Well, today was a very busy barn day. Thankfully the weather this morning was absolutely gorgeous. We headed to the barn at 8:30 to meet the vet. It was coggins and first spring shots day today. Usually there’s nobody at the barn, but on vet or farrier days, things feel a little overwhelming.
Anyway, here’s Chew waiting for the vet. Enjoying some sweet feed treat and vitamins.
Once coggins were drawn and EWT’s were given, we tacked up and headed out the arena. I made my husband ground drive Luke. Good exercise for horse and human I told him 🙂
I’ve been getting him to ground drive a little bit this spring so far. It’s good for the diet if he does some walking. Luke needs a spring diet, too. He gets beefed up during the winter and slims down by July/August after a few months of working!
And while I was snapping pictures of the husband ground driving Luke, I was also ground driving Chewbacca.
I’m finding Chewbacca’s level of progression with ground driving to be astounding. In comparison to the myriads of other horses I’ve trained to drive (uh-huh). He’s a regular rembrandt. 🙂
His steering at the trot still leaves something to be desired, but his steering at the walk is perfect. I set up a few “challenges” in the arena with the poles, barrel, and jump standards, and successfully weaved around them, stopped, backed up. He did it all with super responsiveness and very light feel on the mouth.
Today was the first time I put the breast collar and tugs on him while ground driving. He didn’t care one bit about the breast collar. No reason he should, I’m sure he wore one when he was a barrel horse in his past life. Yes, I know the collar is crooked- I had a heck of a time keeping it straight with no cart to attach it to! The tug lines are just tucked into the breeching straps so they didn’t fall to the ground.
Like the breast collar pad, BTW? I made it myself. I couldn’t find one on eBay or in any driving supply store that was our theme color, so I went to the fabric store and made one. I also made a saddle pad to match, but it doesn’t fit (too thick), so I need to rethink that.
So anyway, after several dozen laps around, I grabbed my “training shafts” aka, thin PVC poles…
I’m dragging them behind me, and I’m slowly creeping closer to Chewie. Still trying to stay out of kick range, just in case. Turns are helpful, because I can steer him deep into a corner while I walk beside him dragging the poles.
This is the second time with the poles. He could care less about them.
Luke on the other hand, was quite interested in the poles and followed us around the arena for a bit sniffing them. And yes, to all you safety freaks out there, Luke *is* loose while I’m trying to work Chewbacca. My husband apparently got tired of ground driving and just let him loose. Luke doesn’t bother anyone. He’s been loose in the arena while the *polo players* have been galloping. Luke doesn’t intervene.
So then anyway, after the dragging the poles for a while since husband was no longer occupied with Luke, I recruited his help with the poles and he held one up next to Chewbacca and we walked a few laps. Chewie was a little concerned about that at first, but he settled down well with the pole touching him, dragging right next to him, and being held out parallel to him.
Then, I relinquished my husband from helping, but made him still take pictures… We worked at the trot on the long lines and in only 4 attempts of trotting, Chewbacca is now trotting full non-stop circles quite, quite well.
But then, we get moments like this, where he relaxes, drops that head, and just looks gorgeous. Too bad the jump standard is in the way, but you’ll have to take my word that he just looked beautiful for the next 1/2 a circle.
So who knows… maybe he’ll make a really nice driving horse. I think it will be a long, long time before he sees a trail from between the shafts, but it might only be a month or two before he’s hitched for the first time.
I’m excited to get him driving, but at the same time, I want to take his progression slowly and just one step at a time. At least this gives me something horsey to do, too.
I’m looking at this cart tomorrow. I really like it. The price is right. And I think it will fit Chewbacca, but I’m going to measure it when I see it. Beautiful, isn’t it?
And, for further picture overload, after Chewie & Luke got worked, everybody got a little play time and treats.
First they ran.. with a little encouragement..
Well, Dixie didn’t run. She chooses not to run near Chewie.
But when everybody gathers for treats, they all topple on top of one another. I swear, they’re worse than our cats….
And once, the moochers are done begging dad for treats… they turn on mom…
And they all know exactly where the “treat pocket” is, and Chewbacca is happy to rifle through my jacket on his own….
Oh look, a moment where Chewbacca isn’t trying to tackle Dixie….
Awww…… aren’t they sweet?