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The Redhead Returns to Driving

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hobbyhorse23

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My mother got these great pictures of us today and I couldn't NOT share them. I'm undoubtedly biased but I think Kody looks fantastic!
This was his first drive since his stifle surgery in March and he did very well. He tuckered out quickly of course and wasn't wanting to engage his hind end particularly but what can you expect when he hasn't been driven in five weeks? He had plenty of impulsion and good bit contact and he's still doing better than at this point in his recovery last fall. I'm quite happy with him.

Our new show harness is from Ozark Mountain and I'm very happy with THAT, too! *LOL* This was supposed to be our fitting drive which is why Mom was taking pictures so go easy on us. Most of the things I want to tweak are easy fixes once I get some resized parts but until then the breast collar is a little low, the blinkers a little tight, and if you look closely you may see that the rein stops kept slipping through the martingale rings.
Trust me, that is getting fixed! I will also be putting tug stops on my cart ASAP. I really shouldn't have been driving with it like this (open tugs and no breeching) but Kody is a sensible and well-trained horse who isn't touchy about the cart shifting so I decided as long as I took the basket off and only drove in a flat ring we'd be okay for a short test drive. I was glad I took those precautions as it definitely slipped forward when he halted and I think it would have clipped his heels if it hadn't been in roadster mode. Goooood pony, Kody. :DOH!

Okay, so on to the pictures! I hope you like them (and him) as much as I do. We did not have a check on in any of these shots, nor is he used to wearing one.

Lacking hind end engagement but such a nice neck!



Did I mention the reason I didn't get to drive him until Sunday despite having a three day weekend was that it snowed
for three days straight?? I could have done without the record late snowfall.



This shot is blurry but I liked the pose



Looking less well-collected but rather flashy



And finally, talk about an all-around horse. He could be a Morgan softly jogging along in a western pleasure class, a sport pony moving into a nice hunter round, or a combined driving horse transitioning into a lovely working trot. Oh wait, he is that last one.




I know some of it is the clip making his neck look arched but MAN. I can't get over how much Kody's posture has improved in the past year!
He celebrated his 8th birthday last Tuesday and is a far cry from the scrawny little 4 year old I brought home. (Yep, nothin' scrawny about him after this much time off!
) The only problem is that he's finally developing a country pleasure headset just as I was going to switch to the new Western Country division.... :DOH! Oh well! It's easy enough to drop him down again, it just won't look as good.

Leia
 

Champ

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The harness matches very nicely with the pinstrip on your cart when he's all shaved I'm sure everything will look wonderful
 

Kendra

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Your new harness is very pretty, and Kody looks great!

Record snowfall and that's all that is left? Oh, to live where you do! LOL!
 

hobbyhorse23

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Kendra said:
Record snowfall and that's all that is left? Oh, to live where you do! LOL!
Record late snowfall, Kendra! *LOL* It's only snowed this late in the year once before and never later. Normally we get one good winter snowfall that might stick around for a few days, and even that only happens two or maybe three times during the winter. It's not unusual to have only one brief flurry for the entire season! This time it started Thursday night, came down like crazy all Friday and a good chunk of Saturday, and stuck around with mild snowshowers Sunday morning and evening. We got 5" which is more than we've had at one time all winter.
We sorta tend to specialize in, you know, rain.


The mud is certainly flourishing though, wheee!!!

Leia
 

ozymandias

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Looks like you are both having so much fun.

I'm getting ready to cart shop...I love your cart...can you tell me what brand it is?
 

whitney

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I almost missed this post.

THERE HE IS, GOOD LOOKIN, REDHEADED, young man!

Boy he looks GOOOOOOOOD!

You have to be just tickled at the results of the surgery!

GIRL you two are gonna clean up.

Your accouterments ROCK!!!
 

hobbyhorse23

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Glad you spotted it Whitney, you know I posted just for you after your last comment!
I agree, K and I are styling in our designer fashions. He in his custom trimmed fur coat, me in my neon-striped wool hat, baggy sweater, and-- the latest in high fashion-- knee high mud boots! Complete with authentic NW mud of course.
(I'm actually thrilled with the boots- they're new and purchased just so I can finally walk the water hazards at our CDE's!)

I was tickled with the results of the surgery, now I'm just waiting impatiently for him to be healed enough we can really let it rip. It's frustrating not being able to turn him out with Pyro, frustrating watching him trot stiffly in the paddock until he warms up a bit, frustrating watching him get fat fat fat and knowing I can't put him on the treadmill yet. Soon! Please Lord, soon.
Seriously, I'm very happy with his progress and we're simply enjoying spending the days together. He'd really like to be doing a bit more but this first drive proved to me he's not up to much yet so we'll have to see. He's got another three weeks before our first event (which I'm fully prepared to pull him from if he's not fit for it) and I know from experience last fall that three weeks can make a big difference. Heck, it's only been five since the surgery! I have to keep reminding myself how quickly he's improving.

Ozymandias, my cart is a closed-wheel Graber show cart from Prime Design. I love it although I probably should have gotten either an open-wheeled model or 20" wheels for the closed model to better fit Kody.

Leia
 

whitney

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What size wheels did you get the 24"? Can you swap wheels? However I've heard bigger wheels make it easier on the horse.

If you would have gotten the open wheeled you would have limited yourself by not be able to show roadster. I think ya done GOOD. And it looks wonderful!

And to be honest I didn't even notice what you were wearing, it was all about the Kode man for me.
 
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hobbyhorse23

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whitney said:
However I've heard bigger wheels make it easier on the horse.
If you would have gotten the open wheeled you would have limited yourself by not be able to show roadster.
Yes, I know.
That's why I got the closed-wheel 24" model! But the fact is Kody is no roadster prospect, I could always convert an open-wheeled cart later using one of those kits, and the cart would sit lower with the same 24" wheels. More importantly I could have gotten wooden wheels for it and used it for dressage and pleasure shows! It would have been so versatile....

Really I'd just like to be able to drop the shafts a tiny bit so they'd line up visually with his breastcollar at the appropriate height and so the singletree would sit a bit lower. I waited too long to be able to "swap" wheels, now I'd have to buy another set at $275 and I'd rather put that money towards all the new harness pieces I've bought this year.


Good news by the way, I got Kody on the neighbor's treadmill for five minutes yesterday and he was fine! So I'll start incorporating that in our walks and see if we can't get some of that weight off. He looks fine from the side but from in front or behind he looks like he's in foal.
Another piece of good news: I noticed yesterday he's really starting to change the habitual way he moves his hindquarters. There's a new freedom there I've never seen before and even his walk strides are rounder. I'm so happy I did this.

Leia
 

Kendra

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Leia - I was just admiring Kody and his swanky new harness again. Random nosy question (apologies, none of my business really!
) but why do you have a martingale on him?
 

whitney

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Yes, I know.
That's why I got the closed-wheel 24" model! But the fact is Kody is no roadster prospect, I could always convert an open-wheeled cart later using one of those kits, and the cart would sit lower with the same 24" wheels. More importantly I could have gotten wooden wheels for it and used it for dressage and pleasure shows! It would have been so versatile....

Yep your right....... I never thought about the wooden wheel exchange. I did know they have kits to convert to roadster now.

But bottom line is, it looks wonderful. I looked at the pictures again and still think the 20" wheel would have dropped your cart down too much, have you hooked him to a similar cart with 20" wheels? All the pictures I have seen of 20" wheeled carts look too short the shafts are usually angled BIG TIME. How tall is Kody?

His way of going is just going to keep getting better ........ which is what is SOOOOOOOOOOOOO EXCITING.

BUT patience my dear.
 
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hobbyhorse23

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Kendra said:
Leia - I was just admiring Kody and his swanky new harness again. Random nosy question (apologies, none of my business really!
) but why do you have a martingale on him?
Hehe, I knew SOMEONE would ask that! The short answer...looks! My reason for buying a show harness was to finally have that "show ring look" and a martingale is part of that. More specifically with Kody's particular conformation (long head, light hindquarters, narrow body) he has in the past looked very unbalanced with a wide contoured noseband, the shoulder strap set too far back on the breastcollar and no breeching behind to visually balance it all. He ends up looking quite heavy in the front and most photos emphasized that. I looked very carefully at the factors that were creating that impression and bought a harness that would fix those issues. This bridle has a nice fine noseband and browband that still look "carriage style," I'm having the neckstrap custom fitted so it will fall along the line of his shoulder instead of way behind and below it like my old harness, and the martingale helps to pull it all together from the front. I've also bought a Lutke corded sidecheck so that the check strap will no longer be making his head look even bulkier.

I've never thought martingales themselves were evil, just that strapping a horse in between a very tight check and a martingale was! You'll notice Kody's is adjusted so it doesn't interfer with the line of the reins when he's carrying himself correctly and I honestly think the too-high neck terrets on his Freedom Collar actually cause a lot more problems than the martingale which basically doesn't do anything. Especially once he drops his head for Western the martingale will be loose.

And frankly, I'd already custom-ordered so many things on the harness I really didn't want to throw another straw on the camel by asking for a false martingale instead of a running martingale.
Lisa was very patient with me and I know she would have done it, but still!

whitney said:
But bottom line is, it looks wonderful. I looked at the pictures again and still think the 20" wheel would have dropped your cart down too much, have you hooked him to a similar cart with 20" wheels? All the pictures I have seen of 20" wheeled carts look too short the shafts are usually angled BIG TIME. How tall is Kody?
His way of going is just going to keep getting better ........ which is what is SOOOOOOOOOOOOO EXCITING.
Thank you.
I'm very proud of his progress and enjoy sharing him with you guys. He's 33.5" tall and wait until next year when we've gotten in all the winter training I meant to do this year!
I don't mind angled shafts, they would help hide his weak stifles and let the shaft tips be in the right spot without being downhill. Ah well. You know me! Always nitpicking and trying to make things better.


Leia
 

Kendra

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I've never thought martingales themselves were evil, just that strapping a horse in between a very tight check and a martingale was! You'll notice Kody's is adjusted so it doesn't interfer with the line of the reins when he's carrying himself correctly and I honestly think the too-high neck terrets on his Freedom Collar actually cause a lot more problems than the martingale which basically doesn't do anything. Especially once he drops his head for Western the martingale will be loose.
I don't think martingales are evil either. And I didn't think you thought they were!
Just didn't think Kody needed one, therefore was curious as to why! Makes sense to me, I did it once, just to fit in. Then I went to a clinic and, when I told him the reason for my martingale, he told me to win without one, then everyone would take theirs off too.
I did try a martingale on Hawk last summer, after nearly every judge at all our shows suggested it. I found that when it was adjusted to where I was comfortable with it, it wasn't doing anything. After a fall and winter spent doing lots and lots of bending exercises, we're getting the desired result though! I clipped him yesterday (which seemed like animal abuse in this weather, but it was necessary, and we're keeping him warm!) and I'm so pleased with the changes in his neck from starting to use the correct muscles!!!
 

hobbyhorse23

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Kendra said:
I clipped him yesterday (which seemed like animal abuse in this weather, but it was necessary, and we're keeping him warm!) and I'm so pleased with the changes in his neck from starting to use the correct muscles!!!
Isn't it exciting when they start to muscle up correctly?!
I about jumped out of my skin when I clipped him last year and saw how his entire neck had flipped rightside up. I was so thrilled! It makes the biggest difference in their overall look....
(Strangely it's not nearly so much fun with horse who's built correctly to begin with.
) Gotta love that "before" and "after!"

Leia
 

Shari

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Oh,,,very fancy harness!! Kody is looking really good!!

So what show cart is that!! And how does it ride?
 
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