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MisssMarie 02-11-2012 11:14 PM

Interested In Driving?
I've always loved it, and I think it's time to get one of my own. I was leasing a driving horse for 2-3 months now but the owner has gotten her money problems worked out. So, what should I look for in a good driving horse as I'm still relatively new to this sport??
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hoopla 02-14-2012 04:33 AM

How to find and chose a good driving horse
Look, observe and take advice before making any decisions.

As a novice you really are best advised to elicit the support of your Driving Instructor. They will be able to honestly assess your competence and experience and help you to find a pony or horse to match your ability.

Think carefully about the breed

Remember you make haste slowly - even if your ultimate aim is to drive hackneys in the show ring or a sports horse in CDE, these are not the horses to start with. It would be like driving a ferrari or a formula 1 before you'd mastered the technique of steering.

Your first driving horse might be plain but it's a fact that a flashy, showy one is ALWAYS harder to drive than a plainer, more even-tempered one.

It's the very high-spirited nature that dictates this and you will find the more spirited and able to think for himself that your horse is that the faster, surer and more automatic your reactions need to be. Something that ONLY comes with miles on the clock and testing yourself properly over time and with good help and lessons.

If starting with a family pony, get someone experienced to put it to harness for you.

For anyone not genuinely experienced with putting a horse to harness and bringing on a youngster, I'd say never less than 6.

If buying a new horse or pony, think CAREFULLY what you want to do with it i.e. will it be ridden as well as driven. That will determine the size.

How heavy are you? What sort of terrain will you be driving over? What sort of vehicle will you be driving? Again all determine the size and strength required.

You'll struggle to look past any of the traditional native British pony breeds for a good all-purpose driving horse:

Any of the welsh ponies and of course the section D are up to weight for the largest adult and all make terrific driving ponies and are up to the job but the welsh D or cob type are a little larger. Also useful enough to ride and drive are: Highland, Connemara, New Forest, Dartmoor.

The American Morgan makes a darned decent ride and drive horse too.

Be honest and use a liberal dose of self-awareness when it comes to assessing your own ability and competence. Remember experience is just time spent. Competence is entirely different!

As a novice, buy a horse that has been well trained and tested as a carriage horse and that REALLY knows it's job. It should be 110% traffic proof. It should want to stand forever unless it's been told to go forward and it should know how to look after itself at all costs.

The overall turnout of horse, vehicle, driver and passenger should look balanced and in harmony. Be neither under or over-horsed: neither in size, type nor ability.

Ensure you have public liability insurance before driving out on roads

Two novices are NEVER good mix

You and your horse can't "learn the job together". Most frequently that ends in disaster. And yes, you'll hear people telling you it can be done but in my considerable experience, it can't!


Green + Green = Black and Blue

MisssMarie 02-14-2012 09:15 AM

Awesome! Thanks for the great advice! My instructor is helping me look for a horse, and I am looking for one probably within the ages of 10-17. I just want to pull a small cart for now, someday I might want to advance to something else. My driving instructor uses an older ex american mustang for her cart horse, and I know of a few who get mustangs, train them and sell them for driving. Would that maybe be a possibility?
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Lilley 02-14-2012 05:42 PM

I own a 9 year old haflinger cross. He is Amish trained and very very patient. He is teaching us about driving. Haflingers were bred to be dolcile small draft horses. you may want to look into this breed as they stand about 14 hands and are Cob sized pulling machines.

MisssMarie 03-01-2012 12:03 PM

I'm lookin at buyin this untrained 2 year old for Riding and I'm thinking maybe when shes older, getting her trained to drive as well? She's got a great temperment. What do you think?
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churumbeque 03-01-2012 03:17 PM

Couldn't see any pictures but why not train her to drive while she is young and then riding should be a breeze?

hoopla 03-01-2012 03:33 PM

I'd say not suitable for a novice driver

MisssMarie 03-01-2012 03:44 PM

I say not yet, although I will get her used to a harness. I say not yet because of my newness to driving
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churumbeque 03-01-2012 03:58 PM

There are over 800 pictures and I saw 2 horses and stopped since I didn't know which one but not sure how anyone can tell from a few bad pictures if it is a suitable driving horse unless the girl with the bandages got hurt handling the colt??.

hoopla 03-01-2012 04:16 PM

You're right about the photos but 2 years old and untrained for a novice driver.... say no more.


Two novices are NEVER good mix

You and your horse can't "learn the job together". Most frequently that ends in disaster. And yes, you'll hear people telling you it can be done but in my considerable experience, it can't!


Green + Green = Black and Blue

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