Thursday, November 8, 2012

driven to drive

After Plow Days and all the fun I had riding and driving, and since I am out of a saddle, I have decided that I want to really get Shyloh driving over the winter. I have grand plans of working on line driving, then when I feel she is really good with that having her pull an empty sled and working all the way up to pulling me in the sled. My thought is that by the time the snow comes she can give sled rides!

Them other day, I got Shy's harness out of her show box and tacked her up. Shy's patience with me is also amazing. She stood like a pro while I untangled all her lines and got myself ready. I figured I would have some issues getting her going, but she walked on like she had been doing this for years. We went all over, including places I have never walked her before. We even trotted some. At one point I decided to test out Shy's "gee" and "haw." I can't believe that I have to learn more words for right and left. . .I have a hard enough time as it is with that! I wanted Shy to go right, so I said "haw." She started turning left. . . even though I was using the reins to tell her right. Then I said "gee" and she immediately corrected herself. Good pony. Clearly knows more than me. . . I was quite impressed! 

Shy did spook once, but it was so minor and if a spook can be good, I would call this spook good. We were coming up around a trailer and the lady that owns the two Halfingers was sitting on the edge of it. I didn't even see her, but Shy jumped sideways a little. I am just happy that she did not try to bolt or run forward! We worked on whoa and stand and Shy did her typical moving to the left until she was halfway around me. We need more work on that.

Today, I did some more line driving. I am so happy with Shy's progress!  

To be sure that we can be in the big leagues of driving, I have marked Shy so I can get the "gee" and "haw" straight. . .
This is what the pros do, right?
I think going around the barn property and not being inside has a lot to do with this progress. It is not a boring arena. I remember discussing using the outdoors quite a while back and now I have little roads to do that on!  Shy is very curious about her surrounds and got a little side tracked with some new horses she has not seen before. That was the only issue we had today, and I took her past those horses over and over until she walked right through and stopped trying to go up to them. It only took three times.
On the go!
Shy had a terrific whoa and stand today! So much so that she didn't move when I stopped and talked to some friends for about 5 minutes, she even cocked a leg and stood perfectly still!
Not going anywhere!
I worked myself on keeping contact and trying to match my walk to that pokey pony. I think I am getting better. We worked on some more trotting too. . .until I ran out of breath!

Shy did so well, I bought a plastic sled from Target. 

I am going to drag it behind me next time, that way, if Shy spooks at it, I can let go and she won't be dragging it behind her.  Then, I will need one of these. . .


  1. Love your H & G training aides. I'd have probs with that too. Can't wait to read about your first successful sled ride.

    1. Can't wait to try the sled. No snow yet (I'm not ready!) but we still have a lot to do before we get there.

  2. Haha, I've been doing that too, using duck tape to put a big "G" and "H" on Mitch's butt because gee and haw always confuse the heck outta me.

    Any particular reason you're running your reins through the tugs?

    I want a sled. Except it doesn't snow here. I thought about getting a singletree and a pallet to make a stone boat, except I don't think my barn owners would dig having a pallet dragged all over their gravel roads. It's ok, we've got a pony cart.

    Shy has fancy schmancy harness. I don't think I'd want a show harness because I doubt we'd show, but I'm hoping for a marathon driving harness this Christmas. In biothane, of course, because it's awesomesauce.

    1. This is just a pleasure harness, not a fancy show harness. But it is biothane. So easy to clean! My only issue is it can be hard to tighten the girth.
      I run the reins through the tugs for line driving because it is easier when I walk behind her. I have done it the other way and it wasn't working for us.
      You can use a sled (if they sell them there, haha) and just use it for dragging and adding weight.

    2. I lust madly for the ComfyFit Marathon harness, but I think I've found one that's just as nice (and about $200+ cheaper) from Driving Tidbits. I like biothane because it's so easy to clean, and I'd rather have a nice biothane harness for the pony. (Course, I plan to keep my leather set for teaching the mare how to ground drive, and a friend has a horse who could probably benefit from it too)

      I just love how the marathon harnesses fit, and how the false martingale looks on it. Bit more expensive than your standard biothane pleasure harness, but I find myself much more attracted to them since the bridle is a fairly open one without the overchecks. Mitch doesn't need those, after all, and the shaped breastcollars are really attractive looking.

      Gotcha, on the reins through the tugs then. I've always found mine slipping back off to the side as we walk, and it is kind of irritating. Wouldn't be like that if I was driving in the cart, I'm sure, but ground driving like that can be pretty annoying.

      I don't think I'd be lucky enough to find a sled. There's just no market for 'em. ;)

    3. I will have to look into the marathon harness, sounds nice!! What I really want for Shy is a chariot. . . how cool would that be?

  3. Shy looks adorable in her driving stuff. I have to give you many props for training her to drive like that, good job!

    1. Thanks! She is doing really good. I hope she keeps it up, haha!

  4. I laughed out loud at your G and H reminders!

    Sounds like you are both settling in well in the new barn.

    1. We are. Shy made friends with one of the higher up mares in the herd. The herd settled down and they are doing good now.

  5. Wow, it sounds like you and Shy are doing really well!

  6. You know how I laughed about the G & H... and how that was an issue for me as well!
    Geesh...I wish you were here - I have a singletree that has never been used!
    I used the tugs to hold up my reins when I was long lining or driving, too. But, I also let the boys feel the reins through the turrets and the rings on their butts. One of the driving instructors I had a lesson with thought it was awful for horses to have to have the reins touch their butts when being driven. He thought it was just too distracting for them. He was all about getting the right size cart so the reins would go just above their rumps.

  7. Brilliant post, absolutely love the H&G symbols on Shy's beautiful rear end!!
    Looks like you're both going to really enjoy driving, looking forward to updates :-)


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