I thought I'd update y'all about getting my mini Firefly introduced to the concept of, well, work, heh. It's house o' Christmas chaos here so I don't have time to do much more than cut and paste what I wrote in my blog, but HAD to share with you guys (and of course, HAD to share the pics, too).
...I came home and rested and spoke with my 6yro son, who has been the guest passenger in my friend's carts as one's pony and the other's Clydesdale pulls them. He was immediately infatuated and wannnnnts toooo drriiiiiive. I had at first thought about getting him riding lessons, but he repeatedly told me he wants to learn to drive first. Since Tril is not a kid-appropriate horse, that's probably best anyway. I gave it a few months, kept asking, he kept expressing interest, so I thought I'd look into it.
Except Firefly doesn't know how to drive.
But I do have a couple of driving-enabling-friends, heh heh. Now, I know professionals need to be called in. Green-on-green makes black and blue, whether in the saddle or pulling a cart, but I wanted to at least see if she'd take a bit and if the bridle and surcingle a friend loaned me would fit her.
The bridle proved too big, with the bit in her mouth but not properly placed despite the cheekpieces being on the last hole. She wasn't a fan of the bit, but didn't protest more than the mouth movements you see in the pic above. I think the bit being so low in the mouth doesn't help. But, she wore it and she didn't throw a fit. Off it came.
Despite what it looks like in the photo because of her super shaggy self, it's a bit big on her. Unlike the bridle, there is room on the straps to use a leather punch and add a couple more holes on it to tighten it a bit more. I'd say it needs about two more holes.
I then walked her around in it, half expecting her to buck or kick or spin or otherwise show displeasure, but she--as seems to be her motto in life--did not give a crap.
My friends suggested taking two extra lead ropes and running them from the side buckle of her halter through the surcingle and practice ground driving her a bit, with me using a third lead rope attached at the chin to encourage her forward when she was supposed to go. We were all impressed that she listened and had a pretty good Whoa (which figures--the less movement the better for her).
She was very good, except she really, REALLY was distracted by all this green stuff we were having her walk all over at dinnertime. She got a bit annoyed, but not aggressive. (One of my friends said, "She's wondering what the heck is going on, but is doing great!" I told her, "She's not wondering what the heck. Firefly does not use such polite language.")
Of course, I had to give it a try. I found myself perplexed by this whole steering thing--geez, you even hold the reins "upside-down" from what I'm used to--but with assistance from two experienced drivers, it was fun. One friend offered to let me practice with her driving-broke Clyde, and it looks like a driving clinic might be in my future. Maybe put in a call to some driving trainers, too.
Oh, my mercy me.
Not sure if this is going anywhere, but the journey has already been fun so far.
I messaged her previous owner (who had her back in 2004? I think) and learned Fly has had a lot more work done than I realized: "Firefly had a lot of ground work done and was ground driving when she foundered. She never pulled anything. She really liked to have a job."
So, woot! She's had 7-8 years to forget, or at least get rusty, but makes that first attempt with a surcingle make more sense. I bet she would like a job beyond being a companion, so again...interesting. And woot!