Cart Training Day 1, Derby, Chicago, and Dogs.

Well, I’m not sure where to start with this post!  Too many things to list.  But, I’ll still list them. And lots of pictures.

Friday my husband and I headed to the

(hey, we had to do *something* on this vacation that wasn’t….)

where our Chicago adventure took us to the floor.

What a view.  The Sears Tower has walk-out ledges on the “sky deck” and they are all see-through (floor and all).  Managed to get husband who’s afraid of heights out on it.  🙂

On the left is just a view from the east side of the Sears Tower (yes, it has been renamed to the Willis Tower, but really… isn’t it engrained in everyone’s head that it’s the Sears Tower???)

On the right is the Field Museum – do you see the giant horse on the front of the building?


How would you like to have your boat directly underneath your condo??

And my husband and I  sitting in one of the sky decks.

After Sears, we headed out for a little jaunt.

And ended up waiting in….

…for 75 minutes….

… now what, you may ask was worth waiting for over an hour for?  Cool show?  Museum exhibit?  Some ultra neat Chicago secret thing?  Nope…..

Yep… hot dogs.  Or hot Doug’s as it happens to be called.  Featured on Man Vs. Food, we just had to go try the unique celebrity inspired hot dogs.

I got the Elvis.  My husband had a daily special.  And tons of cheese fries.

The dog in the middle has bourbon apricot sauce with blue & brie cheeses on it.  It was very good.  The plain one in the back is mine.  I like plain dogs.  Yes, I realize I’m the only person older than 5 that doesn’t like ketchup or mustard, but I really, really, really don’t.

What’s that?  How’s that diet, you ask??  Well, considering this was the only food I ate that day – a plain hot dog and half an order of cheese fries, I didn’t tip the scale too much.


So anyway, Saturday brought about the Kentucky Derby.  I am saddened to say that of course (as I figured) the weather was absolutely gorgeous in Kentucky (on TV anyway)… so all my cancelled plans and hotel reservations were for naught because we could have gone and had a wonderful time and did the Kentucky Horse Park and …. well, I digress.

The horse I bet on fractured his leg.  Go figure.  Archarcharch sustained a mild fracture.  He’ll be fine after surgery.  And my other horse to round out the exacta, Dialed In… well, where exactly was he???  Disappointing.  But kudos to Animal Kingdom – may he win the Triple Crown.

But pre-Derby, I spent the morning with my own horses.  I bought the meadowbrook, and had a small army of people at the barn to help me.  It worked out well, the weather held out and I couldn’t have asked for more from Chewbacca.

4 people all assisted with leading the horse and pulling the cart around and we took it all step by step.  Chewie did great.  He had a few little moments of “what the hell is this??” but he didn’t explode and there was no disasters.  Nothing unexpected.  If anything it went better than expected:

We just took it a step at a time, first leading Chewie around while someone pulled the cart in front of him.  Then we led Chewie while 2 people pulled the cart behind him.  That seemed to go well, so we hitched the trace lines and let Chewie pull the cart.  That went well and despite a few (very minor) hiccups whilst trying to turn the cart around, he did more than I expected.

And my husband and other helpers made very good ground people.  Big thanks!


Chewie stood rather patiently while my husband didn’t hold him and instead made silly faces.

And then, I probably should have ended it there, but alas, I did not.  That’s OK, because Chewie was fine, but it was more than I really should have done the first time out.  I didn’t mean for this session to last anything more than 5 minutes, but it went on for about 15 or so.

After Chewie walked around with an empty cart for a while, back and forth up and down the driveway and turned around a few times….

I got in.  Talk about nerve wracking.  But it went well.  It really did and he had ground people assisting the whole way.  It didn’t take long to realize that the harness is not fitting properly, so we made some quick adjustments and had to ditch the cool green breast collar pad.  I still need to make adjustments to the harness and re-think the pads and of course, eventually I’ll get a whole new harness – a much, much better one.

After some minor adjustments, the harness was fitting better and doing it’s job.  We just walked Chewie maybe 40 feet.  He was, by this point, getting a little … bored.. or frustrated… or just plain cranky.  Either way, his attention and patience had pretty much hit an end and we stopped on a good note.

So, the plan from here is to do more of the exact same thing until Chewbacca is pulling the cart a few dozen feet up and down the driveway.  Once he’s comfortable doing that, we’ll upgrade to the arena and try to do a lap around it.  It will be a long, long time before he’s trotting and turning and doing figure 8’s in the arena or running a marathon, but today was the first big step towards that.

If how quickly he progressed with ground driving training is any indication, he will probably really impress me with how quickly he learns to really pull the cart.  Ultimately my goal will be for him to be as broke as Luke is – just hitch and go… go whereever, whenever, and at whatever speed, I want.  But that’s a matter of time and experience.  Luke didn’t get that way over night, it took a few months and now that we’ve had him a few years, he’s just an ace at everything.  Chewie will get there with time.

So after the driving session, I thought Luke and Chewie could both use some play time in the arena.  Dixie of course got overlooked… again.  What else is new?  Very hard to make time for 3 horses.

But before the rain ended our afternoon, Luke and Chewie had a good time.

What a day.  And I’m pretty much ready for bed (pathetic as though that may be….)


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.
This entry was posted in Driving, Hackney, horse, Quarter Horse and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Cart Training Day 1, Derby, Chicago, and Dogs.

  1. Jonny Binkard says:

    Congratulations! Sounds like your first hitch went really well!!

    I do have a question about the Meadowbrook, since I don’t know much about them. Are they easy to get in and out of? I didn’t realize they weren’t easy entry.
    It is a really nice looking cart. All I have is a Jerald, I’m jealous!! LOL

    At any rate you must be feeling good about how well Chewie’s first hitch went.
    Keep up the good work!!


    • kshai1715 says:

      Thank you. I was very happy with the first hitching. I plan to do more of the same until he’s totally comfortable. I just want to make sure I train him right. Meadowbrooks are beautiful carts. We have one for Luke and so it was a no-brainer that that is what I wanted for Chewbacca. We love our meadowbrooks. However, the other name for them is “death trap”. I am not kidding! They are NOT easy access, and if you get in trouble, you are trapped. You have to enter from the rear, and the seat which is in 2 pieces (left and right side) flips up (the left seat flips up). Luke’s cart seat flips towards the wheel, which makes it slightly easier to access than Chewbacca’s. Chewie’s cart the seat folds toward the other seat, which is awkward and makes it harder to get in out. Beauty has a price, I guess, lol. EZ entry carts are certainly safer for the person, but they are also off-balance vehicles, and can be more disastrous for the horse when pulling. Meadowbrooks, with the big wheels and well balanced center of gravity pull easier, although they aren’t well suited for off-road use (even in the arena they can be rough). Easier on the horse, but harder on the human.

      • Jonny Binkard says:

        Could you please explain more about the balance issues between EZ entry and Meadowbrooks? I was told the Jerald cart balances on the axles and not on the horse’s back, (if this is what you mean) which I found was true.

        Guess I’m not sure what you mean by “off balance.” Do you mean while turning at a trot? I’ve done poles with him with this cart at a fast trot and didn’t find the cart to have any balance issues, and we were doing fairly sharp turns. Thanks, and I appreciate your reply.


      • kshai1715 says:

        Sorry, I didn’t mean balance of vehicle-to-horse. What I’ve been told (while considering getting a metal EZ entry for Chewbacca is 2 things. 1) the wheels are too short for a tall horse (Chewbacca is 16.2h, and the biggest metal wheels you can get are 26″ only). This means the cart shafts need to be tipped upwards by as much as 15″ to get into the shaft loops of the harness. This pitches the driver backward and the cart is at too much of an angle. 2) Because the EZ entry carts have the wheels practically underneath the vehicle and the seat is so tall, they have a poor center of gravity and are “top heavy”, so it’s not well balanced that way. Combined with being tipped so high, it is easier to tip the vehicle over. I really think this applies to doing fast work or turns or when hitting ruts in off-terrain ground. I’ve been told by people that have tipped EZ entry carts that they’ve done it while cantering or trotting through fields and hitting holes. Also the thin aluminum wheels (like bicycle wheels) on the easy entry carts are prone to damage and flat tires, especially in an off-road situation. I have an EZ entry for Dixie and have never had a problem, but it’s not like Dixie exactly goes high speed, although I have cantered her plenty on flat surfaces. Meadowbrooks have a lower center of gravity and are less likely to tip. They also have wood wheels and solid rubber tires, so there’s zero chance of a flat. Of course, they are not off road vehicles, either. So when we do trails, we really have to know the footing is solid enough to handle the carts. They do best on the streets. They can be quite hard to pull in the arena, because they sink into the sand, too. This I know from first hand experience. Mostly everything else, I just learned from talking to people and a trainer, while I was looking at getting an EZ entry for Chewie. She told me instead of getting something I know I’ll need to replace because it isn’t appropriate for my long-term showing goals, I should just start with the safer and show appropriate vehicle first. Sounded like a good plan.

  2. Jonny says:

    Thanks for your reply. I understand what you are talking about now. As for the tires, I use the kind that bicyclists use for all terrain plus heavy duty inner tubes, as I do drive off road quite a lot. Since buying those, I’ve had no issues with flats, but the tires themselves are expensive.

    Thanks for taking the time to explain the differences, much appreciated.


  3. Tracie Noel says:

    WOW – Chewie looks GREAT!!! He is just so darn cute. And I am insanely jealous of your new cart… driving a horse at all, much less my own, is totally on my bucket list. I think it’ fantastic that you went forward with the driving plan and it’s going so well. Be careful, but have fun!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s