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post #1 of 5 Old 11-23-2010, 01:11 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 47
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I just got a 6 year old haflinger gelding. He is not my first horse. I would like advice on how to work with him and eventually train him to drive. He is a little pushy and has been ridden as an eventer but then suffered a fall that broke his hip. He is fully recovered and walks, trots, and canters in the field. I don't know much about driving except what I have learned on the internet.
Maggie May is offline  
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post #2 of 5 Old 11-23-2010, 01:20 PM
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Just south of sanity
Posts: 16,385
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Find yourself a driving instructor.

Driving isn't something you can just 'pick up', especially since neither you nor your horse have ever been trained to do it.
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post #3 of 5 Old 11-23-2010, 01:38 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2010
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Okay, but what can I do to improve his manners on the ground and eventually from the saddle and when i'm driving
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post #4 of 5 Old 11-23-2010, 02:16 PM
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: MD
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My BF drives, but i agree...find an instructor to help you, it could be dangerous otherwise.

What is he doing on the ground that needs worked on? Is he just being pushy and trying to walk over top of you?

Starting to break to drive is just like starting for saddle. Start with lunging, lunging in sidereins, and using a lot of voice commands all the time because that will be a HUGE help to you in the buggy. Once he is good on the lunge, responding well and being willing, you can introduce long-lining....again, you will want someone who has done this before to help you, its tricky. After he is well of with long-lining, ground driving, etc, take him on trail walks around your farm, down the road (if you can) to get him used to being in new places and responsive. You will also want to introduce the blinkerhood before you take him out...some horses are funny about it. Before you actually hook him to the buggy, spend a few days introducing him to the shafts touching his sides and the rattling sound coming up behind him. When you go to hook him the first time (we usually do a 3 day period, sometimes will a little acepromazine to be cautious) have 2 people stand at his head with lead ropes, while the buggy is being hooked. Dont immediately get it. Walk behind it, with reins while the 2 people in front walk with the horse in the event something happens. Do a lot of transitions from walk to stop. Soon enough, he will be driving. Itll take some time to get him ready to drive, and i would highly recommend a trainer to assist you.
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post #5 of 5 Old 11-23-2010, 09:43 PM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Australia
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Hi, gee, eventing with a heavy horse at his age... it's probably lucky he hurt himself & got out of it! He's probably pretty close to mature now though. I would really like some more info before I can give you much at all. Eg. are you an experienced rider? Experienced trainer? What things do you want to do with him aside from drive? And as for him, has he been taught well how to yield to pressure? Ground drive? Lunge? Voice commands? How well do you think he knows all that? What are his 'bad manners' on the ground? What sort of a personality is he? Eg. is he a bossy, assertive type? Laid back, 'make me' type? Afraid of anything?

With any new horse I tend to spend a while just getting to know eachother, building a good, positive relationship first without asking too much of anything, and regardless of their level of training, I start out with the absolute basics & work my way up. That way, you can just skim through all the stuff that he's good at, reinforcing the behaviour and your relationship with him in the process, but you can also find any 'holes' in his training at the foundation level and teach him better, rather than starting with the 'high school' type stuff & trying to sort out probs there.

These days people tend to give more weight to 'manners' and training the horse well on the ground, but still, there are many who just overlook these bits, in favour of just getting them going under saddle. Therefore, bad 'manners' are still a very common problem. Can't blame the horse, it's just that they haven't learned or been taught effectively how to behave around people. Teaching manners is firstly a matter of working out what behaviours you want & don't want, so you can be consistent about making sure the 'good' behaviours work for the horse & the 'bad' behaviours never do. Unless it's a dangerous behaviour, most of the time I prefer to ignore, rather than punish 'wrong' stuff, but whether or not you do this, timing is extremely important and you need to punish/reinforce the behaviour *at the time it happens* or at worst, within 2 seconds max, so it's possible for the horse to connect cause & effect. And whether or not you punish the 'bad' stuff, it is way more important to ensure you reward/reinforce the 'good' stuff.
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