Harness training Day 11- Chewbacca the sled horse

It really has been over a week since I last worked Chewbacca in harness.  What a week.  With all the rain in the past 7 days I haven’t gotten much done with the horses at all.  And with rain expected for the next 4 days, too, I doubt I’ll get anything too constructive done with anybody this week either.  I see a lot of arena play time and no actual work in the future 🙂

I hope you all had a good Easter.  I managed to get through with only eating 1 little piece of chocolate.  A little mini tiny butterfinger egg.  Good job me!  With all the temptations… my mother in law, who knows we are dieting, and knows her son needs to lose about 120 and rants about how we need to watch what we eat INSISTS on providing us with chocolate bunnies, baskets full of chocolates, cakes, and pastries.  It’s a bit of a conundrum, and of course the good son that he is, my husband eats it all so as not to offend mommy.  But, hey, I’m not dieting for him.   I’m sure our Kentucky trip will throw us both off our game, but in the mean time, I want to concentrate on not straying too much.

So anyway, Saturday morning we started out the morning with Luke and Dixie for a drive.  It was windy, and since the arena is soaking wet, we’re restricting all our driving to the roads.  There’s a highschooler working at the barn now on the weekend mornings and I asked if she would like to learn to drive Dixie.  She was happy to volunteer to work her for me, so now I should have 2 people twice a week able to drive Dixie and keep her trim for me so I can concentrate my efforts on Chewbacca and Luke.  Awesome.

So after a short road drive, the winds picked up, but the sun came out.  With the arena wet, I thought it would be good for what I planned to do with Chewbacca.   I tacked him up, and we started ground driving.  Walk, trot, change directions, whoa, navigate obstacles.  He was fine and ready and happy to work.  So I recruited my husband and got out a snow sled.

I jury rigged the trace lines with bailing twine and lead ropes and sat in the sled and had my husband lead Chewie.  He took a few steps and pulled me right out of the sled.  I hit the sand and got pulled a few feet.  I thought it was funny.  I wish someone had a camera.  Now I was filthy, and looked at the tiny little, round, cheap plastic sled and thought hmm… I need to rethink this a little.

So I curled up back in it and tried again.  And got pulled out again.  LOL.

Apparently my ingenious idea wasn’t working.  But I gave it one more go.  I used 2 lead ropes to hang on with, and figured out how to sit in the sled so I couldn’t get pulled out and that it would actually drag across the wet sand.  Walla!  It worked.  And boy was it fun!  Uncomfortable, but fun.  I felt like my shoulders were getting pulled out of my sockets because I had to brace against Chewbacca with all the strength I could manage, but it worked!  And it was fun.

I was able to hold on for 2 solid laps around the arena before my arms turned into Jell-O.  I really wish I had pictures!  I wasn’t expecting it to be as much of a comical experience as it ended up being.  I was laughing, my husband thought the whole thing was rather funny.  Judging by Chewie holding his head up almost the whole time, I think he was just trying to figure out what the heck we were doing.  But he was a trooper and he has now, officially, driven.  Sort of.

Next time around, I’ll have my husband use the reins and actually drive Chewbacca while I sled along.

Don’t look know but I may be on the way to teaching (and successfully, I might add) my very first horse how to drive.

And, my cart hunt has been narrowed down to two.  One I have pictures of….

…the other I don’t, but it should look exactly the same.  I haven’t seen the other one yet, but if it’s as nice as this one, then they’re both going to be at the top of my “to-buy” list.  I’ll be seeing the other one this weekend.

It should be a busy week, with an online driving seminar on Wednesday, a full day driving clinic on Saturday, looking at the other meadowbrook on Sunday and trying to squeeze in work time with all 3 horses while battling against the rain in the forecast all week.

And, with only 12 days left to Kentucky, I’ve checked the 10 day weather outlook there, and they’re getting rain too.  It looks like it should clear up just days before the Derby, so I am hoping for warm, sunny weather and a dry track for the horses’ sakes.  I’ll check that weather again in a few days.

After that, I should be able to make a decision on the cart to purchase, and I think by then, 2 more weeks-ish, Chewbacca will be ready to hitch up to a true vehicle for the first time.

I do think he’s going to make a fine carriage horse and I think he’ll enjoy it.  I’m already planning 3-5 mile driving trips, LOL, and looking forward to showing him in driving pleasure shows, and I’m eyeballing a schooling CDE in October, if he’s ready.  So we’ll see how it goes.

Thankfully I’ve been able to find a lot of driving resources, local driving clubs, and helpful local drivers.  For the first time in as long as I can remember, I actually feel like I can do something successfully with a horse and not screw it up.  Wooot to me!

Have a good day.


About kshai1715

I am a lifelong equestrian, photography enthusiast, sci-fi lover, and sci-fi convention & costuming geek that also loves movies and video games. I am a hard working 30 something woman that survived cancer and am looking forward to a long, healthy, self-empowered life. Welcome to my blog and I hope you enjoy reading about my horses (and the rest of my life) as much as I like writing about them.
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