I do need a boat load more information on cost of equipment, etc. Since I want a cross country cart stable enough for young children, this whole project become moot if (a) such a thing does not exist and (b) if it does, they cost more than a small house in West Virginia.
Our horses are right around the corner from you on 519 near 12
Currently Alex is just starting back in Harness - not yet driving again after a looooong rehab
Cooper is waiting going back out to the trainer to finish driving school (winter interrupted that plan!)
We board with 2 other driving morgans.
Again around the corner are more driving morgans in Stockton, hackneys in ALexandria and a new member with a mixed breed pony in Milford
IOW LOTS AND LOTS of drivers near you.
If you are serious in evaluating the pony, there are several trainers nearby - some will come to you.
Let us know how serious you are and we can hook you up with someone who can match your style and what you want as an end-product. I think they are all good enough to tell you if its NOT going to work too!
Loved the assessment of costs by GTD. There are several suitable cart types available in the $1000 range as long as you don't plan on going diving off cliffs etc. You can generally rig out for "pleasure driving" for less than it costs to get set up as a DQ
DriveNJ! I was just about to PT you! So excited that you are so close!
I am dead serious (ooo, poor choice of words!) on hiring a trainer to do an evaluation. Someone who I think I could work with ongoing for training would be best of course. I have no ideas about competing the Pony in driving. The idea is quite seriously to provide a safe and fun way for me to work her with my children.
Our driveway is 1/2 a mile long (very hilly, though) and we have 130 (hilly) acres to drive on. We live on Hawks Schoolhouse Road (right off 519). Not the best road for driving, as it has one steep hill and people drive too fast, but I am guessing we could tool around with some degree of safety - particularly if I could get Holland to post some Driving Horse signs and get the local police out on days I want to drive. http://chronicleforums.com/images/cu...milies/lol.gif
How much experience does said pony have on the roads and trails already?
That was Avery's big issue. He'd never seen a trail in his life & was completely herdbound when I got him. I swear on a stack of Bibles we ground drove out there for three years before I felt it was safe to continue on to the next step in his training.
The end result, of course, was well worth it; I've got a very nice driving horse. But you have to consider the pony as completely green, and understand that you may be in for a very long haul in order to make the pony safe for the kids to drive. I'm not saying "don't do it", I'm just saying you need to be prepared for the possibility that it might be a LOT of work and might take a LONG time.
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If you are going to sit around and obsess about what might happen, you've already lost. It's a pony, not a draft horse. Go ahead, you will find out what he is made of long before your kids get involved. 99% of the time, training will cure near any animal, just have to make sure the humans involved are up to it.
Personally, I think that gothedistance and reynardridge collaborating on the next book would defray all the expenses of whatever driving ponies and paraphernalia might be required!!
But, seriously, RR what has got me back into driving -- or trying -- is how much fun it was driving my two wee children with a nice pony many years ago. The memory of them laughing as we pretended the round bales in the field next door were 'hazards' and evening picnics that had to include dinner for Andy are precious. However, I just had an easy entry sort of cart and something like the governess cart GTD is recommending would have reduced the worry factor a lot!!
The only catch I see with the children in the governess cart plan is that not many of them (the carts) were made for a pony of this size (14H) Most I've seen were made for those cute little thelwell shetlands
Not sure but what our current BO has one that descended thru her husbands family - even has pix of her husband playing in it as a boy
Ah, kt-rose and lost farmer, you have hit the nail on the head. Many, many years ago my then trainer had two wee children and a wee pony and jog cart. I drove those kids all over the highways and byways of Tewksbury (yup, Drive NJ, that would have been Doug and Holly and little Monkey, if you knew then back then http://chronicleforums.com/images/cu...milies/lol.gif).
So, part of me wants to recreate that fun for my own children. And part of me wants to find a way to keep the pony in work every day - without excluding the children.
I always loved driving and assumed I would get into it "at some point." Could be now. Although, as I keep reminding myself, this particularly pony might not be exactly the right equine to start with. But I'll leave that up to a professional.
I'll update when I have one. Thanks for all the support!
Hey there RR! Looks like DriveNJ has got you covered, but if you'd like to share any stories about breaking ponies to drive, drop me a line. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_c...on_biggrin.gif Mr. KellyS and I just got the new one going over the winter and it's been a lot of fun.
Just a couple of random thoughts to add to the mix:
1. I think everyone has to accept that driving a horse/pony is inherently dangerous. By realizing the risks, you can in most cases antipate problems and prepare for them.
2. You can never do enough ground work to prepare. Before we even though about hooking the new guy up, we made sure he had ground driven EVERYWHERE. He went to lessons and schoolings with the event horse, visited local horse shows, and ground drove around pretty much all the trails and roads we would be driving on.
3. When getting started, get the best instruction possible and always have an experienced horse person on hand for the first couple weeks of driving - having an experienced person with you who can hop down and head a horse when a situation gets a little hairy is priceless.
Personally, I would be hesitant to drive on the road with kids in tow, no matter how well-trained the pony. We drive on the roads to get to our driving trails and it is hair raising on a good day. People really have no common sense sometimes, and we've had a couple of close calls.
There is nothing worse than driving down the road with a tractor trailer heading coming at you at 50 miles per hour with no intentions of slowing down. That's when you pray that all your training stays intact. Thankfully this new guy seems to be pretty smart about traffic, but don't ask about llamas. We had our first llama encounter on Saturday, and it was eye opening to see how quickly all the training can go out the door and the "flight" instinct can kick in. Needless to say, guess what is coming to live with us next week? http://chronicleforums.com/images/cu...s/winkgrin.gif
Thanks for the great insights. I also sent you a PT. What I continually need help with is balancing my realities (time, money, children) with dreams (bigger than life). The time committment is the thing that I really need to wrap my head around. Spending a year making her kid safe is worth it only if I am going to keep her forever. Which is possible, but not certain.
So many things to ponder. Thanks again to everyone for the helpful suggestions!
My gelding is a 13.2h 800lb keg of dynamite to ride. If you ever need insperation for the pony cronicles I have several stories of my gelding being a beast. He bucked me off one time. (See earlier fat guy comments) I spent a night in the hospital after him bucking me off. I have only ridden him western so my trainer friend says, "let me try him english." Her comment was, "he feels much bigger than he looks." Yup and he bucks much harder than you would think he should. http://chronicleforums.com/images/cu...milies/lol.gif
For all of this pony's ponyisms he is kind and gentle on the ground to the kids. My kids (9,7,5,3) all adore Jack and he puts up with their being kids. To drive Jack and Cricket will let any novice at the lines and be fine. The 7 yo drives all the time with me. We have been passed by ambulance and cop cars, loaded trucks at 75 mph tarps flapping and no problems. Drove past 12 alpaca that came "running" ot to see the excitement. Not a quiver. The only real spook we have had driving was when Jack was in training about 3 weeks we stepped on a pheasant next and momma flew up under his belly. I ride him up a trail and the horse eating chipmunks are everywhere and don't even ask about the horse eating mailboxes. http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/no.gif
Ponies it seems are born to drive. They, for the most part seem to want to be driven.
As for the $$$$$ part of driving it need not be terribly expensive. I got started with 2 kill pen rejects and a used harness. I had less than $3500 into the project and had 2 horses, harness, sleigh, wagon, single cart, pairs cart and a tire of education. Now that I have become a little more into driving, the new harness, bells, additional team to drive 4-up and all that is expensive.
Local trainer (thanks DriveNJ!!) is heading to Fl for a week or so, so won't be able to meet with us until the w/o March 20th.
Good - all the more time for me to stack the deck.
I have started whip desensitization - yes - the thing is terrified of the whip - and I still believe she can be a driving pony - can you say wishful thinking? http://chronicleforums.com/images/cu...ilies/uhoh.gif Seriously, I have been meaning to do the desensitization since I got her and it is going very well - I do some modified clicker type stuff and she is a very fast learner.
I also long-lined (on a circle) exactly once. I will do that every other day until trainer can meet with me (or until the whole thing goes bloody South, in which case, please call 911).
Thanks to all for all of your help, advice and guidance. I'll update in a few weeks when trainer and I get together.