Well, I guess at this point, for my mares at least, it's a moot point. Someone who is completely aware of all that has happened with them gave me a good offer on them, which I took, and as of right now, they're sold. (Provided he doesn't change his mind-which apparently he's done before)
I sure have learned alot though. From all of you, I have learned that rushing training sure doesn't save you anything in the long run. I also think that I was, and still am, too inexperienced to take on the training of a completely unbroke team. I still plan on participating in the driving competitions this year, but I'll be borrowing a very well broke, experienced team.
I want to thank you all for your great advice. On some of the other forums, people are quick to judge and criticize. You all jumped right in with helpful advice and encouragement, and I want you to know that I really appreciated it. I was nervous, in fact to post. I thought that I would get all the things I did wrong, what I should have done, but instead, you told me what I should do from this point on. For that I thank you.
"Riding: the art of keeping a horse between yourself and the ground."
~Horsebiters Clique Founder~Drafties~The A Team~Anti-Kohlrahbi Proliferation Group~Elite Closet Canterer...by proxy~
N4S Thank you so much for that last paragraph.
You are completely right on how folks on this group treat each other. I tend to pipe right up and have IMMEDIATELY been slapped down on another driving forum. I delete most of what comes thru on that one and rarely post.
I'm glad this group hangs together on-line and if I NEED to be slapped down I can handle it. :-)
Brakes on a carriage are nothing to do with stopping a horse.
Brakes are to hold the weight of the carriage off the horse - so its basically an added device aside from the britching and are to be used when the carriage is doing such as going downhill or when the traces become slack and the carriage is running on.
If you apply the brakes, even with a pony on the front of a carriage, then the pony will just drag the carriage.
Today I've just taken posession of a 4 wheel flat bed cart which I'm repairing the wheels of: putting new clincher rail and tyre tube on. The cart was restored and had disc brakes put on which were faulty and stuck on. The pair of horses carried on though and pulled the cart with its locked brakes and pulled all the tyre off the clincher rail.
Quite simply the original poster has a a collection of horses that have not properly been put to harness - they need to drive as individuals first and be responsive and only then should they be put together as a team and unless the driver is VERY experienced, a whole team of novice driving horses will indeed be a challenge.
He's doing the right thing selling them in my opinion. They aren't a lost cause at all, but they will need a heck of a lot of bringing on and experienced driving and training.
My,My, Mysparrow you did just join didn't you? Welcome. Pretty open minded group here so I'll tell ya what a runnning W is. Beware, it has a VERY bad reputation. It can throw any horse right on its nose in a flash but it can be used very gently as a training device.
Imagine a horse with saddle on. Run a light line through a ring on the saddle down to the left front foot. thread it through a hobble strap and back up to a ring on the bottom of the girth. From that ring down to a hobble strap on the right front foot. If you take up the slack in the line the horse will drop to its knees.
when I was shown the technique we did it in a very well prepared indoor arena with soft footing. We long lined the horse and I stayed in the middle of the circle with the W line. When the driver said "whoa" and tightened the lines I would GENTLY take up the slack in the W line with ONE HAND. I probably never exerted more than 2 pounds of pressure on the line. We did this only at a walk. the horse would only manage one or 2 steps after the "whoa" command before she started to stumble.
We repeated the drill perhaps 6 times. The horse never went to her knees but she KNEW she would if she continued.
The use or even mention of the W will get you in trouble with most horse people but if you review the posts in this thread you will find some pretty sane people who say they would use it as a last resort.
BTW That pair of Belgians that ran away with me has been sold and their owner sells any horse that runs away. Apparently the risk of a repeat performance is way too high.
T-1 is totally correct about the brakes. even in normal circumstances horses can drag vehicles with brakes locked. In a runaway panic, forgetaboutit. Sure, every little bit helps to slow them but they are still going either quite some distance before they tire or they are going to hit some immovable object. My Belgian runaway traveled over 1/2 mile before they stopped. I think God was looking out for us that day because men did not stop those horses.
Well, my goodness, that's one dramatic device, that running W. Thank you for explaining it to me.
I've had one runaway -- not the pony's fault. The breeching broke as we were going downhill, and I had no brakes and no way to stop the wagon bumping up against her. She went faster and faster, more and more terrified, as I tried to balance speed, hills and drag. I even stuck my foot on top of the front wheel but it quickly got way too hot (what's the emoticon for rueful grin?). Finally I came to an open lawn in front of a house and drove her in a sweeping half-circle so that she ran into the bushes along the dripline and the left shaft dragged on the house wall itself. I managed to straighten the bent shaft and mend the broken breeching temporarily, and drove her home. She was anxious for a while, but soon returned to happy work in harness. Guess I was lucky!
As for the brakes -- I do know that they're no match for frantic horses, but I thought that they might at least offer a little resistance to the runaway pair, particularly if pumped rather than jammed. Brakes certainly would have been an excellent thing to have in the situation I just described.
It is HOT here in Mississippi, and i've not long returned from a lovely drive with one of my students as active groom and two more as outriders on their favorite horses. The breeze was refreshing and we all came back full of joy. Why did I stop driving for so long?