October 06, 2006
Have you ever wanted to drive a donkey team, but didn't know how to find a wagon small enough to fit in your trailer along with your donkeys?
I have a small wagon that I built on a wagon frame that I believe is about the same size as the Pioneer 1 ton frame.
My wagon is built more for show than to haul much weight. I needed a small 4-wheeled vehicle for my 14.2hh mammoth donkey team to pull at shows.
But I also needed the vehicle to be one that I could haul in/on my rig along with my donkey team. I have a 3-horse gooseneck trailer and a pickup truck to pull it. That doesn't allow room for any kind of 4-wheeled vehicle inside the trailer or truck bed at the same time that I'm hauling my donkey team.
I bought a small wagon frame for a 4x8 foot wagon, and had a friend weld a frame for the wagon bed, and uprights to attach it to the wagon gear below. Then I built wood sides for it.
We assembled it in such a way that I can unbolt the sides and seat bench, and lay them up in the gooseneck area of my trailer. I can then unbolt the wagon bed and we made brackets where I can fasten it onto the outside of my trailer.
The wagon gear unbolts and separates into two sections in the middle, so I can put both front and back axle sections in the bed of my truck in front of the gooseneck hitch. And I wrapped the tongue in lots of empty feed sacks (to keep it clean) and laid it on the floor along one wall inside the horse compartment in my trailer.
Because I needed the pieces to be lightweight enough that two people could put the wagon together and take it apart at shows, we weren't able to make it real heavy-duty. It was able to carry my sister and me just fine, but I wouldn't put any extra weight in it or use it on rough terrain without reinforcing it a little more, especially where the bed attaches to the wagon frame below. It needs a few more supports in the middle if I were to haul weight in the back of the wagon. Now that I've used it for a while, we'll probably make a few adjustments to strengthen it in a few places.
But it filled the need that I had... it just takes a while to put together and take apart when I put the fancy sides on it.
Here are a few photos of my wagon.
The donkey team pulling the wagon in training (without the side rails)
Back of the finished wagon
Front of the finished wagon
The team driving in the donkey 2-up hitch class at Bishop Mule Days
How I carry the wagon bed on the side of my trailer (The wagon bed will also fit tied up against a wall inside the trailer, but for the long 11 hour drive to Bishop, CA, I wanted the extra inside space for other things.
I would like to adjust the way the doubletree attaches to the tongue and possibly get a longer tongue so that the doubletree is not so close to the front tires. It makes it a little tricky if you're trying to make a tight turn! But other than that, it's worked great for a little lightweight 4-wheeled vehicle for me to start my donkey team with.
The biggest thing is that you want to make sure however you build it, it is strong enough and sturdy enough for your team and the use you plan to put it through. And I also always check the bolts on a regular basis to make sure they are still tight.
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Posted by Kristie Jorgensen at October 6, 2006 08:48 AM
Hey Kristie!! I'm one of the Mammoth Donkey site members and came over to look at your wagon, very nice!! You have a very nice looking team and your wagon seems to fit your needs..Thanks for sharing...Debbie
Posted by: Debbie Dokter at October 6, 2006 07:45 AM
Very nice wagon really looks good. back in the early 60's I was showing horses Standard Breds and walker's with the standard bred's we sometimes used a fine harness 4 wheel cart ( can't remember the name of the cart) but doesn't matter. My point is your having to check to see if the nuts & bolts are still tight. You can correct that by putting a second nut on and running it up tight to the first one and that will correct any worries about them coming loose. Again Great Job on your wagon. Herb Johnson
Posted by: Herby Johnson at October 6, 2006 08:00 AM
Hi Kristie, What a cool idea. You and the boys look great. The wagon is quite attractive as well.
Posted by: Ann W. Fireston at October 9, 2006 05:39 PM