teaching mini to drive

Discussion in 'Driving Miniature Horses' started by lucky seven, Jan 5, 2011.

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  1. Jan 5, 2011 #1

    lucky seven

    lucky seven

    lucky seven

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    In the spring I will be trying to teach my mini to drive by myself. I have never driven and my mini is young and untrained. I plan on buying books and cd's to learn from during the long winter but would like to know what equipment I should purchase beforehand and if there is anyone on this board from upstate ny (saratoga/glens falls) area that could offer assistance if needed? thanks
     
  2. Jan 5, 2011 #2

    hobbyhorse23

    hobbyhorse23

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    There are LOTS of driving people in your area. Please go take some lessons with an experienced horse and driver combination before attempting to train your own youngster! [​IMG] Green + green = black and blue as I'm sure you well know. [​IMG] You can pick up many good safety tips from books and videos and if you're an experienced horseperson with good common sense and ability to read your horse's comfort level you can probably do a lot of the training yourself, but if you don't know what driving itself is supposed to feel like there's no way for you to show your horse how to do it.

    That said, there's an awful lot of ground-training you can do yourself. Just how "untrained" is this youngster? And how old? If he or she is at least three, sensible, and has basic halter and lead training then you can be working on an iron-clad "whoa" and teaching ground-work and lunging. I cannot over-emphasize the importance of Whoa-Stand! Don't teach him to do it off a little jerk of the leadshank like so many mini people do, teach it as a voice command and hand signal so you can tell him to Whoa from anywhere in or out of his line of sight and he'll stop instantly. He or she should also know "Walk on," "Trot," "Trot on," "Back," and some version of "Step" or "Over" to indicate moving sideways. I personally teach "Canter" as well but that's an individual preference. The horse should be desensitized to barking dogs, rattling tarps, ropes in the vicinity of its legs, anything and everything you can think of. Bombproof is not too much to ask!

    As for equipment, it would be good to buy a surcingle, maybe some elastic (or better yet, sliding) sidereins and a set of long-lines. You'll want to take lessons in how to use them but that's the basic stuff you can't live without. Well, that and an open bridle and a decent bit. Lots of threads on this forum about that!

    Leia
     
  3. Jan 5, 2011 #3

    targetsmom

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    There is a wonderful driving club in your area - the Saratoga Driving Association (www.saratogadriving.com). They are even having a mid-winter driving conference next month on Feb 19. I wish I lived closer. I did join them one year and the people are very helpful and friendly. The only ADS event I competed in was their Pleasure Driving Show in 2009. Please contact someone from the driving club, attend the conference if you can, and take it from there!
     
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  4. Jan 5, 2011 #4

    lucky seven

    lucky seven

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    My boy is 3 and can be a brat sometimes. He pays attention one day but not the next but tries his best. I will look into the driving association and see what is coming up with them. thanks for the help
     
  5. Jan 5, 2011 #5

    disneyhorse

    disneyhorse

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    I would highly, highly recommend taking lots of driving lessons and learning all about it in person before attempting to train a horse to drive. Books and DVDs are not adequate, in my opinion.

    I am sure there are lots of people in NY that drive, don't just limit yourself to people with minis, either.

    Good luck, and I hope you take the time to educate yourself! It took me several YEARS of driving trained horses before I was able to train one of my own to drive.

    Andrea
     
  6. Jan 6, 2011 #6

    RhineStone

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    Is he cut or still a stud? If you are a beginner, I would definitely either cut the stud or get a gelding to train after having some lessons.

    I didn't have the luxury of learning to drive before I taught my own, BUT we went to some clinics and taught my own teenage something Arab-cross very well-broke Western Pleasure/Trail class gelding who I trusted with my life. When I look back on some of the totally green horses I taught to drive since knowing how to drive, I can see that it would have been a TOTAL disaster if I would have taught them when I didn't really know anything about driving. [​IMG]

    Myrna
     
  7. Jan 6, 2011 #7

    lucky seven

    lucky seven

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    He is a gelding, I have to measure him again as he had quite a growth spurt and I want to buy the correct equipment.
     
  8. Jan 7, 2011 #8

    MiLo Minis

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    How much background do you have with handling horses? Would you consider training your own horse to drive if it was a full size horse? So many people think because they are Minis they are small and easy to handle. Yes, they are easier to deal with than a full size horse just because of lower height, weight and strength but, believe me, Minis can be very powerful and are definitely much stronger than we humans are. If you knew basically nothing about teaching math, would anyone hire you to teach their children math? To be fair to not just yourself but your horse as well you really do need to learn how to drive before ever contemplating teaching your horse yourself. There are so many things that can go wrong even if you read all the books in the world! You will be unsure and nervous which will not help your horse out at all. Horses being herd animals pick up on our feelings and emotions really well and you will make him unsure and nervous. When something goes wrong (notice I said WHEN and not IF) you won't know how to react instinctively to put it right as quickly as possible so that hopefully nothing comes of it. Until you can confidantly handle a driving horse I would NOT even think to attempt to train him yourself. :modedit: Please read the rules page. http://www.lilbeginnings.com/forum/et/
     
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  9. Jan 7, 2011 #9

    RhineStone

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    A good instructor can even save you money in this regard by helping you measure your horse properly. Minis are some of the hardest horses to measure because not only do inches matter, but 1/4" as well! [​IMG] I almost have a collection of browbands from mismeasuring horses' heads! [​IMG] And even if you want to send back parts that don't fit, an instructor can save you shipping.

    There are people around who are not formal trainers, but just like to help people and their horses. You don't have to get a full-fledged Trainer to train you (although then you hopefully know what you are getting). Checking around with your local driving club can get you all sorts of contacts including mentors. The point is that getting experienced help in ANY form is THE best method of training for you and your horse. (Written for the masses as well as the OP.)

    Myrna
     
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  10. Jan 7, 2011 #10

    lucky seven

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  11. Jan 8, 2011 #11

    MiLo Minis

    MiLo Minis

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    In that case then if you think you are going to save money by training yourself, you need to re-think. I agree with Myrna, you don't have to go the professional route if you can find someone EXPERIENCED but amateur that is willing to help you that is great! But any money you spend training yourself and your horse is money well invested in your safety as well as his and it can be hard for someone with no experience themselves to know if the amateur helping them is truly experienced enough themselves to train you and your horse properly.
     
  12. Jan 8, 2011 #12

    lucky seven

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    [​IMG] I totally agree with you there! Freya Farm in Salem is close by, and I am going to contact her about driving lessons first and then possibly teaching my boy to drive. Anyone can say that they can train but I want him done correctly and safely. That is my main concern. I would rather he didn't leave my yard. That way I know he is okay. That was also my main reason for wanting to train myself. That way I know he is being cared for in the manner that he is used to. Besides his buddy would miss him.
     
  13. Jan 8, 2011 #13

    shorthorsemom

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    I ditto the comments about getting some experience and learning on a trained horse. I spent a couple of years working on teaching my green horses to drive. I got as far as ground driving but never made the leap to buying a cart and teaching them to drive. I was working with a trainer the whole time, but green on green equaled lack of confidence for me to go the last step of breaking them to a cart. I was lucky to have purchased a cart this past summer and a trained to drive mini with miles on him came with the cart along with his harness. I am now taking lessons and driving and getting so much experience from my "been there done that" mini boy. Some day when I have lots of miles myself I plan to go back and work on finishing the breaking of the other two. You can't beat learning on a horse with experience and with a trainer working with you. It is also very rewarding to work on the side with your green horses and a trainer so that you are part of the training experience. I prefer this to sending my boys out to a trainer for them to come back broke to drive. best wishes!
     
  14. Jan 13, 2011 #14

    Shortpig

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    What a great thing to teach your mini to drive. I would do that also but if they set behind the steerng wheel they can't reach the pedals. Not to mention my fear they will take my truck for a joy ride. Seriously could you see the look on the cops face when he pulled them over. There is a video of this playing in my brain and it Is scary. More like a night "mare" really.

    I have this vision of the boys driving by pastures full of mares with wolf calls. I know sick mind here. Help! I have no control over what plays in my brain.
     
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  15. Jan 13, 2011 #15

    lucky seven

    lucky seven

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    That is way too funny!!![​IMG] After all of this snow I really needed a laugh. I should have said " teach my mini to pull a ee cart." You have no idea how long it took me to figure out what ee cart meant [​IMG]
     
  16. Jan 14, 2011 #16

    CCC

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    hi, I wish you the best of luck with the training! I myself am going to be learning as much as I can about harness , carts and driving ! I'm new to it as well.. I have a friend about 5 hours away that is going to come help me get started , so I'm lucky that way because there are NO professional driving trainers around here for big or miniature horses!

    hopefully you can find someone in your area to help you!

    have fun!

    Nicole
     
  17. Jan 14, 2011 #17

    lucky seven

    lucky seven

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    Thanks, can't wait for spring and the snow to disappear! I am already looking at mini's for sale, my boy could always use a playmate, then another to keep that one company when one is being driven or just out for a walk! What my hubby doesn't know won't hurt right now. hehehe [​IMG]
     
  18. Jan 14, 2011 #18

    MINI REASONS

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    I ALSO WISH YOU ALL THE BEST IN YOUR TRAINING. HAVE FUN AND ENJOY THOSE MINIS!!!
     
  19. Jan 14, 2011 #19

    susanne

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    I always giggle when talking to non-horse people about "training my horse to drive." On the other hand, I mentioned this once on this forum and got a couple of angry responses, such as "I'm not about to call it carting..."

    Call it what you want; either way, someone will say you're wrong!

    As for training, I hired a superb trainer who coached me in training Mingus.

    To the old adage of green + green = black and blue, I added grey (I took forever before hitched him) and blue (champion driving trainer). So in our case, green + green + grey + blue = gold (a rock solid driving horse).
     
  20. Jan 15, 2011 #20

    RhineStone

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    This is very true. I'm not about to call it "carting" either, especially when I have my horse(s) put to a four-wheeled vehicle. [​IMG] A cart only has two wheels. While you might have to explain it to a non-horse person, teaching your horse to "drive" is correct. [​IMG] You have to remember, horses were the first "drivers". They were the engine of the vehicle. That is also why a whole lot of parts on a automobile (translated loosely "self-mobile") have the same names as on a horse-drawn vehicle.

    Myrna (who is generally very concerned with using the correct terminology, so as not to look like a fool in front of those in the "know", especially "big" horse drivers (aka Whips).
     

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