Do you have working equines? Do you have access to plain, practical working harness, hand stitched and affordable?

If the answer is no, but you would like to have that access, or would like to have harness made up to your requirements please take a little time and read on.

My name is Chris, I trained as a saddler and harness maker in the UK in the late eighties, early nineties and ran my own business there before emigrating to France in 2004. At that time I let my business go to concentrate on working for overseas charities training students around the world to make their own harness for their working animals. Eighteen years has passed since I got involved in doing that and a lot of information has been exchanged both ways. What I learned, and am still learning is that harness does not have to be made to the English patterns or style to work, it does not have to be made of leather (though that is still my favourite material), it simply has to be comfortable for the animal and be efficient at transferring that animals power to the required task.

It is ironic that whilst I have been travelling the world teaching and learning about harness making the trade in my own country, and here in the southern hemisphere has been decimated by imported goods, smart looking and cheap though it may be it is not always suitable for those of us who want to work our animals. For that reason I am offering a set of leather working harness that is proven to be practical and hard wearing, made to measure for your animal and at a price that allows anyone to use.

Want to make your own harness? With eighteen years experience as a trainer it would be a bit sad if I couldn’t help you to attain the dream of making your own harness, whether you want to use leather, cargo webbing, rope, or some other material I can now invite you on a course where you can do just that. Run in a stunning location just below the forgotten railway at the Avonstour Island Heritage Farm in the shadow of Mount Edgemont, Taranaki you can come and work donkeys, learn about their capabilities and needs and learn to make harness at the same time. These courses are in the process of being set up now, offering a range of prices depending on whether you want to camp or take advantage of one of the local hotels or B & B’s. We will aim to have around eight students and will do our best to cover as much information as we can depending on the groups requirements.

I now tend to specialise in working with donkeys. Whilst not up to the heavier work due to their size they are incredibly strong, fantastic working partners, and cost a fraction of the cost of the more traditional draft animals. They are friendly and don’t tend to panic much if things go wrong, making them the ideal choice for novice draft animal power (DAP) enthusiasts. At the weekend and school holidays they are big enough to be ridden by the kids, or driven in a small cart. The donkey harness we make is not small pony harness, it is made for donkeys, taking into account their different conformation as well as their size.

If you would like to know more about the harness, or working with DAP, whether it is donkeys, mules or horses that appeal to you please take a look at the Sustainable Harness, or the Avonstour Island Heritage Farm Facebook page and take the first step to discovering a whole new outlook on life.