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Holly asked in PetsHorses · 7 years ago

rebreaking to drive ?

When i brought my first pony, 9 years ago, we were told he was a 'ride and drive' pony and saw some photo evidence etc. and up till now he has only been ridden by us, but as he is getting older (21 years old now, but still very lively!) i find less people able to ride him as he needs lighter riders, yet is quite a cheeky pony - too much for a unconfident child. I also am dying for a horsey project this summer, so i was thinking of re-breaking him to drive. No extreme work or anything, it would just be nice to take him out on the cart every few weeks to keep him going.

I have a little experience, as i used to help drive donkeys when i was younger and saw some of there breaking techniques - long reining, sledging a panel of wood, introducing to the cart and then just getting on with it in a way! - they also used desensitising techniques like making them walk over plastic, road signs, with plastic on them, yet i don't think my pony needs that as he has done loads of little handy ponies and obstacle courses over the years and is very calm, as if he has already had these techniques done before. But i would be working with my friends Mother who has broke two ponies to drive, as i don't have enough of an idea myself.

So basically...

Do you think it would be possible to re-break him?

Is it fair on him being an 11.2hh Welsh Mountain pony at 21 years old to be driving at all?

Any tips?!

Thankyou! x

6 Answers

  • Sue
    Lv 6
    7 years ago
    Favourite answer

    Hiya - nice to see another potential carriage driver on here :)

    Yes I think it would be good for him, at his age small ponies who have been active do tend to start developing arthritis etc and anything that keeps him moving will keep everything working. Driving - on the flat at least, is a lot less work than riding since the cart if balanced properly should float along with minimum effort from him.

    . We broke our pony over a month or so and she was an angel (admittedly she was taken to her first rally about a week after first going in the cart properly but she was likewise an angel - they came past the gate so it was just a case of joining in))

    Go through every breaking procedure for the harness, slowly introducing it, long reining, concentrate yourself on using the reins properly (your friend should be able to show you, it's different from riding and necessary since you should be holding a whip when driving as well) with luck he'll relax into it and not be a problem. My friend's pony - similar age - hadn't driven since he was about five and went right back to it no problem. Likewise the cart. We did the whole dragging a tyre thing (with three people, one each side with a bit of quick release tied baling string so we could get her out in an instant if anything went wrong but it didn't. I agree you're on a head start with the handy pony stuff.

    The bridle needs extra care, because it restricts their sight it's always the last item of tack to go on bar the reins and the first to come off. Now our mare was broken to ride first and we never got her to accept a liverpool bit, we drive in a snaffleThe liverpool if you use it is an excellet bit as it has different settings from 'rough cheek/smooth cheek' snaffle to 'first bar' which is a curb. It's as well to have one available . Should you want to do shows he should be in a liverpool but we've got away with British Driving Society rallies/drives no problem.

    Re the cart - you need a swingletree - it takes the pressure off the shoulders and you don't have to have a full collar, just a breastcollar (if you got a fixed one you will NEED a full collar - ouch at the expense and good luck fitting it) I'm assuming you'll get a two wheeler? Four will need a different type of tug called 'tillbury' on the harness. Try to get a cart with adjustable balance (two wheel only) this is either a winding system or a case of taking the wheels off and putting them on different holes. The balance needs to be checked with two people in the cart :) the floor should be level and the point of the shaft just by the ponies shoulder with enough room for him to move at the back . The harness should be the best you can afford and fitted. webbing is excellent (tho for the sake of little apples do what the BDS says and wear driving gloves even with leather an excited pony can hurt!) but make sure it is soft as it can rub. On the 'saddle' or 'pad' the backband should run freely through it, fixed ones are less comfortable for the pony.

    The whip should be long enough to reach from your hand to the ponies left shoulder. It's place while you are driving is in your hand ;)

    Always drive with a groom as it's a safety thing. Wear a helmet and gloves. The groom's job is to leap out in an emergency and deal with the pony by getting in front of it and acting as the brake. They are also - if doing it 'properly' meant to do all signals to backup the 'whip' (name of the driver) hop out at blind junctions to check for traffic and a plethora of other things - great for kids or visiting grandchildren to learn to do.

    spares kit - at the very least a hole punch and some baling string. Useful since things can go wrong very badly and trying to get pony cart and humans home all in one piece without one being attached to t'other would be a nightmare. Not to scare you but just included for 'common sense' The idea is you punch a hole in a broken trace and tie it together lol

    Swathe yourself and pony in hi viz gear, you know what the traffic is like with a ridden horse? double or treble it for a cart - I swear drivers see wheels and that's all they see! Keep to the middle of the lane, remember if you can that your pivot point is the two wheels not the pony lol (it takes some getting used to), try halting with your wheel on a designated spot to practice this

    If you're in the UK join the BDS - you get insurance through the membership. If you can get to a communal drive I throroughly reccomend it - they're wonderful people and it's one of the few horsey places left that has the old fashioned manners and lack of egos.

    Good luck!! I guarentee you will have a wonderful time. Enjoy your summer of driving! If you can it's worth having a lesson (around £45) with an experienced turnout so you know the basics like how to sit and hold the reins.

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  • 7 years ago

    If he's in overall good health, I think pulling a light cart would be good exercise for him. If you have any doubts, check with your vet. The little easy-entry carts, and even the little wooden carts are not that heavy as long as you don't decide to take all your friends for a ride!

    If he was ever taught to drive, I doubt he'd need to be "re-broken" but just tuned up a little.

    If your friend's mother has broken horses to drive before, I think she can easily tell if he's really been trained to drive. A session of long-lining will give you some idea if he'll "walk on" with you behind him and respond to the lines. If you have a harness, you can see if he's used to it or if he has a problem with his tail in the crupper, blinders over his eyes, etc.

    The main issue you might face, I think, is that your cart may be different from what he was trained to pull. Horses, in their goofiness, can be fine with one cart or wagon, and think another is a horse-eating monster. I had an issue switching my mini horse from pulling a cart to pulling a little wagon. It sounded different. And our Shire mare, who used to pull farm equipment, is afraid of pulling a cart. She doesn't like the shafts.

    Your mother's friend might start him again pulling a drag so that he'll remember the feel, and then make sure that he's okay with the cart being pulled (by you) around him before hooking him up. Starting to drive takes a little patience and a little work can stave off accidents.

    I enjoy driving and I think it's a way to still interact with your horse/pony and get good exercise even if the animal (or you) is not up to riding anymore. Some horses/ponies even seem to really enjoy it; they like seeing the scenery and getting to trot down the road.

    Source(s): Farm Owner
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  • 4 years ago

    Take the dog to a different vet right away and have the xrays achieved. If the leg is certainly damaged without right casting it could emerge as costing you an awful lot extra as the leg will need re-breaking and then resetting. If it does need the surgery proposal there's no residence relief. Your canine will endure if it does no longer heal effectively and chances are it won't. Then you are going to need to give an explanation for to the children why your dog is in regular suffering. You would even come to be being charged with overlook if the right healing is not given. Chances are if you happen to go proper away you are going to just have the cost of xrays and the costs of a easy set/solid for the leg. The longer you depart it the more it is going to cost. The perfect rate shall be in the unnecessary agony and struggling you Chi will need to suffer. If the steeply-priced surgery is the only alternative you're going to need to make the choice of both hanging the cost on a bank card. Borrowing the cash from household, friend or the financial institution or surrendering your dog. I am no longer wealthy either, but i know if I had this choice with my dog when she broke her back i would have observed $20,000. Unluckily she was once paralyzed so I had to put her down. You owe it to your dog to get her the proper help one way or an extra. Although that implies giving her up. Edit: I see you did in fact take her to a different vet. Have been xrays performed? If this is the case confidently all will be well.

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  • Snezzy
    Lv 7
    7 years ago

    Treat him as if he had never been driven. He'll let you know if it's all stuff he already knows. You already seem to have all the necessary knowledge.

    Unless you're a Truly Brave Soul, do not do what I have seen done, "We'll just hitch them up and see how they go." I watched in amazement as the old guy who had just bought two new ponies hitched them as a pair and drove them right down Route 4 in Goshen, Connecticut. He did have the advantage that a pair is naturally more stable than a single.

    <><><> MORE <><><>

    The "old guy" was not exactly new to ponies or horses. He'd owned 140 ponies at once, back around 1980-something, and also had giraffes and elephants. "Should have stuck to just ponies," he once told me. He drove that pair down the road as nice as anything, and had no trouble whatever. Now everyone just might know who I mean.

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  • 7 years ago

    yes absolutely! Sounds like a great retirement. Horses love to drive, and some light driving down the road with PROPERLY FITTING harness and cart I think he will be happy. It is good for horses to keep moving regaurdless of age. I think IF the people told you he drove 9 years ago, he will remember it.

    Desensitizing is never a bad idea to do for anyhorse, and it sounds like you have an experienced person to help you if you need, so enjoy your pony.!

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  • Evie
    Lv 5
    7 years ago

    Snezzy... I don't know how you took that situation, but I would've had 911 already dialed on my phone and my finger hovering over the call button... That'd scare the bejesus out of me if someone at my barn did that.

    Anyways, Horses have amazing memories, they remember situations, and even training practices years after they happened, so this is on your side.

    I would do some long reining in a surcingle, and see how he remembers it. Most horses come back to long reining easily. I would tie a lead rope through the top hole of the surshingle and then loop it under under his tail and then back through the hole in a cricle, because he needs to get re-use to the crupper. While you have this lead rope in place, long rein him like this and see how he does.

    After he's doing well like this (walk-trot easily and not reacting) Put two stings on either side on a log and tie the strings long enough that if they were attached to the surcingle they would drag about five feet behind him, then put both ends of the strings in your right hand, lead the pony with your left (so your left hand is reaching across your body to lead him), place your hands with the stings attached to the log on his withers, and then walk him on. If he spooks at the log, you can let go immediately. This is just to see how he will react to the log. He will probably not spook if he's driven before.

    After this you can actually tie the log behind him with very very thin string so if something happens it will break before major damage is cause (because you never know).

    Anyways, once you can lead him around with the log behind him, try long reining him with it. The log should drag behind him about five feet at first (seems like a lot, but you want them to get use to it before putting it up to them, so they can see it, for a horse its usually nine feet). Once he's okay with that, move it up to where it's behind him about three feet, and then to two feet. This will get them use to something behind them.

    This is all the training information I'm comfortable with giving you, because I don't want to mis-inform you. Good luck!

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