What do you look for in a driving horse? - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 11 Old 05-20-2014, 05:58 PM Thread Starter
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What do you look for in a driving horse?

Are there certain traits you like to see in a driving horse?

I know nothing about driving, but keep finding myself drawn to it. I'm merely in the info gathering stage at the moment, haven't even looked around my area to see if there are any experienced people around to introduce me.
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post #2 of 11 Old 05-20-2014, 09:22 PM
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smart, confident, not spooky and doesn't over react to stimuli.
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post #3 of 11 Old 05-20-2014, 11:08 PM
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Agreed, a horse that is hyper-reactive and prone to spook runs a real risk of causing a wreck if they suddenly decide to do the sideways-teleport or the spin-bolt.

However, I do like to see a sensitive horse in harness. Because you have fewer contact points as compared to a riding horse, the ones you do have need to be really sharp and get the desired response without a lot of effort on your part.
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post #4 of 11 Old 05-21-2014, 03:30 AM
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I like a horse who holds his head up when driving,the ones that droop depress me,because they look depressed
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post #5 of 11 Old 05-21-2014, 09:59 AM
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You want a horse that likes its job, harnesses completely still, will ground drive over anything,uses its body correctly to turn the cart, moves straight otherwise and doesn't favor a side, doesn't spookj at new sights and sounds, and it it ever does spoke, has learned to spook FORWARD. You never never never want a horse ythayt spins and runs or tries to side pass. Your cart will flip.you also want a first cart horse to not be hoy, and to know correct whips and verbnal cues.

My mini nare was just one of those that are born for the job. She never tried a single stupid thing under harness and took her job seriously. She is now a lesson driving horse with someone else. I highly advise in learning to drive properly from an instructor for at least a year to learn about proper harness and and cart balance, the. See what type of cart, driving, etc you enjoy most. Then buy an older horse who has driven for years, and if you're offered a fitting harness, buy it!
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post #6 of 11 Old 05-21-2014, 01:34 PM
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I look for a horse that a cold blood or warm blood. I find they are less reactive You definitely do not want a spooky horse. You don't want one with a hard mouth because it might not react to your commands. I also like horses with large big eyes because they are less likely to spook. I think most horses can be trained to drive if your are willing to take the time to work with them.
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post #7 of 11 Old 05-21-2014, 01:52 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for your thoughts!

This is one of the aspects of the horse world I have zero knowledge off, and I hope to remedy that some day.
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post #8 of 11 Old 05-21-2014, 04:56 PM
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Pick the horse who seems to WANT to do what you want. Most everything else can be overcome.

The horse in my avatar just seemed to know what I wanted from the beginning. I got her as a 2 year old. The second time I got on her back, I decided to go out the gate, but did not want to get off, so I said, "Tootsie, we need to get close to the gate." She moved over, and I unchained it. Then I said, "You need to back up a little bit." And she did, and we walked out into the pasture.

I, too, prefer sensitive to dull, and so I prefer Arabians.
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post #9 of 11 Old 05-22-2014, 08:09 PM
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I drive a team/pair of Percheron mares. There is nothing dull about them...they are quiet when the need arises, when we have children in the seat with me or on my lap, there is nothing they won't do for me, their courage and heart makes most look pale when I have them in harness. But, a certain tone of my voice and timber when we use to show and I had to really watch the tension on my lines as those two would get up and move out!

They work off of voice commands, they pay attention, they are quiet when it demands it. Stand quietly when being harnessed, listen when I am hitching them to an implement...

I prefer a good natured draft to pretty near any other light horse I have seen.
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post #10 of 11 Old 05-23-2014, 12:28 PM
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Many people like a slightly less intelligent horse for a first driving horse. The really smart, active, sensitive horses take more anticipation and forward thought on your part. If you are new to driving, you've got enough on your mind about how your hands are moving, where the cart is, where it will be after this turn, etc to add on what the horse could possibly be thinking you're going to ask him to do at the next cone.

I spent years driving drafts that were very good at their jobs but took a fairly heavy hand and the extent of their spook was to prance while still going the speed and location I had asked. I just started my Arabian to cart it it just amazes me how sensitive he is to the slightest rein cue. I chose him as a cart prospect because his is incredibly smart, sensitive, likes to move, is quite bold, and absolutely demands to be the center of attention.
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