How do you drive horses?

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horsedreamer

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Ok the mini that we are going to look at is trained to drive but I am not. LOL So can anyone give me any tips? I have tried calling all the local stables to see about lessons but can not find one that gives them in driving. The man that owns him right now said he would show me how to hook him up and drive him when we go look at him. Maybe I talk him in to giving me lessons even though its about an hours drive. But in case he can't do you guys have any suggestions? Is it hard to drive?

Amanda
 

Dr. Pam

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hoooooboy--I see MiniHGal is writing at the same time so can't wait to see what she says


You need instruction. Period. Reading books is fine but an hours drive for lessons is nothing! Take all the help he'll give. Go to clinics. Check out any Driving Clubs in your area. Where are you located?
 

bpotze

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I'm sure you will get lots of info, but I can tell you about my experience, or lack of.

When I first got my minis, I knew nothing about driving. My husband got me a cart and harness, showed me how to hook up the harness and I ( knowing nothing) started my gelding, who also knew nothing, under harness. It was so easy I was shocked. I thought it was just my gelding that was so easy, but I have since hooked up others, and they are just as easy. I had never driven a horse, but just sat on the cart and tapped my guy slightly on the butt and off we went. I must say, that to start with I drove him in our riding arena. He turn, stops and backs just fine, and it was easy. If yours is already broke to drive, I'll bet it'll be great.

Good Luck
 

lyn_j

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[SIZE=14pt]Amanda I would take the time to go for the driving lessons. I drove an hour and a half one way three times a week for almost a year. IT was well worth it because I have the confidence to drive any horse now and even train my own. I do send my show horses out to a trainer though. Better not to have to undo what I did wrong....lol also now that I am visually impaired it is safer to have them started .[/SIZE]

Lyn
 

Al B

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Has Amanda ever said where she's located. Perhaps we could point her to someone who can help.

Driving is easy. Driving well is not.
 

MiniHGal

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I would definitely try to presuade him to give you lessons...even if you have to trailer over there or he has to find time to drive out(which may or may not be possible).

There are many, many things that can go wrong with driving--especially as runaways and wrecks are so much worse because of the cart attached. That said, with a well-trained horse, it is a lot of fun and very relaxing.

Ask him if the horse ground drives well. If so, that may be an option to consider for a while. That way, if the horse spooks or something goes wrong and he runs, you don't have the cart to worry about and the horse is more likely to be 'unscarred'(mentally and physically) by the experience. That way you can make mistakes and they won't turn into big problems. If the horse does grounddrive, ask him to show you how the horse does it, before you finish hitching and actually drive. (Ground drive means that you have all the harness on, but you don't attach the cart. You walk behind them(or to the side, your preference) and 'drive' them.)

Make sure you know how to adjust the harness correctly and safely. If it is not correct, you are even more likely to wreck or spook the horse. Also, ask him to show you how the horse is harnessed--what goes on first, what he tightens, etc. Does the horse have any problems with certain movements/parts of the harness, etc? Does he tie well while being harnessed or is this a 'free-standing' trained horse(the horse isn't tied while hitching...some people prefer this).

Always have a whip with you. If you get into trouble where he needs to go forward NOW, a whip is much better than no whip. As you get more experienced, the whip is used to tap on the sides to keep him straight, move the horse over, etc. Ask if the horse is used to the whip signals, and ask him to show you.

Go slow and calm. Remember, the best thing is usually to stop and comfort the horse if he gets spooky--he should know that instead of running, he should slow down and wait for your direction(very much a trust issue). You can always unhitch, so if you feel nervous, unhitch as soon as possible. Make sure the horse knows what Whoa means and responds to it in all situations.

I wouldn't say driving is hard, necessarily...just a lot of things to remember--it becomes second nature once you have driven a lot. There is a lot more I could cover, but I will stop there. Good luck!! Hopefully the horse is one of those that take care of a newbie driver--they are absolute gems.
 

MiniHGal

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There are some very nice horse/pony driving people in Southern Pines, NC--don't know if they would work with a mini, but you could ask for lessons with one of their horses, it would help you learn the right way to put on harness, cart, and drive the horse.

Do a web search too.
 

rabbitsfizz

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Good advice so far- don't wish to scare you off, but a lot can be caused to go wrong by harnessing even a very well seasoned horse incorrectly. A lot of horses will take just about anything and grin and bear it, a lot will have a hissy fir if the breeching is too tight _ That's the bit that goes around the bum and is, effectively the brakes- If the harness this guy is using does not have it IT HAS TO HAVE TO BE SAFE, no arguments, no excuses- a lot of Minis are driven without it but it is just not safe off the showground. You need a bit more info than you have- which is basically none, isn't it??
I would advise buying a good illustrated book, it does not have to be for Minis, most things that apply to big horses apply to Minis, especially the harness, if you can work out an arrangement whereby the horse stays with his now owner and you pay him to teach you it will be worth it. One word of warning, as with anything there are good guys and bad guys in Minis too. If you have a bad feeling you are most likely right, get in the car, say thankyou politely and leave. It could save your life- a cart wreck is NOT even humorous, let alone funny. If you do not feel safe, do not get in. If you do not like the horse, do not buy it, in short, take all your brains with you and leave your heart behind.
 

horsedreamer

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I just got off the phone with Wallace (the man that owns him now) and he said that he would be happy to show me the basics as far as hooking up and all that goes with it and give me some lessons until I feel comfortable.
I don't mind driving out to his place for the lessons because I know it will be well worth it. I am so happy he agreed. He says he has a large horse that is great for lessons and that he will start me with him and then when I get the hang of it we will switch to King (thats the minis name).

I also asked him if King was one of the pony looking minis or if he was the big horse but smaller package mini and he said he looks like a little big horse. I am very excited about meeting them both in person. I may go ahead and ride out there this afternoon instead of waiting until Saturday.
 

horsedreamer

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I just wanted to add that he said King is very well trained just a little rusty because he has not had much time to work with him. He said its been about a month since hes had him hooked up. He said that he bought King at a sell a year ago and that he had come from the Amish people up north. He said he has a beautiful trot and prances around like his is the king. Wallace has lots of years driving experiance and does carriage rides for weddings and such. He seems like a really nice man. Oh and he also said he has taught people before. I didn't ask him how much he was going to charge me for the lessons I will wait until I meet King first to make sure I like him and he likes me. Maybe I will take him a carrott or something.

Amanda
 

CZP1

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Hi Amanda

You are not that far from Tryon/Landrum, there are many people in that area that drive and there are CDE over and the FENCE area. If you contact Claudette Robinson at Country Carriages USA they are in Columbus, NC. I recently bought a harness from them and she gave me the names of some clubs in the area, and people that give lessons. Try the Carolina Carriage Club and also there was a club that recently formed called the East Coast Miniature Horse Club. We have monthly meetings, just had a show and we have a member who is planning a driving clinic in October.

PM if you need any additional information


Chris
 

justaboutgeese

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Take him up on his offer of lessons. No person is better qualified than the owner of the horse who knows the animals temperment. Listen to what he says and learn what he has to share. Going this route will give you the best chance at having a pleasant experience. Driving is the aspect of this hobby we enjoy most. We drive the boys into town on summer evenings to buy ice cream cones What better use is ther for a mini.
 

Sanny

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You've already gotten some really great advice here, I just wanted to congratulate you and tell you we will all look forward to hearing how it goes.

We got into minis about a year and a half ago and I didn't start driving until this past winter. We bought a well-trained mini with a great attitude and I didn't want to do anything at home that might ruin him. We drove an hour and a half to a trainer that we liked and the whole first lesson was her teaching me how to put the harness on and off and explaining how everything should be adjusted and how it all worked. We then progressed to driving and the whole family started off right with someone that knew what they were doing. She is a trainer herself and a certified and experienced judge and she does more than just tell us what to do. We know the reason behind it and also get the perspective that a judge has in the show ring. Myself and my kids ages 7 and 10 all show now in driving and all of us do very well - the 7 year old holds his own (and wins sometimes) against experienced good teen-age drivers in youth driving classes and we still are taking lessons. As a matter of fact, I just booked three hours for this Sunday with the same trainer. I know a big part of it is that we searched around and found horses that were a perfect match for what we wanted, but that wouldn't mean anything either if we as drivers didn't have a good understanding of what we were doing.

OH....and it is great that the owner is willing to get you off to a good start. We've bought both our driving horses from people that live thousands of miles away so working with them was not an option although I wish it could have been. Both owners though, were terrific about answering questions and we've done lots of e-mail and calling for help and advice.

Though I'd ridden horses all my life I was so afraid of driving and now I don't know why - I LOVE IT - and I don't get a sore back, neck and knees afterward like I was with riding. My two old riding horses are pretty much retired and just living the good life (they are both in their late twenties) and we drive the minis all the time now.
 
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