move your hip straps back an inch or two and they may lay a tad flatter... I dont know if it would then be too far back on him. Though to me the hip straps seem a little too short as i would want my breeching a few inches lower than in the pic, but again, it might lay different with it under the tail.
Dont you love these shaped breast collars? My carriage house was a straight BC and really, it was fine on my cob, she had room to allow it to fit, but these shaped ones just seem to fit so much nicer.
It is weird getting used to the bio. But you will! It's so much easier to keep clean! And yes, NO MOLD! BUT, if the insides of your blinkers are leather, they will still mold on you, just something to watch for. Mine do that.
I can't believe I didn't bother to move his tail for the photos, it does seem to affect more than I anticipated.
I'm going to fit it one more time today and do as you advised and press the uptug up and see where it naturally wants to go. This breeching is actually significantly longer than his current leather one which is too short, but the leather one's uptugs are located more forward so the hip straps lay better.
I wonder if they can customize the uptug position too? Why not get everything fixed up just perfect if I can right?
He does have a rather ample caboose for his size though just yesterday the BO and I were discussing him and he observed how much he's changed and become more broad and husky and bull-dog like in his build now. He's changing shape more than I realize.
I'm afraid to lengthen the back strap (I actually shortened it a good bit) as I have to fit the kicking strap in there too. When I first fit it with a longer back strap, everything was so close to his croup it looked to be too much.
Yeah, I am going to need time to learn to appreciate the bio, but I'm sure come July I'm going to be wondering why I didn't do this sooner.
My one experienced driving friend has several gorgeous leather pony harnesses, patent leather, rolled, etc, but they're all cleaned, coiled and packed away. When she drives any more, out comes the nylon & bio bits frankenstein harness. She says her fingers permanently ache from cleaning so many harnesses in her life and she is *done*
I am really thrilled to give my leather one a break too, it'll give me a chance to really clean it well and try to get it to a state of "perfect" which will take weeks. The poor harness never gets a break since I use it so much, even though I devote a lot of time to cleaning it, its never a good deep clean. There are layers of grime still from previous owners and horses.