Newfoundland Club of America Draft Equipment Guide
Approved 2001 - Updated January 2014
Understanding the Equipment
Understanding freight loads and how to balance them is an essential part of draft work. In wagons, balance of the load is not critical because wagons are inherently stable. Balance of a load is critical with a cart. The point of balance in a cart is not always over the axle, but rather over the center of gravity. This point can vary depending on the weight of the shafts. It is a handler's responsibility to check the apparatus when loaded to make sure that the freight is placed correctly to maintain the balance of the cart and the comfort of the dog. The shafts should not feel any heavier or lighter after loading. If the load is too far back it, the shafts will be light and bounce around pulling the harness up. If the load is too far forward, the shafts will be heavy and place unnecessary stress on the dog. An unbalanced load will decrease the efficiency of the pull as well as the comfort of the dog.
Sulky carts were designed to hold people, and when properly balanced, weight needs to be placed where a passenger would sit, not on the floor of the apparatus.