3000 ways to get killed driving?

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MelissaAH

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I pretty much have my big horse sold, pending the vet check.

One of the uses she wants for my Walker is to teach him to drive. She teaches all her big horses to drive. I told her I wanted to possibly drive miniatures and she made the remark "Be careful. There are 300 ways to get killed riding a horse but 3000 ways to get killed driving" That was kinda scary
She said make sure you get a horse that is well trained for that and take lessons.

I told her that I would take lessons first and see if it is right for me. I am still leaning towards therapy stuff though. But what a weird remark from someone who rides and drives.

So what are the 3000 ways?
 

Jill

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My biggest fear in driving is being run off with. It hasn't happened to me, though. I think it's easier to stop a horse you're ON vs. one you are BEHIND.

This ties into why I recommended a horse (geldings are great choices) that has been trained by a reputable breeder. We all have our own ways but a lot of people think it's okay to start minis clipping lunge lines to the halter and "ground driving", or "train" a mini to drive in a day. I think bitting is so important, I think there should be weeks of ground driving before hooking up, etc. Also, as a very knowledgeable friend pointed out, do you really even want a horse to learn to "lead" on a halter (that idea of line driving in a halter)? There are way too many short cuts used and advised by miniature horse people. I just don't think they really know better. Minis should be trained like horses, which means bitting and a lot of time.

Lessons are a great idea! I think if you're like most of us, initially just the harnessing will seem complicated (but you'll catch on fast and find it easy soon). Lessons will only make you more relaxed and give you a greater enjoyment of the horse. I hope you will try driving, because I think you'll really like it. I've driven biggies and minis and prefer miniatures (faster hook up / better view). The lady who recommended lessons may be able to give you some


Good luck!

Edit to add: admittedly, I'm not an expert. I've trained one mare start to finish myself, started a couple others, and helped a very knowledgeable trainer with 8 or 9 others. Asked lots of questions and do know enough to have an informed opinion about starting driving horses. Driving horses have been a part of my life for a decade now, a drop in the bucket compared to some and a lot longer than some others -- for whatever that may or may not be worth. I own / have owned eight (8) driving horses of my own (full size and mini), and had some nice registry wins. I have driven quite a lot.
 
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MelissaAH

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Thanks JIill.

The breeder I am in contact may do that. I would only buy a mini that had lots and lots of ground driving experience.

Oh no....complicated harnessing. You should have seen me trying to put my australian bridle together with the bit. It took an hour!
 

disneyhorse

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Driving IS ten times more dangerous than driving.

Not only do you have a horse with a lot of equipment, but you have a VEHICLE attached to the horse. That is what makes it more dangerous. If your horse goes running off, the damage is MUCH worse to anything it runs into.

Safety HAS to be of the utmost importance. I don't want to scare you, but yes, take care in selecting and training a driving horse. And then be careful every time after that once you are both experienced!

But, driving is very fun and rewarding!

Andrea
 

MSRminis

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I think driving gives me at least, kinda a false sense of security...You tend to "think" you are safer but yes there are a lot more ways to get hurt, or someone else hurt, your horse, etc. We do a lot of driving here and we just love it-everyone even Non rider, non horsey people tend to enjoy driving..but yes-just because oyu are not high in the air does not mean you are safer. Learn a lot and heed peoples warnings...We have learned safety tips later on that we thought "duh! Why didnt we think of that!!". Definately start with a VERY broke horse (green + green =black and blue) and YES to lessons and a driving mentor...best thing we ever did!!
 

Boinky

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absolutely... don't want to scare anyone but that's why i advocate getting a trainer to help anyone new with driving to train or help train horses. it's VERY dangerous and there are indeed many many ways for a horse to stave up a cart (seen several personally!). I love driving and encourage people to do it but with adequate help if your new to it. I've been driving and have trained many horses for years and still have had some accidents...some were partially or all my fault and some were just the horse(s) being complete jerks. it happens both ways and can happen in a blink of an eye and even with the best trained horse.... just like a saddle horse..things happen but they seem to happen very fast and the cart almost always compounds situations. do not let this turn you off..as others have said it's very rewarding and fun but you need to be cautious and learn how to properly fit the cart and harness (this in itself can cause wrecks if not fit correctly) and learn how to hold the reins and use them in conjunction. it's not all about pulling ONE rein to get them to turn. they cannot turn a tight turn in the shafts for the most part and you still need to learn to have outside rein contact to guide them in turns and corners ect. there's a lot to i but it IS definatly fun and rewarding... if you have someone to help you GO FOR IT!!
 

Mona

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And when you are searching for your driving gelding(or horse of any gender) be sure that the trainer that did the training was light handed, and was gentle in training the horse...not those types of "trainers" (term use lightly) that have to whip the horse into submission or cause it's mouth to bleed with artifical "bits" to make it "light mouthed".
Make sure the trainer truely has the horse's best interest at heart!
 

mininik

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I've been around horses and ponies for over a decade, but the worst I've been hurt was driving a Miniature. Let me clarify: This was an older, trained gelding who had experience driving in a drill team, in front of crowds of many thousands in presentations and parades all over the West coast. We were driving at his stable, just walking out after a relaxed drive in the area when he must of been stung by a wasp. The horse bolted, irresponsive to cues, headed straight for the chain link fence of the area, turned a bit late and hooked the wheel of the easy entry cart in the fence, sending us both flying with the cart, crashing twisted up and upside down. It took me about a year to want to drive again after that, but I did and I am much more aware of how no horse can ever be considered truly safe. It scares the heck out of me to hear stories about people, especially kids, just hitching up Minis with very little training, then taking them on down the road, remarking on how well they're doing. What happened to me (and worse) can happen to anyone, so why take chances?
 

MelissaAH

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Thanks for all the info~

I am so glad I mentioned this. Now I know 100% if that's what I am going to do, make darn sure I get a good horse with the experience and lots of lessons. I've seen some of those "videos" on TV where they get out of control....well, mostly those big drafts! But I will want lessons first because I may decide it's not for me.

The BIGGEST reason I want to drive (and maybe this is wrong) is over guilt. My poor 14 year old daughter has had to deal with mommy giving every excuse in the book not to trail ride. I told her if I get a mini I can learn to drive and go out trail riding and driving with her. Heck the area is so big and flat that I could hand walk a mini out for exercise and walk with her. (talk about losing weight)
Plus we have room at our new place to have her friend come over for the weekend and bring her horse so they can hang out and ride. I wish she would be into the mini thing and retire her horse. It scares me when she rides but she is good and at 15...no fear! Lucky kids.
 

Sun Runner Stables

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I am admittedly terrified of driving. It was a big joke around here that I will hope on and ride anything, but was shaky driving a child's well broke mini gelding.

I have since bought a really really wonderful driving gelding, and shortly after ended up 're-breaking' a mini that came here to be sold.

He pulled some stunts on me, but he was so small, and they were pretty pathetic efforts. (Along the lines of Really, I Really have to work?? Pout pout!)

It's since made me a bit braver. But I'm still much more concerned then I would be if I were riding.

My first riding instructor got into a Horrific cart accident, and broke over 13 bones in her body. It was needless to say rather memorable!

She rehabbed STB's off the track as well and watching some of those bad boys boogie in the harness also tended to be rather alarming.

By all means, get a trainer, and make sure you get a good well broke gelding.
 

ThreeCFarm

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Driving can be very dangerous. If a horse gets away from you with a cart attached, not only are they a danger to themselves (the cart makes them much wider and longer, so just because they can normally fit through a gate, etc doesn't mean they can now and they may get hung up) but also to innocent bystanders. Even other people driving around you may get into a wreck as your cart can hook someone else's cart, etc.

Also, as a very knowledgable friend pointed out, do you really even want a horse to learn to "lead" on a halter (that idea of line driving in a halter)?
Jill, what do you mean by this?

And for the record, just because someone spends a few days getting a horse to understand that pulling on the left rein in a halter means turn left, the right means turn right, and pulling on both means whoa while you are walking behind them in a round pen, doesn't mean that the horse is rushed into a bit and the cart. As you know, I am one of the ones you are referring to in your reply on this thread. My horses spend a lot of time ground driving in the bit before ever being hitched, and then we spend a lot of time walking before moving on, etc. I don't believe in the whole putting them in a bitting rig for a few weeks and then put the cart on them thing. Some trainers I know actually put the bitting rig on so tight that the horse throws themselves down the first few times they wear it. I know not everyone uses a bitting rig in this way, but I am more dressage oriented and I believe in putting miles on the horse and slowly working them up to where they need to be, not with appliances/training aids to set their head, etc, but by teaching them through my hands to come on the bit, be collected, etc. I believe in half halts, giving horses time to develop, etc. I don't agree with slapping a martingale and check on a horse so tight that their head is caught between and "forced" into position. I don't believe in short cuts. So my three year olds may not be ready to compete with the "big dogs" in the breed show rings, but I assure you they will be there sound, healthy and happy with their jobs as more mature horses.

With the above said, I do believe there is more than one way to skin a cat.
 
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ThreeCFarm

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Melissa, I hope I haven't turned your thread in the wrong direction, but I had to state my feelings.

I do hope you find someone knowledgable to help you get started in driving to determine if that is what you want to do. I love it!! I've been driving for years, and I rode big horses before that. In fact, I still have two of my big horses, but they are pretty much retired now. Take your time to find the right person to help you learn, don't just jump at the first person you run across as they may not be the right person for you. Make sure you are comfortable with everything. And most of all...have fun!

Another thing you would want to look for in a driving horse is one that is willing to stand still until you tell it to move. That is an often overlooked part of a horse's training, and trust me, in the beginning when you are new to getting in and out of the cart, especially depending on the kind of cart you get, you will appreciate a horse that stands still and waits for you!
 
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Ferrah

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Yes, driving is more dangerous than riding! I have seen the results of a poorly trained horse and an inexperienced driver and it isn't pretty! I have had my own fair share of close calls.
 

wildoak

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My biggest fear in driving is being run off with. It hasn't happened to me, though. I think it's easier to stop a horse you're ON vs. one you are BEHIND
Happened to me for the first time, earlier this year and yep, scared me silly. Fortunately it was in an arena with only a couple of other horses, and I was able to get him stopped with no damage other than to my confidence and his nerves, but I'm not driving him now...

I rode for many years and have to admit, I do feel safer astride. When my gelding ran off, my first instinct was to pull him around - it worked in this case, but I know it's not the logical thing to do with a cart.

Driving is fun, I really enjoy it and encourage you to try it. Just be cautious.


Jan
 

MelissaAH

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LOL...I love all the stories but it all sounds so scary now.


This is definately something to think about. I think my big fear is being out of control. And that's why I don't like to ride on top.
 

horseplay

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I have been hurt badly while riding a big horse that said I still feel safer riding then I would in a cart behind a mini. My riding horse is well broke to drive but I have no desire to hook him to a cart
. It just seems as though there are more things to go wrong and less control.
 

hobbyhorse23

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Yes, driving is dangerous. Yes, it's more dangerous than riding. Look at the math: You still have all those same ways a horse can injure you by itself, but now you add all the ways a heavy object moving at speed could injure you, then the ways that object can interact with an attached horse to injure you, then the ways coming off a moving object at high speed attached to a horse could injure you...yep, it's exponential!


On the other hand let's put this in perspective. How many ways can you get killed in your home, or driving a car to work each day? There's got to be at least 12,000 ways to die in a car and we do that all the time without even thinking about it. Just like driving that car, the way to minimize the risk is to learn all the safety rules and obey them ALL THE TIME, no exceptions. Don't do a rolling stop at the stopsign with your SUV on a blind curve, don't pull out into traffic without looking every direction twice, don't get in the cart without having checked every buckle yourself and don't take off the bridle or reins before the cart is unhitched. It's that simple. Even the most archaic, silly-sounding driving rules had a solid reason behind them at one time and until you've learned enough to know for sure whether that reason still applies or not, obey it. It could save your life!

ThreeCFarm said:
And for the record, just because someone spends a few days getting a horse to understand that pulling on the left rein in a halter means turn left, the right means turn right, and pulling on both means whoa while you are walking behind them in a round pen, doesn't mean that the horse is rushed into a bit and the cart. As you know, I am one of the ones you are referring to in your reply on this thread. My horses spend a lot of time ground driving in the bit before ever being hitched, and then we spend a lot of time walking before moving on, etc. I don't believe in the whole putting them in a bitting rig for a few weeks and then put the cart on them thing. Some trainers I know actually put the bitting rig on so tight that the horse throws themselves down the first few times they wear it. I know not everyone uses a bitting rig in this way, but I am more dressage oriented and I believe in putting miles on the horse and slowly working them up to where they need to be, not with appliances/training aids to set their head, etc, but by teaching them through my hands to come on the bit, be collected, etc. I believe in half halts, giving horses time to develop, etc. I don't agree with slapping a martingale and check on a horse so tight that their head is caught between and "forced" into position. I don't believe in short cuts. So my three year olds may not be ready to compete with the "big dogs" in the breed show rings, but I assure you they will be there sound, healthy and happy with their jobs as more mature horses.
With the above said, I do believe there is more than one way to skin a cat.
I was going to take a moment to reply to the halter thing too (not because I feel the urge to argue with Jill
but because I figured you hadn't heard the other side of the argument yet and she brought it up) but ThreeC said it wonderfully.
You wouldn't use the halter and leads to replace any part of bitting, it just allows you to start them out earlier with that transitional step if you're going to. It's like kindergarten- a preview of what's coming for a bright and interested student too young to go to real school yet. That's all! It's not part of formal training IMO.

Leia
 

Margo_C-T

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Yep, Stephanie (ThreeC) and Leia(hobbyhorse23) said it VERY well!

I do not use a 'bitting rig', period...and I have turned out a number of very well-trained driving miniatures that have done well in the breed ring and otherwise(including two AMHA Champions.)

I have started horses in the ground driving phase using a halter over or under the (open)bridle. The horse is learning to accept the bit and can 'begin' the process of understanding the direct rein using the halter...and then, I have progressed to an 'interim' where I snap the driving line to BOTH halter and bit side rings(doable when the halter fits properly for this step). Has worked quite well. I use a round pen, don't do much longeing on a line unless I'm 'in the open'--so I don't see any conflict between longeing and doing some preliminary ground driving work using a halter.( I've been training horses(did my first 'big' when I was 14) for riding, and minis for driving since 1985 (and I'm 67), so *think* I can claim the background of experience--and more importantly, this WORKS!)

All that said...yes, driving is acknowledged to be more 'dangerous' than riding by most accomplished horsepeople who've done both, for all the reasons already mentioned! That is why it behooves one to be SURE, when looking to buy, that you find a TRULY well-trained horse, in every way, that has the right temperment to be a solid, safe driving horse! With miniatures, especially, there is a tendency for people to think that 'anyone' can 'train' a mini to drive...but I've seen an awful lot of them that while they may be willing to drag a cart around in someone's back yard, they surely AREN'T safe and solidly TRAINED driving equines! When shopping, find a KNOWLEDGEABLE driver, one who does it ALL the time, and NOT just in a breed ring, to go with you, if possible.

STORY: an area man, new to all horses, went off to a neighboring state to look at a 'driving mare'(miniature)--bought her, brought her home---then called me when he hooked her up and tried to drive her! He'd bought her, a poor quality harness, and a metal Frontier 'knockoff' homemade cart-VERY heavy(it had these HUGE flat slabs of metal as BRAKES!), and not well-balanced. She wouldn't do anything he asked...Well, this mare was DANGEROUS! She would refuse to even go forward, then LEAP forward when I 'insisted', then plant herself again-and then threaten to rear. She would NOT turn to one direction. She didn't want to 'leave home'(he'd driven her around this lady's back yard in CO, and "she was just fine"--well, of course, because she hadn't been asked to go anywhere she didn't want to go! He wasn't interested in 'reeducating' her(and I wasn't interested in the likelihood of getting hurt doing it, either!) Later, I trained a young mare for him, and trained him along with her(the mare learned more than the man....)-and had to tell him to absolutely NOT use that crappy cart. He brought it along to use with the young mare, and it immediately caused her to have problems; I am convinced because it was so poorly balanced and so heavy. When we began using my Frontier EE, and later, a show cart, there were NO further issues....

Moral of this story--you need good equipment AND a good horse!

Good luck---driving is a LOT of fun-just do remember to ALWAYS use good sense and FOLLOW the RULES!

Margo
 

Connie Ballard

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Any equine sport can be dangerous...lets face it...they have a mind of their own and there are no 100% dead broke guaranteed not to spook horses...I dont care how many people advertise their horse that way...they still have a mind of their own and if that one thing they've never seen or never dealt with happens....that on that day...for whatever reason...freaks them out...then yes...they could get out of hand.

Personally I like starting horses in a jog cart (or roadster type cart without a basket)...coming from the big horse world..I like stirrups to brace myself for anything that happens. I think its good for a beginner driving too...closest thing to your riding skills.

I personally...do not like easy entry carts to start horses...yes I know thats all some people have...but ewe...easy entry...is also easy exit!!! The only time I've been thrown out of the cart in 12 yrs of starting horses was a shetland mare in an easy entry. Had her going good on my grass track...all sudden she started to crow-hop...no...buck...no lets run...(all of that was a split second...I said whoa...and was laying in the field...back against a wood fence post...cold breeze on my back...my arm laying in the floor of the easy entry still holding my lines...shetland mare standing still...I crawl up stand behind the cart...she is turned back looking at me like.."Hey why did you get out?"....I said "What the heck did you do that for?" Neither answered...I asked her to walk...she did...got back in...walked, trotted...went on no problem. Was glad I'd worn my riding helmet on her first excursion outside the arena.

OK...this is going to sound mean or silly to some...but my Dandy son...that horse has been driven all over the country...driven/shown about 6 years when this happened...but we were at the "Planes, Trains and Automobile show grounds"....aka Kentucky State Fairgrounds...adjacent to the Louisville International Airport...boardered by train yards and major highways....exciting place to drive! LOL He'd driven there ever year...not a green horse...same cart/harness, no one else ever drove him but me. I got in...barely sat down and he took off like a bat out of you know where!!! I did have the lines...but he was not stopping...yelling whoa...no room to make a circle...between barns...too tight...so I guided him right into the side of a barn...know what...he STOPPED before he got to the wall....then the poop...turns his head back and stands there looking at me like ARE YOU NUTS DRIVING ME INTO A BARNWALL??? I promptly replied "WELL YOU ACTED LIKE AN IDIOT!!!!" Friends were running after me like you ok...??? I said yep were good. Checked him over...didnt see anything pinched nothing...went on drover a little...then went in the class..won it. I'd drive that horse anywhere...he's awesome, smart...I adore him, trust him...love his look, hock, spirit, soul....BUT...he has his own mind...and for whatever reason that day....he pulled that stunt and I was running out of choices before I hit the area where cars were driving by in the access roads. I dont make a habit of driving my horses into a wall...but it was a last ditch effort to keep both of us from getting hurt that day.

Things happen. It is a matter of always being on your toes...thinking out your options...knowing how to react. No...you dont know all these things at first, but coming from a riding background...you do have ideas on how to recover in a bad situation.

You learn things that can help...like a horse that might start to rear in the cart...if you can stand up in your basket...lean forward over front of the cart some...putting all your weight on front of the basket...will put weight on the shafts ...on his back...and put his feet back on the ground.

Suggestion: For those using easy entry carts..make sure you have an area to brace your feet...thats critical in a bad situation...other wise you have nothing to hold yourself with...becuase your hands are using the lines. Wood floor easy entry...put some of those peel/stick grit papers down that they use on steps to keep people from slipping walking on them. Can the seat be moved forward and bolted tight...so your legs can brace on front of the floor grid. May have to build up the floor some with wood so you can reach it for short legs. Then put grit paper on it.

Just thinking outloud. Driving is SO VERY much FUN FUN FUN with these wonderful little horses. Like any sport...things can be dangerous...swimming, skiing, etc....drivers just need to do their homework, think about their surroundings, make sure their tack is solid and safe as possible and most of all...that your horse has good basics, GREAT WHOA....if they dont whoa...you work with them until they do, etc.

Good luck, have fun...and get out there!!!
 

Marsha Cassada

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If I had read this thread before driving, I never would have started.

Melissa, maybe you need to read a NON scary experience--

I've been driving for 6 years. I've trained 3 horses to drive, and am working on a 4th. I have never wrecked in a cart. I do parades, cruises around town to give rides, jaunts in the country with tractors and combines, cows and stray dogs, quail and snakes. A little showing, too.

I love driving! It is such a wonderful way to share my hroses. Giving a ride to some delighted child or amazed adult is so much fun!

If you are looking for a first horse and thinking you want to drive, you may want to broaden your ideas about flashy color and consider temperament as more important. You might combine both, but you need to choose the priority.

I am aware that I MIGHT wreck someday. But if we sit around worrying about what might happen, we might not ever do anything at all. So, don't give up on your idea to drive! It is so much fun!
 

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