I would like to train Divo as a light cart pony, mainly for showing and possibly some rides down to the Amish. He's really too short to do serious Dressage with at 14hh, possibly slightly shorter, so I'm looking for another fun thing to do with him.
He's very Serious About Things, quiet, level headed, and easy to work with. He has beautiful action and head carriage, not a high strung or spooky horse. He does have a lot of presence, he was a stallion until 3-4 years old and has The Stallion Look to him. I think he'd look absolutely adorable in front of a little cart :D
Any tips on this? Should I see how he drives on the ground before looking for a trainer? What should I look for in a trainer? I don't think this is a task I should be doing myself, and I'm wary about sending him to the Amish. Their working people with working horses, and this is my short little darlingbabycutielovebutts (Loki is my tall little darlingbabycutielovebutts)
I literally hang all over him on a daily basis. I'm either laying on his back (not ON him entirely, but he's short and I'm short so it works) or hanging on his butt (he loves butt scratches). You can literally snuggle and cuddly his rump or mess with his tail/legs/feet without worry. He stands in the pasture for ointment (his chest got scratched) and doesn't fidget or try to nag you. Like I said, he's Very Serious About Things :lol:
I'm excited to follow your progress and view suggestions in this thread. I have a gypsy/shetland cross I'd like to drive. I also have a cart and harness, and have ground driven him a bit, but I have no idea how to progress from here. . .
you might become a member of the american driving society and look for qualified drivers in your area who are members. I went to a show to find my drvivng instructor
I know you said you're wary about sending him to the amish, but they really do make good horses...my dad sent his team to them for tune-ups, and they do a good job.
I broke my saddle horse to drive myself with help at critical points from my dressage instructor. It took a year. I went very slow. Lots of ground driving then lots of ground driving with a singletree drag then lots with a shaft trainer. On first hookup day I had two of my grown sons, myself the instructor and a good friend. We hooked up first by just putting the shafts through the tugs and they were held by my sons as my horse took a few forward steps. Then we went ahead with the full hookup. I was leading mysons were at his side my instructor was ground driving from behind the cart. Then I got in and she lead him for the first real rive. After that the next time we did all of the above..ground drive, drive with single tree , drive with shafts, drive hooked up with leader then I finnaly got to drive my horse. As each layer of support stepped away he got more tuned to me. He was great and has never had a misstep. However I still ground drive him before I hook up. It was a lot of work and he was a very saddle broke horse before we started. I am starting a mare this fall that did not do well under saddle. She ground drives great. Wish me luck
It all depends on the Amish guy you send him too. I've had a bad experience with one, so I am a bit more picky now. My appy gelding came back with rope burns around all 4 of his ankles.
Going to a show was a great previous suggestion, as well as the driving society.
I personally like the Amish, they've always been polite, helpful people. But at the same time theres people that will swear up, down, and sideways that the Amish are horrible people that breath fire O-O'
I've heard the Amish are great trainers, that the Amish just run the horses, that they break the spirit, but their horses are top notch....oi!
I'll definitely be checking out shows and joining a driving association. I'm also tempted to buy a surcingle and some long reins and see how he ground drives. To my knowledge, he lunges very well.
I'll definitely have to work on desensitizing more. He isn't a naturally high strung or spooky horse, but last I was out graining him he jumped forward when he was startled by a cat coming in under the gate. I don't think it'll take much to get him good and spook-proof though :)
What a classy little horse. A horse doesn't have to be huge to do dressage. I would certainly ground drive in long lines before finding a trainer . It's not difficult. If you are a good rider you should be able to do it. It sounds like he has a wonderful temperament for being a harness horse. I have been in the horse industry for over 40 years. Sometimes the biggest name trainers are the worst to send your horse to. They often devote their attention to the horses that will make them look good while the others sit in their stalls. You need to find a competent trainer who will work with you and your horse. Get recommendations.
We still use the Amish actually, but we just are more careful about which ones. Grandpa has a Mennonite shoe all of his race horses as well. :)
I will be following this driving section. I would like to train two of our horses to drive. One is a 5-6 year old Hackney and the other a 1 year old Belgian. The Belgian has supposedly had some very early driving training. I suppose that I could do the Belgian first and then just duct tape the hackney to her side. :lol: She is going to be enough bigger than the Hackney. She already just walks past her and pushes her aside like a bag of feathers when the Hackney tries to bully her.
Training a horse for driving is one of those areas where there are huge holes in my knowledge base but I have other resources (people) available that know much more about it than me.
We also have a large Amish about 10 minutes east of us and I have watched a couple of youngish trainers there that are amazing.
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