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GoldenTree

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It was suggested that I move my post here instead of the miniature horse forum so here it goes:

I've been working hard with my first mini, Cinnamon. I've had her about a month and a half and we've made a lot of progress. She's going to be 3 in May and I would love to train her to drive eventually but don't really know how to get started.

What she can do:

Yield her forequarters and hindquarters, stand still, back up, back over poles, walk, trot, poles, walk well on a lead with a slack rope in partner position, yielding to pressure on her head and neck, circle lunging and some lateral lunging, desensitizing, working with other horses near by, holding herself together over tarps, dragging tarps, flinging poles and swinging pvc around and over her, ropes around her legs and anything that my brain could think of. I wouldn't say all of these are mastered but many of them are adequate. I haven't done any intentional sidepassing with her yet.

I've never driven and don't currently have a way to get anyone with experience to teach me or her. I will take it slow but I thought maybe the first step would be getting her used to a bridle with a bit while doing all the exercises mentioned above. Maybe some ground driving? I'd like to try and be thrifty but I also don't want to buy multiple harnesses. I like the superflex collar but don't know that it should be my first investment. Any suggestions on starting tack or should I just start with the better equipment? I should note that driving will probably just be strolling around the neighborhood, maybe some cde but most likely no showing.
 

Marsha Cassada

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IMO a good bridle and bit is the most essential. Ozark Miniature Tack has a nice bridle. I order my bits from Mini Express. Put a pencil in her mouth where the bit goes and measure to see how wide of a bit you need. You can also start out with an open bridle, which is perfectly fine, imo, instead of purchasing a more expensive driving bridle. It's easier to fit an open bridle.

You could start out with a nylon harness and see how you and she likes driving. If all works out, you can upgrade.

Whatever driving bridle you order, don't stop until you have a good fit, even if it means sending it back a dozen times. The bridle is the most important piece of equipment.

Welcome to the tack collector's world! Soon you will have a nice assortment of bits, harness, bridles, whips, gloves..!
 

GoldenTree

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Thank you for the suggestions! I will do some measurements today and work on finding a good fitting bridle and bit. People keep giving me a hard time for my slowly growing equine supply collection already haha. Why do you like the bridle from Ozark? Just wondering?
 

Marsha Cassada

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Thank you for the suggestions! I will do some measurements today and work on finding a good fitting bridle and bit. People keep giving me a hard time for my slowly growing equine supply collection already haha. Why do you like the bridle from Ozark? Just wondering?
Many harnesses come with a bridle; a set. Just a suggestion to buy a bridle separately. Ozark has good products and their customer service is excellent. But an online search will yield quite a few miniature tack suppliers. Do a search of the forum and you will find lots of good recommendations for miniature tack.
 

Cayuse

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I have only been driving for a couple of years so I hesitated to post. But I think your next step of introducing the bridle and harness is a good idea. I would start by putting the bridle on her and putting her in her stall

(Not unattended so she doesn't get into trouble) and let her mouth the bit to her hearts content. Maybe even scatter a bit of hay around for her to pick at so she can feel the bit out in a happy way. Once she is OK with the the bit and harness you can introduce her to ground driving. It really is safer and I think easier at this step to have another helper to guide them from the front (with a lead line on them) until the steering and whoa "buttons" are installed and working properly. Working in a small area is helpful, like a round pen or blocking off part of an arena.

What helped my green mini learn to steer was to walk towards a fence and when you get to the fence, ask for a turn, the fence being an obstacle will naturally turn them, you just have to encourage the "left or right" choice. This also helps with halting. Ask for the halt just as you reach the fence line and you reinforce what they would do on there own.

I think your mini is so cute, in you avatar picture she reminds me of my bay gelding.

ETA: both my geldings were not taught to stand in harness. They are of the "hitch and go!" mentality. It is something that I am having to work with them on, and they are learning, but it is truly a nuisance (and not safe) to have a horse not "stand" for however long you request it to. Don't overlook teaching them to stand on command. You will be SO happy that you did when it comes time to hitch to the cart!
 
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jeanniecogan

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i agree also about teaching your mini to stand. it will serve you and your mini well. just think how proud you will be when you go on a group drive and your pony stands quietly no matter what is going on.
 

GoldenTree

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Yes, teaching to stand politely is something we are working on. I will work on finding a bridle and let you all know how it goes or if I get stuck. Thanks for all the suggestions.
 

jventresca

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In my opinion you should stay away from a nylon harness. Nylon is very tough and can cut your horse and you if you should have a disagreement. Since you like the super flex collar why not look into getting a harness from Chimacum? A good harness holds its value. A cheap harness is always asking for an accident.

If you don't want to buy an open bridle and then buy a full harness with a driving bridle, you could tie a bit onto the halter. Just make sure the halter fits a bit snugly so the bit won't be sloppy in her mouth. You can use two lunge lines for ground driving reins. If they're nylon wear gloves!

You may want to see if there's a local driving club. I know there's a lot of VSE drivers in Washington state. Check the American Driving Society website for club listings.

I just got a super flex collar and my horse likes it a lot. I like that you can move the rein terrets to several positions.

IMG_2124.JPG
 

GoldenTree

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In my opinion you should stay away from a nylon harness. Nylon is very tough and can cut your horse and you if you should have a disagreement. Since you like the super flex collar why not look into getting a harness from Chimacum? A good harness holds its value. A cheap harness is always asking for an accident.

If you don't want to buy an open bridle and then buy a full harness with a driving bridle, you could tie a bit onto the halter. Just make sure the halter fits a bit snugly so the bit won't be sloppy in her mouth. You can use two lunge lines for ground driving reins. If they're nylon wear gloves!

You may want to see if there's a local driving club. I know there's a lot of VSE drivers in Washington state. Check the American Driving Society website for club listings.

I just got a super flex collar and my horse likes it a lot. I like that you can move the rein terrets to several positions.
Good point about nylon cutting in. I do like what I see at Chimacum, and maybe I just need to suck it up and get a nice harness from the start. Glad to here you and your horse like the superflex collar, one more reason for me to consider it. It seems to me like the most comfortable option for the horse.

I will check the website for local clubs.
 

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