View Full Version : Fine Harness, is it worth it to spend more?
03-16-2009, 06:00 AM
Those of you who have them - Is the hand crafted Harness worth the price tag? I'm looking at the Hunt's I and II, as well as the Freedman Regular fine harness as well as the premium. Is the harness worth $5k+?? :tongue_smilie: I understand the importance of turnout and presentation, but I live in the real world and price is an object. I do not mind spending, IF IF IF it is worth it. Any thoughts on getting a nicer harness used?
Yes, it is worth spending the money! Both my Hackney Pleasure and my Horse size harnesses are Hunts, and they still look as if they just got out of the workshop. When I started out, I purchased lesser quality harnesses (still expensive mind you), but after 2 or 3uses they started to look like a cheap harness. the brass is not the same quality, nor is the patent leather.
If you are in it for the long haul; spend the money!
03-16-2009, 08:00 AM
Also in the more expensive harness the fine parts are wider leather straps that are hand rolled; in cheap harness they are just narrow leather flat straps. In more expensive harness all keepers will be sewn; in cheaper harness many of the keepers will just be stapled.
If you can find a Freedman's or Hunt's used definatly worth the consideration. These high quality harnesses if they have been cared for can be usable for 50 years.
The real expensive harnesses are beautiful, but I bought a lightly used Hunt II harness ten years ago and have shown in it many times, including two ribbons (one win) at Louisville and use it in both show pleasure and fine harness. They aren't cheap, but they are nice. I really like it.
I also have a 1950's vintage harness that I acquired from one of the all-time great trainers. I don't know what brand it is, but it looks a lot like the modern-day Walsh harnesses and it does just fine in show pleasure. I figure if it was good enough for some pretty fancy horses of yesteryear, it is good enough for me. So, even older ones can look nice and sometimes you can pick them up pretty reasonable.
Just don't buy an "off" brand harness. But Hunt, Walsh, and Freedman are all great. (I hope I didn't leave one of the majors out.)
As always, JMO.
03-17-2009, 07:01 AM
I have a Walsh fine harness with the french tugs. I bought from Chuck at World Champion. At the time it seemed like a fortune,but he gave me a good deal on it. I have had it for about five years and only used it about four times. Is this considered a good harness? I figure I will get my money out of it as I just don't use it very often. Any special care I should give it to help it last longer. I keep it in my house in the closet.
03-17-2009, 11:39 AM
Thats kinda what I thought - I will be on the lookout for a good used Hunts I or II, I was just wondering if the hand rolled and stiching on the Hunts I is worth the extra $$ (if I need to go new). I really like the Freedman, but over $5K for a harness is out of the budget unless I found a great deal. THanks again everyone
03-17-2009, 08:46 PM
If you see a Hunts I and Hunts II side by side the the extra details in the Hunts I do really stand out. From the center of the show ring probably not so much. So I guess its like the $15 bottle of wine and $50 bottle of wine that both taste good, but of course one tastes better to the connoisseur.
03-19-2009, 04:58 AM
I have seen Sit turn a horse out many times. There is nothing second rate about what he does to put a horse in the ring. I would respect anything he says about presentation.
Let me add one other thing. The driving lines are important and often do not come with the harness. They need to be brown leather, have solid brass buckles, and "rolled" where they go through the martingale and loops on the harness saddle. I want hand loops on the lines (three on each rein), so I can always have my hands on the reins where they need to be after we get rolling (and so the reins don't slip through my fingers). You probably already know this, but a nice set of lines is important. New ones are pretty pricey. Mine came from Fennells, I think.
Most people use "stops" on the reins so the buckles do not get caught in the martingale.
03-24-2009, 06:32 PM
Freedman's has 2 types of harness in the 5K and 3K range, check out their website www.freedmanharness.com
03-24-2009, 07:35 PM
I have an older Walsh and it's very nice. Everything is rolled and the quality is wonderful. I think my harness is probably close to 15 years old and it is in very good condition. I replaced the lines last year and was unfortunately disappointed with the quality. The hand holds are sewn WAY too far forward (I literally cannot reach them) and they aren't sewn evenly (one is about 4" further back than the other). Also, they are quite wide (the rolled part especially is pretty thick!) and rather stiff.
Today I saw for the first time the Hunt's Triumph harness and it's exquisite. The detailing on the brass is just gorgeous! I get to borrow the lines for my show this weekend and they are SO nice.
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