As one who must drive alone, I understand why we all do what we do. But I would urge you to learn the tiny rope method that many of us use. Instant correction is not going to stop a horse who is intent on leaving. I speak from experience. I had my hands on the lines and was pulling for all I was worth., Had a header also, who got run over in the process of a spooked horse half hitched. Was NOT a pretty scene.
I board at Beaverwood Farm and the horses are usually hitched in the arena. There is a lead shank where the horses are tied, usually clipped to the noseband and the horses are put to. When the driver is ready to get in the vehicle, snap is undone, with driver holding reins, get in vehicle, do sitting adjustments etc and then when ready move off. I do drive around the farm by myself, but usually will not venture too far on the road without a passenger, but there other drivers at the barn, especially when fitting up, go off by themselves. Most of these horses have been in harness for quite awhile, but that does not mean something could not happen. If I have a passenger, I will get them to head my horse while I put to. Jej, where are you located in Ontario? Just wondering if you are close. Well, off to drive the horse. Today, the weather is much milder then it has been. Hopefully the airconditioning is turned off in the arena!!!!!!!!!
I'm really out of the loop. Broke and trained Standardbreds at the track for years. 90% of them could be "hooked" solo, and there were only a few that wouldn't stand while being checked up. As long as you didn't check them up, honestly, you could walk back over to the shed row, get your helmet and sunglasses, walk back over, pick up your lines and jump in the cart. Now to the race bike, we did check them up going to race, but the overcheck was usually much higher, easier to have the driver in the bike and the groom check them up. But we hooked them solo, in a piddly little set of cross ties, in a tiny little open fronted stall, next to 10 other horses, surrounded by all kinds of commotion. then just walked beside them til the driver was up. These horses would stand, for the most part quietly, in cross ties forever. But unless it's a fancy rig, or multiple horses, I can't understand why a well trained harness horse wouldn't just stand still. I am not talking hackney show ponies or saddlebreds here, I'm talking the pleasure driving and cross country, obstacle types. Any horse can be taught to stand if one takes enough time, and I'm pretty sure that if you couldn't teach him to stand still, unless he made me a pile of money at the track, I'm not real interested in sitting behind him. I think if you are at the horse's home base, the place he's used to, unless you're hooking a team, or a greenie, he should stand til you tell him to move off. I have a nearly 18 hand draft cross (very green) that I have to mount from a mounting platform. He's coming 7. I got him as an unbroken 3 yr old. His first lesson was "stand". His second lesson was "whoa". Whoa means "now, I mean it, move another toe and die big boy". Armed with stand and then whoa, we have no problems at all, Nor did any of the babies I trained for the track. Left and right are the easy things, Go is pretty easy to encourage. Whoa is the most important gait, no matter what the discipline. Of course it's much more fun to work on the other stuff first, which is why folks have trouble later on.
I always hitched my ASB by myself,however, he had been driving 2 or 3 times weekly since he was three years old and he was rock solid. I always was careful though just in case. My routine was harness except blinkers in stall then place cart in indoor ring, then get horse park him in front of cart say whoa and get cart run it up on him do up the proper harnes procedures. Oh I put his blinkers on right before I run the cart up on him. I then make sure everything is correctly hooked, park him out and hop in cart and walk off. Take a few turns around indoor and go outside if the weather was nice otherwise stay inside. He continues to be an angel...thank goodness.