- Nov 27, 2009
- Reaction score
- Cameron, NC
But with my first pair - I'm always having someone comment on the fact that my "new, young" mares are a great team and that I really need to get them to bigger, longer functions. BTW - when did you start training them and how long do you think you'll be able to keep on driving them?...
Well, the one mare (Bell) - both a single driver and my steady 1/2 for a driving pair HAD NEVER BEEN officially trained in anything. She'd been an - in the yard, I will pet you and catch your babies, type broodmare only - for 16 plus YEARS!!!
She didn't have any formal halter/handling training when I purchased and picked her up in IA in September 2009. Getting her loaded into the open stock gooseneck trailer Vicki and I were pulling (along with the other ponies who also weren't trained!!!) was in interesting and at times UGLY affair! When we got home to NC - she went into a stall/pen that was 12x12 - with her own colt and the filly we'd purchased that turned out to have been taken from her own dam way too early... A month later, her colt was weaned - and she happily nursed the tiny filly for aother three months (while pregnant again w/ her 2010 filly).
I worked with her from Septermber to December in groundwork/halter stuff that we like our ponies to know/do. Then she started wearing bridle/bit and harness. Moved into ground driving and onwards/upwards. By June of 2010 - She was driving both single and as a pair. Then in Oct of 2010 - we were attending events w/ her and her sister as a pair...
2011 - Bell is 19 years old. She's acting 20 years young! She left the barn (first time ever - here) with a buck and a fart and raced all the way up the pasture and turned and cantered back to the water tank before stopping (WOW!), yesterday. Her legs are clean and her breathing is great. Her eyes are clear. She can bend and flex and as I learn and ask for more, she learns and gives more!
So WAS she too old to train to drive - I DON"T THINK SO.
How long will I drive her? UNTIL I CAN"T or SHE CAN'T. I honestly think she'll let us know. Actually, the girls are getting into shape and who knows - we may very well be showing up at a CDE if they/we are ready next year. I will take into account the driving and the heat and we'll see. Even if we attend, if there is a problem, I can always opt out to take care of "MY GIRLS" who have taken care of me.
Bit - is now 20 and she is a little different. She is more "heads up", look at me attitude than her full sister Bell. She is more tense and hyperactive. She was shown and did well in ASPC halter when she was a two year old. I hven't looked up how many points she got (she was on the All Stars list in the top 10 in 93 as a 2 yr old). She'd been thru a couple more owners than Bell, had been a lead line pony. When I got her at the same time as Bell, she'd come from a different state - trailered by herself and was fine - with being tied & loading. Got her home and she went right into my riding program w/ first being ground driven until I knew that she'd stop and turn w/ the bit. She was only ridden a couple of times completely off the line before all the riding kids stopped for the winter... They never restarted and since I'm not a "real" riding instructor, I went right to teaching her to drive... She was my "squeaky wheel" - needing and getting a lot more work. At times, A LOT OF WORK... I worried a couple of times that it was too much. But it never was, she's a strong and hearty little girl!
She does have a problem with one of her eyes - in fact we thought she was going blind when I bought her. She's had her eyes checked and NO, she's not. But she does regularly have problems with "allergies" - both eyes will swell and weep. Right now, she's again being treated for an eye infection - in her left eye. When I go a little too long, the eye turns a bit cloudly/blue. But she still has her sight - she's been checked OK again this month.
BUTTTT - isn't 20 years of age too OLD to work/train/drive a pony?? Well, if it is - what am I doing (I just point at the mare/mares)?...
Again, when will you quit driving her? Will she go blind soon? Dunno - will drive her until she says "no"... Again, like her sister - she's clean legged, bright eyed (when no infection in left eye), round and loves to rear, buck, jump and shy out in the pasture. She regularly chases other ponies around! She still wants to be right with her "group" or at the trailer - but her training is finally prevailing and this fall so far - no rearing, or bucking in harness. She hasn't had a foal since 2008 and was bred after arriving here. This time - I THINK that she might actually be in foal! I'm very excited not to lose these bloodlines and really, really hope that not only is she in foal but that we have that elusive filly! IF she isn't, the vet and I are talking about flushing her and then trying one more time ( I didn't have the funds last year to do it and tried breeding her with out)...
I don't know - but after this experience - I'd take on another OLD pair (what constitutes old, anyway??) anytime!! I HAVE had 10 - 15 yr old full size horses acting like they were at death's door. They didn't work for me at all - when riding - I am very much into activity even w/ my walking trail mounts. Plus I'm overweight and large - and have been for about 20 years now. I don't take on or work with horses that don't act young and full of life and interested in life. There's simply too many out there now that have that ZEST - even for a trail ride at a walk!!!
So why do so many people here in the south think a 10 year old is "JUST TO OLD"??? I'd love to know what that person's problem is...
Went to the Dixie Draft Horse sale at Thanksgiving and he (neighbor) told me that he wanted a trained pony/mini that wasn't over 10 yrs of age... Well, there really wern't any there that fit his cirteria - w/ 800 plus going thru the sale! After that, he still stipulated that he doesn't want anything over 10 - simply cuase that's too old!! O, well if I could get a pair like yours, that might be differnt, but I don't need registered stock... ??? Of course, I forgot to mention that just because one is trained and over 10 doesn't mean that that pony is experienced! He was sooo confused, LOL.