I hauled Sky down to the river, about 30 minutes from our place, for a lovely morning drive today. The weather was absolutely gorgeous and we had a great time! We’ve never driven there before so this was a first for us.

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We saw fisher people on the river:

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We enjoyed just looking at the river:

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It’s 2 miles to the trail head from where I parked the Tahoe and trailer. The trail is for walking only, no bikes, so we didn’t drive the Hyperbike down it. We walked a little ways down it though!

We stopped at the trail head and had a snack:

 

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And cooled off in the river!

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Sky had her Equine Jogging boots on and they were awesome in the water! The velcro worked even when it got dirty and they emptied of water as soon as she got out of the river. I LOVE them!!!

We walked down the trail a little ways:

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And then headed back to the trailer. Along the way back we saw a rattle snake in the road. It was stretched out but as we came towards it it coiled and went into striking position. I had two cameras on me but didn’t think to turn one on because all I could think was, they can jump as far as they are long… and it was a big rattle snake!! So no footage of THAT!

THEN we saw a black bear! To see that (what you can of it anyway) you’ll have to watch this video:

 

Sky is wearing her Comfy Fit Harness, her Driving/Grooming Collar and I had the 10′ long orange yacht rope. I love it for hiking because it’s so easy to see and lightweight. She has her Equine Jogging boots on and she wears the Active model. And of course we were driving the Hyperbike!!

I took my bike and Sky to my friends house for a play day and when I posted about it I had lots of people asking how I knew Sky loved the bike. And did I like it? So I wrote this on Facebook and thought I should share it here too!

Sky has been becoming more and more reluctant to be hitched to the cart. She will come meet me when I have the halter, she puts her nose in eagerly and will stand tied perfectly. When I harness her she is fine and engaged, but then when I would start to take her to the easy entry cart she would get sullen, argumentative and reluctant. I would barely be able to get her to stand in a way that I could get the cart on her. She would stand for the hitching, once I had the shafts in the shaft loops, but getting that far was a bit of a wrestling match.

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Then once she was hitched she would stand quietly until I asked her to move and then she was all fidgety and fast. She wouldn’t walk, but would trot and canter everywhere the entire time she was hitched. She was heavy on the bit and would shake and toss her head. I can’t really remember a drive were we weren’t trotting and cantering the entire time. A nice quiet country drive just wasn’t in the cards for us. I concluded that she no longer liked driving.

Then the Hyperbike came. The first couple of drives with it were interesting because the shafts weren’t quite right and the balance wasn’t good. Sky didn’t like the shaft ends bouncing up and down in the shaft loops and I didn’t like having to sit forward in the seat. But she was improving on each drive. So much so that I was able to take the baby that I babysit on a drive! I never thought I would be able to do that with Sky! I figured I would have to wait for Mikey or Zorro to safely take the baby.

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Then I got my C shafts and everything just clicked perfectly into place. The balance is perfect. The ride is perfect. Sky is perfect. I mean she will WALK for an ENTIRE drive! We drove over 3 miles the other day here at home and she walked the entire time except for when I asked her to trot. I was AMAZED!!

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When we went to Molly’s yesterday to drive, Sky was trotting and walking and trotting and walking but doing so with her ears up and a positive outlook on the entire thing. Even Molly noticed. Sky didn’t have the anxiety that she has had for nearly every drive this year. It is noticeable.

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So that is why I think Sky likes the Hyperbike the most. My guess is that it is because it’s so lightweight and well balanced. I have worked hard to get my easy entry well balanced but I am always worried that it is putting a bit too much weight on her back. The suspension kit I got from Patty’s Pony Place was a total game changer and is probably the ONLY reason Sky could deal with the easy entry at all. I have a feeling that Mikey will do very well with the easy entry. It won’t be too heavy for him and will fit him much better. Though I won’t be surprised if he too prefers the Hyperbike.

The easy entry cart weighs about 120 pounds all by itself. I am not a lightweight so when you add myself and the cart up it’s a heavy load. I think it just caused all kinds of anxiety in Sky. It has got me wondering if the minis that go go go go go like little energizer bunnies are actually kind of stressed out about something. The weight of the vehicle, is the balance right? Is the harness fitting well and actually HELPING them with the load? So many things to consider when we are driving these little horses. They have SO MUCH HEART and will go and go no matter what. So it’s really up to us to be certain we are helping them all we can. I am just trying to be mindful and pay attention to what my horse is telling me. (I want to add that I’ve seen many videos of a cart that is not well balanced and is putting too much weight on the mini’s back. In those videos the minis are often reluctant to trot at all because they are so weighed down on their backs while at the same time trying to pull all the weight behind them. This is a balancing act. And listening to ones horse is an individual thing. Some horses will work hard no matter what and never complain. But if we learn to really watch them and notice any rubs or mussed hair when we are done we can pinpoint any issues they may be having.)

A question I get a lot is is the Hyperbike comfortable for ME? And the answer is a resounding YES! The seat is so comfy, I am very comfortable with my feet up. I leave my stirrups a bit long for my knee that hurts. My back never gets sore and I’m so relaxed in the Hyperbike. When the going is rough and bouncy I am totally comfortable and NEVER feel like I will fall out of the bike. So I am happier in the Hyperbike and Sky is happier in the Hyperbike.

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I still like my easy entry cart and it is going to be great for training both Mikey and Zorro to drive. It’s great for parades and such. But for the long drives, the hard drives, the trail driving and when I want to go somewhere else and drive, the Hyperbike will be my go to vehicle.

This is my personal opinion. I am not trying to make anyone else wrong. Whatever vehicle you have is fine I’m sure. You decide what is best for your horse. I am only sharing what I have noticed with mine. So again this is my personal opinion and I’m not trying to make anyone feel wrong. I am also not saying the Hyperbike is the ONLY vehicle for minis. Please, use your own mind to decide what would be best for you and your mini.

I got my Hyperbike a few weeks ago and have been spending some time getting it perfectly balanced so both Sky and I can enjoy our drives! After a bit of juggling around with the shafts, it is now what I would deem “perfect.” I am so excited!!!

Sky is 37″ tall at the withers and after talking with Bob Graham, the designer and builder of the Hyperbike, we decided to get the B sized shafts. I ordered the pneumatic tires and then tried to wait patiently! (Actually it didn’t take very long for it to arrive… just about 6 weeks!)

Here is a little bit about the Hyperbike in case you haven’t heard of one:

Whether they be mini horses, donkeys or mini ponies, most owners would like to share with them more open trail time if the carriage was lightweight, stable and up to, not only the easy forest paths, but also the rougher cross-country terrain. This is possible with the HyperBike ; smaller, lighter and quicker than any other vehicle made for miniatures.

A couple of things set the HyperBike in its very own class. It was created and designed specifically for miniatures. In no way is it a scaled-down version of any pony or horse vehicle. It is also designed to truly understand the minis, physically and mentally.  -From the Hyperbike Website

I was babysitting when the bike arrived and my youngest son, Logan and the baby I watch helped me put it all together! The baby was so sad that it arrived “broken” but was quickly made to feel better as we snapped it all together! And I say snapped because aside from a few bolts to attach the seat, everything slides together and then is held in place by locking pins. It is absolute genius!

Once we had it all together I went in the house to grab my phone and when I came out I found the baby pulling the bike all around the front yard! That is how lightweight and perfectly balanced this cart is.

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As soon as I had time, I hitched Sky to the bike, and we had our first balancing session.

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This was our first driving session in the Hyperbike. She seemed quite happy but I couldn’t lean all the way back in the seat without the shaft ends flipping up. So I knew I had some work to do!

 

I went to Facebook and shared the photos and a little video.

People loved it! I didn’t go over my issues very¬† much then because I wasn’t going to have time to mess with it. I was heading to Washington to volunteer at the EL CDE at Happs. When I got home I went right back out and played with it again!

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This picture sparked a lot of interest! People felt that Sky was too close to the front of the Hyperbike and my stirrups were too long. BUT I have a bad knee so I have to have my stirrups a bit long to accommodate that. But as for her being too close she certainly was! In this photo I had lengthened my traces and tightened the breeching which kept her forward a bit more in the shafts. But they were just not going to be long enough.

To have the bike feel balanced and so I could lean back in the seat I had to have the seat all the way forward and on the highest (which is actually the lowest hole) setting for the tires. But the ends of the shafts did still bounce in the shaft loops instead of float. In this video I go over every adjustment I made to try to get everything to balance.

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This is what Sky thought of all the adjusting and balancing!!

The consensus was that I need the longer, C shafts. So I emailed Bob and he sent them straight off to me! I got them in just a few days and we continued our adjusting…

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I love the C shafts! They are longer, wider and just plain bigger. They are actually a little bit too big for Sky, but with a bit more adjusting of the traces everything will work well. The C shafts are perfect for Zorro and Mikey so I’m thrilled that this set will fit everyone!

In the above photo I had her as far forward as I could get her, my traces don’t go any longer. I don’t like how the shaft loops pull forward. I need to have them in front of the shaft stops that are on the shaft because otherwise the curve of the shaft is up at her shoulder which is not comfortable or correct. I also had the seat all the way forward and the wheels on the highest setting.

Since this video I have lowered the seat by putting the wheels on the middle hole, the seat all the way forward and my stirrups longer again. I have let her traces down from the hold back straps of the breeching and made a set of trace carriers out of para cord for now. Janie from Chimacum Tack is sending me some trace extenders to make my traces longer and a set of trace carriers. Then we should be all set!!

Because the line of draft is a little lower than when hitched to the easy entry cart, the line of the traces drops a bit back at her hip. So the trace carriers will hold those traces up so they don’t flop around and so she can’t easily get her leg over them.

I will also add that I have ordered a pair of 6 1/2′ purple reins to use when driving the Hyperbike as well! They will be the perfect length I think!

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I don’t want to jinx myself and to be honest harnessing and hitching is an ever evolving thing, but for now I will say it… The Hyperbike is balancing perfectly for Sky and making our drives so so enjoyable. We are both so relaxed and happy now that we finally have the bike! I can’t wait to take her up in the mountains and enjoy some great drives close to home because I can now load and unload my vehicle all by myself!!