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Zab 02-20-2010 11:01 AM

Beginner driver, pictures :)
I'm back! if any of you remember me :P

Anyway.. now I've jumped to driving. I'm starting Sólon with grounddriving and the like.
He's 2 years old, you think it's a good age to start? Won't be pulling anything heavy of course, or go on very long tours. But he needs something to think about, I think he's bored from just biting and playing wth the two older horses.. he seems more content since we started at least, is quicker to come forward in the pasture and has more energy :)

I don't know much about driving, dad has a north swedish draft, and sure I can drive him on the roads, and I've had some horse driving lessons in high school, but I can't say I'm very skilled at it :P Fortunatly, I have a friend who used to compete in precision driving with her shetlands (also breeding shetlands and so), so she's here helping me :)

I figured I'd show some pictures. If you have any advice or so, feel free to share them :)
Solon in his new harness. It needs some fitting, and a few new holes to be punched, but I think it'll be good. I expect him to grow a bit more too :)
The sulky/rockard/thing when I bought it. :) It has gotten a new coat of paint, the wood is sanded down and fixed, and we've just finished the seat, I'll put it back on and take new pictures :)

First time with those..sticks (:P) attatched. He has been pulling chains and ratteling/noisy stuff before this and we'll pull a tire or something too before the sulky-thingy. But what we really need is some more time just practising. I think it's good if he knows to walk on a straight line before we start seriously, for one... :P And knows to slow down on the way home :P He's really good at stopping and fairly good at standing still (just a bit restless on the way home) already, but taking it slow is difficult. :) He's also really good when things go wrong, like if he accidenttally step with one leg outside the chain or stick, I can ground-drive him right and he doesn't panic. It's pretty comforting to know. The worst 'fight' we had was after this day; when he had stiood nicely and let me remove the sticks (ok, you may tell me what these things are called in english) and I was goig to lead him a few steps back and to the stall, he threw a fit with bucking and jumping and rearing and the like.. *lol* pretty boy :P As if he had never been lead before. But irt's nothing bad, I just let him act it out and lead him back in once he realised it was a pretty boring thing to do, jumping around like a fool. He stood nicely and lose when I removed the harness. (it's btw one I borrowed from a friend. It's easier to attatch random things to it and it's been fitted to him, before he get any weight behind him we'll change to the one I bought). I suspect the whip scared him, he doesn't care at all about it when I walk behind him, I can touch him wih it and wave with it and he behaves well, but it's scary when I walk beside him. We practiced a bit on that later on and I'll kepp doing that untill he can walk nicely even if I'm holding the whip.
We'll practice backing up more when he has that butt-strap (name?) rather than just the tail-thingy.. and without those sticks on.

Just checking how he'll look when he can pull it..xD Add a black seat and you'll know how the sulky looks when it's done :) I figured it wouldn't hurt to let him back in there a time or two. He's such a good boy :P

churumbeque 02-20-2010 11:40 AM

I would line driving him and use the drag with the breeching (butt thingy) and traces so he gets a feel for everything and the different pressures. I would not worry about backing aty this stage except when line driving. Responding to voice commands is important before moving on. Also I would be goting him used to the blinkers. It also looks like your saddle is up a bit far on his withers. Should be behind on his back.

Zab 02-20-2010 11:57 AM

Yeah, as I said, we'll be practicing much more before hitching the cart :) And we'll start using my harness once my friend has helped fitting it for him. that the back-thingy with the rings on it? I don't think I can place it further back, it moves forward when tightened I believe..I could try... :/ I think it's behind the withers, like a riding saddle should be, but I'll have to check that IRL before I swear on it..

He's had the eyepatch bridle on but I'm not sure I want to use it. For one I must have a bit with it (he has a cavesson with a non-jointed nose iron now), and when he's at this age he'll get teeth issues, and also... I just don't see a point on a horse that's not trying to look at everything and get unfocused.. in my mind it must be better to just get him used to seeing everything behind him without minding it.. on another forum I got the explanation that they're used so the horse won't react from the whip before they should but I fail to see that as a good reason. :/

churumbeque 02-20-2010 04:23 PM

Saddle or pad is the part on the back with the girth. I had my 2 yr olds teeth floated and 6 loose teeth pulled by the dentist and it was a totally different horse.

Zab 02-20-2010 07:25 PM

what I mean with teeth issues is that the teeth are still growing and changing a lot at that age, using a good bitless option just seems so much easier :)

Mercedes 02-20-2010 07:48 PM

Get him in a blind bridle.

churumbeque 02-21-2010 09:32 AM

I use a rubber bit with no problems.

smrobs 02-21-2010 09:44 AM

Zab, I think Solon looks great. Boy, is he filling out nicely!! It seems like you are doing a nice job with him and I can't wait to see him all decked out in his harness and pulling the cart :D.

EllaEnchanted 02-21-2010 09:55 AM

Wow is he ever cute! I wanted to teach my percheron/thoroughbred to drive but A) I have no money for harness, cart, ect and B) No where around the place I board to practice driving except for on the higghway. So thats a big no ha ha.

I think training without blinkers is a good idea. Let him see what your doing and realize it wont hurt him. Then if you drive him with blinkers down the road and soemthings there that really would scare him, he will trust in you and not worry about it :)

jimmy 02-21-2010 11:40 AM

some horses when being driven especially walking,go into some sort of a daze ,something similar to daydreaming,so it helps if you speak to them every so often just to remind them that you are there,i always talk to them ,when i see them raising their heads and twitching their ears,as usually it means they have seen something they are not sure of

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