We are not trying to be mean -- not even Thomas. Dale
And if the OP goes back and reads what was said, he's received a heck of a lot of good consistent advice from a lot of folks who regularly drive.
And you know I'm not surprised at the reaction and response of the OP. In real life do you know I actually get paid by people who have the same circumstances as Jerry. And whilst I'm taking their money for sorting out their problems for them - reschooling their horse, giving them driving lessons, they spend their time telling me and my staff how they do things and why everything they're doing is right or rational.
It keeps me in business and long may it continue
Last edited by Thomas_1; Nov. 30, 2006 at 11:24 AM.
Its a horse.
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"
Bwa ha ha!!
Thomas, I KNOW that look. My dear departed mare gave it to me, and every human she met, on numerous occasions.
thanks, that made my day.
Jerry - lots of good advice here.
Crayola posse ~ Lazer Lemon yellow Take time to give...it is too short a day to be selfish. - Ben Franklin
The tires I have seen used for pulling by Draft horse folks, are LARGE implement tires. Usually from a big tractor, but maybe from construction equipment. Draft folks want a LOAD behind the horse. Plus the friction of dragging on the tire side, is really work over time or distance for the horse.. This large tire is often covered with boards on top or as LF said, has a board floor between the sidewalls. It is quite easy to set a small hay or straw bale inside the rim hole to sit on. Driver sits on bale and can go along as fast as the horse can!
Around here this tire training method is fairly common, with horse driven in stubble fields or newly plowed ground, pastures. It is VERY common to drive them exhausted. Not saying it is correct, just common and has been done that way for many years. Most all the draft horse users do it that way, not just Amish.
The man down the road keeps the public road smoothly surfaced with his daily works driving his draft horses. His tires are cement filled, and horses hitched to a forecart that pulls the tires. Says he gets a better ride on the forecart seat with spring, than a tire. His horses are kept fit this way, worked regularly, sure a bonus to drive on his section of smooth dirt road!
The other common method is hitching young horse to a LARGE old schoolmaster/mistress, and dragging him along. Drafts are commonly started as 2yr olds, especially if they are destined for hitch horses in multiples. Young horse has no other option, most don't have a clue what is going on, but do "get trained" this way. I don't know anyone who waits till 4 to start a Draft horse driving. Older, untrained horses can be pretty 'opinionated' and give driver more trouble since they are MUCH stronger when they take the bit, or jump around, resist in any way. Those opinionated ones are usually sent to the Amish for Spring plowing breaking. Hitched between 3-5 other horses, the untrained horse has no place to go except forward with the others. Wet Spring dirt, acres to plow, takes the starch out of them pretty fast. Horse can also be worked twice a day, when others only do a morning or afternoon session. In Spring horses are not fit, work is extremely hard, even with several on the plow, so 1/2 days work for horse is common in early season. Horse is a lot less opinonated when he returns, as long as he is kept worked often.
2-3yr old Drafts are most desired as Tandem leaders or Multiple Leaders to show with, since they will move out to stay ahead of the Wheeler/s. You do want to drive inside an arena because the fence will prevent them running off, redirects them as they bump into it. Certainly not an open road combination of horses and vehicle! Again, fairly common around here so that means young horse has to be hitched. We hear lots of bragging at the Fairs, "Hey this outing was our 2nd or 3rd time as a Tandem" or even "She has ONLY been hitched 4-5 times, not too bad!!" Frightens me, I don't get the same pleasure watching that I used to.
Not much pretty about any of it, yet most of the horses end up being used, managable. These are most of the drafts you see hitched to wagons, pulling carts at the local shows.
And you also hear about those damaged people and horses who didn't succeed using this program. They shrug it off, as part of using horses and has been experienced by all the draft folks they know. Mostly it works, hard to change old ways of thinking. Didn't kill them, so it must be a good method.
"It's always been that way" or "most people do it this way" does not mean that something is a good idea. It is worth reiterating to say that we now know scientifically that horses--especially big horses--mature far more slowly than we thought. If you want to break your horses at two or three that is your peroggative, but understand that they are NOT physically mature and that permanent damage can be the result. Personally I would rather wait the extra year or two and know that in all liklihood my horse will be sound a lot longer into it's old age than it would have been if I had started it's serious training early, but that's just me. If you've long since sold the horse down the road by then, I guess it doesn't really matter to the person who owns it when it's young what happens to it when its old.
Waiting to put a horse to work does not mean that you eschew training! Ground work, handling, longlining... all those are necessary and valuable for youngsters. In many places where horses are in daily working use the foals start skipping alongside their in-draft dams from a few weeks of age! Anything that stretches the mind and develops the discipline and sense of partnership is good. It's just those young, tender joints, muscles and tendons that are better off spared to an older age.
It's just those young, tender joints, muscles and tendons that are better off spared to an older age.
Is this really true or can you build the muscles and tendons by light but frequent work? I run with a bunch of horse pullers. These are horse equivalent of power lifters. Most of those horses are started driving at 2, worked light at 3, pulled light at 4 and 5, to be competed at 6 to 10. These horses are worked to think that anything they are hooked to they can pull. it is a confidance thing. A mental game if you will. The idea with the light work as at a younger age is to help them build the bone mass and tendon strength to pull in the later years. Look at a kid that has been allowed to run free and work hard at play or a couch potato kid. When they are put to work at 18 the more active kid has the muscle and stamina to start immediatly. The problem with horses is few of us have the space to let a young horse work at play so we must work them lightly to get the excercise in.
When I started my horses they would stand quiet for about 3 to 5 minutes then get ansy to get moving. I found that if I started to load the sled of wagona and they tried to leave it was best to work them on what ever load then go back and stand. They soon learned that standing beat working. I say whoa, the head drops and they cock a heel to rest.
I use horses to accomplish a task not work horses for pleasure. I find great pleasure working horse but it isn't the primary objective. The sooner I can get an animal to a using state the sooner work can be accomplished. This is the way most of the amish do it. Most paid horse trainers spend as much time training as a client will pay for. It is called buisness.
Well said again LF. I have had this discussion a couple of times with my clinician friend, Ken McNabb. Most of what is done with horses these days is for ENTERTAINMENT. Modern Americans are more willing to pay for entertainment than for the basic necessities of life. I point out to Ken that he is not selling horse training, he is selling entertainment.
LF, you are in the minority because you use the horses to accomplish work that needs to be done. The work vs entertainment thing changes the picture entirely. If it is entertainment then pragmatism is out. If it takes longer then we are entertained longer.
If we skip from this forum over to Rural Heritage Front Porch we see a lot more of the work mindset.
How about "everything to moderation" as a slogan? There is good stuff here on both sides of the work/entertainment equation.
Dale, I like your style when things get a little heated here.
Thomas wrote: "And whilst I'm taking their money for sorting out their problems for them - reschooling their horse, giving them driving lessons, they spend their time telling me and my staff how they do things and why everything they're doing is right or rational."
This is off the original topic, but I just had to respond to this. We don't quite have the right emoticon for it -- a wry smile, shrug, raised eyebrows and sigh all combined. Thomas, I work with those same people! They drive me nuts. My favorite of all time comment was made Wednesday night. I was working with their foxhunter, who has had several 30-day-wonder training experiences and has the most well-developed resistance muscles in his neck that I have ever encountered. So I was just sitting on him, playing with his mouth, talking to him with my body, trying to get him to accept and reach for the bit just a little tiny bit. I was making progress, but was very, very focused on the horse. The whole time I was working, the owner kept up this non-stop chatter, ideas, suggestions, theories about what I was doing, telling me every time the horse went behind the bit as if I wouldn't know, and then finally the coup de grace: "Hey, I was watching RFDTV the other night, and Pat Parelli was on. See if you can do what he did: get the horse to lean forward, backward, left and right without moving his feet. Can you do it? Will you try? Come on, I want to see if you can do it!"
I'm sure, Thomas, that you, or most of the other pros on this list, would have had an effective and suitable come-back. I'm afraid I was struck speechless, and just took horse and myself to the other side of the arena and worked on bending. What would you have said?
Last edited by MySparrow; Dec. 2, 2006 at 08:44 AM.
Good reply, Thomas. But I really like this client, and that always complicates things.
Still pondering the tire thing. Trying to put it all together in my mind. It is, indeed, more complicated to teach and communicate from 15 feet away than it is from a hands-on position. But...but...but...
...I keep thinking about the horsemen in Bahrain who use a training method called "changing the horse's colour". Bahrain is the birthplace of 6 of the original Arab strains, and many of the horses are some form of gray with black skins. It is a hot and humid place, often over 100 degrees F with damp and salty air. When a horse misbehaves the technique involves running it, whipping as necessary, until it changes color -- until the white or gray or roan or grulla coat is drenched and soaked through, and the horse is the color of its black skin.
I knew one Bahraini horseman who eschewed this method. He was our farrier, and he would arrive on his richly-muscled, proud and powerful stallion to care for our geldings and our little pony mare. Hameed arrived on his stallion after riding through the desert from his stable, carrying his tools in his hands. He would have ridden past other stables, horses working, camels, donkey carts, wild dogs, motorbikes.... and he would arrive, calm and happy and with both hands carrying the tools of his trade. He could do this because he rode bareback and bridleless, he and his young stallion like a single creature.
Our own horses had been worked prior to our owning them by the colour-changing method (except the pony). They went in harsh bits and were considered unsuitable for children. But by the time we left they were kind and responsive and like extra children in my life, and I trusted my own children to them. We sold them as a package to an American family in Saudi Arabia who started a new riding program for children with our geldings as its core.
My own choice is to be more like Hameed, to avoid coercion in any form except where absolutely necessary (and I do acknowledge that it is sometimes necessary for someone as limited in skills as I).
And I also am confused about something else -- perhaps someone could help me understand. I remember some months ago a discussion about training in which it was said and underscored that there is little value in teaching a horse to pull against resisting weight, such as a tire, unless the horse was going to be used in pulling contests. Was it here that we talked about the snatching that a horse must do to pull heavy loads, and the difference in technique between the steady application of power required for carriage draught and the jerk and lean required for pulling? Or did I hear that somewhere else? Anyway, what is the effect of heavy tire-pulling in the training of a carriage driving horse, other than to teach it that the human is the boss? I don't mean to be argumentative -- I'm looking for information, because I know that at least LF does both pulling and driving...
And I also am confused about something else -- perhaps someone could help me understand. I remember some months ago a discussion about training in which it was said and underscored that there is little value in teaching a horse to pull against resisting weight, such as a tire, unless the horse was going to be used in pulling contests. Was it here that we talked about the snatching that a horse must do to pull heavy loads, and the difference in technique between the steady application of power required for carriage draught and the jerk and lean required for pulling?
It was indeed here and one of my very early postings where I said its a technique I never employ and I might have mentioned I was re-doing a pair of haflingers that had been trained that way and they'd p*'d off and bolted every time they were put to a carriage. If you do an advanced search my name and tyre you'll turn it up I'm sure.
Like gothedistance, I'm conservative with the weight I ask a green/young horse to pull. Rather than a tire, I use a "log" (usually a telephone crossarm, not a big felled tree!!) Besides getting the horse accustomed to pulling a bit of weight it lets me see how the horse will handle the noise of something coming along behind him. Usually I need only drag this log once, then can move on.
(Gothedistance, I'm not sure you realize the tire they are talking about is a large, heavy tractor tire?)
Never would I hitch a young or green horse to something heavy, so heavy that it is work for him to pull it. I don't consider that fair, and I believe it can be discouraging to the horse. I'm not driving draft horses--strictly light breeds and ponies--and just because something works on draft horses doesn't mean I think it's the best way, or at all a good way, for smaller breeds. I've known of light horses that were asked to pull too much too far and they became balky. It might take a little extra time to train and condition the horse properly, but the end result is better.
I've known of light horses that were asked to pull too much too far and they became balky. It might take a little extra time to train and condition the horse properly, but the end result is better.
You are exactly right. It is a matter of knowing your team and being able to match the load. Pulling heavier loads is about a horse learning to lean into a load and get their legs up under them for the push. The hotter the horse the easier it is to balk them. Pulling is a mental thing and it is important to never let a horse think it has failed. The last load I hitch to when getting horses ready to pull is on that I know that they can pull with out a huge effort. We pull it then I reward the horses.
I watch people lunge horse all the time before they get on. Why? To take a little starch off before they ask them to think. The tire if it is used correctly is the same idea.
Not all horses can go back and forth between the pulling ring and carriage driving. In fact very few can excell at both. But the same can be said for most horses. How many great event horses are great dressage horse with out diligent training? I had a little pony that only had one gear and that pas pull with all he had. He had a heart the size of TX and a body the size of RI. He did not know how or when to quit. I put him in a home that utilized him for what he is. Others never have the heart to be a pulling horse so they become kids ponies.
This has been a good discussion. Thanks Jerry for starting it.
The tires uses for drafts are usually just plain machinery tires. The cement filled ones I mentioned, were a conditioning aid used with older, well broke horses to keep them fit. Not asked to go at speed or many miles. The horses are not sweaty or worked overly hard, in my example. However owner gives wagon rides commercially, horses need to be fit for heavy loads to prevent soreness while being used.
The thing with tires is the drag factor with friction on sidewalls. Tires themselves are not REALLY terribly heavy. Tires can be sized to the equine being used. GTD's compact car tire is fine for small animals. Car tire for saddlehorse sized, or pickup truck for larger horse. Not a big load on ANY of those horses. Tractor tires can vary also. I can pick one side of many implement tires up and roll them to another location, without a terrific effort. Actual weight may only be 100 pounds or so. Just is a BIG tire.
Horse can move these tires without a big effort, but a LONG workout dragging any tire is much harder with the friction of sidewall on dirt. Not HARD work, just constant.
We always compared it to carrying the log chair or dragging it. Which is easier? The kids always drag the chair, no weight in their hands!! However by the time they get across the field, that chain is pretty heavy, even if it isn't too long. Usually the kid will have figured out that carrying chain is easier than dragging it when they make the trip back across the field.
Any kind of work in training or practicing can be overdone. Horse should not be overworked, especially when young and just starting.
We are with GTD on tire training. Everyone pulls one in driving practice. We think it teaches them confidence in taking a resistant load, lets them be successful in moving the tire. They win, move up the training ladder. We win too.
We do not use any kind of log or pole, they catch too easily, roll sideways, REALLY can jump, flip when they get loose of snag. We consider them dangerous. Have seen some ugly incidents with logs and poles snagging, even in smoothed, flat arenas.
Tires have do not have flat faces, sharp edges, to catch, snag. Tires rubber will have a bit of give when they do swing out and bump things. Anything you drag will swing widely when you long line the horse. Allow extra room for that when horse goes around the circle. Speed of horse increases swing of dragged object!! We use this as part of the training, uneven pulling, bump of tire over ground, but handler MUST be prepared for horse to try changing himself to pull changes.
I have seen what the draft people tend to so as far as training is concerned, and have been to pulling contests to watch the drafts in action. I was always impressed by the driver whose horses calmly backed up to the stone sledge and waited patiently for the hook to be dropped into the ring and the command be given to pull. Many competing teams, however, would jig and fret and lurch forward, again and again, before the hook could be dropped on the ring, driver yelling and fighting to get them under control. Too often those teams would pull unevenly, or one not pull at all, resulting in see-sawing disjointed effort, with the horses often just quitting. The later always made me feel uncomfortable and I found those teams difficult to watch. But then a knowledgable driver would step forward with a lovely trained team, and watching them pull those stone boats with power and finesse was both thrilling and a joy.
Good training in any discipline really does shine through.
Amen! It is the same in every disipline well trained horses and good teamsters should shine.
The seesawing of the doubletree is a situation where one horse is quicker on the start and is going back when the other gets his poop in a group. My gelding likes to get a step and anchor it and make the mare do the real work. I guess my team is like my wife and I. I make a show of it but she does the real work.
I'm not sure I agree with the 3 is too young, especially in driving, it is easier to pull than carry. Standardbreds race as 2 and 3 yr olds, jog their slow miles, race the fast ones, stand obediently while the driver gets his whip adjusts his helmet, puts on his sunglasses, whatever. No big deal to these guys. It's about how BIG he is and how OLD the OP is. The feeling you get when you think of hooking this horse to that cart is WISDOM, which is simply fear, tempered by the knowledge born of age. My right ankle hurts every single day, always, every step I take. Though the pins and screws have been removed, it is a constant reminder of something gone bad. Once bitten, twice shy. Those who have never experienced a serious, lifetime injury from an accident, cannot hope to give advice from the same perspective. I trained Standardbreds for years and this Spring when I hooked my fat little haffie to the meadowbrook, it occurred to me that the thing was going to be damn hard to bail out of if the little bugger took off. And he's 12 and dead broke and I know what the hell I''m doing. No one should blame you for not wanting a repeat of a bad experience and an awful lot of old times would say that the penalty for running off is having to run alot farther than you had planned, thereby turning disobedience into work, which tends to discourage it a bit. Having myself taken a bit of a bashing on another forum on this BB, get past the folks that have no solution and just want to tell you how wrong you are. Take the helpful advice and throw out the rest. And they make easy entry carts that sit up and look just like meadow brooks.
[QUOTE=2ndyrgal;2050030]I'm not sure I agree with the 3 is too young, especially in driving, it is easier to pull than carry. Standardbreds race as 2 and 3 yr olds, jog their slow miles, race the fast ones, stand obediently while the driver gets his whip adjusts his helmet, puts on his sunglasses, whatever.Quote]
We are back to the general thinking "That's how we've done it for years. Never hurt anybody, much." Something that has been done for a long time, does not make it "right" or the best way to do things. Young horses are trained and raced because the owners make money if they win. We have learned a lot more about horses and how they develop, bone growth since Standarbreds and TBs started racing. Probably not going to change much on the track scene, but is much more a consideration to other folks bringing up their young horses now.
Young horses who started later, brought along slower, have less problems overall with legs and body. They stay sounder, longer, because they are more physically ready to be worked. Ex-racers, often have terrible legs, permanent changes in tissue and bone which causes their track life to end quickly. They put an incredible amount of milage to have them fit, ready to compete. Same with all the other horse activities that start such young animals and work them hard. Lame, sore, damaged from too much work, too young. Too many jumps, too many rounds in the arena, collected before muscle is built, too many road miles because driver doesn't get sore like a rider!
[Quote-It's about how BIG he is and how OLD the OP is. The feeling you get when you think of hooking this horse to that cart is WISDOM, which is simply fear, tempered by the knowledge born of age. My right ankle hurts every single day, always, every step I take. Though the pins and screws have been removed, it is a constant reminder of something gone bad. Once bitten, twice shy. Those who have never experienced a serious, lifetime injury from an accident, cannot hope to give advice from the same perspective. I trained Standardbreds for years and this Spring when I hooked my fat little haffie to the meadowbrook, it occurred to me that the thing was going to be damn hard to bail out of if the little bugger took off. And he's 12 and dead broke and I know what the hell I''m doing. No one should blame you for not wanting a repeat of a bad experience and an awful lot of old times would say that the penalty for running off is having to run alot farther than you had planned, thereby turning disobedience into work, which tends to discourage it a bit. Having myself taken a bit of a bashing on another forum on this BB, get past the folks that have no solution and just want to tell you how wrong you are. Take the helpful advice and throw out the rest. And they make easy entry carts that sit up and look just like meadow brook. Quote]
OP wanted advice about using his FAVORITE CART, with a horse that has hurt him in the past. He was in this favorite cart and driving the favorite horse when he got hurt. Now the combination makes him hesitate to put it back together. He wanted advice about the horse and cart, because he likes the feeling of driving a BIG horse and that particular cart.
People on here have experienced fright, been hurt with horses. We SURELY DO NOT want anyone to have that happen to them. We have participated in "accidents" and helped those who were in crisis with horses and vehicles. We do know how bad it can hurt.
We offered advice, information on some reasons why the original wreck occurred, so OP can CHOOSE what to do. PREVENT such a thing from happening again. He seems to have decided that we are poor advisors, because we are not telling him what he wants to hear, nor agreeing that he did things well, back in the beginning of horse training. He went with advice from local folks then, who seem to have "got the big horses broke" so they MUST be more correct than we are.
Now it is up to OP to decide if he can face putting the horse and cart back together, and then drive it himself. His choice of who to take advice from. We heard what happened when he listened to the locals the last time. He will do what he wants to do anyway.