Kechi's 2nd & KoKo's 1st hitch

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Well-Known Member
Nov 27, 2009
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Cameron, NC
Just a quick update!

Kechi and KoKo have had some serious inconsistent handling - yet maybe it's been a good thing for the both of them, allowing them to "think" about the work that they've had. I know that when I went thru the same steps as did last week when actually hitched Kechi - the steps were really short & sweet reminders and then went to next step easily.

Julie, of Dragon's Wish Farm, came up to visit and I'd already planned on working these two mares (as we did when she came up the last time). With Kechi - things moved fairly quickly. I ground drove her in the round pen, then had Julie take over - she asked questions regarding Kechi's responses to bit/lines, some ?s regarding ground driving and lounging and remarked at how "light" she was. I guess she is - though to me - it's more of an uneducated mouth or maybe just the beginnings of becoming truly light and responsive. However, I then thought about it and said welll... maybe ... compare her later to KoKo - who definitely isn't the same.

They seemed to get along, so I went to house to get the camera & then after had Julie start ground driving with the shafts, I had to go get fresh batteries.


Then onward - I moved the cart out of the roundpen & we took her to it. I made adjustments to her harness. She was very accepting and a lot quieter than last week when I hooked her up by myself, so we hitched her. Started out with the line on her & no pics. After a few minutes, the line was removed and Julie got some nice pics of her during her 2nd hitch.



I'm thinking that as this little mare matures, becomes a solid driving horse, gets fit and conditioned, that she will make a great little driving mare. It's still very exciting! She has a lot of very nice extension and drive from the rear quarters.

And then Julie was able to drive her - she says it's the first time she's driven a mini (from a cart - she'd already started ground driving her guy at home) or driven in years (If I understood correctly). We did put the line back on her (I should have had a halter on her to attach it to instead of the bit) while Julie got the feel for it and we will go and find a helmet for Julie and I need to be wearing mine (did last week). Julie "OK"d the use of the pics I took of her.



We shared lunch (which she'd brought up with her), I showed her how I did some of my braiding (finished off an 8 strand collar), transferred pics to a "stick" for her to keep and then back outside to work with KoKo. We'd left the cart in the pasture and the cats seem to really like using it as a place to take naps. We look up from fitting harness (parts - mixed and matched) to KoKo and the yearling filly (Streak) that had gone to Nationals is checking out the cats sitting in the cart. Then... She stepped up into the basket herself with both front legs - with both of us surprised and looking at each other, than back at the filly. I'd left the camera in the house, my phone was way out of range... and she started to step into it with her rear hooves, maybe bumped an edge (?) and then hopped sideways - swinging her hind legs over the shafts and jumping out of the basket with her fronts... silly filly. Our comment to each other - "... the halter horse is ready to go into performance..."

On with KoKo - she's ground driven first, with one & then two shafts - with both myself and Julie working with her. No pictures - not even with my phone (since part of the time I was on it). She's proving very responsive too, though different from Kechi. We are ready to head out to the cart - but I changed her bridle from the one she's been wearing to the same one that Kechi has been wearing - her head is larger than Kechi's and requires the headstall to be let out, but the bit fits and she seems to accept it better. She is also able to wear the same breast collar - w/ no adjustments. Since she's not had any real workings around the cart yet, I bring it up to her several different times and from both sides rubbing the shafts on her, setting them onto her back.

So tied a rope to the shafts of the cart and had Julie ground drive her while I was walking at her side and supporting the shafts. She did well during several turns, starts and halts. So... Went ahead and hitched her the rest of the way and Julie held her on a line while I stepped into and then out of the cart. After wanting to move previously, she stood calmly for this "silly-ness". A couple of times and sat in the seat, settled and asked her to walk. Just as with Kechi, took her a moment. With me in the seat, she wasn't as willing at first to step out. Julie waited for her calmly and I got her moving. We did some nice sweeping turns - all towards the right at first (since I'd hitched her facing a different direction than originally planned), halted at the middle of a long figure 8 and switched sides. Went again at a walk. So... found a nice stopping point and ended for the day...

Another great day with the two youngsters.


Well-Known Member
Sep 24, 2012
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Big Lake, Alaska
Great job. I can't wait to get as far as you. I am hoping the weather gets better soon so we can get back to training.

Silver City Heritage Farmstead

Can't stop now (formerly Dragons Wish Farm)
May 29, 2012
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Raeford (Silver City) NC
Just popping in quick to say a big "THANK YOU" to Paula, Kechi and KoKo for letting me participate!!
I'll be honest, going over to Paula's has shown me something in a great big way....I DO actually know what I'm doing!!

Yes, it was back in the '80's that I apprenticed and drove...Arabs in pleasure/show harness only, in the ring only, and mostly ground-driving for me (after all, I WAS the apprentice.) So, I'm remembering what all the parts of the harness are, re-learning how to communicate through the lines, learning how to "feel" different horses, and how to THINK about what I'm doing and why. Fortunately, I always ask "why" when my horses don't react as I expected, and I also ask how I can communicate more clearly with them. I know that most times my horses are doing what I asked them to do, and not what I wanted them to do...what I mean by that is what I expected to receive as a response from my cues might not have been what I was cuing them to do....does that make sense??

At any rate, I'm excited to be able to participate in Paula's program, and I'm grateful she thought to share my firsts with you all...hope we'll have many more as the year progresses!! Julie

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