Questions about my mini - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 06-01-2010, 05:37 PM Thread Starter
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Questions about my mini

Hi Everyone,
let me introduce myself, since this is my first post. I live in Washington state and own a 20 year old Arabian Mare and a 9 year old paint pony. We have a small barn on our property and I ride and work them in a pasture.
My mini is out of control and my farrier said I should train him to pull a cart to take his attitude down a notch. So I have some questions. How can I determine how much weight he can pull? I don't know how many hands he is, but his withers are a little above my hips, and I am average height. How do I go about selecting a harness and cart? How do I measure him? Is there anything else I should know? He is very confident, so I don't think spooking will be a problem. I am concerned about his attitude, but my farrier says he should settle down as I work with him. And yes, I do have a professional coming to show me some basic things.
Thanks!
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post #2 of 14 Old 06-01-2010, 07:56 PM
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how old is your mini? Sex?
I would just get a simple mini cart for training and they probably will all weigh the same. I do not think you are going to have different sizes to choose from for a mini. As far as a harness if you think you may show then I would get a decent leather. If not I would just pick up something used that was in decent condition. If you are going to show then there is alot more you may need to know. What kind of issues are you having taht driving is supposed to cure?
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post #3 of 14 Old 06-01-2010, 08:41 PM
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If he is "out of control" you need to address that issue prior to making any attempt to teach him driving. Start from square one in teaching him respect (ground work) to gain control - THEN worry about teaching him things such as driving.
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post #4 of 14 Old 06-01-2010, 08:46 PM
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How does driving do anything but sidestep around the problem? IMO, he needs to go back to the basics before driving is introduced. I can see how the farrier might think it would give him "busy work", but that's all it does--give him something to do so he doesn't have as much time to think about being bad, or whatever he's doing.
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post #5 of 14 Old 06-01-2010, 10:49 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, everyone! He is a 9 year old paint mini gelding. Mostly just some disrespect, not letting me catch him in the field, not standing quietly to be groomed, etc. Teaching him to drive will be a journey, not a destination. I will go as slow as I need to get produce a quiet, obedient horse. I know he can do it. He is really smart.
As far as what I want him to learn, mostly just pleasure driving, not show or work for now.
BTW, themacpack, He looks JUST LIKE your profile picture.
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post #6 of 14 Old 06-03-2010, 02:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ilovemyarab View Post
Thanks, everyone! He is a 9 year old paint mini gelding. Mostly just some disrespect, not letting me catch him in the field, not standing quietly to be groomed, etc. Teaching him to drive will be a journey, not a destination. I will go as slow as I need to get produce a quiet, obedient horse. I know he can do it. He is really smart.
As far as what I want him to learn, mostly just pleasure driving, not show or work for now.
BTW, themacpack, He looks JUST LIKE your profile picture.
Really smart ones are often the ones that need to most consistency and handling--if you go a day without reminding them that they have a brain, well there it went and you've got to start all over again.

I think the "training to drive" might have been a way of saying "training" period. Once you get the basics down, which are in fact being caught, standing still, backing up, yielding their butts to the left and right, etc, then you can do whatever you want with him, but with mini's driving happens to be a very common thing.
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post #7 of 14 Old 06-03-2010, 12:57 PM Thread Starter
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Wink

So is there a way to figure how much weight he can actually pull? He is ~AHEM~ a hefty pony, very thickly built and healthy and bursing with energy. I dont know exactly how many hands he is, but his withers are a little above my hips.
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post #8 of 14 Old 06-06-2010, 11:40 AM
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part of taht is how easy the cart pulls. A good pulling heavier cart is easier to pull tahn a bad pulling lighter cart. But I would go loading up the family for my mini to pull.
1 small cart 1 person and maybe a small child
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post #9 of 14 Old 06-11-2010, 01:25 PM
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First, let me second everyone's opinion about getting the attitude under control -- but you may find that once you've addressed this, that forward, confident personality can serve him well as a driving horse. My gelding is still Mr. Attitude in hand, but just show him a cart and he snaps to attention. Driving is HIS JOB and he takes it ever so seriously.

If you're somewhere around 5'4" I'd guess that he's somewhere around 36". (Based upon the fact that I'm 5'4" and my 38 inch mini comes to my waist. Keep in mind that silly as it is, minis are measured to the last mane hair rather than the top of their withers.) I assume you're not looking to measure him for show or registry purposes, so you can get a rough idea with a yardstick and a triangle.

Numerous friends of mine compete successfully with smaller minis in Combined Driving Events, so don't underestimate his pulling power.

You have to also consider build. A sturdily built 36" mini can be a tank.

Next, you have to consider the terrain. On flat, hard surfaces, a mini of that size can easily pull two adults in an 85 lb. easy entry cart. The same mini might have trouble in an arena with deep footing, uneven ground or hills with those same two people, but if one gets out, he will amaze you with his horsepower.

Then, of course, you have to condition them properly, just as with a big horse.

Just have one drag you across the corral -- or try to give my 38" mare a shot -- you'll see how strong they are!

As for carts, there most certainly are many choices for minis, but assuming you are looking at recreational driving, as opposed to the breed show ring, ADS shows or CDEs, a good place to start is with an easy entry. If you're comfortably funded, your rear end will thank you if you "spring" for something with better suspension, but you can start with something like a Frontier or CTM easy entry cart (and they hold their value pretty well). Just make certain that the cart you get is well-balanced, as you don't want more than about 10 lbs resting in the shaft loops.

Harnesses -- PLEASE don't think that because he's a mini you can cut corners on harnesses (not that I think you would...it just bears emphasizing). In my opinion, the best out there for recreational driving are the Chimacum or Camptown Sport Harnesses (also sold now as Comfy Fit Harnesses). These are not cheap, but they hold their value and are worth every penny. Ozark MiniTack and Country Carriage are also very good. There are other companies with quality harnesses, but don't expect to find them on Ebay. If you don't object to butt ugly, Rons Presidential Harness is well-made and comfortable for the horse if not the eyes and is very reasonably-priced.

You can have so much fun driving your little guy AND you'll be giving him a job. Have fun!
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post #10 of 14 Old 06-11-2010, 02:19 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks so much Susanne! Naysayers were starting to get me down.
I have been lunging him and in two weeks he has gone from not even being able to do a full cicle with bucking and rearing and pulling to a well-behaved little gentleman. OK, maybe not perfect but much, much, better. I think He likes learning and being worked with and judging his personality with what other drivers have said, I think he will make a great driving pony. He is really smart and confident, not skittish or scared at all.
And I was wondering how hard it is to pull over plain old dirt...I ride in a pasture and it is not spongy or really soft but it is a little bumpy...Not terribly so though.
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