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maplegum

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I'd love get Bailey and Willow driving. They are both too young at the moment. Bailey will be 2 in October (where did that time go?
) and Willow will be 1 in September. I'd like to ask some questions to start me on the right path.

~ How old should they be before starting?

~ Is Bailey too small at 30.5 inches? Is Willow as better size at 34 inches and still growing? Although Bailey is smaller, he is a much stockier build. Willow is very finely built.

~ Is there anything to look for as far as their temperament at this point? Any signs that would tell me they would be suitable?

~ We live in an area that has sealed roads, but quite a few hills. How do horses cope driving in steeper areas or is this as big no-no?

~ Do they need shoes once you start driving?

Ideally, I'd love to have both of them trained so we could all go out as a family driving.

I guess this is also something that would need for them to be sent away to be taught? I would also need lessons! How long does it usually take to get a horse trained for driving?

It just looks like so much fun and something I have thought about since buying Bailey. Does anyone now of a good website showing the basics?

Thanks in advance,

Leonie
 

Alex

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Hi!

You can start Bailey now, grounddriving. Its a tough call on willow, but IME a lot yearlings are too young mentally to start.

Bailey could only carry a medium/small adult, while Willow could pull two.

A nice pleasure horse needs to be moderatly calm, quiet, not very spookey. Again you can drive "hotter" horses, but Its nice pleasure driving whith a calm one.

Steep Hills are OK, but not a ton.

No shoes. If you on concret alot you can get buckle on shoes.

Have Fun!
 

Alex

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Oops I missed the last two!

If you are inexperienced, sending them to a trainer may be best. You would need a trainer for you too, and this forum has tons to offer. Im training my gelding right now. Since spring we have been Ground driving, and will continue thru winter. I spring I will hook him and take it from there. Taking it slow and fixing any problens. JMO, and people will tell you different.

There are plenty of training Books, videos etc, too.
 

MiLo Minis

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Depending on a horse's physical and mental maturity they can be started driving as young as 2. Some people will get them used to the harness by putting it on them as yearlings but that is pushing it in my mind - I like to let babies be babies.

At 30.5" Bailey can drive but won't be as versatile as Willow with the bigger size.

The 2 major problems with a driving horse are rearing and bolting. If your horses show either of these reactions when confronted with something fearful in hand, and can't be easily quieted, it is possible they may not make good driving candidates. But remember that they are young and may settle as they mature growing out of their baby tendencies to overreact - making them great candidates for driving! Bolder, less timid horses tend to make the better driving horses. It can be very difficult to assess a horse until you actually get them in the shafts. Some very steady in hand horses just can't deal with the stresses associated with driving.

Work on hills is great for developing strength in the hind end which a driving horse needs to be able to pull properly. You could work them loose or in hand on the hills now to get them ready for the future. You will have to use your good judgement once they are in the shafts as to whether or not the hills are too much for them. You may have to get out and walk up the steeper ones and the same or miss altogether the ones going down as, if they are too steep, the cart can push the horse's legs out from under him causing an accident. Willow won't have as much trouble as Bailey would just because of his size.

They don't need shoes as long as their feet are staying in good condition. Minis tend to have quite sturdy feet. If you find they are chipping a lot or getting sore you might have to look at getting them shod.

I can generally have a horse greenbroke with the basics in a month for an experienced driver/rider to continue to educate but for a green driver you should expect to put 3 months of training or more on them. Lessons for yourself are a wonderful idea and you really should do that if you want to drive. Most trainers that will take your horse will also be willing to train you too - just ask.

There are many good books on the subject of driving and I recommend you read and learn as much as you can now but that can't replace hands on experience that the lessons will give you.

Those "buckle on shoes" that Alex recommends are, in my opinion, not worth much. They tend to be slippery on hard flat surfaces and not very comfortable for the horse for any length of time driving. IF you find it necessary to shoe your horses please look at proper shoes. Bailey would likely need glue ons and Willow would likely be able to be properly shod.
 
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