Illarion Pryanishnikov Born in Russia 1840. Died 1894. Co-founder of the Peredvizhniki artistic cooperative.
If you ever watched the movie Fiddler on the Roof, you may have wondered if there was any utility to the Shaft-bow harness. The shaft-bow harness originated east of the Baltic sea and saw wide usage across Russia.
The shaft-bow harness is the equine equivalent of a fifth-wheel hitch. It acts as a gimbal-bearing and allows the draft animal to move in the trace and apply the strength in its hindquarters in the most advantageous direction.
The frost penetrates deeply into the ground in Northern Europe and the spring thaws destroy roads because the frozen layers do not allow the upper, flooded areas to drain. The shaft-bow harness allows the driver to snake through the worst of the pot-holes and, if stuck, to jog the conveyance out one wheel/skid at a time.
By providing extra room between the traces, the draft animal can more properly align with the needed direction of thrust and use its powerful hindquarters.
The shaft-bow harness does offer additional utility over the standard harness where roads are horrible and under circumstances where extreme maneuverability is required.
|Children in a Sleigh|
Ivan Andreevich Pelevin Born in Russia 1840. Died 1917.
One gets a sense that several of the children are about to be bucked off the back of the sleigh as it goes over the drift.