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Tom at Heartwood

Charlie Pinney hitch cart

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Hello.  I've got a hitch cart that I bought second hand last year.  I'm interested to hear from anyone who has experience of using one.  It seems very heavy on the shafts with the axle being mounted right at the back and the whole thing being very robustly constructed from steel.  My understanding is that there should be little or no downward pressure onto the back of the horse when pulling a cart with shafts.  There is some scope for moving the axle forward but I don't think that this will significantly change the point of balance.  Any thoughts on this would are welcomed.  Cheers.  Tom.

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33 minutes ago, Tom at Heartwood said:

Hello.  I've got a hitch cart that I bought second hand last year.  I'm interested to hear from anyone who has experience of using one.  It seems very heavy on the shafts with the axle being mounted right at the back and the whole thing being very robustly constructed from steel.  My understanding is that there should be little or no downward pressure onto the back of the horse when pulling a cart with shafts.  There is some scope for moving the axle forward but I don't think that this will significantly change the point of balance.  Any thoughts on this would are welcomed.  Cheers.  Tom.

Thinking back Tom my father always built his carts that we used on the sea coal to be slightly heavy on the horses back, obviously not massively so but he always said the saddle and tugs were meant to take the load as opposed to the belly band if it was light, which if I remember rightly the horses were never too keen on, as a benchmark I was always told that I should be able to lift the shaft with a bit of effort once the cart was loaded. I got many a lecture on how to load the cart etc, it was a fine balance as they were built to be able to tip the load off easily too. Those were a single axle set up, slightly different when dealing with a 4 wheel rolly type cart. 

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Thanks for your reply.  Yes, that makes sense. Was the sea coal hand picked off the beach?  Did it come in with certain tides from seams in the sea bed or was it spilled from mining extraction and transport?

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1 hour ago, Tom at Heartwood said:

Thanks for your reply.  Yes, that makes sense. Was the sea coal hand picked off the beach?  Did it come in with certain tides from seams in the sea bed or was it spilled from mining extraction and transport?

Shovelled or netted 

a tiny fraction came from exposed seams subsea the majority came from the mine waste that was tipped direct into sea from the washing plants. The natural action of the sea separated the remaining lighter coal missed by the washing process and depending on prevailing wind and sea conditions etc it was deposited at know points over certain area of coastline. Unfortunately the legacy of this has left parts of the coastline in a terrible state to this day. Super hard on the horses, most were finished by 12-14 yrs old. 

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On 12/02/2020 at 17:12, The avantgardener said:

There is a stunning British photographic book containing images of some of the sea coalers and their caravans by Chris Killip, worth a gander if it spikes your interest.

Thanks for the recommendation.  Tom.

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