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  • How to unhitch a horse cart
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    11-06-2009, 06:22 PM
How to....

Teach a pony to drive?

Just wondering how to do this as my dad was thinking of teaching my half blind pony Patch to drive a cart??
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    11-07-2009, 03:50 AM
Please could I ask, how does your ponies partsight effect her in everyday life and in riding? And what is her temperment generally? I think the first thing would be to do a lot of longreining ( I mean often, if she takes to it, not long sessions, just a half hour or 45 minutes, and if she is happy doing that, I would go for weeks or monthes until she is confident of meeting everything, before moving on to the next stage) to see how confident she is of meeting things a greater distance from the person holding the reins, and without a human legs and body, to guide her. She might find it quite a bit different to be out front alone. I would start by having someone walk at her head to give her guidance if she finds it confusing. They can drop back to the side as she gets more confident. I find it often helps to set out some cones to walk between- it gives the pony something to aim for and helps thier confidence. It would be a good idea to find out if there is a local driving instructor or member of a carriage driving club, who is sensible and knows what they are doing, who could come out and access the pony for you, and help out. Please tho, don't be tempted to rush her.
    11-07-2009, 05:07 AM
Hello well this is a long run thing anyway because his eye has not fully healed it is just I would like to know for when he is ready and everything. When riding him out and in his daily life it used to effect him but now he is back to his usual self. He is a confident little pony who seems to do nearly everything of his own accord and he is not spooky or anything at all. I was thinking that longreining would be a good idea but I did not know how long to keep going like how many weeks or whatever to do it with him to get him used to it thank you very much for the reply
    11-07-2009, 10:25 AM
I always reckon on about a dozen times of the horse doing everything happily before going on to the next stage, as its easier than having to go back and regain thier confidence and trust , and sort it all out, if things go a bit wrong. One of my georgeous girls that I lost a few years back, had to have her eye removed, and after her initial getting used to only having sight in one eye, she was brilliant.
    11-07-2009, 10:40 AM
Yes he is nearly back to himself I took him for a hack round the road today and he was great so we are getting there
    11-07-2009, 11:17 AM
He sounds good with the bit good in traffic I,d do a week longreining if your happy at how he,s going tie him to something put the harness on and fasten him in the cart do that for a day or two keep going out lifting rocking pushing the cart so he gets used to it,then when your happy with that pick a quiet sunday morning take him out walk with the reins 1st then if he,s going right gently get on the cart have sum1 with you just to steady his head and encourage him to turn
    11-07-2009, 11:26 AM
Thanks you two great advice and yes he is brill with traffic no problems at all people speed round my roads and I try to slow them down and they don't and Patch doesn't care at all
    11-07-2009, 11:36 AM
Just one other thing savvy wrap some rags around the end of the shafts then if you turn too tight the shaft wnt dig in and hurt him
    11-07-2009, 11:43 AM
Oh thank you I would never have thought of that thank you very much I am working on getting him fit again right now and I am in an exam year in school so won't have much time so when I get my christmas holidays for two weeks I will start him off
    11-08-2009, 04:24 AM
All due respect jimmy, ( and I do have rspect for anyone who drives those roads to appleby) but I have to disagree a bit. ( I bet you thought I would!) as you say, you have broken horse to drive for many years, so you know whats waht and can react quickly and efficiently in a hurry, but this girl and her father havent, all of the equipment is going to be different for them, so I think its better to go slowly; lets face it , if things go tits- up in a cart, it can be much more complicated than ridden. If the pony has done all the longreining then you could probably do it a bit quicker, ( always have two of you when you are doing any of this) but I would still break it into stages, so before putting into a cart, get her to pull a small car wheel tied to long traces with baling twine that you can cut quickly if she panics. Get her pulling it over lots of different surfaces so that she gets used to different noises behind her, and over some uneven ground; do it all gradually, so as not to spook her. When she is doing that without hitch, rig up a sledge type affair using 2 poles (shafts) tied to a small builders pallet. It will look a bit like the things the indians used to pull behind thier ponys- can't think of the name at the minute. I have mixed views about tying clothes at the end of the shafts; I know someone who does that, but the downside is that if you need to unhitch the pony quickly, its harder and takes more time to get the shafts out of the tug- stops. But jimmy is right that you don't want the ends of the shafts near the ponies head ( I know someone once, who found they were attatched to a cart being pulled by a horse with no bridle where they had got the shaft caught in the throatlash- scary!!) the throatlash on harness is generally fastened tighter on a harness bridle so this doesnt happen. So I would say with the pallet training method which I am going to tell you about, make sure the "shafts" are only about six inches through the tugstops. The "shafts"ends on the pallet will be at a higher angle than whenyou are in a well balanced cart. Have someone at the ponies head they can help the pony turn left or right which is when the shafts will come into contact witht he ponies side. Sometimes they don't like that so have someone to help her get used to it. And they and you can keep watch that the "shafts" are staying in position. Fasten the pallet to the traces with baling twine to a swingle tree if you are using a breast collar on your pony; you don't want to rub her chest sore. And again the twine can be cut if you need to get her out of the pallet in a hurry. And then after she has pulled that for a week or two I would then put her in a cart. I am not trying to scare you, but please remember that if the horse gets spooked or bolts in a cart, the cart can turn over and that will really cause a problem as it starts going all over the place and turning up behind the horse, especially if you have been thrown out so its not got too much weight to stabilize it. This is the reason I always say take it slow and steady, and then you are learning at the same time as the horse, and are both better prepared if something does go wrong. I would also say always have someone with you so that in a problem situation the person can go to the horses head, and the other person is still in the cart handling the reins, and mostly, remember that all of this is fun to do, just think ahead and try to keep it as safe as possible. Good luck, and want to hear how you get on please?

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