Monday, September 10, 2018

It's okay, I'm (not) a professional

A large part of why I show is because it gives me something to aim towards. It helps me set a daily game plan. It keeps me focused.

Without any showing on the horizon, shit has quickly gone off the rails.

you are now a driving horse.
and a western horse.
and a professional snacker trail horse

This was the first year ever where I A) set out a schedule all the way through to the end of the year, B) was able to have a sound, sane horse for that entire schedule, and C) didn't get distracted and jump into another discipline halfway through that schedule.

Clearly I'm making up for it now!

has no idea what's going on.
feels more cookies should be involved.

I've had this idea in my head for a good long time that Opie would make the cutest pleasure driving horse. I envision him in swanky brown and classy navy, though quite frankly he looks like a donkey in brown leather. Still. It's my imaginary vision. We'll work with it.

But I had a real, grown up show season to push through so while I kept the idea in the back of my head, I didn't so much as browse harnesses online. Then show season ended. And Hubby and I went to the fair and watched a bunch of driving horses, and Hubby--who has always wanted a horse that could pull logs (Yeah, I don't know.)--was like, "When are you going to teach Opie to pull?"

"Pull" in my head meaning a cart, not logs. I didn't bother clarifying that to Hubby and instead began the harness search in earnest feeling he was giving me his blessing. And by "in earnest" I mean I google searched harnesses for maybe half a second before going on craigslist, clicking on the first and only ad that popped up, and sent an email. The next day, for $25, I picked up a cheapo nylon pleasure harness with all the parts.

way too ugly and janky to do anything real with,
but for $25 and no cart, it serves its purpose.

I took my goodies to the the barn, spread everything out on a jump to make sure I remembered what went where (I taught Bobby how to drive as well for those newer to blog and wondering where the fuck all of this is coming from.), and then plopped Dopie in front of said jump and started getting him dressed. With a constant stream of cookies as I tugged and adjusted and flung lines around his body, Opie was perfectly happy to just hang out. Then I put the blinders on him and he was very confused. He raced in blinkers, and I've found in my vast experience (Read: literally one other horse) that that helps ease the way, and in no time he was like, whatevski.

I've also found that OTTBs have a head start in the driving world. That is, if they're well started. Also they're just better in general. #suckit A well started baby racehorse should know what ground driving and/or what long lining is. Was your OTTB started well? Try ground driving. Chances are they pick it back up in two seconds.

As was the case for Opie. He needed BM to get him walking for a step and then we were off with zero issues.

before the pole was attached he was steering all over

On Saturday I brought Hubby out. Hubby had made Opie his very own single tree despite me trying to explain that he will literally never need a single tree for a pleasure harness or cart. Maybe Hubby was faking ignorance because you do need a single tree to pull logs. 

Spoiler alert: Opie is never going to pull logs, Hubby.

safety first: don't be like hubby.

I threw my Micklem on Opie since I figured he'd appreciate the open bridle aspect to see what the fuck he was dragging for the first time. (I did not give Bobby this luxury. He didn't give two shits.) I ground drove him all over the ring without anything behind him first, and he looped all over without any issues. Next we jerry rigged the harness to attach it to the single tree, sent Opie off for a lap to see how he would react to that--he could have cared less--and then attached a pole to the single tree.

also did not care.

It was really the most anticlimactic adventure ever. I would have attached him to a cart the next day if I had one.

WHICH BRINGS US TO.....

....no, I still don't have a cart.

I'm constantly going back and forth on the idea if I want to buy one before winter or not. Part of me is like, "YASSS!!! Finish what you started!!!" While the sane part of me knows that there's nowhere to drive on this property except the outdoor and during the winter even that option will be gone. So a month or two of driving in the outdoor, or having to trailer out to the park and then repeat the teaching process there. And I hate driving so the chances of that happening often enough to justify the cost of even a cheap cart--and you can get them for a couple hundred bucks around here--are pretty slim.

But I still kind of want one before spring anyway.

opie says, is retirement an option?

In conclusion, never take any training advice from me ever. My experience comes from getting an idea in my head and just doing it. There's a lot to be said for that mindset, but, uh, some of it probably isn't that nice. #worksforme #mightnotforyou

33 comments:

  1. Variety is the spice of life though and what a great way to keep him working without grinding it into him on the daily.

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    1. He's certainly not in danger of a daily grind right now. More in danger of turning into an undomesticated monster from lack of work. He's definitely the type of horse that needs a job all the time.

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  2. how badly do you think this would end for someone who had never taught a horse to drive but would probably google for a youtube instructional video first?

    asking for a friend

    i think he'd be a cute driving horse.

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    1. In all honesty, I think any horse that's not spooky/reactive could learn to drive pretty fucking easily. The biggest issue we had introducing Bobby to the cart was getting him to figure out he had to put his shoulders into the harness and pull which caused a few tantrums because Hard. But he never once was concerned with the cart being attached to him, and we had him trotting around with a driver in a week.

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  3. What a good driving Dopes! Racehorses and ground driving is definitely a thing, that's how we started all of ours in high school. Western saddles, twine between the stirrups, lines through the stirrups, ground driving in the barn aisle.

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    1. Yep, we started all ours in college the same way. It really helps them down the line being good citizens in a new job.

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  4. I need to get back to doing this more. My husband wants my mare to pull the plow and clear our driveway of snow.

    I've got a skijoring harness for her, I just need to desensitize to pulling something behind...

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    1. I never had any issues with skijoring, but we always did it off a western saddle. Hmmmmm, now I wonder if Hubby is coordinated to do it off a harness by himself instead. I know I'm not!

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  5. Dante was ground driven for weeks before he had someone on him, I really need to learn that skill myself.

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    1. It's waaaaay easier than long lining!

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  6. i love horses that you can pull a cart with (grew up with Morgans remember) however Remus would end up trying to jump in my arms if had to pull a pole let alone a cart (#braveeventhorseisnotthatbrave LOL).....but yay Opie. And get a cart.what the hell :) HA

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    1. If only I didn't have to be a grown up and consider putting that money towards grown up things instead. But I want one NOW lol!

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  7. Jeez, all I ever hear are horror stories about horses pulling carts. Maybe they should just start using OTTBs instead?

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    1. 10/10 I think driving is far more terrifying than riding!

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  8. My hubby also has visions of teaching Bridget to pull things...like logs and farm equipment. Not that we own a farm, or have logs to pull. He also wants a racehorse because that would be cool. Maybe there is a niche market for a trainer? For husbands who want racehorse that pull stuff just because it'd be cool? ;)

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    1. HAHAHA I'm so glad Hubby isn't alone in his fantasy! Like what are they even going to DO with all these imaginary logs they pull??

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  9. So... maybe instead of a cart you get a sleigh? Cause that might be fun come winter...
    I drove a pony once. She was a shetland and did what she wanted. We may have nearly hit a tree.
    I'm really impressed that Opie took to this so easily! But then again... #childgenius.

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    1. BM's mom has a sleigh but it seems like that would be way heavier and harder to pull. But don't think it hasn't crossed my mind!

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    2. A sleigh glides across the snow on the runners, so not that bad actually. And you can get a metal EZ entry cart that has wheels that can be removed/replaced with runners. I have one and it is super fun! THAT is what you need to get! ;-)

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  10. Replies
    1. It's absolutely going to happen at some point!

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  11. Haha I had a mare who was broke to drive (actually that was a selling point for bringing her home, my husband went through a 'I want to learn to drive' phase so I got him all the shit then had to sell it years later because he never touched it 🙄) and once I hooked her to an inflatable raft and made her pull me through the snow. Not my brightest moment (the rafters made really weird noises on the snow and she was spooky AF) but nobody died so #winning 🤣 I love it! Buy Dopie a cart!
    #Dopiedoesdriving

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    1. What is it with husbands and thinking they're the masters of driving?!

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  12. YAS #dopiedoesdriving. Apparently they tried to teach Doc to drive one winter and he was all cool until they attached something and ten he was just like NOPE. I do all the other dumb things, this is not one I do.
    We conditioned QHs by making them pull tires too - great way to give your horse a butt.

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    1. I could use a few mandatory tire pulling workouts myself, not gonna lie! :P

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  13. I taught Curtis to longline and he is legit better at it than me and I'm not sure how that's possible.... and you should get a sleigh! You're in snow capitol of North America! Use it all winter!!! He can be Santa jingle pony! hahahaha

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    1. Ugh, but then *I* would have to be out in the snow, too. I prefer the hibernation route in winter!

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  14. And he continues his reign as super adorable child genius :)

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  15. I totally want to make Mystic do this. He is so cute in his driving outfit :D

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  16. I had to laugh when you wrote that shit went off the rails! How I can relate!
    I do long rein all my colts before I ride them. I like being able to check for holes before I mount up! I used to drive a pony- years and years and YEARS ago, but my GF has a pony and cart so driving is once again in my wheelhouse. Good luck!

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