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Diving in to Driving - Send Help!

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  • Diving in to Driving - Send Help!

    Hi everyone! I'm excited to find a forum with a fair number of drivers that are active.

    I've recently decided to make the commitment to learning to drive with my AQHA gelding. For various reasons he won't be the competitive (riding) show horse I need him to be so I thought I'd mix it up and try some driving. (*Disclaimer* I don't intend on pursuing this alone, I'll find a trainer before attempting to actually hitch.) I'm away from home for the next few months but have had the chance to drive a friend's pleasure driving horse a few times and its been a lot of fun. My gelding is as deadbroke and bombproof as they come under saddle and is generally an excessively chill guy so I'm hoping he will be a good candidate to drive. I wouldn't consider myself at all green when it comes to horses in general, but driving is new to me

    My ultimate goal is to show in AQHA pleasure driving classes - please no criticism about this, I know its not everyone's cup of tea. I picked up an almost new Smuckers fine harness for a steal so I'm committed to this adventure now. Still haven't purchased a cart but that can wait for now. So on to a few questions...

    What groundwork do you like to do prior to hitching? I'm hoping to get a lot of groundwork done before going to a trainer to save some time as I will have to trailer to a trainer. I assume going slowly introducing the harness and blinkers, doing lots of line driving. My gelding is already exceptionally good with voice commands. Does anyone have pictures of the PVC pipes I've heard can be used to acclimate them to the feeling of the shafts?

    I've been looking into carts to purchase. I'll ultimately purchase a pleasure show cart for showing. But I'm curious if one of the cheaper easy entry type carts would at all be useful for every day training? Especially considering it may be a long time before I need an actual show cart?

    Any good resources for extra long overchecks? Mine was used on a Morgan prior and will be way too short for my gelding.

    I'm sure I'll think of more questions later. I appreciate any helpful advice!
    Last edited by .PonyDoc.; Aug. 31, 2019, 06:18 PM.

  • #2
    Many moons ago I broke a young filly to drive. Caveat here that she was not really under saddle at that time due to her age, so your situation is a bit different. Long lining...everywhere. In our indoor, in our neighbors field. Down the quiet road. Figures, straight lines, around jumps, past other horses in turnout, anything I could think of. Mostly we walked but used the ring work to practice transitions. What you want is to get the horse really comfortable going forward and where you want based on your voice and without you using your seat and legs to help that happen. It will also be different for him as you will physically be further away from him, sitting back there in your vehicle.

    Harness - Highly doubt the blinkers will be an issue though they are an adjustment so I would use the harness bridle early and often. One thing different from the horse perspective is that they have to learn pull against resistance. Get help here: I led mare, in full harness, while someone walked behind me pulling hard on the traces. She also had to learn to transition down and to halt even whild feeling the harness breeching pushing against her hind end. Have someone wiggle and tap and otherwise move the breeching while you ask horse to stand quiet or go from walk to halt.

    Strangely I dont remember spending much time on shafts until just before hookng up. Had someone wheel the vehicle up behind her while I held her head. Did not attach but let her get the idea of the cart back there and the touching of the shafts on her sides etc.

    I did have someone make me a little drag - tire or something so she got used to weight behind.

    No advice on the vehicle situation. I did open pleasure driving - but here's one thought. Do not get an every day vehicle with those bicycle tires. Get something more substantial of the 2 wheel variety. See below for my Quarter Horse girl - she was awesome.
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