Monday, September 23, 2013

Big Boy Cart for Ah-D?

I have been pretty busy spending my time training another horse, but I was blessed to also have a PRIVATE DRIVING LESSON!!! last week with Terry, which has me fired up to drive.  When plans fell through for me to show one of Terry's Haflingers at a local fair (due to a lost show shoe) last Saturday, I spent my day working with the horses in my barn and also cleaning up my (perhaps) Meadowbook cart.
Here is my (tentatively) Meadowbrook cart.  Check it out, Linda V!
 I love this cart.  It is comfy for me (I have issues with an aching back when it is not supported correctly), and I just love the way it looks and makes me feel.  Of course, I want Ah-D to like it, too.
Checking it out
 So, after I cleaned it up, I brought it back into the barn so we could play.  I let him thoroughly check it out.  He was in Extreme Relaxation mode, and it went very well.
hmmm, what's this for?

I was thrilled when he stepped right over one shaft and dropped his nose to sniff the other.  See how comfortable he is with it?

"Mom, I'm STUCK! Help me!  I'm waiting...."
 This was just TOO FUNNY! I hitched him to the cart; he stood like a statue.  I gave him some time to think about it, and he backed up a few steps so that the wheels of the cart were over the edge of the concrete pad of the barn and on the downhill slope leading out to the paddock. I asked him to come forward and bring the cart with him, but he wouldn't pull it over the lip of the concrete.  He was very perplexed, "This thing is heavy!  It's pulling on my chest.  You CAN'T want me to push against that.  Really?" He was so damn cute.  He figured it out after a while, I let him take his time and every so often I would encourage him to pull the cart forward.  I'm so glad it happened this way, so he had all the time he needed to think about it.  See his thinking ears?  He took it up over the hump on the third or fourth try, when I had him back up a few more steps and he had momentum to get it over.
"Geez, take it easy - did you gain some weight or something?"
 After I led him around in the paddock, and we made it up over that concrete lip successfully again, I sat in the cart in the barn.  When I first got in, he gave me this look.  Again, ok, yes, I love him, but is this cute or what?  He was loving the attention.  I prattled on to him as we worked together.  Then I put the driving bridle on.  I waited to do this because I wanted him to be able to see first.  That is my method; I know a lot of drivers don't do this.  I used to drive my Standardbred in a blinkered bridle, but I drove Daffodil, a Curly, in an open bridle.
Awaiting further instruction
 I love how he has one ear cocked back, in tune with me.
"I'm listening..."
I didn't drive him in the Meadowbrook; we are not ready for that.  But I did lead him out on the road and we practiced turns (he is really good at those!  He puts his shoulder right into it!) and I let him get used to the heavier weight of the Meadowbrook.  He had no problem whatsoever with it pushing on the breeching on the downhills and pulling on the breastplate on the uphills.  (There is no even ground at my house, which makes for more challenging training). Don't expect to see pictures of us hacking around with this cart anytime soon, because we are both a Work In Progress.  I am so blessed to have my own personal driving trainer to help me be a better driver.  I need a lot of work! I am not used to the 'two pounds of  even pressure on the bit' because ride with a relaxed rein almost all the time on the trail. It is amazing how much one uses seat and leg when riding, so when you don't have those giant cues, you need to be very careful with communication on the bit, as I'm pretty sure Linda V has mentioned before. I have three sessions with my driving trainer this week.  Wish me luck!


  1. LOVE the cart Susan!!! I'm excited for you and AhD! His expressions are too funny. Sometimes I think its a good thing they can't talk! I also believe in letting them see and accept the cart without blinders, I think it builds a more solid foundation. I haven't driven Linus in a long time because I don't have a cart anymore (outgrown) but I always did it open bridle. Can't wait for more!

  2. Wonderful!! He looks so content.
    I just got exact the same cart for our stallion Friendly Bob but he is not ready yet either. Thank you for sharing your story.
    Marion Hidden Cave Ranch, KY


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