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$700 Pony Driving - Evaluation lesson this morning - page 2

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  • #21
    Having been to llama school when I had to haul 2 baby llamas for a neighbor, I feel qualified to speak on the matter of llamas and horses!

    We drove 4 hours to pick up these two baby llamas my neighbor HAD to have!!! She was going to make a lot of money breeding them. Well, no need to go there--they were eventually given away after the divorce. But I digress. We brought the llamas to her property which was across the street from my pasture. My horses stood facing the pasture across the street for I swear 6 weeks trying to figure out the smell that was over there!!!

    Goodluck handling the llama. It will certainly give your horses something to look at!!!!

    RR--as far as training a pony to drive who is a flake. Some horses/ponies just don;t take to it. My mare who drives very well hates being ridden--thankfully not to the point that Lost Farmer's tales tell. As has been said to all of us at one time or another---it ain;t worth getting hurt over. Go out and find a pony that drives now if you want ot enjoy it with your kids.

    Good luck.


    • #22
      Driving lessons in NJ

      Hi, just curious as well about driving lessons in NJ. I'm in Washington (warren county). If anybody knows of a good instructor that would be interested in teaching me (beginner driver) and my pony (13.3 h chincoteague who may have had some driving experience in the past) either at my place or theirs please let me know. You can pt me if you'd rather. Thanks a bunch!


      • #23
        Covenhill - I'll send you a PT

        We are with Hunterdon County Horse & Pony Association and there are a few people you can talk to depending on where you are looking to go with driving.


        • Original Poster

          Pony has appointment for evaulation with driving trainer 7am, Friday, March 31st. Perhaps I should sell tickets to locals to pay for it?

          Seriously, she long lines like a champ (in the indoor) and she is acclimating to whips, so, I am cautiously optimistic.

          I have also decided that I am not being fair when I call her a "flake." What she is is a horse who had virtually no exposure to humans (near as I can tell) for six years of her life and then only exposure to me for the next year or so. So, she was very difficult when I got her, mostly out of fear.

          And now she is generally pretty well behaved and when she is afraid, she "worries." But as I have been exposing her to long lining and whips, she has not reacted dramatically, but just gone into "worry mode." So cross your fingers and wish us luck!
          Chronicles of the $700 Pony
          The Further Adventures of the $700 Pony
          www.blithetraveler.com <-- My Blog


          • #25
            My experience and that of my mentor (A 73 yo that has been starting driving horses for nearly 70 of those years. A a very young boy he even broke a goat to drive to help with his wood and water chores.) it is easier to drive a horse that has a little fear than one that has been over exposed to humans. The pocket pets are harder to drive than one that has no fear and wants to turn around and come to you.

            Good Luck
            Lostfarming in Idaho


            • #26
              On the up side:

              (1) She's going to have blinkers on after she learns to accept them, so she won't actually SEE the whip;

              (2) I can't remember whether we had this discussion here or somewhere else, but I remember one where an awful lot of people, myself included, found that their horses are actually BRAVER in harness than under saddle. Avery most certainly is: he's still a 100% powder-keg of a TB under saddle - the whole time you're on him, you're staying alert & looking for what's going to set him off (THIS time ). But he's admirably trustworthy in harness.

              Anyway, good luck w/ the eval, and we sure do want pics!!
              "The standard you walk by is the standard you accept."--Lt. Gen. David Morrison, Austalian Army Chief


              • #27
                I have to agree with Lost Farmer on this one. Mine tend to be spoiled pets, in your pocket. It makes it difficult for them to accept the dicipline for training. A "nervous" horse is looking for a way to get along with you and is easier to train.


                • #28
                  Not sure if I'm in agreement or not on this as it depends on what we all mean by 'spoiled pets'.

                  I consider my horses spoiled - but in a good way. They are very well-cared for, well-fed, and much loved. But they are disciplined from day one. I have always felt that discipline breeds security - be it horses, dogs or kids They have to know where the line is and they are happier when they have a 'job' - when they know what is expected of them. The old adage that 'if you expect nothing that is exactly what you will get' certainly holds true.

                  My horses are easy to train because they have been conditioned to accept training since birth. They know that I am the Alpha Mare! (Now if only I could get my husband to understand that... but that's another issue..) Yet they are loved and spoiled with treats and scritches. I use a mix of English and Western techniques and it seems to work. All babies are sacked out, taught to tie, lead, load, etc. They start seeing the farrier regularly as soon as they are born and learn to accept confinement and restraint. But I also make sure they get lots and lots of free time, running with the herd out in the pasture.

                  Personally I think a horse has to have some brains and some talent for the job you are asking of him. Then you need to break it down into easy steps, not moving on until each one is mastered - and rewarded. We're always told that our horses are very trainable (most are being trained by their amateur owners) and have great temperaments; I know this is a lot good breeding, but also a healthy dose of good handling - and GOOD spoiling
                  Pat Belskie - ASHEMONT Farm

                  PnP Distributors - KUTZMANN Carriages


                  • #29
                    Spoiled means I have a wife and kids who fawn around on them, so they have no fear at all of humans. They are not undiciplined. If you walk around the paddock, you have close company. I think a horse with a little more worry about what I will do is easier, as I have his full attention.


                    • #30
                      Respect in the animal kingdom is a form of fear. It may be a low level of fear, but that's what it is. How does an animal "respect" something otherwise? Respect is knowing there are consequences for failing to pay attention. Animals do not have the brainpower to read my bio and respect my accomplishments. The two words are interchangeable to a point. I never said a horse should be scared to death of me. Maybe I lack the ability to put this point across properly. Do you think the alpha male in the herd is respected because he's a smooth talker? No, get out of line and he'll make you pay. I have a lot of respect for my parents. Some of that is born from a healthy fear of a good butt whipping.


                      • #31
                        $700 Pony

                        I have a Shetland sized Governess Cart for sale. I am in Orange County NY



                        • #32
                          Jerry, I find this thread very interesting because it touches on something I have thought about many times. I believe many of us tend to give our horses human characteristics when none exist. The idea that a horse is "nervous" around a person so therefore said horse will search for something to do that will please the human screams of reasoning and the ability to think ahead. I don't believe those abilitys exist in a horse.

                          If a horse is "nervous" as you put it or fearful in anyway the reaction is flight and if flight is not an option then being cornered brings on fight impulse. This is the natural behavior.

                          The statement you made that "respect is a form of fear" is not viable either. If you check the definition of respect you find this....
                          1. [noun] (usually preceded by `in') a detail or point; "it differs in that respect"
                            Synonyms: regard
                          2. [noun] the condition of being honored (esteemed or respected or well regarded); "it is held in esteem"; "a man who has earned high regard"
                            Synonyms: esteem, regard
                          3. [noun] an attitude of admiration or esteem; "she lost all respect for him"
                            Synonyms: esteem, regard
                          4. [noun] a courteous expression (by word or deed) of esteem or regard; "his deference to her wishes was very flattering"; "be sure to give my respects to the dean"
                            Synonyms: deference
                          5. [noun] behavior intended to please your parents; "their children were never very strong on obedience"; "he went to law school out of respect for his father's wishes"
                            Synonyms: obedience
                          6. [noun] a feeling of friendship and esteem; "she mistook his manly regard for love"; "he inspires respect"
                            Synonyms: regard
                          7. [noun] courteous regard for people's feelings; "in deference to your wishes"; "out of respect for his privacy"
                            Synonyms: deference, fulness
                          8. [verb] regard highly; think much of; "I respect his judgement"; "We prize his creativity"
                            Synonyms: esteem, value, prize, prise
                          9. [verb] show respect towards; "honor your parents!"
                            Synonyms: honor, honour, abide by, observe
                          The source of this definition is.....


                          Now we examine the meaning of fear and we find.....

                          1. a. A feeling of agitation and anxiety caused by the presence or imminence of danger.
                          b. A state or condition marked by this feeling: living in fear.

                          2. A feeling of disquiet or apprehension: a fear of looking foolish.
                          3. Extreme reverence or awe, as toward a supreme power.
                          4. A reason for dread or apprehension: Being alone is my greatest fear.
                          v. feared, fear·ing, fears
                          v.tr. 1. To be afraid or frightened of.
                          2. To be uneasy or apprehensive about: feared the test results.
                          3. To be in awe of; revere.
                          4. To consider probable; expect: I fear you are wrong. I fear I have bad news for you.
                          5. Archaic To feel fear within (oneself).

                          v.intr. 1. To be afraid.
                          2. To be uneasy or apprehensive.

                          [Middle English [SIZE=3]fer[/SIZE], from Old English [SIZE=3]fhttp://img.tfd.com/hm/GIF/aeligmac.gifr[/SIZE], danger, sudden calamity; see [SIZE=3]per-[/SIZE]3 in Indo-European roots.]
                          fearhttp://img.tfd.com/hm/GIF/prime.gifer n.
                          Synonyms: fear, fright, dread, terror, horror, panic, alarm, dismay, consternation, trepidation
                          These nouns denote the agitation and anxiety caused by the presence or imminence of danger. Fear is the most general term: "Fear is the parent of cruelty" J.A. Froude.
                          Fright is sudden, usually momentary, great fear: In my fright, I forgot to lock the door.
                          Dread is strong fear, especially of what one is powerless to avoid: His dread of strangers kept him from socializing.
                          Terror is intense, overpowering fear: "And now at the dead hour of the night, amid the dreadful silence of that old house, so strange a noise as this excited me to uncontrollable terror" Edgar Allan Poe.
                          Horror is a combination of fear and aversion or repugnance: Murder arouses widespread horror.
                          Panic is sudden frantic fear, often groundless: The fire caused a panic among the horses.
                          Alarm is fright aroused by the first realization of danger: I watched with alarm as the sky darkened.
                          Dismay robs one of courage or the power to act effectively: The rumor of war caused universal dismay.
                          Consternation is often paralyzing, characterized by confusion and helplessness: Consternation gripped the city as the invaders approached.
                          Trepidation is dread characteristically marked by trembling or hesitancy: "They were ... full of trepidation about things that were never likely to happen" John Morley.
                          Word History: Old English fhttp://img.tfd.com/hm/GIF/aeligmac.gifr, the ancestor of our word fear, meant "calamity, disaster," but not the emotion engendered by such an event. This is in line with the meaning of the prehistoric Common Germanic word *fhttp://img.tfd.com/hm/GIF/emacr.gifraz, "danger," which is the source of words with similar senses in other Germanic languages, such as Old Saxon and Old High German fhttp://img.tfd.com/hm/GIF/amacr.gifr, "ambush, danger," and Old Icelandic fhttp://img.tfd.com/hm/GIF/amacr.gifr, "treachery, damage." Scholars have determined the form and meaning of Germanic *fhttp://img.tfd.com/hm/GIF/emacr.gifraz by working backward from the forms and the meanings of its descendants. The most important cause of the change of meaning in the word fear was probably the existence in Old English of the related verb fhttp://img.tfd.com/hm/GIF/aeligmac.gifran, which meant "to terrify, take by surprise." Fear is first recorded in Middle English with the sense "emotion of fear" in a work composed around 1290.
                          hm();Sources=Sources | 2;The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2003. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

                          Once again, my source is.....


                          No where in the definition of respect do you find mention of fear as no where in the definition of fear do you find referance to the word respect.

                          Considering all of this I have to agree with gothedistance. Once trust is established (in the form of no fear) between the human and the animal then the door is opened for training the correct response to the desired stimulus. As each new stimulus is introduced the fear of an unknown (which would not exist if the horse could actually reason) becomes less through the trust of the horse for the human.

                          While we as all powerful humans may like to think we can train out and control natural impulse (in this case flight or fight) all we can really hope to do is try and control the stimulus that triggers the impulse.

                          I guess what I am trying to say is that I agree with gothedistance.... a comfortable trusting horse is much easier to work with than an on the edge "nervous" should I run or not animal.

                          *Charter Member-Blue Tarp State Driving Clique*
                          "You can't always get what you want, but if you try, you just might find you get what you need" Mick Jagger


                          • #33
                            Wow Don... what did you do in the real world? That's some interesting research.

                            I definitely agree that the trusting horse is the best to work with... and I've worked with many of both in the 50+ years of horse involvement - breeding, professionally training in both English (dressage, hunters, pleasure) and Western disciplines (I LOVE reining and roping!), and teaching (I still hold an Advanced Instructor's License from the Commonwealth of MA). The horse that trusts will look to his rider/driver for guidance when things get hairy. To me this is far prerferable to the horse who decides how to act on his own because as Don points out their instincts will be fight or flight.

                            So Jerry I think it's a good thing that your horses are 'spoiled'. Sounds like they just need to learn a little respect and a bit of Natural Horsemanship work will fix that easily.

                            BTW did you decide on a color for your chariot? I'm thinking red with orange and yellow flames....
                            Pat Belskie - ASHEMONT Farm

                            PnP Distributors - KUTZMANN Carriages


                            • #34
                              ooohhh More RR stories!

                              I am SOOOOO excited that we will have a whole new personal touch $700 Pony stories as the wonderful $700 redheaded flake makes a try at driving!

                              You go RR! Keep us posted on your evaluations! You and the little we RR's will love the "hill and dale" driving with your little $700 Flake. And to beat all, you probably won't have to rush off to lessons without taking the little wee RR's with you!

                              Oh Goody Goody..the $700 Pony is gonna make driving famous LOL

                              Good Luck RR..can't wait for updates!

                              Your village is calling. Apparently their idiot is missing!


                              • #35
                                As I stated as best I could, the comingling of the two words is at a very low level. And regardless of your dictionary, where I grew up fear could give you a healthy respect for some other kids ability. That didn't mean we couldn't get along, only that we all knew our place. On my place a horse doesn't restrain from biting, striking, or kicking because he respects humans. He restrains because it will get him knocked on his ass. Perhaps, as I alluded to, I just used a bad choice of wording. I am 57 years old, I have had exactly one horse wreck of any note. And it wasn't me he spooked at. And all my horses are user friendly to a fault.


                                • Original Poster

                                  Interesting thread digression, if I do say so myself.

                                  I am going to point out here, by the way, that I will not be trying to teach this pony to drive. IF she passes her initial evaluation, she will go to someone who is a professional and be taught to drive by someone who knows that they are doing. Not me.

                                  Gothedistance asked for more description around "worried," which I am happy to give. When I got this pony, you couldn't toss a saddle pad on her back without her throwing her head in the air and either flying forward or backward on the crossties. Same with her winter blanket. She was very, very green under saddle - she didn't steer - I would have described her as backed, but not really broke. If I got off balance while riding, she would buck or bolt.

                                  She was skittish on the ground and if you moved too fast while grooming, etc, she'd startle and pull back. I have no real history on her, but could easily imagine that she had just had not had much exposure to people and the things people do to horses.

                                  Almost a year and a half later, she is CLOSER to being more "normal," but still has what I would describe as a "heightened" fear response. For example, when I started working with her with the whip, I started in a grooming stall. When I first presented it to her, she raised her head in the air, held her breathe and backed away from it. The tension in her was obvious. But, she didn't fly back or get overly dramatic - she just seemed, for want of a better word, "worried." Maybe "anxious" would be better? Now, two weeks later, she still sucks in her breath and lifts her head, but there's no drama. Just concern.

                                  She did the same thing with long lining. Head in the air, eyes rolling, held breath, lots of tension, and then, she settled. No bucking, no bolting, none of the stuff she might have done a year ago.

                                  Does she trust me? Not totally, even after a year and a half. But, to anthropomorphize even more than I have so far, she seems to give me the benefit of the doubt.

                                  So, as mentioned, I am going to leave the whole thing up to professionals. If a professional says, bad idea, the idea goes away. If she thinks the pony might work out, and I can figure out how to finance it, I will hire a professional to do the training.

                                  But I am tickled pink that I have an evaulation scheduled and again want to thank all the helpful folks on this board who got that going for me. Someday I will drive my wee children around - although by the time I get there, they may not be so wee any more.
                                  Chronicles of the $700 Pony
                                  The Further Adventures of the $700 Pony
                                  www.blithetraveler.com <-- My Blog


                                  • #37

                                    Well if memory serves me correctly (which is not always the case) the $700 pony gets her driving evaluation bright and early tomorrow morning. We will need details, please - because I am confident it will be quite entertaining for us to read about!


                                    • Original Poster

                                      Alas, more anti-climatic than entertaining

                                      kb, if I had a little more time, I could weave a tale - because it was the ususal chaos of my life this morning - but time is short! So I'll cut to the chase.

                                      Driving trainer met with me this morning and evaluated the Pony. Since I have been ground driving her, the only "new" addition with the crupper, which she met with distaste, but she settled.

                                      Trainer ground drove her in round pen and overall liked her. She made the excellent point, which I totally understand that ground driving is step 1. IF that continues to go well, you add to the mix, one step at a time until you are ready to actually hitch to a cart. And at any point in the process, you have to be prepared to say, she isn't going to be able to handle this and stop. Heard it, internalize it, got it!

                                      So that's were we left it. I am going to continue to ground drive her until mid-April, whereupon I am leaving the country until late May. Pony will be ridden while I am gone, but the ground driving will stop. But, when I get back, the trainer and I are going to start regular lessons together through the summer to see where the Pony can go.

                                      The long, slow process begins.

                                      I have to say, though, on a personal note, that I was very, VERY proud of the Pony this morning. She looked so, well, lovely while ground driving.
                                      Chronicles of the $700 Pony
                                      The Further Adventures of the $700 Pony
                                      www.blithetraveler.com <-- My Blog


                                      • #39
                                        Thanks for the update. How very exciting! If you think she looks lovely ground driving - just wait - to me they just look so stately when pulling a carriage.

                                        And they seem to work with such a purpose. Really a pleasure to watch. Of course if you read my story about last weekend, that horse's purpose was taking in the scenery instead of moving on, but he did it with style...

                                        Congrats on the good first session - keep us posted.


                                        • #40
                                          You will be out with the wee ones in a buggy before you know it. Life will be good. Keep us posted. LF
                                          Lostfarming in Idaho