Another step - still "flyin'"

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paintponylvr

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Put in a call to my mentor, Rex McArthur, as I was still having some problems with the line layout/attachment and also wasn't sure how exactly to hook the evener to the forecart and wanted to get it right so wouldn't have a wreck. He said "bring them on" and I got them groomed, harnessed, loaded, cart loaded and over there in 1 hour and 20 minutes...

Upon arrival, as soon as I had the cart off the trailer and first mare, too, he started hooking her to the cart - after asking which side she'd last been on (one pair line was attached to her harness from our drive on Sunday). I was surprised as I thought we'd ground drive them as a 3 abreast first, but he wanted to see me drive a pair first. Ok, I tied the 3rd mare to the trailer, one foal was already tied to the trailer(2 of the three mares have foals – born March 13 and 29) and the 2nd one I left loose, grabbed the neck yoke out of the back of the truck (beats the cart tongue to death if I leave it attached up above the trailer going down the road), side passed the mare I was holding into position (Bit), put her bridle on, attached lines, attached neck yoke to cart, attached neck yoke to Bit and then to Koalah and while Rex attached the traces from Koalah to her singletree, I finished up Bit's. We double checked everything for the pair and he wanted to see me drive. It was quite gratifying to have the girls' start together, calmly at a walk. I worked them for about 10 minutes – w,t,c in harness – thru his cones pattern, halt and back up and then swing left & right. They did fantastic. From the heavy storms we’ve had, he had standing water – Koalah doesn’t like getting her “feet wet” – so she got some practice thru a series of large puddles – one almost up to her knees at crossing.

Rex has been watching, but has also pulled out the 3 pony evener from the back of my truck and the 3 abreast lines and laid it all out on the ground. I stopped the pair next to the set up and he brought Bell over from the other side of trailer. While I bridled her next to the other two, he started attaching the lines. To fix the problem I was having – he knotted them. Hmmm, never thought of that! That will keep the horse sized line buckles from catching on their rumps at the last buckle (tho not as “pretty” it does end up working!). We will have to get lines custom made for them, I think.

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Then while everyone standing in front of us (!!), we were studying the evener. Hmmm… well, we can do it this way today – the bolt needs to be “upside down” (the nut on top not underneath) – which changes how I’d planned on driving them. No ground driving – we unhooked the doubletree and put the 3 pony evener in its place. To do that, we had to offset the hitch tree (right terminology?). I was surprised at how easy it actually was to accomplish! After double checking all harness, he handed me the lines and told me to try them out… I looked them over again and stepped into the cart and sat. Then gave them the “OK, girls”…”Let’s go”. They all raised their heads but didn’t step out so I slightly tightened the lines, then clucked and loosened them again – at which the ALL THREE stepped out together! WOW. How cool is that?

Drove about 15 minutes and the whole time, Rex has been talking on the phone(turns out he’s calling folks to say they need to come check out the rig, LOL) - Jack shows up and he wants to ride with me. So I stop and take on a passenger – way cool too! We work at both a walk and a trot, thru water, around the trailer, around the barn, between some stuff that could have been in the way but wasn’t, and then another person shows up to check everyone out. She can’t stay, just applauds from her truck and is off to do errands! Then I hand off the 3 to Rex and he works them some. Then he drives them back to the trailer, past it and then backs the 3 up to position the cart for reloading on the board ramps I’d left set at rear of trailer… I think the 3 are quite happy with the ending of work, and they did a great job!

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It was raining when I pulled out of my driveway, so I didn’t go back in and grab the camera. BUT I did take a couple of pics of Rex and Jack driving my 3 some and they are attached. I pulled out of my drive at 10:36 and took right at 15 minutes to get there. Left his drive to return home at 12:16. Wasn’t there long – but long enough to accomplish a lot!

Another step closer to having the ponies care for the property that supports them... Eventual goal - they will spread the fertilizer, till/disk the pastures (really just paddocks since we only have 8 acres total), seed and mow. Haven't seen or found haying equipment that they can handle but keeping my eyes open and talking to folks. They could deal well with a shortened sickle mower that is ground driven w/o motor and recently saw a small hay tedder that is also ground driven. They could certainly handle a 1 horse hay press (small hay baler - bales from 40 to 80 lbs). It's stationary and the horse turns in circles around it - driving the plunger, the loose hay feeding into the hopper (has to be forked in by person), while the horse's movement causes plunger to press hay into bale. Pretty cool.... I've seen one, but haven't a clue where I'd find one, LOL. That may never happen here but it is a thought!

I’m still euphoric I believe!

Have to go feed now…
 

Jules

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I loved reading your post. Wow- 3!!!

I am still getting my head around a single so seeing your hitch set up made my head spin


How great that you intend on making them maintain the area that they graze.
 

paintponylvr

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Been a while since I was last on. I've only been able to drive the 3 two other times since that first hook - one was at a trail riding place. That got interesting for a couple of reasons (trails narrowed at a couple of spots making it very close to get the evener and cart wheel clear while cornering thru trees, brush, a drop off to the river (that trail is too close to the river and I won't be going that way again) etc and one part of the trail ran along private property fenced w/ a single strand of hot wire w/ 2 new large horses in it - the two foals immediately dashed right under the line and got the runs of their lives as the two biggies wanted to check them out. Thankfully that hot wire stopped them and wasn't low enuff to catch the babies...). And I've been trying to work with other ponies as well. Only did family stuff on Memorial Day other than feeding...

Jules - yes it is work. I have discovered that! I have developed a TRUE appreciation for anyone who does more than a single or even a pair. Adding in more than that will be difficult for me to do on a regular basis as my girls are still too green to do this safely when I spend so much time alone while working them... sigh. But I can haul them to events or even over to Rex's and even if it's not for a lesson, he's around to help out when needed and an extra set of hands and eyes.

I've been asked when I'm going to do a unicorn hitch. Right now... not sure. Handling 3 abreast is still only 2 lines - 1 in each hand or driving with one hand, with the other used to help out. A farm hitch of 4 abreast is also just two lines - much easier to start out with then handling the lines of a unicorn or 4 up hitch... But at least a 4 up is eventually in the picture (want the lines for a 4 abreast first and need to do custom lines for both it and the 3 abreast so the ones I have don't have to be knotted).

For those that want to check out the training that we went thru - BellBit Pair and their individual training - Bell Bit Koalah Koalah - pair of course - this is ony when I have someone around to take pics...
 

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