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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan. 29, 2006
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    237

    Default Soap Opera (long)

    Where to begin...Several years ago I bought a beautiful Belgian. Not a newbie, but only QH experience. I wanted to ride a BIG horse. That was working out pretty well. But, you just can't have a Belgian and not drive. I found a great buy on a snazzy, well made 2 wheel cart, bought new harness, and proceeded to teach both me and the horse. I followed every stitch of advise I could get from all the pros and old timers. We knocked down a lot of miles in a short time, and I was feeling pretty good about myself. The horse, BTW, was 3. Then one fine fall day, at the end of a good 6 mile jaunt, slowed to a walk on a wide, grassy flat, he stopped. He reared up, twisted (tipping the cart and me over), and bolted. I was lying on the ground, the cart righted when he left. There was a small problem, my foot was still with the cart, in the spokes. You get the picture. Broke it really bad. I now have a steel plate and about a dozen titanium screws. And after a couple years of "healing", I also have a leg that is still problematic. I sent the big lug off to the Amish for awhile. Borrowing a chapter from Lost Farmer, when I was ready to drive again, I was sitting on a tractor tire on a hay bale. I had a sneaky suspicion that since he got away with that, he would try me again. He did. We were on snow in a cornfield this time, and fifty yards into his run he figured out that this was hard work and maybe not a good idea. He gave it up. Not me. I put the whip to him and ran him into the ground, untill his legs came up wobbly. We then played the next few weeks on that tire, and he never tried me again. I sent him to good friends in Michigan that summer, and they drove and rode him while I continued my recovery. I built a chariot so I could drive him and bail out easily. (Paranoia). We have done some harrowing with him, played on the tractor tire, rode him as I feel like it, and hooked him with that chariot out on the road. NOW we get to the problem. I've never come close to the thrill I got on that cart, swinging thru town for the kids to see, watching those massive muscles in motion. But in that cart, my legs are inside the shafts, and I'm sort of trapped in there. I have never gotten the nerve to get back at it. I altered the cart to use with my Haflinger filly, and drive her all over. I am not afraid to drive. I am afraid, I guess, of his potential. While a wreck with any horse is possible, he shook me off like a fly, and I cannot mentally get past that. It makes me so angry that I've considered selling him several times. I think I'm just chicken, and he's older and mellower now, but it's a no-go. Every time I hitch one up to drive I wish it were him. I am pushing 58 and cannot heal like a 20 year old anymore. I lost nearly 5 months at work the last time. I don't know if I want advise or opinions or what. I am just lost on this without a clue. My 12 year old girl can now drive him on the chariot, (off road), and I can't hook him to that cart. Is this the reasoning of old age, or what?



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul. 14, 2000
    Location
    midwest
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    10,134

    Default

    "Is this the reasoning of old age, or what?" It sure seems so and furthermore, it is okay since on more than one occasion he bolted with you while driving- the cart and the tire in the snow.

    For me, life is short, free time is shorter so when I have that free time I need 100% of my horse. My mares get room, board, excellent veterinary & farrier care and and in exchange for that I ask for "X" number of riding hours each week- more in the warm months, less in the winter- and since I work 4 days a week we are not talking about a whole lot of "working time". Ditto my driving guys. If this arrangement- a little work in exchange for all physical needs being provided- is a problem then they are moved out. The emotional bond is cemented when the fun comes on the rides et al.

    It is about having fun and being safe and as someone who is on the near side of 50, I sure do what I can to minimize risk.

    Good luck w/ your guy and whatever you decide to do. You are not alone, for sure.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    May. 3, 2006
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    Well to be honest it seems to me to be sensible thinking.

    Green + green = black and blue

    No matter how much experience you had as a rider or a horseman and how many books you read or lessons you had, you were an absolute novice driver with a young novice horse.

    They say that Clever people learn from their mistakes. I say that REALLY clever people, learn from other people's mistakes.

    Sounds like you've learnt a valuable and painful lesson and personally I think what you're saying sounds entirely sensible.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct. 14, 2002
    Location
    Florida,
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    3,005

    Default

    Jerry,

    I have been where you are mentally but not nearly so badly damaged physycally. I am in my early fifties as well and we just don;t bounce as well anymore.

    The mare involved remains an excellent riding mare but I would not put her in shafts anymore. She trembles when harnessed. I decided she is worth keeping and the driving part is not worth the headache with her. I have two others that are great drivnig horses. I had a hard time getting back into the cart in the beginning. I had to have someone else drive a horse and I would sit on the cart so I could jump off when I got scared. I would hyperventilate, have asthma attacks, etc. It took a long time, but eventually I started taking the reins for short periods. I now am driving CDEs.

    Perhaps you can find someone willing to drive this horse for you in your cart. When you are ready, get in the cart at a stand. Get out as soon as you are getting scared. Desensitize your fear a little at a time. I know this may sound a little silly, but when you get in the cart, start singing some silly little ditty. It does two things--it forces you to breath (which we tend not to do when we are fearful) and takes your mind other places for the briefest time. It will help you relax just a smidge.

    You must decide if this horse is worth keeping. If you can get enough out of riding him, driving him in your chariot, dragging the tire and harrow, then keep him. If it isn;t enough, then you really have only two choices--be happy with what you have or sell him. Consider selling the cart and getting one that is easy entry like a road cart.

    I know you are not seeking advice here but know several of us have been there and understand where your head is.

    Good luck.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    May. 28, 2006
    Location
    Central Mississippi
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    Jerry, you have my full sympathy. I've had one riding horse about whom I felt as you feel about your Belgian. He ground-darted me so many times! Far more than any other horse ever had. I was approaching 50 myself at the time, and those falls hurt for quite some time. Nothing like your foot, thank goodness, but after a couple of them I was in physiotherapy for a year.

    My choice was to find a way to ride him, and I have. He has since become an important part of the program in my riding school, and is the horse every rider aspires to ride. But he is not and probably never will be my first choice to put my own saddle on. And I don't think I'd ever trust him in harness.

    It seems to me that you have a couple of choices. One is to sell this big fella on to someone who has no history with him, and buy another big, experienced, steady driving horse to fit your cart. Perhaps the Amish would trade with you?

    The other is to buy a different cart! It sounds as though you have some kind of meadowbrook. What about replacing it with one of the better-made easy-entry style carts? I have one, and I can tell you that it genuinely is easy to hop into and out of as needed.

    Don't feel badly about your disappointment, anger and angst. Horses bring out our strengths and our needs, and help us to identify and address them. As Thomas said, you've had your lesson the hard way -- we all have, at some time or another (except maybe Thomas ) -- and all of us with whom you've shared it are learning from it. The thing is to decide what you want the next step to be, and just go for it.

    Good luck! Let us know what happens next!



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb. 16, 2003
    Location
    MI USA
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    7,115

    Default

    Perhaps you could sell this drafter and purchase another? I don't know how much you like him or just like having and using the BIG horse he is. He certainly keeps reminding you of your bad experience, which with a bad leg, you really don't need. You are always over-prepared for him to react poorly again, takes all the fun out of using him driving. Doesn't sound like he is the fun horse to use.

    Maybe your Amish friends have a large, older draft that you could get. Most of them are well trained by the time they age out, calmly accepting of your desire to drive to town and be admired by noisy children, town neighbors, get some ice cream. This would be part of the fun things you envision using a draft for. Can you picture doing this with another horse?

    I am of the viewpoint that your horse should provide pleasure, not apprehension, when being used. I know a lot of folks who refuse to sell a horse who has hurt them or frightens them to use. They ride or drive less, don't have a good time when they do go out. Tend to over-react when horse does ANYTHING, because they are stiff and scared. They worry about the horse going to someone else who won't 'love' him enough. Having that horse is just money, time and effort spent that gives no reward or pleasure in his presence.

    Like selling off a car that you had an accident in. Getting in or using that car gives you bad memories, so trade it off for another one. A lot of folks sell the car they got hurt in. Who wants to be constantly reminded of an accident?? Selling car lets them move on mentally, in getting back to a more normal situation.

    I do not consider selling or trading horse off to be a poor reaction, failure to 'work thru your fears' or just giving up. Selling is a realistic facing the fact that THIS HORSE is not fun for you. Lets you get on to find a horse you can enjoy more. Sometimes the person and horse are just a bad match, toughing it out proves nothing. We have had horses the just didn't make us happy, maybe they didn't like us. We listen to that inner voice, sold them on to people who adored them, enjoyed them hugely. THAT HORSE just needed to go live elsewhere to be properly appreciated! WE adored their replacement!!

    I don't know if using a different vehicle would change your feelings. As the driver, most vehicles are not the easiest thing to exit quickly. Some cart models are better than others, for ease in entering and exits. You still have to deal with height of floor and getting around the wheel if you are in a hazardous situation. Most full drafts don't have a lot of endurance when going at a canter or gallop if not conditioned. Those muscles are different than trot muscles, have to condition separately. So even with the light cart, he probably would not have the muscles or wind, to run very far.

    Have you looked at other vehicles? Maybe a 4-wheeler or a different cart? You said you fell out the back, could changing the seat back, adding fenders over wheels, make it safer or give you a more secure feeling? Getting caught in a wheel is pretty terrible!! Some cart designs give passengers no protection from snagging or getting tangled in spokes.
    Marathon carriage with the open back, low step, is most similar to your chariot, is really the only quick exit design I can think of. And that rear exit is only great for the groom, driver still is above the front wheel, has height to get down from to exit. 4-wheels add to the tipping possibility by having the hinge for front wheels. 2-wheel cart is harder to tip over in most cases.

    Have you tried making a list for this horse? One side of plus features, one side of minus features. Sometimes spelling out what you like or don't about him makes the picture clearer, easier to make a decision. Then whether he stays or goes, you know why you chose that way. Only you can make that decision. Best of luck with it.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan. 29, 2006
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    237

    Default

    I am not scared to hook him up or drive him. Just this cart, my favorite. Always in the back of my head is this unsettling dread of a repeat. I couldn't have fun, which is why we do it, right? Thomas, green+green is right. However there is no indication of why it happened. Sudden and violent with no known trigger. Good weather, calm day, no traffic, nice terrain.



  8. #8
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    May. 28, 2006
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    Central Mississippi
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    Default

    Jerry, you're still puzzling over why it happened, and you could probably list a million reasons. He was green, you were green, he was only 3 or so, far from adult; you'd "knocked down a lot of miles in a short time," which is good but only goes so far to creating a seasoned horse; you'd just completed a 6-mile jaunt, so he could have been tired or hurting; he may well have picked up some information on the wind of which you were unaware; and my personal pick, a return to "he was only 3." A baby. Given, almost by definition, to unpredictable responses. Unseasoned, emotional, as yet not fully disciplined...

    ..and you were green, and perhaps a little more confident than the situation warranted? Tuning in to a horse whose ears and eyes are 15 feet away from you is a lot different to tuning in to a horse upon whom you are seated, as you well know. Sparrow and I have a strong bond and yet she continually surprises me, not only in what she reacts to but even more in what she does not react to!

    So would it help you to figure out why it happened? You may never know the full story. You know enough, however, to be cautious, and that is your wisdom speaking, I believe. It seems to me that you probably had better just use that cart for your Haflinger mare, and get a new cart or a new horse for the big-horse partnership. What do you think?



  9. #9
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    May. 3, 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by jerry View Post
    I am not scared to hook him up or drive him. Just this cart, my favorite. Always in the back of my head is this unsettling dread of a repeat. I couldn't have fun, which is why we do it, right? Thomas, green+green is right. However there is no indication of why it happened. Sudden and violent with no known trigger. Good weather, calm day, no traffic, nice terrain.
    Its a horse.
    It was young and new to driving.
    You are new to driving.
    You were working a young horse a lot (possibly even excessively)
    Its unlikely with that combination that once something started to go wrong that you would have seen it coming.
    Its unlikely that if you had seen it coming, that you would have the ability and experience to take appropriate mitigating action.

    In fact I was quite restrained in my last posting but you were actually doing some things I would NEVER do - and I've been accused of having no fear with driving horses and I've lost count of the horses I've put to harness let alone driven.

    I've done some stupid things in my life but I learnt a lot of years ago that there are some things you just NEVER do unless you want a disaster. You've got to 57 and have learnt that lesson the hard way.

    I NEVER go out driving without a groom to assist (and apologies if I'm wrong but I believe that was the case with the description of your accident)
    I NEVER drive a youngster without competent experienced help
    I NEVER drive a youngster "lots of miles" and "6 mile jaunts"
    I would NEVER sit on a tyre and haybale at the back of a youngster
    I would NEVER put a whip on a horse that was evading and "run him into the ground"
    In any case I would NEVER pick a fight with a horse - you're destined to lose and there's no need. Imposing will NEVER works.
    I would NEVER drive a cart with my legs inside the shaft

    I should have said earlier but I sincerely hope that your little girl is not replicating what you attempted to do and that someone who is competent is accompanying her and that EVERYTHING with this turnout has been checked by that competent person.

    You're old enough to decide for yourself what you want to do and should and shouldn't do. But you also have a responsibility to protect your precious child from the same sort of mishap.

    And if you were a customer of mine, I'd suggest that you sell the horse to an experienced driver and if you are eagre to continue, I'd suggest you purchase a good old reliable experienced driving horse that has been there, seen it and bought a t shirt for it and who knows what to do and can get a driver out of trouble and give you that good old fashioned look that experienced horses give you that says "don't be daft, I know you didn't really mean me to do that. You just sit there and I'll do what you meant me to do anyway"
    Last edited by Thomas_1; Nov. 29, 2006 at 02:43 PM.



  10. #10
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    Jan. 29, 2006
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    237

    Default

    I get a tad defensive here, so bear with me. A lot of miles doesn't mean all at once. And 6 miles at leisure is not a push for any healthy animal. We have smooth, flat roads. The tire is the safest thing I've ever sat on, period. I don't consider a 3 year old too young too push some, either. Maybe some do. Pushing him hard when he ran was advise from older teamsters (all have different opinions) and it worked. He does not hate me for it that I can tell. I use this horse. I don't need a different draft horse, I have another, quite a stone. This one was just special, and it ticks me that I cannot trust him in the end. Sparrow is spot on, I got overconfident and got caught by surprise, even knowing better. Even my wife harps on me to keep him, tho I occasionally consider a sale.



  11. #11
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    May. 3, 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by jerry View Post
    I get a tad defensive here, so bear with me. A lot of miles doesn't mean all at once. And 6 miles at leisure is not a push for any healthy animal. .
    Well you must be right then. Clearly I know nothing about driving young horses just put to harness.
    Or to put it another way: Do you really think your extremely limited, experience is somehow meaningful in terms of good practice in relation to driving a young horse.
    The tire is the safest thing I've ever sat on, period.
    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”
    I don't consider a 3 year old too young too push some, either. Maybe some do. .
    Yes they sure do
    Pushing him hard when he ran was advise from older teamsters (all have different opinions) and it worked.
    In my world "it worked" doesn't mean you have a sequence of serious accidents, a run away, a broken ankle and a horse you can no longer trust.
    He does not hate me for it that I can tell
    Unfortunately for horses a lot are too stoic for their own good
    . I use this horse. I don't need a different draft horse,
    Might I remind you what you said.
    I can't hook him to that cart.
    I have never gotten the nerve to get back at it.
    I cannot mentally get past that. It makes me so angry that I've considered selling him several times.
    I have another, quite a stone. This one was just special, and it ticks me that I cannot trust him in the end. Sparrow is spot on, I got overconfident and got caught by surprise, even knowing better. Even my wife harps on me to keep him, tho I occasionally consider a sale
    And is your wife an experienced competent carriage driver with knowledge of bringing on young draft horses?



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep. 23, 2005
    Location
    North Central Florida
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    727

    Default Jerry, hang in there.

    Even though you are getting jumped on a bit, it's OK. Interesting how you have the courage to 'fess' up to this stuff. I'm 57 and it is tough to express these concerns. I had a wreck on July 4 and it hurt, although no damage near what you suffered. I drove the horse again within a few days of the wreck but not in the same vehicle. In fact I only used the vehicle again last week. I accept the horse as he is a joy to drive. That horse and THAT vehicle is a combination I'm not comfortable with. The vehicle makes a lot of difference to me.

    Next, as we go along I gain experience with more horses and I am continually impressed with the huge individual differences they possess. Maybe when we get to numbers Thomas has gotten to we can come up generalities. Meanwhile each new horse is a whole new world to me. What works for one may not work at all with the next.

    Dick



  13. #13
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    May. 3, 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by kearleydk View Post
    Maybe when we get to numbers Thomas has gotten to we can come up generalities. Meanwhile each new horse is a whole new world to me. What works for one may not work at all with the next.
    Dick
    No generalities just some fundamental principles to keep you and your horse safe and as far as I'm concerned horses are as individual as people and forget that and you've got a problem



  14. #14
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    Jan. 29, 2006
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    You read in too much, Thomas. He was started in March, I wrecked in September, after a full summer of driving. I did not have a series of accidents/incidents. One wreck. One test on me afterwards. And 2 years later, OK. The problem is mine, not his, he does fine. Others have been involved in his training, and have not faulted my decisions. I am merely lamenting my own inability to move past the thought of what can happen with a 1900 lb horse with a little fire down below. He's no stone, and never will be. He was started at 3, hardly too young. He was 4 before I gave him his come-uppance on the tire. That tire is less strenuous than a plow. A six year old kid can drag that cart around the yard, I seriously doubt he was "hurting". He never had to break a good sweat. I do not abuse my animals and you'll find none of mine lame or sore. We had a meeting of wills and he got the message, that's all. I'm not the 1st nor the last to have a mishap, not that long ago a very well known driver had a serious wreck in the show ring. I doubt you would judge her so harshly, Thomas. And I'm willing to wager you are no stranger to the mishaps, either.



  15. #15
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    Nov. 20, 2006
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    Bournemouth, England
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    Quote Originally Posted by jerry View Post
    He was started at 3, hardly too young. He was 4 before I gave him his come-uppance on the tire. That tire is less strenuous than a plow. A six year old kid can drag that cart around the yard, I seriously doubt he was "hurting". He never had to break a good sweat. I do not abuse my animals and you'll find none of mine lame or sore. We had a meeting of wills and he got the message, that's all.
    I've been reading this thread with interest.

    I feel like your admitted defensiveness is getting in the way here. The current "problem" is not what I want to mainly talk about, but maybe it can help you avoid something similar to the original incident in the future.

    You say that 3 is "hardly too young," but it is a well-established fact that horses do not reach full physical maturity until 7 or 8, and that the larger the horse, the slower they mature. He may look tall and strong, but at three not all of his joints were closed and soft tissues were still forming. It doesn't matter how big the cart is, asking a 3 year old horse to pull a cart (or be ridden) for more than half an hour a couple of times a week is asking for a sore horse. The backpack may be light, but the 10 year old kid is still going to be tired and sore if asked to to carry it on a lot of road marches in quick succession, flat roads or not. Ask him to do it a couple of times a week for a short period of time and he'll probably feel fine and get into shape. Same with your horse--it wasn't that the cart was too heavy for what you were asking him to do, it was that you were asking him to do it too much.

    Last week I took a long, lazy stroll through the tourist area of a nearby city. I stopped often, went into stores, even sat down and had a couple of meals. But by the time I got back to my hotel that night, my feet and knees were KILLING me. I'm sure you've had this experince. You can still be sore, even if you never break a sweat.

    I would not bet that none of your horses have never been sore in the time that you've owned them. My feet feel fine now--I've had lots of time to rest--but that doesn't mean they didn't hurt last week. You horse may well have been in pain when he was 3 and be fine now.

    I am not prepared to say that horses never get stubborn just because they've learned they can. I think they do. But what I think probably happened was that something hurt, he figured out a way to escape it, and then checked to see if that method would work next time when nothing hurt but he didn't particularly feel like working. His new trick didn't work, so he didn't try it again. I don't think that you did anything wrong by nipping the developing behavior in the bud, but I do think that your point could have been made long before the wobbly legs stage. By that time, how many minutes had passed? Do you think by that point he remembered why you were running him? I would bet he didn't, and the moment he didn't anymore, it was time to stop. Discipline ends when the horse no longer associates the consequence with the event. Period. Beyond that is abuse.

    Simply because the Amish use their horses hard and young does not mean that it is good for the horse or the safest thing to do. Just because it has been a horseman's tradition to start a horse at 2 or 3 does not mean it is good for the horse or the safest thing to do. The same goes for running a horse wobbly. The equestrian world can be very slow to assimilate newly discovered information about horse physiology and care (who here still thinks that the best thing for a coliking horse is to keep it moving, even if it isn't trying to roll? Who here could have sworn before today that all a horse's joints are closed by 3?). Just because we are slow to learn it doesn't mean that we should ignore it when we do. Multiple people have basically said to you that we now know that a three year old horse is still a baby. Probably fewer people would have said that 20 or 30 years ago, bcause we didn't understand equine physiology as well then as we do now. That does not make it any less true. Your horse was a baby, and in baby terms you were working him too hard and you got in an accident. Period. That is the "why."

    If you want to drive THIS horse in THIS cart, I think it can be done with a little work. Personally I'd start by going through the hitching process and everything until you start to get uncomfortable, and then stop for the day. And then do the same thing the next day, and the next day, until you've moved along to driving. And then drive him around the farm, in an arena, whatever, until you're comfortable with that, day after day after day. And then go a half mile down the road until that's ok. Do NOT go to the next step until the previous one is totally boring and ho-hum. If a step makes you nervous, drop back to the previous one until you feel ok again. I'm sure you get the picture I am trying to draw--it's just desensitization. It works just as well on people as it does on horses, but you have to be even MORE patient because we have those pesky conscious thoughts about what might happen.

    Good luck.
    Lark B
    socialwstudent@gmail.com
    _________



  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by jerry View Post
    You read in too much, Thomas. He was started in March, I wrecked in September, after a full summer of driving. I did not have a series of accidents/incidents. One wreck. One test on me afterwards. And 2 years later, OK. .
    Please be aware that your inability to express yourself cogently does not imply lack of comprehension on the reader's part. You said it, I read it...... I read what you said! No misunderstanding on my part. Salient points: novice driver, series of disasters, young horse, risky practices, lack of awareness, loss of confidence and trust.
    The problem is mine, not his, he does fine.
    You told this forum your experience and in the circumstances described your problem IS his problem
    He was started at 3, hardly too young. He was 4 before I gave him his come-uppance on the tire.
    A clear demonstration of a lack of knowledge and understanding of a horse!- You might have thought you gave him his "come-uppance" but you've just said "The problem is mine, not his, he does fine." Make your mind up which one is it? See anything incongruent with your statements? I NEVER pick a fight with a horse - its about working in partnership NOT a winner and a loser and anyone daft enough to pick a fight with a horse, ought to be aware, they won't win!
    Others have been involved in his training, and have not faulted my decisions
    Its irrelevent whether others agreed with what you did and I would suggest you re-read the last posting by Gothedistance which contained wise words which I entirely endorse.
    That tire is less strenuous than a plow. A six year old kid can drag that cart around the yard, I seriously doubt he was "hurting". He never had to break a good sweat.
    No disrespect intended, but I think your idea of "hurting" and "training" and "working" and mine are quite different. I am also entirely familiar with the amount of effort required for a horse to pull a tyre and I stand by what I said earlier:
    I would NEVER sit on a tyre and haybale at the back of a youngster - because its an accident waiting to happen.
    “The greatest ignorance is to reject something you know nothing about"

    I do not abuse my animals and you'll find none of mine lame or sore. We had a meeting of wills and he got the message, that's all.
    Everyone has a right to make mistakes, but you are abusing the privilege”
    I'm not the 1st nor the last to have a mishap, not that long ago a very well known driver had a serious wreck in the show ring. I doubt you would judge her so harshly,
    I presume you are talking about Clare and the difference is she knows what happened, why it happened and has taken appropriate remedial action.
    Thomas. And I'm willing to wager you are no stranger to the mishaps,
    And The difference is though that I don't go inviting them and when something happens I critically review what I did to cause the mishap - I don't go on a forum to tell everyone what I did wrong and how I don't know what to do and then blame the horse! And neither would I keep coming back to debate with those who offered suggestions particularly if I didn't know what to do and I was a novice.
    either no more and no less and constant reiteration and telling me won't change my opinion.
    Your opinion, my knowledge.

    You can try to blow smoke until the world looks level, but any competent driver who is familiar with working novice young horses will be offering similar criticism and words of caution. They may dress it up the differently but it will boil down to the same thing.

    Igorance is not bliss, its oblivion



  17. #17
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    May. 28, 2006
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    You know, I can't even picture this hay bale on a tire thing. When I was training my daughter's pony to pull I put her to a smaller car tire, just to give her a sense of pulling. She could move a lot faster than I could, so I had the brilliant thought that maybe I'd get on that tire! I don't need to tell most of you that that was a major error, one which I would not repeat and from which I still have scars in embarrassing places, and I don't see where the hay bale would have made it any better.

    Jerry, I'm going to say again -- that horse was a baby. I know that in the QH world it is considered okay to start a horse young. There's a university in Arkansas that actually advocates starting them under saddle as long yearlings! I am watching a couple of these experiments longitudinally, and thus far I don't see it as a good thing -- there's been a fair amount of unexplainable lameness in the now four year olds who were sold as riding horses at age 2. I suspect their joints, still not closed at age four, are already showing arthritic change.

    Much of my training is on the British system, and if you look at the records you will find that not only their horses but their riders compete powerfully to a very advanced age -- over fences, in dressage, cross-country. The British system is to lightly back a youngster at age 3 -- introduce saddle, bridle and weight of rider -- and then turn the young one out to be a horse for another year. At four they are brought in, slowly conditioned and trained and started in serious work at five. They are then looking at 12 to 15 years of working life before retiring, not to the pasture but to a young rider who needs a seasoned mount to be moving on with.

    Personally, I would rather add many years on to the mature and seasoned end of a horse's working life than hurry to gain an extra year when the animal is emotionally, mentally and physically immature.

    All that to say: the more I read of this thread, the more I think you are better off giving your lovely Belgian to a new home and seeking a seasoned horse who will carry you past your dread block and on into driving with pleasure and relative safety. I also would get rid of any cart that I could not get into and out of easily. This has been a true learning opportunity for you, and you need to find a way to make use of the knowledge you have gained!

    all the best,

    Dale



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan. 29, 2006
    Posts
    237

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    I'm a little wired about now. If 3 and 4 are too young, then hundreds of thousands of horse lovers around the world are terribly abusive. You, Thomas, have that "My way or the highway" ego, knowledge handed down from God, I suppose. All those other lifelong horsemen are just stupid. You seem to be more than willing to overlook that the horse responded well to my "barbarism" and is a pretty decent animal. It's just a shame it wasn't done your way. I'm not the 1st guy to use that tire, either, and your doomsday opinion of it is without merit. He can't roll it, wreck it or run off with it, and it stops on a dime. I have a left over paranoia, not a junk or ruined horse. And Clare is no less seriously damaged just because she might get "why" it happened. My horse will not run off on me, that is the lesson he was given and received. I don't care how you psycoanalyze it. There is more than one way to skin a cat. For the last time, THE HORSE IS FINE. Lord knows, more than a couple local teamsters have asked me to set a price. This was not a post about how to improve the horse. It was about MY nagging fears, which are unjustified. Thanks for the moral support. Now go beat up somebody else.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    May. 28, 2006
    Location
    Central Mississippi
    Posts
    2,271

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    "If 3 and 4 are too young, then hundreds of thousands of horse lovers around the world are terribly abusive"

    Yes.

    I think we've all given you ideas about how to get past your leftover paranoia, Jerry, and one of the ideas most strongly posted is this: "don't drive another very young horse."

    Another is: "buy a seasoned horse to regain your confidence."

    Another is: "get rid of the unsafe cart."

    We all posed these ideas as gently as we knew how (even Thomas -- his idea of gentle has a built-in harrumph, which is harmless), and maybe we hammered them a bit hard when we felt that you were not "hearing" us. But it isn't our intention to sap your confidence further or to beat you up. We're just emphasizing the three main suggestions with which we all started. Older horse, not a baby. Safer cart.

    We WANT you to drive happily again! We all could be or have been in your shoes! We are all learning from your experience, or else it is reinforcing what we have already learned from ours!! Please try to read what we write in the spirit in which it is intended, Jerry. We are not trying to be mean -- not even Thomas.

    Dale



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec. 13, 2004
    Posts
    1,710

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas_1 View Post
    I NEVER go out driving without a groom to assist (and apologies if I'm wrong but I believe that was the case with the description of your accident)
    I NEVER drive a youngster without competent experienced help
    I NEVER drive a youngster "lots of miles" and "6 mile jaunts"
    I would NEVER sit on a tyre and haybale at the back of a youngster
    I would NEVER put a whip on a horse that was evading and "run him into the ground"
    In any case I would NEVER pick a fight with a horse - you're destined to lose and there's no need. Imposing will NEVER works.
    I would NEVER drive a cart with my legs inside the shaft
    Sorry Thomas I'm going to have to disagree with you on this. If I followed your rules I would still be sitting on the sidelines and not driving horses. I have me and rarely any competant help. (I am raising my help but he is only 8 now.) I had to get to the point I had to start somewhere. I started with a green pony that had 30 days by a good trainer and a pony that had been hooked 3 times. The old trainer said go and do. You will make mistakes but the biggest mistake you can make is to let the animal rot in the pasture. He also said make them bleed soap 3 times a week. I used that team everyday to feed cattle that first winter. I made it so that I had to hook every day and often twice a day with out an option to wimp out. Yes, we had a few wrecks. None serious, but it wasn't from lack of use.

    The tire or tyre as you prefer is a training aid I like to use. I call it the tire of education. I have 2 one about 4 feet in diameter and the other about 6 feet in diameter. I built a floor in them and they are very stable to ride on. It isn't a cure all but it is simply another tool in my bag of training aids. A sweating horse is ready to listen and to think. I know of many horses that are fine working a small token laps around a ring but when they are asked for real effort they explode. I have seen it with kids as well. School is great until I have to work at it. It is called work ethic and some horses like people are born with it some have to learn it. A tire is a way to teach horses to work and used correctly is not at all bad and is a safe way to make them sweat.

    So Thomas, what works for me may not work for you. What works for you doesn't work for me. But at the end of the day I have a team that is safe and sane that is a joy for me and my family to be around. But I suppose it would be safer to not be driving and watching the ponies rot in the pasture.

    I agree that a green horse and a green driver are not necesarily a good combination, but I don't think it is doomsday either. There are good horses turned out all the time by various methods and means. Use what works for you and yours and allow others the same privledge.

    LF



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