First of all, WordPress told me that I have been writing this blog for 9 years! Wow! How time flies…
Next, I was asked to help teach a beginner driving clinic with the Ten Mile Drivers. Today was day 2 and we had a blast! Myself, along with a few other members of the club came together to help teach about the different harnesses, harness techniques, vehicles, types of horses and hitching. I love that the clinics are put together this way because it shows how many different ways you can harness and hitch a horse (or a mule!) and that there is not only one “right” way.
We had stations with a small pony (Zorro), a percheron, a mule team, a percheron/quarter horse, and a quarter horse. Then everyone went from station to station and got to put their hands on the different harnesses and horses. We all do things a bit differently. Some focus on speed and efficiency, some don’t have to worry to much about the harness (I brought the MaraFUN harness!) and one gal had a leather crupper with stuffed with straw so it needs to be carefully buckled when stored to help it keep it’s shape.
Zorro was harnessed and unharnessed about 16 times today! He never clamped his tail for the crupper or got cranky about the girth. He is a saint!
Then we took the horses, pony and mules out and ground drove them on a little obstacle course. The mules ground drove as a team and the horses drove singly. They all wore their harnesses and bridles and Zorro ground drove in a halter and long lines.
It was so interesting watching how Zorro responded to the different drivers. If someone had a strong hold on him he would zig zag around the course like a drunk driver! He would root his nose, shake his head, not listen, not whoa, and turn and try to head back to the group if they had too much contact. I found that very interesting! I heard a lot of comments about how he had a “pony attitude” but I felt he was actually trying to do what they said but was so confused that he took matters into his own “hands”.
They way I train is to point his nose in the direction I want to go and when he goes that way I release. So when people would pick up the lines with soft hands and a focus for where they wanted to go, he would soften, put his ears forward and become cooperative. I felt he was a wonderful teacher!
After we ground drove we hitched up and went out to play in the snow!
It got really warm today so the snow was melty and got sticky which made pulling the sled difficult.
It was kind of deep in the field so Molly and I turned around as we didn’t feel it was fair to the minis. But we had a blast sledding around on the plowed driveway and little side driveways! We walked, trotted, cantered and laughed and laughed!
It was such a fantastic day, I am really looking forward to Day 3 in a few weeks!