21 days, What am I thinking???? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 27 Old 06-08-2014, 05:01 PM Thread Starter
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21 days, What am I thinking????

Since my horse Pilgrim is lame and on at least 30 days rest. I was not going to be able to go to a Combined Driving event at the end of June that I had already signed up and paid so I was a bit disappointed.

Three people from the driving club in St. Louis offered to lend me their horse to go to the show. Although I was flattered that people would trust me with their horse to take to a show, I had to decline. I did not want that responsibility. I just would be devastated if I hurt someone else’s horse, and of course accidents happen all the time.

Well one of the people offering said he was a longtime horseman and he understood things happen, he said I came highly recommended, he trusted me, and he wanted to offer his Halflinger to me to take to the CDE. Well I could not pass it up.

So I have 21 days to get ready for the combined drive with a horse I have just met and have never driven before. I don’t know if it is enough time, the main thing I am worried about is the marathon and making sure he is in shape to trot 30 straight minutes, up and down hills pulling a vehicle with two people.
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Last edited by Clayton Taffy; 06-08-2014 at 05:09 PM.
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post #2 of 27 Old 06-08-2014, 05:08 PM Thread Starter
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Day 1------20 days to go

Sammy arrived this morning; he is cute as a bug’s ear. He is a bit nervous and skittish. Sammy is used to being outside 24/7, but he liked his stall.

I fitted my harness to Sammy and his owner and I ground drove him around the yard for a bit. He was a little bit of a pill for me, I guess testing me, a storm was coming up and every thunder roll he would want to jump forward and try and turn around. It was a pain but I stayed with him and he figured out that I wasn’t a total novice.

Most of the day Sammy and I just hung out, getting to know each other. Petting and brushing, putting on and off the halter, which he is not easy to catch. He got a treat after we put the halter on each time. He doesn’t like his face touched or brushed at all, so of course we did a lot of that.

It rained all day so no drive time, but he did get to go outside for a few hours.

So this is Sammy, 7 year old Halflinger, I think around 13.3.


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post #3 of 27 Old 06-09-2014, 03:02 PM Thread Starter
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Day 2------- 19 days to go.

I tried out my cart on Sammy to see how it fit. It fits pretty well. The shafts are too long and it sits a bit low. I am used to taller carts, bit this cart is supposed to sit low for better balance.

This is the cart I started building about 20 years ago, for a horse that is long dead. I am pretty excited to finally use it; I have never even sat in the thing. I have been going over it making sure it is road ready, tightening bolts, and adding hold back irons and leather guides for the traces and singletree. I had to find a seat cushion and it still doesn’t have a step to get on it, but I think it is usable.

I started hooking up Sammy and he stood like a rock star. I usually tie a horse to my fence post to hook up then turn the horse to get in and drive off. He was great until I turned him to get in the cart. Being an Amish horse, the Amish kids drove him to school every day, Sammy has learned to not let grass grow under his feet. Every time I tried to get in the cart he started to walk off. With no step on the cart, this was quite a predicament. I couldn’t get in! I was using a mounting block behind the cart and trying to climb over the seat but with him walking off, I couldn’t get in fast enough, and when I held him back he would back up into the mounting block. I even tried to get in by jumping over the shaft in front of the seat, Okay I didn’t try it I thought about it and realized that was a really stupid idea. Well about 15 minutes later I finally got in the cart, he immediately walked off, I made him stand for about 7 seconds before I asked him to walk off, he didn’t like that much either, Clearly we need some manners in this department.

Other than the beginning of the drive he was a sweetheart to drive. He was very responsive to moving over and turning. He has darling little trot and very steady, I suppose out of self preservation he has learned how to get to a destination quickly with minimal effort. I wanted our first drive to be a pleasant drive so I didn’t ask for anything I knew he couldn’t or wouldn’t do. No arguments on drive number one.

We drove for about 30 minutes, with total trot time 10 minutes. Sammy is a little portly, but in pretty good shape, he hadn't been driven by his owner in about two weeks. Sammy is very over due for shoes. I tried to tighten them up with a hammer, but Sammy wasn't too thrilled with that. I did get the shoes a little tighter and begged my farrier to come out soon. I was even going to drive Sammy the hour and a half to the farrier's house for shoes. So until he gets some new shoes we are just going in a straight line driving, no hard or sharp turns, no mud, and no cones. Farrier is coming out Wed afternoon.

My cart rides really good, surprisingly good, only problem is it was made for a person about 7 inches shorter than me. I should have sat in the cart about 18 years ago.

All in all it was a great first drive.


Oops! I forgot to put the left crupper buckle in the keeper.
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post #4 of 27 Old 06-10-2014, 10:31 AM
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In the "What Was I Thinking????" department........My friend called me, trying to make classes for Sport Horse Regionals. I could not go because I had the horses in EPM treatment, and I was broke because of it.

She wants to know, if so-and-so can get her stallion used to the cart, will I drive him? In 2 weeks? I sized up the situation, figured the arena had concrete sides (instead of cattle panels, that may fall down if we hit them, lol), so what did I have to lose??

Then a few hours later, she calls me back....WHAT was she THINKING??? She has a stallion in her pasture who was trained to drive!! As a 3 yo. As an Arabian show horse. For a month. Now he is 18. So, of course, I meet her half way, and we trade trailers with this stallion in a gas station parking lot.

Mike had PVC rails in 10 meter segments(every other segment was open) for his dressage field, and he would fall out on the open segments, at first. It was hilarious!!

What is wrong with Pilgrim???

Did you not go to the Spring ND?

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post #5 of 27 Old 06-10-2014, 11:59 AM Thread Starter
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Greentree are we crazy sometimes. One of the horses I was offered was kind of like your stallion, he was a 8 year old Percheron x TB, that drove but no one knew how long ago or how well. I think the owner wanted someone else to find that out for him.

I at least knew Sammy had driven recently.

As for the boy, Pilgrim, none seems to know what is the matter. I took him to the University and they blocked three out of his four legs and he was still lame.

He is lame on his right front, much worse going in a circle to the right.

We took radiographs of his front hoof, and did a cervical series of radiographs, checked for EPM and Lyme. so $1000 later..... "Well just give him 30 days rest"

I promised my husband I wouldn't look for another horse for 45 days.

As far as the spring drive, because of Pilgrim being lame I didn't go. But I am deffinatly going in October this year. There will be a group of us going from St. Louis so it will be a good time. I hope to finally get to meet you there.
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post #6 of 27 Old 06-10-2014, 04:27 PM
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I am sorry Pilgrim is lame....I hate it when they keep stabbing at a diagnosis! Hopefully the rest will help.

I hope to make it up to the ND for at least a day!! Maybe I will have the pair going.

Good Luck with Sammy!! He is really cute!

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post #7 of 27 Old 06-10-2014, 05:07 PM
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post #8 of 27 Old 06-10-2014, 08:41 PM
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Oh my goodness... He is adorable! I'm sorry to hear about Pilgrim being lame... But I hope you and this little fella can be a solid team regardless! Subbing (:
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post #9 of 27 Old 06-11-2014, 12:09 AM Thread Starter
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Day 3-----18 days to go. June 9

I Drove Sammy for about 40 minuets.

Still waiting for the farrier. Worried about loosing a shoe and/or giving him a heel bruise from old shoes.

No arguments on the first drive, BUT, we can have arguments on the second drive and we did.

He is bad about not standing when I get in the cart. Those Amish horses are always in a hurry. Pilgrim was the same way. I spent three weeks teaching P to not walk off when he felt me get in the vehicle. I don’t have three weeks now.

Anyway, as soon as I got in the cart, which as I explained before, is a bit cumbersome, he would walk off. This has got to stop, TODAY. So…..after I precariously climbed in the cart, and after he walked off several steps…I got myself situated and told him to stop.
Well in true PONY fashion he threw himself a little hissy fit, shaking his head, and throwing himself back and forth. I did some give and take with him, not holding him tight with nowhere to go, well being a typical pony, he was a stinker. I held my ground, he got light in the front end, but I, thankfully, knew he was safe so I was much braver, and was not intimidated by the little stinker.

He came about two or three inches off the ground in the front, which looks much more ferocious than it actually is, because Sammy had to throw his head up so high to get the front end off the ground, it looks like he is rearing about three feet off the ground,,,, it is really about three inches.

Other than the first ten minutes it was a good drive. Total trot time 13 minutes. Sammy is not going to know what hit him after his new shoes are on.

I called the owner and asked if I could put borium on Sammy’s new shoes. Two reasons mostly, one I have an asphalt drive and plain shoes are treacherous, and The Skunk River CDE, has a wicked hill that if it is the least bit slippery he is going to need some extra traction.

The other thing that I did on our second drive is I changer Sammy’s bit. He was using a 5 ¼” straight kimberwick bit. And it was okay, but Sammy’s owner said that he thought Sammy did not like it, that he thought Sammy was behind the bit and it was possibly too much bit for Sammy. So I tried Pilgrim’s 5 ½” Mullen mouth kimberwick on him to see how he did. I love the mullen mouth bits because the releave the tongue pressure that so many horses hate.

Sammy seemed to like the mullen mouth great. For being a pony, he has a HUGE head. I think he has some Belgium in the haflinger somewhere. A pony using a 5 ½” bit and it fits great. He might be a “geographical oddity”

Sammy going across the dam, with no issues, The same dam that Pilgrim hated so much.


The 5 1/2" mullen mouth bit that fit Sammy great. He has a huge head.

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post #10 of 27 Old 06-11-2014, 11:09 AM Thread Starter
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Correction to above post.
When I was stating that I changed Sammy's bit, I was referring to a Liverpool Bit.


Not a Kimberwick Bit

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