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I hooked Billy!

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Kellie in OR

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I HOOKED BILLY TO THE CART YESTERDAY!! He was such a good boy. He stool still as a statue tied while I fiddled with all the adjustments to get the cart level and the breeching correct. When I got everything done I untied him and led him pulling the cart around the arena about three times in a figure eight. Then I walked behind the cart ground driving him for about three loops, then I hopped into the cart and rode about three loops. BILL WAS A SUPERSTAR!!!! I am so excited! Billy is getting closer to trotting with cart around the park, and becoming more fit and healthy. Go Billy go!

The other reason I wanted to get Billy in the cart (ASAP, before Hondo) is because I have been keeping the lady I got Billy from updated with stories and pictures. Her seven year old son Cody is fighting lukemia, Billy was his pony and he has liked getting pictures and videos. I am hoping by the time Cody is done with chemo and is feeling better that Billy will be safe and solid in his cart training and Cody and his family can come and drive him.

I hooked Billy up again this morning and had Todd here to video. Bill did real good, no panick attacks or misbehaving. You can tell by the video he is very very green, a little confused, very (FAT) out of shape, and he is fighting the bridle. I think if I am going to continue to drive him I am going to have to use his halter. It is just not fair to expect him to learn when it is obvious how much his mouth is bothering him. I have done quite lot of ground driving bitless, I don't see why I couldn't drive him (arena only) bitless...? He is getting his teeth floated next thursday. Bill is 7 or 8 yearsold and never had his teeth worked on. I think this will really help with the bitting problem.

So here is the video......

http://s19.photobucket.com/albums/b194/kra...nt=7fb8463d.pbr

Here is a picture with him harnessed and in the cart the first time. I did raise the breast collar the second time. Everything seemed solid and balanced. But if driving peeps see something I could do different or better I would welcome suggestions.

 

Kellie in OR

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BTW- We are going to modify the cart and the make the shorter shafts that loop. Bill is really short and this is silly how far they go past his shoulder. I measure Billy at 31 inches at the last mane hair. But he is square...well actually he is round, but you know what I mean, LOL!
 

susanne

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That is so exciting, Kellie! Congratulations!

I clearly remember the exhiliration of that first ride (not so long ago for Mingus). Great, too, that he is so good -- but give yourself credit where it is deserved, as you obviously have done a great job.

Now you need to get him and his cart up to the Beach Drive!
 

CheyAut

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Congrats!


I know you're going to shorten the shafts, but until you do that, i'd move him up further if it were me. I also would never drive in a halter, JMO


Jessi
 

Kellie in OR

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Thank you everyone! I have been ground driving, desensitizing and working on voice commands for a few months. But Bill is just a pretty cool guy. We still have lots of work to do before we hit the trails/beach, but some day we'll be out there!

Jessi- I had thought about moving him forward in the cart. It just seemed so perfectly balanced the way I did it in the picture that I thought it might un-balance it if I moved him up. I will definitely give it a try. Thanks!

Does anyone actually drive bitless? I have a halter that adjust around the nose so I can make it snug, then I clip the reins to the side, like a sidepull bridle. Bill responds quite well to this and gives to pressure, turns and stops well. I was thinking of putting the halter on under his driving bridle that has the bit removed, not driving in just the open halter. I ride bitless quite a lot. Would it not be OK to drive bitless as long as they are trained to repond that way?

Bill gets his teeth done next thursday, along with blood work. I guess I will put his driving on hold and just ground drive in his halter for now unless someone can tell me driving bitless has worked good. He is just too uncomfortable in the bit. He is doing so well I would hate to have something bad happen and scare him.

BTW- When I showed my husband the pictures of the shortened shaft cart and asked him if he could do that for me he said "Easy, but I will need a pipe bender.....and I've been looking for an excuse to buy one." So I will get him one way early, like monday, and then put a bow on it Christmas morning, LOL!
 

Alex

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Do NOT drive him without a bit! See if its his teeth, then make sure the bit fits, make sure its not pinching. My bet is hes not used to it. Leave him in his stall, supervised, and let him chomp away, he will learn to shut it.

What kind of bit is it?

Hes cute! BTW I love your harness!! Is it a smuckers? Camptown?
 

lilmiraclesfarm

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aww, how awsome is that. I love driving. Its sad that I just don't seem to find the time this year. I drive my gelding bitless. Sometimes If I'm only going down the road I just toss his halter on and drive him. He's soo bombproof and voice commanded. But any of my other horses I wouldn't dream of driving them that way.
 

Kellie in OR

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Hi Alex,

I have two bits he hates equally: a Myler low port and a single joint 1/2 cheek snaffle. I have left him to wear the bit for extended periods while I am close by cleaning stalls. I think it makes him worse rather than better. I am considering getting a simple solid mullen bit to try. It will be very interesting what the vet finds with his teeth.

The harness is the Sport model from Chimacum Tack in TX. I am very pleased with the quality and the customer service.
 

Kellie in OR

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Thanks Lil Miracles, glad to know someone drives bitless. But Bill is far from bombproof, in fact he is green as spring grass! But he does have a good temperment.
 

Keri

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Make sure the vet checks for wolf teeth. They fall right where the bit would lay. Also, you can get a bit seat done in his teeth to make it feel better for him. I never put a bit in the horses mouth until their teeth are done. That way I know they aren't fighting the bit becuase of their teeth.
 

Alex

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Just remember, your horse could easily turn wild and decide to dart. Having a barn halter on will NOT stop him with ease. Dont do it.

I say this all from experience.

Ground Driving is Ok in a halter but not driving hitched.
 

rabbitsfizz

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OK....he is still running ahead of the cart, you need to go back a bit and get him bitted properly.

Myself, I would not be driving this horse in blinders...this is a personal thing and you have to be OK in your own mind, but he does not like those blinders.

That being said there is a lot you can still do with what you have...you can take the whole bridle up at least two notches, possibly more and put two wrinkles in the corners of his mouth which is correct with a snaffle bit.

Also, in the picture he is hitched up pretty well, I would agree with taking off the halter, and the noseband needs to go up a few notches, and you don't need the halter.

In the video you do appear to have a check on him, if you do, take it off as you already have problems with his mouth and that would not help at all.

You are right about the breast collar, but you have sorted that......the breeching seems alright, you look good to go, you are just going a tiny bit too fast.

Slow down a bit, go back to a few basics, and you will be fine.
 
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Kathy2m

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You might want to try a french link snaffle, they are much kinder on the roof of their mouth. I had an egg butt snaffle and Abby did O.K. with it but when I switched to the french link she did much better. I got mine from Mini Express, and I think Iowa Valley Carriage has them too. Kathy
 

maplegum

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Go Kellie! Go Billy!

I don't know the 1st thing about driving but it's something I'd love to get into once Bailey and Willow mature.

It's looks like so much fun.

Keep us updated.
 

Minimor

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My old computer doesn't allow me to watch most videos, but from the photo I would suggest raising the bit in his mouth--it looks like it is too low. Also, what size is the bit? It looks like it might be too wide for him. I would second the suggestion of trying a french link bit.

Good for you for getting him started--way to go!!
 

MiLo Minis

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It is a bit difficult to see from the pictures only but it appears to me that the bit is too big and hanging too low in his mouth. Can he comfortably close his mouth over it? It could be that it is also too thick. What size of bit is it?
 

Kellie in OR

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Before I go spend $$ money on more bits I'm going to see what the teeth guy has to say and how Bill reacts to that. If that does not help I will try the french link or a simple mullen.

I know he is not working in the bridle or accepting the bit. The bit is in the correct place, and has been both raised and lowered to check the response. Nothing makes him happy with the bit, that is why the appointment to get his teeth done. He is much happier, steadier in hand and responsive to the reins when I ground drive him off the halter. This (bitting issue) has gotten worse the last couple weeks which is not the norm for my horses, I am fairly good at putting a mouth on them.

There is no check, no martingale, and I have a buckle nose halter on order so I can take it off when I am done. 99% of the time I am working horses alone. I have put a good whoa/stand on him, but I'd rather be safe than sorry. I feel better with him tied while I hitch as I can step way back and check out the look & balance of everything.

The blinder postion I am still playing with. Your saying they should be higher? When I ground drive him in the open bridle (with bit) he acts the same (unhappy in the mouth). He could have some issues with the blinders, I thought it was all the bit. I will ground drive him tonight with the blinders and no bit to see how he responds.

Drive him in the cart w/o blinders? I used to drive my appy mare open with no problems, and others told me it was dangerious.

Sorry for the additional questions, just trying to get it all clear. Thanks for the suggestions, the wheels in ma head are spinning. I can't wait until his DR appointment. Until then I'll do some more groundwork. Thanks again!
 

hobbyhorse23

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Kelly, first of all: Congratulations!! That's great that you're getting your boy put to cart and I'm sure in no time he'll be doing fabulously. It's evident from the video that you're not exaggerating his problem with the bit and I'm glad to hear you say you're going to put his training on hold until he sees the dentist. Please remember that if his teeth need work he is objecting from PAIN, so every time you put that bit in his mouth you're building a negative experience that he's going to associate with driving. The last thing we want is for him to decide he needs to escape from the pain and bolt with the cart- it would be very difficult to regain his trust after a disaster like that!
Fix his teeth and then get him working properly in a bit long-lining before you put him back between the shafts. If he can't bend and accept contact from the ground, how is he supposed to do it in a cart? That's rushing things and I agree with Fizz to make a few changes and get him solid before proceeding. Being hitched should be almost a non-event and won't take long at all if you've got the groundwork solid.

It doesn't look to me from those brief videos like the blinkers are part of his problem. I'd raise them so his eyes are centered (you may have to split the crownpiece up further to do so, I know I did on my Camptown bridle) and take the bit up although I feel two wrinkles is probably a little excessive on a thicker mini mouth. That rule IMO was really intended for hot-bloods with fine thin skin around their mouths and shouldn't be applied to a horse with thicker skin that doesn't wrinkle as easily.

Kellie in OR said:
Drive him in the cart w/o blinders? I used to drive my appy mare open with no problems, and others told me it was dangerious.
Yet another piece of driving doctrine that some traditionalists decide is gospel.
I think generally speaking it is a good idea to drive in blinkers for the reasons often quoted and most horses do fine in them. Some truly need them and would never be safe driven open. But there are those few horses for whom the blinkers are simply intolerable and for them, removing the blinkers removes the problem. Breanna Sheahan was driving both her mares open at Inavale, I don't know if you noticed. Kody drives open too, the reason I use blinkers is not because he needs them but because he likes it so much that if he's allowed to get used to driving open he throws a fit when I put him back in blinkers for the breed shows!
It's easier to keep him blinkered all the time. There are very good reasons for using blinkers but it's equally important to know when you have the exception to the rule and be willing to flex.

Does anyone actually drive bitless?
Yes, some people drive bitless. Yes, if the horse is trained to it properly and the alternative is a horse dangerously distracted by pain in his mouth then I suppose it could be a valid option. My elderly Arab rides very well in a halter...most of the time. Last year at the beach he suddenly decided he didn't want to listen to it and it was shocking how little control I had. Yipes! There is something (a lot, actually) to be said for using a bit or at least a proper sidepull. Given the lack of physical contact when driving I think I'd want a bit to reinforce the control my body would have given me while riding.

BTW- When I showed my husband the pictures of the shortened shaft cart and asked him if he could do that for me he said "Easy, but I will need a pipe bender.....and I've been looking for an excuse to buy one." So I will get him one way early, like monday, and then put a bow on it Christmas morning, LOL!
JEEEEAAALOUS!!! Dude, I want a pipebender!
You'll have to let us know how the experiments go. Meanwhile, go ahead and let your traces out so Billy is further forward in the cart. Don't worry about the balance, it should be fine. If it looks like the cart is tipping forward you can raise the tugs another notch to fix it. Oh, and don't lean forward when driving! You appear to have good steady hands but they're too low which is causing you to hunch forward and probably put weight on the shafts. Get your elbows back by your sides, raise your hands, pull your shoulders back and sit up tall with your weight squarely over your tail bone and your rear towards the rear of the seat without leaning on the backrest. Other than that you look great! You've done a good job hitching and appear to be a natural driver.

Leia
 
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rabbitsfizz

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I honestly have yet to find any good reason to drive in blinkers...I am always open to the possibility that the next horse I train will need them, I am always ready to put them on, I have never found one that goes better in them than without, and find it both strange and sad that the American Mini Societies make them mandatory...ours do not, neither do our driving societies, they make it mandatory that the horse be safe, which is far more important, IMO.

I still think the bit is far too low, and it will be hard to raise the blinkers without raising the bit, although not impossible.

Leia, Kody does not drive in a check outside the breed ring (another strange rule!!) it seems strange to me that you should drive him all the time in blinkers for the odd breed class??

Anyway, back to basics...if the horse is not accepting the bit he is not ready to be driven, it may be that he will end up being driven without a bit, in safety, but does he actually go forward into the (non-existent) bit when driven on a noseband...a halter allows him to evade again, it could well be that he is actually objecting to the control, try rigging up a "bridle" with no bit...do you have a show slip??

If you do, or can borrow one, put a strap where the chain normally goes, a non-draw action strap, and attach the reins and try him in that, that would give you an idea of whether or not he is objecting to going forward into control on his head.
 

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