Our local Driving Club put on an ADT this weekend, which we attended with the Pair. It was a good chance to get the horses out and driven, along with the practice time in the Arena doing stuff we hadn't tried before.
The setting at a member's Farm let us put in a few hours driving quietly in a couple outings on Saturday. The horses were FEELING GOOD, being at a new place, wind was blowing briskly, weather was a bit cool, so it was good day to work on CALM and OBEDIENT. Added features of frisky horses in adjoining paddocks helped our horses practice focusing on DRIVER requests instead of talking to other horses.
There were Clinicians to talk to people about how to walk a Dressage test, look at Hazards and plan routes, advantages of going this way or that, and what was expected in Cones. Everything was low key, so you could have a good time learning and enjoying time with friends and driving the grounds if you liked.
Our horses improved their driving thru the day, were good on the trailer eating hay between drives. We people had to relearn where things were in the trailer, our old routines of hitching away from home, having all the equipment needed on the vehicle or ourselves as needed. Funny how you lose your smoothness over winter!
With a real good turnout of Drivers, our Sunday driving time wasn't until 12P, so we had a leisurely start to the day driving back to the Farm with the Pair. Husband had our timing figured out well, we were not hurried and everything was MUCH smoother today. We got in a long, slow warm-up, lots and lots of walking and the Dressage warm-up ring was down out of the wind!
Everything went smoothly in the indoor Arena for our Cones, then Dressage test, husband was very happy with the boys. He just worked on them going at a steady rate in the cones, with smooth turns to get the "flow of travel" in their heads. We thought they did very well for us. Then we stood while cones were pulled out and finally we drove our Dressage test. The younger horse was a bit counter-bent, but the Judge was kind and we were quite happy with horse responses in this new setting. The older horse had to be pushed past the observation window because he wanted to look at himself in the glass! Horses stayed quiet and composed, obedient to the reins, letting husband have very soft hands. Lots improved since Saturday in the wind!
We unhitched for lunch, put them on the trailer for drinks and hay. Then we hitched again to do the Hazards. That was interesting and a bit confusing to me, since at first I thought we were doing all 5 gates! Trying to get the locations of "red on right" was making me wonder about the routes! Husband said "No, we were only doing 4 gates", which did simplify things a lot!! After walking the Hazards, we rehitched and warmed horses up again. The Boys did quite well for their first time at this. Both Hazards are driven twice, first and second, then first and second again. Ours are not used to the close turns, and those were COLORFUL Hazards, which had the young horse looking pretty hard at first. Husband again just drove at a steady trot, with bigger curves to turnback to the next gate. Kept it flowing, big horses can't turn like the little singles. With their big strides, they still cover ground well, so second times thru each Hazard were substantially improved times over the first trip. Horses stopped and stood WELL after each single Hazard, while the Judges got the times down.
We were real happy with our Weekend Fun, how nicely the Boys did while going out and about. Still developing them as a Pair, with the young horse not having any competitive experience until now. Speed was not important to us, still building the reponses and smoothness in how they work together. Husband was grinning pretty hard, said "All the buttons worked, they did everything the way he wanted while Driving" and that was the best part.
We are sure lucky to have a Driving Club that puts these driving opportunities out for us to enjoy.
I am wanting to learn a little more about just this sort of thing- and I recently saw that the Indiana Whips and Wheels will be having a learning type event/clinic at the Hoosier horse park later this summer...
What I want to know is- If I make my pony an ear net with one white ear and one red ear- if people will be hip to my tricks- will they think I'm a genius or a cheater?
If you say those are your Stable Colors, everyone will think nothing of it! Doing things in your Stable Colors is quite popular with some Drivers, can't use any other colors on their horse and clothing for Marathon stuff. But this is one idea I hadn't heard before! Do make sure you don't have the ears inside out after washing it or colors will be on the wrong side of horse head!! Ha Ha
You should have a good time with the Indiana Wheels and Whips. They do things well and are a great bunch of folks, VERY friendly and helpful. Meet Dave and Linda Sadler, they put on the CDE with a LOT OF HELP from members of that Club. Excellent place to do your first CDE. Dave is also the ADS Regional Representative.
I think the ear net is sheer genius...and this thread is a godsend as the pony and I are embarking on an ADT adventure in two weeks and I'm trying to glean as much info as possible beforehand. Eek. Hope we manage to muddle through.
Sorry, the only photo I took was during our walking around relaxing. Yankee Breeching shows clearly, but not much else! Being groom, I had to stand or sit behind the driver, while holding on. I don't get good photos holding on one-handed while we drive. Didn't even think to hand the camera to a friend for a "family shot" or while we drove in the arena. "Smacks forehead" for not planning better.