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  • Iam teaching my 13.3h pony to drive.I have to redoo my cart and was wondering what shaft would be better to get. the straight or the curved and what the difference is in using them....Is one safer to use for training?
  • Sorry I didn't see this sooner.  How's the progress on the training cart?
  • are you meaning curved in and out or curved up and down?  they both have a purpose.  
  • Hmm... that's a valid point D.B.  I had assumed (and we all know what that word stands for...) she meant coupe'd or straight shafts.  That is to say weather there would be a rise or not.  There are carts (like the Frontier EZ entry) that have no curve of any kind.  If they are made of pipe, that's easy to correct with a very carefully used pipe bender. 
    To answer the question; there are two kinds of curves on Cart shafts.  The first and only essential one is the inward curve (towards the horse) that narrows the shafts around the horse's shoulders.  Totally straight shafts in this situation provide a very uncomfortable fit for the horse.  The second are called Coupe' shafts (sometimes called Swan Neck or Goose neck).  These are curved in a way that allows the shafts to rise from below the body of the vehicle in such a way that one doesn't have to step over the heel of the shaft to enter.  Usually these are used with the nicer Gigs and such. 
    The first type of curve is essential for the horse's comfort.  The second is an option, though it makes things much nicer for the horse and driver.  Besides, the graceful curve upwards on a Coupe' shaft is much nicer to look at.  Hence, the popularity in Europe.
    Neither the straight (with the inward bend of course) shafts nor the curved are more safe than the other.  Their application has to do with the balance and appearance of the vehicle. 
    I do hope this helped and didn't confuse the issue further.