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EquineBovine 10-22-2013 05:55 PM

Where to start? Mini driving.
Hi every one. So a few years back I brought my mother a miniature gelding, trained to harness. I brought her a cart and harness which needed some alterations as Ham was too small for the Shetland size, too big for the mini sized. Whilst this was going on he gained a hell of a lot of weight and was too fat to actually hitch up. :oops: so he was put on a diet. By the time he had slimed down it was winter and mum didn't want to do anything as she became really sick. So Ham was relegated to the paddock to keep my riding mare company. On my days off from college I would kit him up and long rein him as I was not confident enough to throw the gig on him and go considering I had little to know experience of driving and he had been out of it for a few months. Then I had to move and he has basically done nothing but baby sit for the past two years.

Now, my question is, where on earth do I start? This pony is just lovely but I honestly don't think he had been broken in that long before I got him. The times he has been in a gig with me he was good but I've been away for a year so I'm a bit hesitant, I don't want to stuff up. I'm going to start long reining again (hope the gear still fits him :oops:) but I'd just like to know what other people do when bringing a horse back to driving?
I'm going to search for people with experience to help once I'm home but at the moment I don't know of any one in my area who actually drives! :-( I really want to get into this and give Ham a job so any help would be appreciated.
Thanks for reading! Here's Ham as a reward! :D
This was two years ago.

EquineBovine 10-22-2013 05:58 PM

There may actually be someone not far from where I'll be grazing who drives. I don't know if she would help but I'll try. You guys seem to have oodles of experience and knowledge so anything you can suggest will be taken seriously. Thanks!

Endiku 10-22-2013 06:06 PM

What a cutie patootie!

I've only 'restarted' one gelding, and he had been out of work for 6+ years. I actually wasn't even sure that he KNEW how to drive (turns out he did, but was super green) because his original owner has said 'we bought him at auction and they said he drove' so I started him from scratch. The fact that Ham already knew/knows how to ground drive is promising though.

So start with the ground driving, and make sure he remembers 100% what to do with that. Ground drive him around cones, over tarps, through mud, through water, around scary things... and make sure he has a very good 'Woah.' He should ground drive with contact and respond nicely to light commands. If not, start from there.

Once he is doing that well, let him drag a tire, wagon, or something else that will make noise as he pulls it. If he still does well with that, go ahead and hook him up and lead him with the cart (have a second person walk with you just in case). Then drive him from behind the cart. If he's still not worried in the least by all of this, have someone walk beside him with a leadline attached to him while you get in and drive him. Do this until you're confident that he's going nicely, then let him off the leadline. If he ever acts like you've pushed him too far, back up a step and do it until he's 100% comfortable, then reintroduce.

If he was trained properly, chances are he remembers everything and just needs some rust cleared. The gelding I restarted remembered almost everything but was a little stiff turning while he re-learned how to adjust to the breadth of the cart, but once he figured that out he was good as gold again.

churumbeque 10-22-2013 06:37 PM

I would read some books and you can refer back and go step by step.

EquineBovine 10-22-2013 07:33 PM

Thanks for that guys. From what I can remember he had been driven and used as a breeding stallion until he was five. I got him a year later. He should be good getting back to long reining as I did that quite a bit with him to make him loose weight.
Just a question, how to I tie a tyer to drag behind him? I will get hold of some books.
And he used to fly too...

hossjudge 10-28-2013 09:45 AM

You're on the right track. Start with basic ground driving, then hook up a few tires behind her to drag the ring with and get her used to pushing into the breast collar. A couple of pieces of plastic pipe attached to the tugs and breeching and that will get her used the solid feel of shafts without the confinement. Once she's solid on all three counts, hook her up with a lead attendant and off you go!

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