I'm a total beginner to driving but would really like to start training my mare to drive. I did ground drive her a bunch while saddle breaking her as a 4 year old... but that was 10 years ago now! We were to the point where she was pulling a tire around the arena... but everything I did was total guess work and I'm not sure how "proper" my training techniques were.
I'm just wondering what the best way to get started would be....? Unfortunately, I don't see having access to a driving trainer or clinic anytime. I'm thinking about picking up a book, does anyone have any suggestions?
Harness-wise, would you suggest one with a collar or one of those breast-strap type dealies? I can't see pulling a lot of weight with her and not for any longer than maybe 2 hours at a time (far in the future!).
Regarding the collar... I know I should try some on her (will be very hard, I'm located very far north in an unhorsey community and no one sells driving gear) but I've also been looking into how to measure her. In the meantime, can anyone give me a rough idea as to what size of horse a 23" collar would fit....? My mare is draft cross, maybe 15hh and solidly built.
Back to your original post.
Before I sunk some money into a harness, I would get her ground driving again.
Just use your saddle and run the reins through the stirrups, find yourself a whip, and off you go. Practice patience, Patience, patience your and hers. You can do bends, turns, stops, starts, don't work to much on back till she is driving well.
you can use PVC pipes to make yourself some shafts, you can do all kinds of desensitizing to make sure she is suitable as a driving horse. Read some of the old driving posts on this site, there are some good questions and answers on here.
You can use a racing hood as blinders.
I would get your mare to pulling a tire before you spend a bunch of cash, it is a long process to teach a horse to drive and in the mean time you can save some $$$$$.
Good luck! We or should I say I like photos.