Driving Discussion 2024

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Well, I've been doing a little ground driving over the winter, just enough to be able to enter some online classes "Walk Only" dressage classes to alleviate the boredom. Some days it's just throw the harness on and video between the rain storms and crumby weather, but we get it done. Sometime more gracefully than others, lol. I was hoping to drive the May test. Was shooting for April but this mud is a bit much. We'll see. My goals are small, very small!
I have not posted much lately as things have been super hectic and stressful here with everyone health issues, including the minis (it all happens at once, right?) but I do check in and read up on everyone's adventures.
I sure hope everyone is recovering well and soon
I sure hope everyone is recovering well and soon
Thanks! We are all a work in progress, lol. Hubby and Mom go for tests in a few weeks and my mini Cappy goes to Tufts for a CT scan of his head on the 22nd. His sinus infections returned and he may have a fistula from between a tooth or his gums up in to his sinus. And I get my back injected next week. It's been busy!
What a busy couple of weeks it's been! My mom, who lives on the farm, we live 10 minutes' drive away, was away visiting her sisters. I got to do all the farm chores myself. I'm glad to do it, that's not an issue, it's just a lot when working full time, single parenting a teen and trying to prep for my taekwondo black belt exam. The fibromyalgia in my neck and shoulders had a hay day (haha hay...) with all the work. My feet ached, but I got loads of steps in every day, so that's a win! I did not get to drive very much though.
Saturday I took Falcor out because my arena is dry! I was looking forward to doing some arena work with him. He had other ideas though. I've taken to lunging him in his harness - sans breast collar and bridle, in a halter. He's starting to offer canter - which I think is great, but to the left he'd BUCK and BUCK!! I thought at first that he was reacting to the breeching, but he's been in breeching consistently since fall. He wouldn't buck much to the right, but consistently to the left and then consistently in the same spot. I'm wondering if he just felt really good, or if something was starting to change noticeably in his body. I wonder about horses who are in chronic paid who appear to be "quiet" or "well broke" but they're actually just protecting themselves from aggravating pain. I wonder if he's starting to feel out his recovering body. I'll probably never know for sure.
Well, I put on his breast collar and bridle and was hoping to put him to. It was windy, but not excessively. It's always windy here. He was very clear that there was no way he could tolerate being hitched and I was not interested in a wreck. So we long lined. After a couple of scoots forward, he started to relax into the walk and we practiced a lot of steering and arena figures anyways. The good part of all that is there was no bucking, or even threat or offer to buck, while we long lined.
I put the Bemer on him and immediately he started to yawn and yawn.
I may never figure out this pony but I'd sure love for him to become consistent.
To go along with the hours logged, I'm so grateful to be home after a very full long weekend. Phillippe and Jasmine accompanied Ali and I to Red Deer for the 2024 Horse Expo Canada where we participated in demos and spent some time in the booth (Ali and I, not the littles) for both the Alberta Donkey and Mule Club as well as the Alberta Carriage Driving Association. I couldn't be more proud of our little animals or my kiddo.
We checked in and set up on Thursday. Had some real issues with accommodations, but made the best of it and weren't really there much anyways.
Friday started demos. Phillippe was up first with the donkey and mule club group. We all paraded in first, as a group, so the animals could get a look at the ring, and then each came back individually to demonstrate their skill. My favorite little dark mini donkey Rosie was first in with her fancy packs full of flowers. The cutest thing that ever existed. I adore her!!! Then my friend Cindy and her two small standards Barry and Bramble pulling a little wagon as a team. Then Phillippe and I were in and did a very little cones course, then the mules came in doing coon jumping, obstacles, jumping, agility and finally Jessica Rabbit with her human Melissa came in and blew everyone away with their extreme cowboy skills! The crowd filled the bleachers each day!
Phillippe got braver and braver as the days went on and by Sunday, he could canter through some of the cones for me!
We were dressed in our full costume for the first time ever, including the fancy plume my friend made for me. Even my old dressage tophat fashioned with yellow ribbon and feather was brought out. And I just love how it all came together. SaddleUp Magazine took pictures and featured us on their instagram. A representative with Cavello Hoof Boots (perhaps the owner?) came to talk with us as she recognized the CLBs. She had me do a really quick video before we went in with the boots. I just wish she had them in yellow.
Friday afternoon Jasmine joined Phillippe in a different ring to do the first demo for the carriage driving club. While the donkey and mule club followed the same format every day, the carriage driving changed daily. Friday we did a demo on how to harness, types of harness, and long lining/ground driving. Miss Jasmine hadn't been out of her stall except to be hand walked and she reminded us promptly how much of a workhorse (mini) she is and insisted she get to go drive afterwards. She was a little feisty in the ring and Ali got a bit overwhelmed, but we got them through safely and they were able to come back Saturday better prepared.
Saturday's demo was about types of vehicles and how to put-to. Ali came in with Jasmine in her vehicle (and a little puffed out after having a good work) to demonstrate an easy entry (Chicoine) and its features. I'd pulled the foot basket off my K-bike and we were able to show what that looks like. As you well know, I don't care to drive in that manner so we did not fully hitch. I just dropped the shafts in the loops and took it right off again. Then we exited while the speaker continued on with another member and her lovely Canadian gelding and their 4-wheel marathon carriage.
Sunday our demo was at nearly the end of the day. The speaker wasn't able to be there and the Canadian team had obligations elsewhere as well, so it was just Ali and I. It was good though, the crowd was quite small. Half were there from the previous 2 days, half were new. Ali and I were fully harnessed and driving, the littles felt pretty relaxed being in the building. I talked and drove, did a recap of the previous topics and added in some of the most common questions we get asked. We worked the animals through their gates and had some fun. It was difficult for me to really focus on the topic while driving my animal, watching for my child's safety and engaging the crowd at the same time.

Although the whole weekend was really fun, it was just a bit too much for one person to do. Setting up 2 booths, pulling shifts between them both, 2 animals, 2 separate demos and one teenager...

The great part is, both groups had a fantastic time and felt that it was really worthwhile going there and plan to go again next year.

Phillippe Ali Drive.jpgJasmine Ali Ground Drive.jpg
ADMC Group Photo.jpgPhillippe Demo Close Up.jpg
Sounds like a great weekend. How did Ali like it? You both accomplished a lot and had a lot of fun, I hope. Great pictures :)

I just took a look on Instagram at Saddle Up Magazine. More great pictures ❤️
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Sounds like a great weekend. How did Ali like it? You both accomplished a lot and had a lot of fun, I hope. Great pictures :)

I just took a look on Instagram at Saddle Up Magazine. More great pictures ❤️
She did great! Met some more kids and had a blast. I was really proud to have her with me!
Yes, the new owners of Saddle Up were just the most lovely ladies! They were enamored with Phillippe and didn't pass up the opportunity for pictures with him. He's such a good egg that I feel confident putting most anyone in the cart with him in front. What a change from last year!
And thank you @Marsha Cassada!! I'm waiting for better pictures to get posted, not just fuzzy cell phone ones. It was my first time putting the new gear altogether and I'm really pleased with it! My top hat has a yellow plume and flower on the left side. It makes me happy!
Thank you so much Standards Equine for sharing the wonderful experience you and your daughter and littles enjoyed! You really gave a sense of the entire event and it would have been both fun and educational to attend in person.

Minnesota also has an annual horse expo, and we have attended some over the years. One year, I helped a friend who raised and competed AQHA reining horses, and it was a lot of work! You all must have just collapsed when you got home! Was it frozen pizza night? 😂

So sorry your accommodations were problematic. A comfortable suitable room is not really a luxury after those long days. My now favorite memory about horse show accommodations was the year the granddaughters and I scored a ground floor room in a hotel near a crossing a stone’s throw from a very active railroad line. 🤣 Thank you Canadian Northern and Burlington Northern Santa Fe! 🤣

That’s a great photo of your daughter and Jasmine! Love the harnesses you have for Jasmine and Phillippe and I now want a yellow feather! 😁 Actually I want the entire look - either one - even though I haven’t driven in years!

Yellow boots would absolutely complete the look! 😂 It wouldn’t be a surprise if the company turns Phillippe into a permanent rep for their boots. Just remember the little people when you two are mega stars! 🤩🌟🌟
My friend came to visit me after being away for nearly 15 years! She stayed with me for a week and we went all over the province. We started out with a ground-driving clinic, then drove our little beasties. It was her first time taking the lines and she had a hoot! Loved it!
Then we went to Jasper in the Rocky Mountains and I took her up the sky tram. She was so excited, I loved just watching her reaction!
The next day we went to Maligne canyon and enjoyed the scenery before coming home. I had a taekwondo class that I couldn't miss so we were home for a couple days before heading south to Drumhellar in the badlands. I just dropped her off with a friend south a few hours away but it was a great week! This weekend got really smoky again. South of Ft. McMurray is on fire (again...) so there's loads of smoke blowing down here that makes working ponies a no-no.

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