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Training horse for driving

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tinacvt

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I have 3 minis I want to drive, but I don't have the spare money to send them to a trainer. So my question is has anyone out there done it themselves without trainers? I trained 3 of my own large horses under saddle many years ago, is this going to be any harder? What DVDs would you reccomend? Any and all help would be appreciated
I want to eventually show them in driving.
 

maestoso

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I have trained a few horses for driving by myself without a trainer. I think it is comparable in difficulty to training a riding horse(which I have also done) but a lot different. The cart adds a whole new element, one that is easy for some horses and a nightmare for others.

I would recommend having a friend or someone who has done this before help you, unless you are completely confident. BUT it CAN be done without a trainer.
 

tinacvt

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I would recommend having a friend or someone who has done this before help you, unless you are completely confident. BUT it CAN be done without a trainer.
I don't have anyone that has done this before, I'm on my own.
 

ErikaS.

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I, too, don't have money (or a trailer) for a trainer so I am training my mini to drive by myself. I did train a couple of big horses under saddle and like the post before said, it's similar but different, too. The nice thing is you don't get bucked off when you're ground driving... bucked at, maybe. I don't have any DVD's; I've been reading whatever resources I can find and print off from the internet and asking a lot of questions from the forum. I haven't hitched mt guy to the cart, yet; that's coming next and I'm a little nervous. But it can be done! Good luck to you! It's going to be fun!
 

shelly

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I have witnessed big horses being trained to drive and when they first introduce the cart the have them on a longe line and the driver isn't in the cart but walking and running alongside for the initial trial run!!! Maybe this could work for you if you have a couple of friends or family that will help. Good luck!!!
 

ropenride

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I train my own riding horses and am currently training a few of my minis to drive. I invested in Patty Cloke's DVD's (EXCELLENT!!!! and well worth the $$$) and driving books by Sallie Walrond. Another excellent book is "Breaking and Training the Driving Horse" by Doris Ganton. I used it before getting the dvd's and other books. It helps to have another person who can hold the horse and help out where needed. Do a search on here...someone posted a link to directions for making a tire to pull, which has worked really well for me! GOOD LUCK!
 

MiLo Minis

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I wish I could tell you YES go ahead and train your own horse to drive but unfortunately I have dealt with so many horses that need retraining because someone who never has trained a horse to drive tried to do it themself. IF you have someone that can help you that has prior experience that is one thing but there are waaaaay too many things that can go wrong for someone with no experience that it just isn't safe at all. Some horses are very easy to work with and others are just not. You can't necessarily tell by their inhand behaviour as some that are easy to work with in halter turn out to be demons in harness. If I can't convince you to get yourself some help and you decide to go ahead and do it anyway please be extremely careful and cautious and think everything out thoroughly before you just go ahead with it. Really though that couple hundred per month is well worth spending, honestly it is.
 

Field-of-Dreams

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I trained my own guys by myself, too. I had biggies and got into the minis later. Red went on to place 7th at Nationals in 2003, and Sunny went on to be Reserve Grand National Champion last year.
All without a trainer, but I DID have a mentor. She helped A LOT. We ahd them all started but she helped us "tweak" them.

We're training our 6th and 7th horses now... we like to take it SLOW.

Lucy
 

Bozley

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Do you have any clubs in your area that hold clinics? We went to a driving clinic last year and another one this year and learned so much from both. This year we went to Mike McCabe's clinic with Northeast Horse Club. We sat there from early morning until late afternoon watching him train horses over and over and over. It was a long day but we learned a wealth of information. Every horse was so different and he was able to tell us how to correct each and every problem he came up against.

I never would have imagined training a horse to drive myself. But just this weekend my daughter and I after months of round penning with a bitting harness, ground driving everywhere, we got our 5 year old gelding, Bozley, hooked and he was a perfect gentlemen. Granted, he is not finished and I am not sure I am capable of training him to be a perfect show horse but I can drive him around at home safely and have fun with him. I would like to eventually send him to a professional trainer to polish him up so that I can bring him to shows and have him look his best.

I would definitely suggest watching DVD's, going to clinic's and asking a million questions to those that do drive and have trained before. It can be done. But you have to do your homework first and not just jump in with no knowledge at all.
 

BannerBrat

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[SIZE=12pt]Hello Tina
[/SIZE]

I'm currently training my gelding to drive. & yes it can be done. I would highly recommend that you look into the book Carriage Driving: A Logical Approach Through Dressage Training Written by Heike Bean & Sarah Blanchard. It has really helped me address problems that can & most likely will come up.

Also I'd say do you're ground work & don't go any further until you are both ready.

I have to say sometimes it can be a bit frusterating doing it on your own, but if you listen to your horse the problems generally solve themselves.


Also correctly training your horse(es) to drive & enjoying it is a great feeling.


The forum is a great place to help with any problems as well.
 

tinacvt

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Really though that couple hundred per month is well worth spending, honestly it is.
If it were only a couple hundred I could do it. The least expensive trainer I have found is 400.00.
 

normajeanbaker

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For DVD's, I love my Patty Cloke ones. They are great!!

It can be done without a trainer. I have yet to send a Mini to a Pro trainer to be broke to drive. Ours hold their own in driving at the shows we attend(local and AMHR rated shows). We had full sized horses before the Mini's. With driving, they either love it or hate it. I've got one 3-Year old here who I will never even attempt to drive. I already know it would be a nightmare and I wont put her or myself through it.

There is no better feeling to finally get in the show ring with a horse you did all the work on yourself and be competitive. We have a 3 year old gelding who was born here. We've done all the work with him since the day he was born. He made his driving debut last month. Knowing that we had done everything with him ourselves and he went in and was a gentleman made every minute we put into him completely worth it. It's very rewarding to get in there with a horse you've done all the work yourself with.

GOOD LUCK!

Jen
 

maestoso

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One piece of advice I would share is to know the horse. And when you try things, do it slowly. When you teach your horse to ground drive, that should be something easier for you if you have trained riding horses before, if not, I would get someone who has to help. The horse should understand walk, trot, whoa, turn, and back before you even consider adding the cart. Ground drive them everywhere you plan to drive. Desensitize them to anything and everything you think you might encounter when driving because things are even scarier when you have a cart attached and your vision is compromised by blinders. The worst thing is when a horse gets spooked in harness, and then panics because they feel "trapped". This happened to me recently. The horse bucked and got its back leg over the shaft. Luckily I was quick and got the leg back over, the horse was fine but he bent the shaft really bad. When I was a teenager this happened to me only with a front leg. Not sharing this to scare you, just to make it clear that things can happen, even to the most bomb proof horses.

You can also have someone walk beside you pulling the cart while you ground drive. The horse will hear the wheels of the cart and see it moving beside it and hear it moving behind it. Then you can have the person walk the cart right behind the horse, and even with the shafts part over the horse. That way the horse feels it but if something happens they are not trapped. Slow steps. If the horse is scared at even the sight of the cart, try putting the cart somewhere where the horse can see and sniff it all day. So many ideas for so many different situations. Read some books and watch some videos, and get some live help if you can.
 

dannigirl

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We have trained many of our horses to drive by ourselves. The first main thing is to know exactly how to put a harness on correctly and fit it properly. this can be learned through videos or clinics, but it is a must. If the harness is not correct, it can cause all sorts of problems. Next is patience. NEVER and I repeat NEVER lose your patience. It may take a week or maybe a year of daily trying to get your horse to ground drive correctly. When--and only when--he is ground driving good enough for you both to be comfortable, then you can put him in the cart. I suggest an enclosed area--large fenced paddock or something--to first put a cart on. That way if he gets spooked, he has limited space to run and possibly get hurt. Also, do not put him to a cart without someone else there. That way if something does go terribly wrong, there is someone to help you with the problem. We always say we need someone to dial 911 when the horse dumps us on the ground cause we don't bounce as well as we did 25 years ago


Many things can happen. We have had some flip over backwards. We have had some take off and run round and round the driving area. And we have had some that would just not move at all. We just keep trying again and again and again until they get it. One other thing--we always try to end on a good note. We will set the flipper back up and make him go a few steps--praise him and take the harness off. We will stop the runner and walk behind the cart and have them go a few steps and again praise and take off. The non-mover is a bit harder, but we will usually have someone get infront and ask them to walk forward and any forward movement will be praised and rewarded. We also give treats and lots of rubs and loving for a job well done when taking harness off.

Good luck and have fun.

Angie
 

PrestigeMiniHorses

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I trained my mare to drive many years ago. I can understand why people are saying to have a mentor of some sort. I never once used a trainer though. My mare may not be the best trained horse out there but she sure shows her heart out for me. I do ask lots of questions still this day and I am working on breaking my pony and my gelding. I take it very slow and am not at all in any hurry. I sure wish I knew a driving trainer down here so I can take some lessons or be mentored or something. It does help. Definitly read all you can about driving, ask lots of questions and take it slow. Post pics too so people on here can help you on whether or not you did it right or not. I know I learned alot from people on here. Leia is a great resource to have. She's helped me a ton! Which oh yeah Leia I have discovered that the girth on my nice leather harness is whats bothering Millie because I used her training harness and she backs like a dream. Same cart and all.... I am still looking for a nice cart though.
 

hobbyhorse23

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You're getting some really sound advice which is why I haven't posted yet.
I do not recommend the Patty Cloke DVD's unless you are training strictly for the show ring; if you are, they're the best thing since sliced bread.
You might check out Clay Maier's "Training Your Horse to Drive" DVD, it's great and contains the plans I've posted before on how to construct a safe tire pull. (Yes, that was me too! *LOL* Boy I've just got my nose into everything.
)

PrestigeMiniHorses said:
I know I learned alot from people on here. Leia is a great resource to have. She's helped me a ton! Which oh yeah Leia I have discovered that the girth on my nice leather harness is whats bothering Millie because I used her training harness and she backs like a dream. Same cart and all.... I am still looking for a nice cart though.
Okay, first of all: Major blushes!! Geez.


Second- sounds like maybe the wrap straps were pinching her elbow with the old girth. I'm glad you figured out the problem!

Leia
 

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