Craft:Harness making


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The most primitive people put a yoke on a horse as they would on an ox, however due to the physiology of a horse a yoke cuts into the horses windpipe and means that it cannot pull heavy loads. More advanced people use breast-plates to distribute the load over the chest rather than a yoke, however very heavy loads make it hard for the horse to breath. The best harness is a collar harness which spreads the load far better and avoids constricting the throat or chest. The value of a harness is that a single horse can pull far heavier loads than a horse with a breastplate or yoke - allowing a farmer to carry far more produce to market or save costs by keeping fewer animals that need to be fed and shod.
The harness has many parts, some hold the poles of the towed cart or wagon. Some stop it pushing down (if the front is too heavy) or rising up (if the back is too heavy), some stop the cart rolling into the horse, other parts hold the blinkers that prevent the horse from being spooked.
The harness is made out of leather with many buckles and chains to attach the cart of wagon. The leather is stitched using flax which has been dragged over beeswax to ensure that it remains watertight. In order to thread the needle through the leather holes are punched using awls. Straps are skived where they meet with the flesh side of the leather cut back so that the two overlap without a bulge.


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