I apologize in advance if these are silly questions. I did a search on the forum and couldn't find much...
My pony has been grumpy under saddle lately and I'm thinking he's getting bored of schooling in the indoor arena all the time (it's winter in Maine...no other choice for me!). He gets happier when I do a jump school with him, but I'm obviously not going to jump him every day. He was originally trained as a driving pony and drove exclusively for many years. He was quite good, from what I've been told.
I'm thinking it might be an interesting change of pace to try ground driving with him. I've driven in a carriage a couple times, but (I'm embarrassed to admit) I've never ground driven a horse. I do not have a surcingle or lunging caveson for the pony, but I do have his driving gear. Would it be okay to use his driving bridle (it has blinkers) and just the driving surcingle? Are there any big beats or safety issues I should be aware of before I try this? I do not expect to accomplish lots of impressive training with this--I'm more just looking for an activity to break up our routine but keep us active!
Thank you in advance for any advice you can offer!
In my limited experience with ground driving/long lining...
You don't need a special bridle. I just use whatever I ride the horse in. No need for a special surcingle.. I've used a regular one, like you'd use with side reins or whatever. Or you can just run the lines through the stirrups on your saddle.
If you've never done anything like this with him before, have someone around to lend a hand when you start, just in case. The lines can get very confusing and tangled. Do you have proper driving lines or will you use two longe lines? Depending on how long they are, it might be helpful to knot up the end of the lines to reduce the bulk, especially when you start out. I'd also recommend not using a whip at first, because it's just another thing to worry about.
Yes, you can use your driving "surcingle" (it is actually called a saddle, too) and you can use his regular bridle. I've worked with Andy Marcoux on this quite a bit and he has a great article on his website about long lining over cavaletti. Might be a great treat for your pony!