On the road to a combined driving event

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On the road to a combined driving event

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    03-14-2012, 03:58 PM
Green Broke
On the road to a combined driving event

I am going to go to a combined driving event this year if it kills me!!! I have wanted to go to one for years. The last CDE I went to was the summer before I got married, in 1995, I think it was in Indiana. For the last few years I have tried to make it to a CDE, but something always came first, mostly Job interference. So this year I am determined to make competing in a CDE a priority. Of course there are about one thousand things that I have to do to get there, ranging from getting my horse in shape to getting all of my equipment to the destination, in one truck and one trailer. I hope as I go along I will work out these minor obstacles.

Horse: Pilgrim, Percheron / Quarter Horse cross, 12 years old, 1300 lbs, 15.3 hands, Buckskin.

Vehicles: Meadowbrook cart made in Pontiac, IL
Buckeye high riding cart, made in Baltic, OH
Low riding cart in the process of being made by me, almost finished, started in 1992.

Harness: Smuckers deluxe harness, Friesian size

My options for CDE’s are: May 18-20 Gayla Bluegrass CDE Georgetown KY. 6 ½ hour drive
June 23-24 Skunk River Driving Trial, Ames, IA. 6 hour drive
July 28-29 Ohio CDE, Sullivan, OH. 9 ½ hour drive
Aug. 31- Sept. 2 Indiana CDE Edinburgh, IN. 5 ½ hour drive
Sept, 22-23, CDSGKC Longview Lake Driving Trial, Kansas City, MO. 3 hour drive
Oct. 27-28 Oklahoma Harness Horse Assoc. Cowboy Country CDE, Stillwater, OK. 7 ¼ hour drive

I am hoping that writing in this journal will help me keep on track, and not let anything get in my way this year.
If anyone reads this, I hope you will come along for the ride with me.

Day one, we defiantly need a day of beauty.
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File Type: jpg Pilgrim Blog 002.jpg (38.0 KB, 233 views)
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    03-14-2012, 07:02 PM
Green Broke
Day one continued:
The last time I drove Pilgrim was about 5 months ago. Because it has been so long, I thought it best to ground drive him for a while before I hooked him up again. I keep Pilgrim at work and there is no ring or arena of any kind, no round pen either.
I began by ground driving Pilgrim in the pasture; the lower pasture is about 4 acres. Pilgrim was very good but he has big strides, it just about killed me to keep up with him, and walking in the rutted up pasture, I was sure I was going to break an ankle. It is about 85 temp today and after about 20 minutes I was sweating like a horse.
I couldn’t find his driving bit anywhere, I sold a bridle last year and I hope Pilgrim’s bit was not on the sold bridle. Only bit I could find in a 5 ½ “was a mullen mouth pelham, so I used the snaffle rings and he did okay, not great... I need a different bit when I hitch him.
I am not walking around the pasture again, he did great today ,so tomorrow I am hitching him.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Pilgrim Blog 003.jpg (47.2 KB, 209 views)
    03-15-2012, 10:08 PM
Green Broke
Day two: I went by Charlie’s farm and home today to see if they had a suitable 5 ½ “ bit to drive in, the only bit that size was an egg butt snaffle, not exactly what I wanted but it will do in a pinch.
I put the egg butt on the driving bridle and hitched Pilgrim to the Meadowbrook cart. Today I am going to drive in the pasture. He is rock solid for standing while hitching, since I usually am alone while driving, moving around is not tolerated while hitching and unhitching. We drove around the pasture for about 45 minutes, working mostly on walking, bending at a walk and standing patiently.
Pilgrim did very well, but boy oh boy do we have a lot of work to do. His halt is not square, he bends horrible to the left, and he is very strong at the trot, and that is just the beginning. We aren’t out to get a blue ribbon; we just don’t want to embarrass ourselves to bad.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Pilgrim on the road to CDE 008.jpg (90.1 KB, 210 views)
    03-15-2012, 10:19 PM
Green Broke
I thought I would show Pilgrim’s scariest spots around the estate. The 4 pipes he is finally getting better at going over themwithout hesitation, but he absolutely hates the lake spillway pipe, especially if it is making noise. He is a ninny.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Pilgrim Blog 006.jpg (96.4 KB, 200 views)
File Type: jpg Pilgrim Blog 007.jpg (98.6 KB, 201 views)
    03-17-2012, 11:13 AM
Green Broke
I am an Estate Manager on a property in east central Missouri. I have been employed on the estate for 29 years and I keep Pilgrim there. The property is 200 acres and has about 70 acres of cut fields, 30 acres of water, about 90 acres of woods and the rest around the house. There are about 3 miles of gravel or dirt roads.
Drive three: Hitched Pilgrim to the Meadowbrook cart and drove around the property today. We meet the first scary place, the 4 pipes, he did great, and he looked but walked over no problem. Today I wanted to work on getting in shape so we did lots of walking up the hills. I hate a horse that anticipates the hills and automatically breaks into a trot, with his build he has no problem walking up and down hills. We did pass the dreaded spillway pipe and it was making noise but he went by it, but he got very strong right after we passed it. He was better the second time by on the way back to the barn, next time I guess we’ll sit there a while.
While driving on the “outer circle” of the property which is heavy woods, and the roads aren’t maintained as well, he got a little irritated at the uneven tracking of the cart. We were going over fallen tree branches anywhere from 3-7” in diameter, it was too rough to do anything but walk. We did some trotting on the nicer roads, working on some variations in speed at the trot; he right now thinks there is only one speed at the trot, extended. We were out for about an hour, it is 83 degrees today and with his winter hair on, he was drenched.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Pilgrim on the road to CDE 009.jpg (77.1 KB, 199 views)
    03-20-2012, 01:07 PM
Green Broke
Drive Four: 3/19/12 Hooked Pilgrim to the meadowbrrok and drove for an hour. Went over the dreaded spillway pipe four times. I was going to stop and stand for a while but it was making tons of noise from all the rain we had this weekend, and he was nervous going by it. I will try again tomorrow; I don’t want to ask for a problem if it isn’t necessary. We did a lot more trotting, he is still very strong, we are working on doing circles whenever he gets strong, Unfortunately that is not always possible with the narrow trails and the muddy fields.
The farrier is coming tomorrow, he has been in Africa for the last two weeks, and he backed everyone up a week to keep his schedule, Pilgrims feet are growing like mad. I have Pilgrim go barefoot for the winter when I don’t ride him much, I have his shoes from last fall with borium on them , I guess it’s time to put them back on.
I need to get a stopwatch to start timing how long it takes us to trot a kilometer. I took the truck around the property and marked off kilometers on the trails. For training level the time per Kilometer is no more than 4 min and 17 seconds, I will have to look up what the speed is for preliminary level. I expect I will compete in training level with Pilgrim, but I have plenty of time to decide that.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Pilgrim on the road to CDE 013.jpg (99.2 KB, 192 views)
    03-22-2012, 09:05 PM
Green Broke
I bought a stopwatch today and checked P’s resting heart rate. I tried three times and got, 32-36 beats per min. I marked off three good Kilometers that can be traveled at a trot. Today I would like to time his trot for a K.

Drive five: 3/21/12 I hooked to the meadowbrook today. We walked about a Kilometer. I wanted to time a Kilometer so I asked for a trot, he transitioned up very nicely. He started off in a slow trot and kept a steady pace for about ¾ of the K, it was then that we passed the dreaded spillway pipe, after that he was much stronger and much more animated. He did the K in 4 min and 0 sec. We did a lot more trotting today, the temp was about 68 and there was not a 30 mph wind that we have had the past week. Still working mostly on stamina, bending and slowing the trot. We did stop on the way home at the spillway pipe, we rested there till he relaxed, about 20 sec then I asked him to walk on, it was a little too anxious for me, will do it again tomorrow. We met on our drive today the heard of deer we have on the property, I was wondering how P would react when we saw them. He came around the corner to the field where the deer were with his head so high in the air I thought he was a Saddlebread. No spook though. All and all he was a very good boy. We drove for 60 min.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Pilgrim on the road to CDE 035.jpg (98.1 KB, 183 views)
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    03-26-2012, 08:41 PM
Green Broke
I started getting the trailer ready today; it had a very moldy smell. I had started a thread on suggestions on getting rid of the smell. And a suggestion was to put vinyl flooring on the floor of the dressing room, sounded like that was the ticket, so I tried it. It looks great, but didn’t help the smell much, so I washed everything in my tack boxes and put in a new filter in the air conditioner. I also put in an air freshener, now it smells great. I put in the cloth backed vinyl that doesn't need to be glued down, instalation was easy as pie. I still need to take the trailer into the shop for a checkup, wheel bearings, breaks, lights, floor etc.

Drive six: He is so good, much more relaxed at the trot, much better at upward transitions. In the hour we drove we trotted a total of 22 min. With the longest stretch of 5 ½ min. Straight, it is very muddy so it was hard for him to keep a steady pace. We stopped about 40 feet before the dreaded spillway pipe for about 30 sec, walked on 10 feet and stopped for another 30 sec. It gave Pilgrim a chance to really look at the monster, it was making tons of noise, we walked on about 10 more feet and stopped again, this time he barely noticed it. He was so relaxed, he is getting to be a pleasure to drive. It is so muddy we can't go off the roads into the fields, to do circles and practice a little bending . As for now we try and do a little bending on the straight aways. A concept he is not to thrilled with.

Another thread suggested a book on how to condition a horse, I need to look that up and get that book. I have no idea if I am going to slow or not, but I couldn’t be going too fast. I always bring him back with a good sweat going.

I need to set up some traffic cones to make an obstacle course for us to practice. Too bad MODOT isn’t doing any road work close.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Pilgrim on the road to CDE 003.jpg (60.1 KB, 167 views)
    03-29-2012, 03:24 PM
Green Broke
Drive Seven: Great day for a drive. It is finally drying out a bit. Since the boy is doing so well passing the dreaded spillway pipe, I decided to try a different challenge. We walked up and over the skeet shooting bunker, and walked on the gravel area where the shooting stations are. He has never done this before and he didn’t care one bit, no problem. Tomorrow we will trot over it. He did poop on the range and I had to go back and clean it up, with a bucket of water too, so it was completely gone. My employer would “poop” if I had left it there.

We drove about an hour with 15 min of accumulated trotting. I need to up the trotting time, 20 min today, I need to work him in the AM, since I find I run out of time towards the end of the day. Pilgrim is getting so much more relaxed, we met the heard of deer and he did a half halt and trotted on with no more excitement as before we saw them.

His BFF in the barn screams the entire time we are driving, Pilgrim never answers back and never even considers being barn sour. In fact my cousin and I are going to trail riding for the weekend and I have to bring the other horse to ride because Pilgrim can be left alone when necessary.

Good boy Pilgrim!!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Pilgrim on the road to CDE 040.jpg (80.4 KB, 173 views)
    04-04-2012, 07:00 PM
Green Broke
Drives eight and nine: More of the same, working on stamina, bending and transitions, we are doing okay, I wish I had a ring to work in, I am not making as much progress as I had hoped. All in all Pilgrim is getting more relaxed and comfortable driving, so progress is being made towards a CDE. He still is a bit anxious with all of the animals around, jumping out from behind every bush. On drive eight a huge bird of some kind was in the trees over the trail and when we drove under it the big bird flew off and startled both Pilgrim and me. Pilgrim jumped forward a bit, not bad but I sure hate it when he does that. I hope with miles that nonsense will subside.

Sometimes I wish we were not a wildlife release center. There are so many animals here and right now they are flying, running, hopping, slithering and crawling all over this property.

I am going to board Pilgrim at the local dressage stable, for about a week, to use their ring and take a few lessons. The owner/trainer knows nothing about driving but I am hoping some of her expertise will transfer from her riding to my driving. I think I will move him when he is much more fit; I want to take advantage of the ring, driving Pilgrim at least twice a day. The owner of the stable would like me to drive when very few people are at the stable, I can understand that, I actually I would rather drive then myself.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Animals 001.jpg (72.0 KB, 378 views)

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