The start of my colt's driving/riding career-advice welcome :-)
So I found out last week that my colt turned 2 in October which I suspected by the look of his teeth & I popped a saddle on (saddlebags & all cause that's what was available) & took him for a nice ground drive around the village. It's the first time I've done anything with him apart from tying random things to him to laugh about & take pics. He's a good boy :-)
Does he have his steering down pat? Voice commands? Is forward but waits for you? Solid whoa and a great parking brake (standing for a decent amount of time )?
Then I would say the next step is to do all of the above while in harness. I am a fan of blinkered bridles so I would include that.
You can sit on him and get that started too now. Light riding (I am also a fan of taking it real slow, and making sure the youngin' has all the tools need to be successful as an adult. I will not rush any horse/pony).
But I have also been known to give them tons of time off during their 2 yr old year, 'work' them maybe for 15 mins for 1-2 days a week if that. Not saying turn him out, just very light not too physically demanding work.
Looks like you already got a good head start with him. I agree with the above poster, get voice commands, steering etc down. I also like to teach them to move forward, and sideways away from pressure where your heel would be once you are in the saddle. At two, you still have lots of time, so I would keep sessions very short and positive.
And PLEASE when long lining etc, do not wrap the rope around your hands, really easy way to lose some fingers – or your whole hand a lot of blood. I was foolish and let a rope accidently wrap around my hand last year, and my normally very quiet horse decided to spook – boy, that rope caught and tightened on my hand QUICK – by the grace of god it came lose right as I was about to get swept off my feet. I had lots of odd bruising from the constriction, and was thanking my lucky stars to still have a hand.
Sorry for the novel! I know its tricky to keep those danged long lines in safe loops rather than circling them – but its just too easy to lose a hand otherwise.
He is very cute! And it looks like you have a nice start with him as well.
I like to break my guys to ride first before I drive them. This way I find that they are used to having things touch their body (legs, hands etc.). Once they are comforable with that, I will even ride them with the driving bridle on and have some friends ride with me. I have them ride beside me and behind me, going from out of their sight to being in their sight and see how they hadle it. I even like to ride with blinkers on when my husband is driving. This way they also get used to the sounds of a carriage going in and out of their vision.
Your guy is really young though and I agree with taking it slow. I broke my 2 year old under saddle but I only rode for 10 - 15 mins at a time once or twice a week. He is going to be 4 next year and I will break him to drive this winter. I have put a lot of riding miles on him (showing him in hand and in some under saddle classes) this past summer as I wanted him to get comfortable with everything first before I drive him.
You can also of course long line your guys in harness so he gets used to a cruper, harness etc. I also like to line drive my guys pulling a tire - with binder twine attached to the traces and always having help (though I know not everyone likes or does this in their training programs as a horse pulls a tire much differently than a carrige - line of draft is different).
So there are lots of things for you to do but take your time, be safe and have lots of fun!
All great ideas guys, thanks! I'll work on all that once the rain stops & my knee stops throbbing-old show jumping accidents always catch up to one eventually :-(
I went to look at harnesses today. Very expensive but there's not much I can do but suck it up & save for a synthetic one.
Check out this website when you have time: www.ronshorseharness.com
I have purchased a leather set about 6 or 7 years ago and use it for my single driving. It has held up really well, the company was great to deal with and it was a super price! I see they have a nylon one now (they didn't when I was looking) but I'm not sure of the quality on that or not. The thing with the leather harness that I really liked it that the pieces are a really good size. Nothing digs into the ponies (neck strap, breeching etc) and the saddle is a good size. Its a great deal for the price! The first picture below is of the harness (minus the breastplate as I was just lunging my 2 year old to get used to the bridle and cruper). The harness is the Rons harness though the bridle is a zilco (when I purchased the Ron's harness it was for my 13 hand pony so the bridle did not fit my 14.1h guys). The second one is of the full harness (again minus the bridle) fitted to my 13h pony. The harness easily goes from my 13h guys to the 14.1 h guys. That is also a nice feature! http://sphotos-f.ak.fbcdn.net/hphoto...14766683_n.jpg http://sphotos-h.ak.fbcdn.net/hphoto..._4566891_n.jpg
Hmm, I live in Israel. I wonder if the shipping would kill me cause that's a quarter of what I would pay here & triple the quality. Time for research...
Your ponies are beautiful by the way. I spent my afternoon breaking our equivalent of mustangs-unhandled QH crosses. Crazy cussed things. I got a particularly bad mare & she cracked my finger & bit & kicked my friend. In the end, we had to lasso her & put her in a chute to get a halter on her & then she still chopped & bit us when we tried. Fun times. My colt is like a donkey after that. Plop saddle on for the first time-oh, a saddle. Hop on-hi mom, whatcha doin?
Wow, it sounds like you have your hands full!! But your guy sounds and looks like a doll!
Talk to them about the shipping, maybe you can get a good deal...It really is a good price and I havent seen any other harness around with that quality for that price - and I have shopped around a lot! I do also like the Zilco harness which is what we use everyday for our pair and we use it to show on marathon day. It is also a great harness but was quite a bit more in price....