Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Alberta, Canada
Training a Safe Driving Horse
I have been starting colts under saddle for years, and I always have them ground driving well before I get on. But I've never put much thought into driving under harness until now.
A couple years ago my barn owner had a mini gelding that was a bit of a brat. He deperately needed a job. So one day I rigged up a make shift harness out of old saddle parts and ground drove him around the yard. I was hooked. My BO wasnt willing to purchase a harness, so I did a lot of googling, used some old leather and stitched together an funtional, comfortable harness, which I rigged up to attach to a sleigh. Before I ever attached hm to the sleigh, I had him gound driving solidly, then I dragged progressively noisier objects with me while ground driving, and finally I had him pull the noisy objects, while I ground drove. When I was convinced he was not in the least bit scared of noisy things behind him, I hooked him up, first driving the empty sleigh with me behind, then me in it. It was amazing. We went all over the farm, 'dashing through the snow', and had a blast. The next spring my BO asked me to sell him, so I did, to a lady who drives trails with him. He converted from a makeshift sleigh and harness to a lovely little cart effortlessly.
Any how, the point of this ramble is that I'm interested in teaching my three year old appaloosa(and a few others) to drive, after purchasing a small cart and harness. As a teenager I taught lots of horses to pull us around the farm in a calf sleigh(plastic device intended for dragging large objects, like new born calves, through the snow.)
For those who have experience in this feild, do I have the right idea? Accustom the horse to the bridle and harness, teach ground driving, drag objects while ground driving, then drag the cart, finally working up to actually attaching the cart?