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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov. 2, 2009
    Location
    Iowa
    Posts
    516

    Default Driving safety and in public

    I was asked to start a thread about some of the safety issues I saw at the National drive. Some of these I witnessed and some of them were related to me.

    What I witnessed.

    Bridle removed before unhitching horse.
    Horse hitched with no reins attached.
    Horse being hitched with driver not holding reins or a header.
    A equine hitched and standing with out a driver or being held for at least 10 minutes not properly attended. Driver was 30 feet away and a header was approx 5' away but not holding equine.
    Guy mounting a horse to ride and getting thrown, arena not closed and horse ran off loose with hitched horses nearby.
    2 equines running loose not in harness just halters.


    What I was told by reliable sources.

    Horse harnessed but not hitched yet and it got scared ran off into a tent and had a severe puncture to it's neck and may have been knocked unconsious as it was down for a while.

    Small boy alone, no helmet with a run away and he was in the basket and crying not holding the reins.
    heard about a woman getting injured, not sure if she fell out or what but went to hospital and had a foot or leg injury.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr. 1, 2005
    Location
    Georgetown, KY
    Posts
    2,601

    Default

    Wow! I sure am happy I didn't witness any of that! I was impressed by the number of folks I saw wearing helmets.
    Proud supporter of SprotHorseRiders.com



  3. #3
    Join Date
    May. 21, 2012
    Posts
    1,445

    Default

    I'll never understand the inclination to attach the lines last. I wonder if it isn't a holdover from pairs and the cross checks- but with singles it makes no sense at all.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov. 1, 2007
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    Tampa Fl.
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Plainandtall View Post
    I'll never understand the inclination to attach the lines last. I wonder if it isn't a holdover from pairs and the cross checks- but with singles it makes no sense at all.

    Perhaps I am misreading your post, but I have worked with (and I say work with meaning a paid employee, not just a back yard pleasure person) for nearly 20 years and the FIRST thing you do when hitching up a pair or four is the lines.

    Horses (or ponies) are brought up to the pole and cross reins are attached, then with both reins in hand (or looped at your elbow) attach pole straps then the traces. Then mount the vehicle. Of course this is assuming you have a header or someone to toss you the other horses line to you, other wise you have to toss it over gingerly by yourself.

    Of course the same is done for fours, just bring out your leaders, cross reins, then pass the reins though the roger rings, then the terrets on the wheelers, then into drivers hands.

    I was ALWAYS taught to have the lines in my hand whether I was hitching a single by myself or putting a four to a carriage.

    People NOT having a hold of their horses while hitching is an accident waiting to happen. AND its a sign of bad training (from when they learned how to drive) and I would avoid that driver like the plague had I watched the way they hitched.


    ETA: when harnessing horses always leave the barn wearing everything needed to hitch ie. their reins buckled to the bit.
    Last edited by MunchingonHay; Oct. 19, 2012 at 03:35 PM. Reason: add a bit on the end



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb. 16, 2003
    Location
    MI USA
    Posts
    7,503

    Default

    Even Pairs SHOULD be wearing their lines, attached to bit on the outside of horses, before the vehicle is pulled between them. Then FIRST step is to attach the inside rein to bits, BEFORE any other thing is attached to the equines.

    Reins being attached to bit is always done during the harness putting on, WAY before the vehicle is brought up, when using the correct order in steps of harnessing. Rein attachment is done when bridle is finished being buckled on.

    It is REALLY easy to get distracted, lose your "order of harnessing" in the excitement of being away from home. Everything is "different" where you put stuff on, hitch the horse, so I can see some people having a problem occur. I have often stopped to help, ask if they need a header, THEN asked gently if they "forgot" the reins before putting the vehicle on the equine. My answer is usually a resounding YES, THANK YOU, for being there.

    I am the pushy person who would rather get the odd look for my question, than try to grab the animal leaving with his vehicle, no reins and NO DRIVER.
    I don't mind odd looks at all, better than watching a wreck. Everyone, people, horses, pony, get excited in a new place, with things happening around them. Missing a step in harnessing or hitching is EASY, happens to everyone now and then. This is why the LAST step recommended in hitching, is to walk around the outfit and RECHECK things to make sure they are all done up correctly.

    Husband had been Ringmaster a number of times, often stops the turnout before the gate, FIXES a problem before letting them enter. One MEMORABLE one was the horse with only ONE REIN attached!! Evidently there had only been left turns from the stabling, Driver never used the right rein and made it safely to the entry gate. Husband stopped her by blocking the gate, kindly horse stopped, she was irate because class was being called. He smiled and said "I think you will have a MUCH BETTER time in the class if I attach this right rein for you!" She was quite embarassed, apologized profusely, THANKED him, and promised to give Sparky a treat for being so kind to her!!

    Since I am mostly the Groom, I just head the horses while husband does the walk around, for checking stuff. I also look over the horses, harness from my location, to see if anything is not done up right. I don't talk to him until he is done, to avoid distractions while checking. Often he spots what I have noticed, but sometimes he needs it pointed out AFTER he is done with his checking. No one is perfect at spotting stuff, may forget a step in the routine, so you always do that final check walk-around to try catching any missed item, view things from a different angle to notice stuff. We were trained this way from our first contact with trained driving folks, is part of our routine every hitching. Experience has proven that checkups are very useful.

    Some folks may not have learned to do things the safest way, so offering a hand or plain asking them about a questionable practice, can save a wreck or injury. Can't tell you how many equines I have voluntarily headed over the years, that ACTUALLY NEEDED a holder. They were GEEKED in the new setting. I just stood near the head, didn't touch them while owner was trying to do everything themselves. Horse DID NOT "stand like he does at home" as they got ready! I was in the right place by his head, to quietly prevent a problem from happening, so we all continued to have a good time. I certainly don't walk up and grab horses that ARE behaving, just stand quietly near the head if the driver does need that helpful hand. Only takes a couple minutes of my time, adds to the safety of the place. Good way to meet people if you smile as you stop by them! Compliment them as they drive away.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    May. 21, 2012
    Posts
    1,445

    Default

    Yes, You are reading a bit more into it than I meant- I just meant that when I harness a single- the lines get attached as soon as the bridle goes on and before the carriage is even in the picture. With a pair- the line attaching is included as a part of the process of hitching... *putting to* or what have you...- rather than in the process of what I'll call harnessing. (I have seen draft ehem.. "teams" ground driven to their vehicle and either backing up or stepping over their wagon... tongue)



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb. 16, 2003
    Location
    MI USA
    Posts
    7,503

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Plainandtall View Post
    Yes, You are reading a bit more into it than I meant- I just meant that when I harness a single- the lines get attached as soon as the bridle goes on and before the carriage is even in the picture. With a pair- the line attaching is included as a part of the process of hitching... *putting to* or what have you...- rather than in the process of what I'll call harnessing. (I have seen draft ehem.. "teams" ground driven to their vehicle and either backing up or stepping over their wagon... tongue)
    For us, horses used in Multiples, Pairs, Fours, Tandems, are each wearing at least one rein on the bit, before they get near a vehicle. For us, that is part of the harnessing steps, rein run to the bit after bridle is finished being put on. We also use lead ropes not reins for the header to hold, while heading horses for all the hitching steps. Safer with leadropes, gives you lots more length to get off to one side, STILL keeping good control of horse/s, before Driver has seated themselves with good rein control of everyone equine. Driver tells Header when to release the lead ropes from horses. Good practice for the horses to stand quietly while Header/s move around getting leadropes off, stowing them on the vehicle. Turning from Header into Groom on the vehicle for your outing. Patience is a VIRTUE in a Driving horse, waiting for the command to move out instead of walking forward when there is no person in front of him.

    Yes, I have also seen the drafts driven to their vehicles, so all reins are attached before stepping off. Then either backed up or driven over the dropped tongue on the ground, to be hitched to the vehicle. If drafts step on the tongue on the ground, it doesn't break. I have found that few Draft vehicles for Pairs or Teams, have a fixed pole in the air like carriages, that could poke horses or get broken with the ground driving-up or backing up method. They sure don't forget to put any reins on with this method! Ha Ha



  8. #8
    Join Date
    May. 21, 2012
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    1,445

    Default

    I love the leadrope system you mention. Also, I HATE for people to touch my lines near the bit even if they think they are or actually are helping... when I have my hands on the lines... I'd much prefer that assistance come through a leadrope to somewhere other than the bit.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb. 28, 2008
    Posts
    4,054

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by China Doll View Post
    Bridle removed before unhitching horse.
    Horse hitched with no reins attached.
    Horse being hitched with driver not holding reins or a header.
    A equine hitched and standing with out a driver or being held for at least 10 minutes not properly attended. Driver was 30 feet away and a header was approx 5' away but not holding equine.

    Omg. I don't understand how some of these things are even possible (how on earth do you hitch without the reins attached??? without a header what the heck do you hold onto? with a header, what on earth do they hold onto?)... but more WHY?? What advantage does removing the bridle before unhitching offer? Or leaving the reins till last?? It can't be sheer laziness can it? Its not like you're saving yourself a step... why on earth would anyone do these things??


    I love the lead rope idea! I'm solo 99% of the time, the few times I have had a header its always felt really awkward
    Worry is the biggest enemy of the present... it’s like using your imagination to create things you don’t want.
    Click for the ideal stocking stuffer for anyone equine!



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan. 12, 2004
    Location
    No. VA
    Posts
    2,228

    Default

    Even Pairs SHOULD be wearing their lines, attached to bit on the outside of horses, before the vehicle is pulled between them. Then FIRST step is to attach the inside rein to bits, BEFORE any other thing is attached to the equines.
    Absolutely 100% agree. This step is VERY important.

    Quote Originally Posted by goodhors View Post
    We also use lead ropes not reins for the header to hold, while heading horses for all the hitching steps. Safer with leadropes, gives you lots more length to get off to one side, STILL keeping good control of horse/s, before Driver has seated themselves with good rein control of everyone equine. Driver tells Header when to release the lead ropes from horses. Good practice for the horses to stand quietly while Header/s move around getting leadropes off, stowing them on the vehicle. Turning from Header into Groom on the vehicle for your outing. Patience is a VIRTUE in a Driving horse, waiting for the command to move out instead of walking forward when there is no person in front of him.
    Absolutely nothing better than a pair of QUIET MANNERLY PATIENT ponies or horses who are happy to stand like statues for as long as you want. More than worth their weight in gold, and that's what I have always trained mine to do. When I drive singles I also do litter pick-up along our local gravel road, and if that didn't teach my ponies to stop and grow roots while I halted, removed the lap robe, put the whip in the holder, dismounted, cleaned up the side of the road, stamped loudly on the cans to crush them flat, tossed stuff noisily in the orange bag in the back of the carriage, mounted the box, fixed my laprobe, adjusted my gloves, picked up my whip, got the reins comfortably in my hand, and was ready to go - all without a header on the pony - nothing ever would! They now feel that a halt = nap time!!

    goodhors and I employ the same methodology, except I have the leads removed along with the halters (which remain around the neck until I am ready to mount the carriage) as I never use a lead rope on a bridle or bit. My ponies are trained to stand dead quiet with just a header one step in advance of them (when I have them in pairs harness), not holding them, and to continue to wait without moving at least 1/2 minute after the header leaves to mount the back of the carriage. They need to stand quietly, even as the reins are brought on contact, until they hear my voice telling them to walk on. Not a problem - thanks to all the training from road clean-up. I don't use a header when I'm driving single. Only with the pair, or when I'm driving a novice or green pony.

    I don't understand how some of these things are even possible (how on earth do you hitch without the reins attached??? without a header what the heck do you hold onto? with a header, what on earth do they hold onto?)
    BTW - I could tell a very funny story about a VERY well know driver (CDE winner, driving judge, etc) who used to never attach his reins until just before he mounted. His horses were beautifully trained to stand quietly, so he didn't need a header, and often drove a pair alone. To keep the reins out of the way, the bit ends were simply attached to the saddle terrets before being put on the bits. One day he forgot, mounted his carriage, asked his pair of horses to move on ...and as they did so he suddenly realized in horror the reins were still attached to the terrets! The story was hysterically funny from that moment onward (as he waxed poetic with vivid description of the resulting events to me) but he admitted it was also his worst nightmare at the time. Suffice to say he never did that again.
    Last edited by gothedistance; Oct. 19, 2012 at 05:21 PM.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov. 2, 2009
    Location
    Iowa
    Posts
    516

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by buck22 View Post

    Omg. I don't understand how some of these things are even possible (how on earth do you hitch without the reins attached??? without a header what the heck do you hold onto? with a header, what on earth do they hold onto?)... but more WHY?? What advantage does removing the bridle before unhitching offer? Or leaving the reins till last?? It can't be sheer laziness can it? Its not like you're saving yourself a step... why on earth would anyone do these things??


    I love the lead rope idea! I'm solo 99% of the time, the few times I have had a header its always felt really awkward
    how on earth do you hitch without the reins attached??? The horse was standing patiently
    with a header, what on earth do they hold onto?)...
    Alot of headers do not hold on to the horse they just stand there
    What advantage does removing the bridle before unhitching offer? Or leaving the reins till last?? It doesn't offer an advantage I just think the people haven't learned the proper way to do it. If people havent been taught correctly or have no desire to gain knowledge than that is how this happens. Some people are just forgetfull also and loose track of what they are doing.

    I really thought they should have had a clinic on safety for general driving and hitching. Now they have to attend it to learn.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov. 1, 2007
    Location
    Tampa Fl.
    Posts
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    Quote Originally Posted by Plainandtall View Post
    Yes, You are reading a bit more into it than I meant- I just meant that when I harness a single- the lines get attached as soon as the bridle goes on and before the carriage is even in the picture. With a pair- the line attaching is included as a part of the process of hitching... *putting to* or what have you...- rather than in the process of what I'll call harnessing. (I have seen draft ehem.. "teams" ground driven to their vehicle and either backing up or stepping over their wagon... tongue)

    Thanks for that, I thought I misread.



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