As I begin to train Chewbacca to drive, I want to take it in small, easy, simple – and short- steps.
I hope this theory works true –in the mean time, I’m reaching out to local drivers and looking for a place to take him to for professional training. I’ve already found one, but am looking into other options, too…. then again, with my past experiences with riding and instruction, I am not sure I can pick out a good driving trainer!!!…. In the mean time, I’m in the process of seeking out a local driving club, contacted a woman locally who holds CDE’s on her property, and have a few emails out to other drivers in the area, too.
Anyway…. so session 1 lasted maybe 5-8 minutes or so and included no driving. It was just wearing the harness and feel the bridle with blinders on.
Session 2 was today, and even though it was insanely windy and cold, all and all I’d have to say it went pretty well. At this point I do not feel confident I can train Chewbacca from the ground up on how to drive, but I’ll give it a shot for the next 30 days or so and see where I’m at. (I hope the weather holds out and stays dry).
I got Chewie out to the arena and we walked together several times each direction. At first he was quite resistant to the strange feel of the reins pulling, especially when I tried to navigate him around the rail and correct him when he wanted to drift. I stayed right next to him, holding the driving lines closely so there was nothing he could get caught up in.
After a little bit, we did some circles, and I stepped off his side a few feet and he seemed to do OK.
I took him out of the arena and walked around the driveway a few times while my husband, who was ground driving Luke snapped a few pictures…
I probably did this with him for about 20-25 minutes, which is actually longer than I intended. I wasn’t sure if at this point, being just day 1 of ground line training, if I should have let him have more slack and try getting him to move out. He doesn’t know how to steer this way, and a few times, he decided that backing up was the better option, so in an effort to concentrate on keeping him forward and moving, I decided it was easiest to just walk close to him and hold the lines fairly short.
Luke looked on while we cruised up and down the driveway for a minute for pictures.
Chewbacca was pretty well done by the time we finished. I think I lost his attention totally. Once he got bored, he relaxed, and then I was able to release the reins more. In the pic above, I’m walking next to him, but the reins are total slack and he did quite well.
We ended on a good note, and I’m debating on if I want to try it again tomorrow in the round pen, or back in the arena with a bit longer line. I guess I’ll see what the weather does.
I’m considering a few carts, even though at this point, Chewbacca is MONTHS away from actually being hitched. If I can get the right cart at the right price now, though, I’ll buy one to have it when he’s ready.
I have my eye on a beautiful black cart, and then I came across a woman selling this one:
This is the exact same style as the black one, and I love it. Unlike Luke’s fancy meadowbrook, which has a big bucket, a little storage area, and seats with backs, I prefer this “stripped down” version of a meadowbrook – it’s more open. I think this is called a road cart, but I’m not sure on that. I just personally like the open seat, and the lighter look and feel of this cart compared to Luke’s:
See the difference?
Obviously the cart needs to be cleaned up, maybe some new stain, but all in all, it looks pretty good. Just like the black one, only not black. 🙂
OK, more updates on Chewbacca’s driving training as we go.
Incidentally, I am looking to learn as much as I can about the carts, the harnesses, the equipment needed to do regular pleasure/dressage/cones like Luke does already, and marathon like I might want to do in the long future. Any info anyone wants to drop me would be really appreciated!!