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1st drive of the year

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  • 1st drive of the year

    After the long and drawn out winter that Northern VA had, then the snow, cold weather, wind and mud...we finally got beautiful weather this weekend so I took full advantage of it. My day started out crappy but once I got home, I tied up Smoke and Trixie then began to brush them off, cut a bridle path, curried off the mud and dirt, as I worked I let my mind wander to what I was doing, forgetting what bothered me.

    My husband and I got the heavier biothane work harness out then fit it to The Girls as we fondly refer to them as. Once that was done, a lot of it had to be let out as the harness was used on my friends mules who were younger and not as stout as they are, the hubby got the fore cart out while I ground drove them up the road, turning, stopping, backing and moving them together. I had a friend of mine with me, she wanted to see what it was like to ground drive a team so I handed her the lines and let her try. It is so wonderful to get the smile I do when my friends hand the lines back, as they enjoy watching and going out with me.

    Once hitched up, as I have a bit of a time yet with turning, walking over the pole, then backing and standing them where they should, I am still learning, I got it right the first time when I tried it!! I got on, my friend on the left and off down the road we went at a nice trot. I let them go for a bit, they are not in shape so I wasn't going to push them but Trixie was trotting in place while Smoke was walking, I asked Trixie to walk, gave her the cue and she settled right in, my friend and I chatting, I occasionally standing to see down the road, and when we had a bit of an incline, letting them stretch their legs and move into a working trot.

    Coming back, I saw a large Ram diesel coming toward us with a large load of round bales on a creaky flat bed so I quickly moved them over into a neighbors driveway then turned The Girls enough to let them see what was coming toward them. They sighed, ears swiveling back and forth, relaxed, while my friend tensed up a bit and I smiled. Heading back toward the barn she admitted she was a bit apprehensive about the big truck and other traffic on our road with Trixie and Smoke, she was worried they would be spooky. But, watching how I handled the lines and how calm we all were, she could see I knew what I was doing.

    We get back to our farm, my friend gets off, grin from ear to ear, watches as I ground drive them back to the fence, then how we take harness off, do our driving lines, and how everything is stored in the harness shed. Once all done and the girls quickly brushed off and let go, my friend asked if she could go with me next weekend when I work them again. I love company so I said sure...

    Just had to share what a fantastic day it turned out when one has two Percheron mares who are trusting, honest, and good together and compliment each other in so many ways. Trixie is so willing to work, she loves to go and loves to be in harness, while Smoke is the same but you can tell she listens a bit better and one ear is usually swiveled back to me.

    Here are the girls being ground driven...


  • #2
    Sounds like you had a great day. Isn't it amazing how all the junk in life can slide away as you work with your horses?

    Alex and I got out for a bit this weekend too. We're at an indoor for the winter so they've been working through lightly, but it was SOOOOO nice to get out in the sun and enjoy the fresh air.


    • #3
      I'm glad you had such a nice weekend! I can't imagine not working all winter, but my dd lives near DC and I know how awful your winter was.

      I also had a passenger on Sunday. She's been riding forever and has horses, but had never driven & is contemplating sending her Morgan to a driving trainer. We had a blast. I drove out 2 mi then back 1/4 mi then gave her the lines and she drove back 1.75 mi. We did lots of trotting, and Cookie is stronger going home, so she had her hands full and did really well. The smiles are so worth the extra time! I'll keep inviting her till we push her over the edge into driving-dom!

      "Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." -Groucho Marx