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On the road to a combined driving event

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    04-08-2012, 10:33 PM
Green Broke
Drive ten: I was very pressed for time today, so I decided to drive Pilgrim without turning him outside first to let him run off some steam. I usually let him out after being in the stall all night but he has been so good lately, that I went ahead and drove him. We started off great but he was defiantly feeling his oats. We walked about a kilometer to warm up, then trotted and walked for another kilometer.

We were walking down a small incline that he had never been on this season because the bridge is out. Pilgrim saw a log that is half hidden by tall grass; Of course I was relaxed and got caught off guard to. He backed up 3 steps very fast and started to turn to the right while backing. I just said easy , tapped him with the whip to get him to stop backing, turned him back to the left back on the trail, we waited there about 15 seconds, I knew he was very nervous so we walked off the trail into the field , to the right of the log about 10 feet. He was keeping a close eye on the log as we walked by but no spooks. We then did about 6 circles around the log with no problem.

We then went to check out the dreaded spillway pipe, he didn't even give it a flick of the ear when we walked by. We are working on doing more circles and practicing more and tighter turns. We were doing one turn and I made my “hup, hup” noise that I do when we need to do a tighter turn, well it startled poor Pilgrim, he had never heard that noise before and had no idea what it meant. I think I need to get him used to that.

We were on our last trot up a long slight incline when we came out of the woods there was a heard of turkey in the field, that took one look at us and took off flying across the field. If we were facing the 12 on a clock, Pilgrim shied to the left and went trotting off towards 10:30, He never broke into a canter just a really strong trot, we went about 10 feet off trail, I just pulled him to the right slowed him down went right back to the trail without ever breaking stride.

Since Pilgrim is such a spook under saddle, I always wondered what would happen if he ever got scared of something in harness. If today is any inclination, I think he did great, he was never out of control, and never threatened to take off. He was never dangerous although I think I will let him run around a bit before I drive him next time.

We drove for 60 min.
This is a photo of the "LOG", I am almost to embarrased to show it. It is just to the right of his nose.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Pilgrim on the road to CDE 070.jpg (90.7 KB, 73 views)
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    04-10-2012, 02:40 PM
Green Broke
When will I ever learn!!! I tried to save money last time the farrier was here by not putting back shoes on Pilgrim, well now three weeks later he needs them. His back hooves are getting very short. We have been driving so much, and I guess there is just enough gravel on the trails that I am afraid of him getting ouchy and being laid up while the farrier fits me in his schedule. So Pilgrim is getting back shoes today. In the long run it is going to cost me more money.

When will I learn to just pay the money in the first place, or you will pay more later!!! I need to put this on the tackroom wall.
    04-11-2012, 11:00 AM
Green Broke
Drive Eleven, Easter afternoon: The weather was beautiful, my hubby’s family thought we were going to my families for the holiday, when in all actuality they came on Saturday, so we sort of got an out for brunch. Yea! Hubby went golfing I went driving.

Pilgrim was very good today, I brought an Easter bloody Mary with me so we took it relatively easy, after all I didn’t want to spill my drink, the cup holder is not to steady. We drove for about 90 minutes; he didn’t even break a sweat. We saw some wildlife, no real spooks mostly just getting stronger and more animated. Grade B

We drove up and down this hill several times today. It doesn't look like much but it is short and steep. Eventually I would like to trot down it, teaching Pilgrim to hold back the cart really using his rump.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Pilgrim on the road to CDE 072.jpg (90.5 KB, 63 views)
    04-11-2012, 11:04 PM
Green Broke
Drive twelve. 4/9/10: The drive today was great we were maniacs on the trail; we trotted up and down every hill we could find. Whenever I saw wildlife, I pointed the boy towered the wildlife and headed straight to them, we were going to scare them before they scared us, it worked pretty well too. I think Pilgrim started getting Ouchy on his rear feet so we only drove 30 minutes, farrier comes tomorrow. Grade A
    04-11-2012, 11:29 PM
Green Broke
Drive thirteen, 4/10/12: Pilgrim got back shoes today, Yea! I asked the farrier if he wanted to test out the new shoes with us. He unfortunately had 2 trims on his way home he had to do, so I went it alone. And it was a good thing.

Pilgrim must have thought his new shoes were Nikes because he was trying to fly the entire drive. He was so strong, he would not calm down. We drove and drove and did circle after circle and we were not going to slow down. It was either stop or go at a trot as fast as we could. We were trotting down a relatively steep hill with a curve to the left the trail, and off to the right it drops off into the lake. It is not a dangerous spot but it is the trickiest part of our trail system. Well just as we were rounding that curve a nesting pair of wood ducks came out squawking from the edge of the lake and my beloved Pilgrim, jumps forward and speeds up even faster, Bad Boy!! He had been doing so well, he was really learning that it was okay to do a little jog trot, and he was embracing that jog trot, almost being to lazy.

We drove 70 min.
Grade D+ He never broke into a canter that is why he didn’t get a D-
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Pilgrim on the road to CDE 067.jpg (43.2 KB, 61 views)
    04-11-2012, 11:49 PM
Green Broke
Drive fourteen 4/11/12: I came out today ready for battle; I was going to drive Pilgrim until he was gasping for air. I also ordered a mullen mouth butterfly bit, 5 ½ “. Well low and behold he was an angel. Nice working trot, no pulling, head down and happy, go figure. I was sure I was in for an argument. We went by all the scary objects and they are a non entity now, we even trotted down the hill where the wood ducks caused quite the stir, no problem, of course no wood ducks either. We drove twice around the trails and I thought I might have an attitude passing the barn without stopping; he acted like we do it twice a day. Good Boy!

Grade B
We drove 75 minutes.
    04-24-2012, 09:37 PM
Green Broke
4/16/12 DRIVE fifteen; Tried a new bit… a short shanked, mullen mouth, Pelham, actually the first bit I used on him ground driving, when I started this journal. Well it was like I suddenly got Power Steering, and Power Breaks. I couldn’t believe the difference, he was great, and no pulling. We drove for about an hour, we were on cruise control. Grade B+

I have decided I am going to go to the CDE in Ames, Iowa. The Skunk River CDE, I am going to go in training level because, well, because, well, we would embarrass ourselves in any higher level. We will probably embarrass ourselves in training level too. I just heard my friend with a nationally ranked dressage horse is going to the same CDE, in training too, oh great!!

I always liked competing in driving because most everyone is so nice and helpful, it is like you are not competing against each other you are competing against yourself. I hope it is still that way, because I think I can beat “Taffy and Pilgrim”, or at least I hope so.

Photos of the cart I am bringing to the CDE. It is in deplorable shape, it needs serious refinishing. I can only bring one cart because of room, I am still actively looking for another competitor coming from the St. Louis area to travel with so I could bring the horses and they could bring the vehicles, no luck yet. Well back to the cart, do I start to refinish the cart a piece at a time while still using it for practice, or do I take the presentation/turn out deductions and say, “those snooty carriage competitors need a little riff-raff amongst them?”
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Pilgrim on the road to CDE 090.jpg (99.9 KB, 54 views)
File Type: jpg Pilgrim on the road to CDE 091.jpg (100.5 KB, 53 views)
    05-02-2012, 02:08 PM
Green Broke
April 30: Drives 16- 21. I am not keeping up with posting. I have been still working on endurance and stamina, I found a fellow driver that is willing to give me some pointers, as I have not competed in about 16 years, and she was a groom to a nationally ranked competitor. Yea! Still having bitting problems. My short shanked bit that was like power steering and power breaks, Pilgrim now has told me he doesn’t like the shanks and is flexing too much and getting behind the bit. So I now am trying a mullen mouth snaffle with a tighter noseband. That seems to have done the trick so far, much better than the broken snaffle. I wish there was such a thing as a bit library that you could rent bits for a few days before you buy them, I need to look into that.

Every day Pilgrim gets a little better, we are doing tighter turns, and going off of the trail and cutting through the trees, and practicing some circles. Less and less spooks and when he does spook it is now usually over before I can react or correct, mostly half halts and/or quickening of pace. We are also doing a lot of trotting down hills; he does a good job of slowing down and holding back the cart.

The wild life is still going crazy out here, we were driving and we almost ran over a turtle burying her eggs in the mud. Attached are photos of a wildlife rescue agency releasing fox on our property last year, I think 6 total.

All in all we had a good April driving a total of 14.5 hours; I would like to double that for May.

For the month of March Pilgrim gets the MOST IMPROVED AWARD.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg fox 003.jpg (45.1 KB, 50 views)
File Type: jpg fox 007.jpg (65.8 KB, 51 views)
File Type: jpg fox 011.jpg (76.3 KB, 50 views)
File Type: jpg fox 009.jpg (80.0 KB, 49 views)
    05-02-2012, 08:11 PM
Green Broke
Drive 22, May 1, 53 days till CDE: Well entries open today for the Skunk River CDE. I won’t enter until later, there are too many variables in my life right now and I don’t want to waste the money. Holy Kamolly I have a lot to do… crunch time has started.

I have made a lot of progress on refinishing the cart; the really good thing is that the finish was in such bad shape that it didn’t need a lot of sanding. The fenders, half the floor and half the shafts are finished. I am saving the dreaded wheels till last.

Drove Pilgrim today he was a very good boy, we were crossing the dam and at the end of the dam he saw something, you never know what goes through that pea brain of his, anyway he stopped dead and was shaking. There was no place to turn around on the dam and I was worried he might want to back up, I told him to walk on, he didn’t, then he got a tap with the whip, no movement, I was afraid of the situation escalating so the boy got a good crack with the whip. Well that got his attention, he now had more problems with me than with the scary monster in the bushes, we went right on past whatever it was, sure glad I always carry my whip, without it, That situation could have been a disaster if Pilgrim had decided to turn around on the dam, or worse backed up into the lake. He gets braver and trusts me more every time we drive.

We drove 60 min, Grade B+

I thought I would show this photo, my employer had a party last year and I took some of the guests around the estate in his auto top surry. Pilgrim was good but he was sure tired after three trips around with that big vehicle.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg horses 020.jpg (92.3 KB, 49 views)
    05-04-2012, 03:47 PM
Green Broke
May 2, Drive 23, 52 days to go: Rain, rain go away!! Drove on the gravel roads today, it has rained about 4 inches in the last 4 days. All the spillway pipes are flowing at full force, Pilgrim hardly flicks an ear at them anymore…. But now a pair of ducks of some kind is nesting right by the spillway pipe so every time we pass the ducks fly out from the brush, Pilgrim doesn’t mind as much as I do. I am keeping of the grass for fear of slipping on the turns, we are growing grass for cow hay this year, and it saves on my mowing time but limits me driving in the fields.

One spot we were walking up a hill in the woods, I have no idea what I was thinking, and I was staring at the wheel looking at how much it was sinking in the mud. Pilgrim came up on a deer, I think, he stopped dead, legs splayed as far apart as they could get in the shafts, head as high as possible, then it was over before I even knew what happened. He just walked on, like nothing spooked him at all. Yea!!

Drove 50 min, grade B

This is the cart as I am working on it, dash is removed and shafts are being stripped of varnish. No dash makes his butt look big.
My hands are filthy, I need to get some comfy gloves and start using them. I love my lines with the pinky loop. Thanks cumberque.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg pilgrim 002.jpg (91.5 KB, 51 views)

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