So You Want To Drive a Tandem?

Firstly, are you mad!

This was the question frequently asked of me when I started. Now that we have gone through the process of training our two Welsh ponies to go tandem and they have been to some competitions I understand why!

There are so many challenges to putting together and successfully driving a tandem that it isn’t for the fainthearted. However, the rewards are immense.

Why Choose To Drive a Tandem?

So what’s the point? You have two ponies to groom, harness up, care for yet really only the power of a single. I could see why this would seem less appealing than a pair. So what are the benefits to a tandem over a pair?
1. You can use your single vehicle so there is no added expense of having to purchase a pairs carriage
2. Your single carriage is much lighter to handle than a pairs carriage for pulling in and out of the barn or loading into a lorry
3. Generally, if you already have a single set of harness then the extra harness needed to kit out your leader is significantly less than purchasing a new pairs set of harness
4. You are embraced by a special group of people who, like you, have been bitten by the crazy bug and drive a tandem.


And the negatives…
1. Well it’s darn impractical to drive
2. Your leader needs to be a rather special kind of creature
3. The rein handling is significantly more complex than a single or pair
4. You are frequently in a class of your own or very few at competitions

5. A tangle with a tandem can be spectacular versus a pair, there is so much more of a mess you can get into.

Tandem Tangle

I always tell people, you must have humility to drive a tandem, else you will find it anyway. After the marathon. — at Katydid Farm CDE 2008. Photo Credit Pics of You.

What Equipment is Needed for Tandem Carriage Driving?

Still think this is for you? Fabulous!

Let’s assume you already have a single turnout and need the extra equipment for your leader. So what do you need additionally?

For your leader:

1. Bridle

2. Tandem leader reins

3. Breastplate

4. Crupper and backstrap

5. Trace carry straps

6. Driving saddle

7. Tandem leader traces

7. Loose buckle piece (optional)


For your wheeler:

1. Roger rings

2. Tandem Spoons

3. Bungee Trace Carry straps (optional but highly recommended)

4. Gullet safety strap (optional but highly recommended)

5. Tandem terrets


There are complete conversion sets available which give all the harness for the leader and also the roger rings and tandem spoons for your wheeler. Classic tandem leader harness

and SL Shetland Tandem Leader Harness

Tandem Pals

Group chat at an event prior to marathon

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