Working with a horse that does weddings
I do not drive the horse. My job is to walk beside her during the wedding while she pulls the cart. My problem is that she gets really upset anticipating the bride to get into the cart. She was very close to rearing up and taking off at one of the weddings we did. She does not intimidate me by any means, but i was hoping i could get advice on calming her while people get in the cart. Her owner only wants me to jerk the halter under her bridle or put my arms up and say whoa if she gets rowdy.
It sounds as if the cart is bothering him, probably unbalanced.
Are you using a two wheeled cart?
What might be happening is when the bride gets into the cart it causes pain to the horse. A lot of horses cannot stand when the shafts go up when someone enters from the back of the cart, causing pressure upwards on the horses' girth. Or the bride is entering from the front and causing a lot of weight on the horse's back. Neither of these occurrences should happen. I am sure that the bride is not quick getting into the cart also with the dress, veil, heels, bouquet, trying to stay clean and everything else. Prolonged pressure can be painful.
Is the cart unbalanced the other way, to heavy on the horses' back?
The best way to see if a cart is balanced is measure from ground to shafts when the cart is in the shaft tugs when hitched to the horse.
Then when the cart is not hitched lift the shafts to that level and have one person get in the cart, and then have the second person get in the cart.
Take note how the shafts move while you are holding them, how much weight is on the shafts, that is how much weight is on the horses' back.
There should be no more than 5 - 10 pounds on the horse.
To balance the cart better move the shaft tugs up or down that should make a difference, also use a mounting block, it will help the bride not to have to haul herself up on to the cart from the ground, she would be able to step on to the cart more towards the middle, (towards the axel, center of gravity).
Practice with the horse not during a wedding to see exactly what the problem is. A well behaved driving horse that acts this way is showing pain, and you are smart to realize this needs to be addressed before a good horse is ruined.
Try standing in front and not holding on to the horse at all. They do not like that. Maybe pet the horse and such. Also practice at home and make the horse stand for 30 minutes with people getting in and out. Sounds like if you are to walk along with the horse it isn't as safe as it should be for an event like this.
Often when horses are used like this they anticipate getting the job done and over with.
horse wont stand
it seems go to basics 1 stand in front of the horse with a rein in each hand and pasifie the horse.
2 stand in front and have some titbits and talk to the horse and it should remain calm.
3 do dummy runs at home to keep the horse on his hers toes and pratice makes perfect.
educate the horse to how you would like the horse to behave it takes time so be pacent and practice makes perfect.
so have a chat with the owners or the companey you work for.
i have my new horse broke and that was 4 months ago and if you would like to see him look in my albums.
many thanks and god luck and keep me in the loop on how you are geting on.
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