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Driving and leading?

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  • Driving and leading?

    I have two driving ponies, 10 hh and 12:2 hh. Both are very sensible and lead from a ridden horse or pony and from the cart when I'm driving the other pony. Riding and leading is fairly standard practice when one person needs to get two riding horses fit, but what about driving and leading? The ponies seem to enjoy it. They go at nearer the same speed as each other than when I try to lead them from my big horses and once they learnt that eating was not allowed, the one being led trundles along behind happily.

    I haven't done it on a public road yet! In fields, on farm tracks and private roads.

    How do other people with limited time keep multiple driving ponies fit? I also work full time, am eventing 2 horses and writing a thesis. Life is busy

  • #2
    I know folks do it, but I never recommend leading from a carriage without two people, one for each animal. I don't consider the led animal tied or even held by the driver, to be a safe situation. You as a driver are kind of stuck with staying with the driving animal and vehicle. Your possible reactions to situation are very limited. Led animal can do all sorts of bad behaviour, damage the vehicle, and you really can't do much to correct it if you are alone.

    Poor behaviour could include pulling back, stopping suddenly, spooking sideways, rearing up and into vehicle, trying to PASS the vehicle, getting into the wheels of vehicle, just clunking INTO vehicle when you slow or stop.

    The main difference with ponying an animal while you ride the other, is that you can let go of the led animal and "expect" it to stay close to the other horse in most instances. They are close together to begin with, side by side. You have body, legs and hands, to control the ridden animal, with NO VEHICLE to cause MORE problems in your combination of person and two equines, stuff in the surroundings that could cause horses to be frightened. Ridden horse can pivot to keep led horse in the correct position.

    Sorry, the best way to work two animals and a vehicle, is to drive both of them. Pair hitch is probably the easiest method and you have both of them right in front where you can watch them.

    I really do NOT recommend leading an animal from your vehicle if you are the only person going for the drive. I am sure people ignore this kind of advice, but then I get to hear the stories of how things went wrong later on, learn of the damages to everyone. Seldom a nice finish to that mess.


    • #3
      Well, I have done it quite often. But I use a long rope, about 20'with a knot at the end, and keep it looped thru my hand so if the lead horse does pull back I just let out the loops to the knot and then either let go or reel back in. My driving horse is one I can drive one handed. Things have worked out fine for me, tho I know it is not the safest thing to do. Where I live I am on dirt roads with not a bunch of traffic. Probably would not do someplace more crowded.


      • #4
        Don't forget to wear gloves is you do this.


        • #5
          I've done it, but with 2 people in the vehicle. I couldn't imagine trying to do it by myself, I need both my hands to concentrate on my driving horse- especially if I'm in traffic on the roads.

          My biggest concern (assuming the animal being ponied is 110% quiet and easy to handle and wouldn't pull back, spook, etc, etc...) would be, if I'm ponying a horse off the back of my vehicle, I would be concerned about it getting too close to a wheel, possibly even accidentally putting a leg through a spoke.

          When I ponied a horse with a passenger in the vehicle, the passenger was able to keep an eye on the pony horse 100% of the time, and keep the mare far enough away from the vehicle to prevent any injury. That would be my biggest fear - getting the ponied horse caught up on the wheels somehow. No way would I pony alone while driving.

          I have multiple horses to drive, and I just have no choice but to drive them 1 at a time. Takes half a day, but that's just how it is.
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          • #6
            I too have done this. Not the smartest thing to do, but like
            49er, I lived where there were dirt roads and limited traffic.

            I tied the lead rope to a ring that was on a taunt rope tied between the gator handles on my marathon carriage. The horse had about 8 fee of rope to work with and he would move to either side of the carriage. I used the whip to keep him behind us.

            Sometimes ya gotta do things when ther is only one of you and multiple horses.


            • #7
              I might be mistaken, but in the older version of the Care & Training of the Trotter & Pacer, they talk about doing this in New Zealand (back in the day) There are pictures of a guy jogging 3 horses at once - 1 in front, 2 in back. One shot of holding a lead rope in each hand with the lines.

              My retired, semi-Amish mare (she's been there long enough to pick it up by osmosis ) has been move between barns tied behind a buggy. Definitely not "110% quiet and easy to handle and wouldn't pull back, spook, etc, etc...)" However she's fully into self preservation (usually at my expense), and there's no chance of her being dumb enough to get a leg in a wheel when tied behind.
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              • Original Poster

                Interesting responses. It not ideal, but then a lot in my life isn't ideal! Red mares, maybe that's where I got the idea from - seeing pictures of standardbreds trotting in groups. Now that you mention it, I can remember pictures like that.

                I think my ponies are actually steadier when they are out together. They like to follow the cart!!!! I always say thats because then they don't have to be the one doing the thinking.

                I use a fairly long lead and the led pony trots (or walks, which with my two and with stony tracks is actually more usual) along behind the cart.


                • #9
                  I do this often. Never had a problem.


                  • #10
                    I'm a paranoid worrier, so I've never done this outside of an enclosed area. The only way I might consider that would be with an agile, knowledgeable passenger holding the lead and ready to jump out of the cart if need be. (This is a pony cart, so it's truly an easy exit.)

                    On the other hand, I have done this in an enclosed arena, with the lead rope wrapped once around the seat back, then held by me. If there is a problem, I can release the lead, knowing the horse is not running loose. This is good for exercising both horses, and as an unintended side benefit my young mare learned her verbal cues at the same time.
                    They're not miniatures, they're concentrates.

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