Chewbacca, Luke, and Jesse (and yes, Dixie, too) aren’t the only horses I drive. Of course they are my favorites, but I am very lucky to have the opportunity sometimes to drive others’ horses, too.
It’s such a great experience being able to drive other horses- just like riding a variety of horses makes you a better rider, the same applies to driving, too.
I’ve had quite my share of experiences with other driving ponies and horses- from very poorly handled/trained ponies with locked up mouths that were braced and resistant, to the only time (so far) I’ve driven a pair. I do have plans to take some pairs lessons in the not-too-distant future. It’s interesting and educational driving other horses, and it really helps you get a real sense of training & personalities that you like and don’t like.
I’ve also spent time over the last couple months driving a couple of other horses, and I’d like to take a moment to introduce them!
This is Leo. He’s the one I’ve been driving mostly. He is a 6 (or 7?) year old Haflinger, about 14.3 hands or so. He’s a darned good boy. He lives on a beautiful and massive farm, and it’s been a real treat to drive him through woods, open fields, and even in an indoor arena, all on this wonderful property!
Leo is a little green, and he can be a real challenge sometimes, but then he goes absolutely soft and easily, gets very light and does a great job.
Today, I finally broke down and drove Dexter. I’ve been on the fence about Dexter… why?
Because he’s HUGE! Lol, that’s no trick of the camera. Dexter’s head is longer than my entire upper torso.
He is somewhere in the range of 17 hands, maybe a hair bigger, and he is a Belgian. He’s wider than Leo, bigger than Chewbacca, and just a massive horse all around.
Other than the 18.2 Percheron / Belgian cross that I used to ride years ago when I lived in Georgia, I really don’t have a lot of experience with drafts. Here is a picture of Bordeaux. It’s not a good one, because it’s a screen cap from a video, but it certainly does give you an idea of the size of this horse! lol! He was 6, too, and to top it off, he rode in a hackamore! Never had a bit in his mouth.
He was so big, a weight tape would not wrap around his girth. But, boy, he was a sweetie! I was never reluctant to crawl on top of the massive Bordeaux, but to get behind a horse like Dexter?! Hmm….. New experience for me!
Dexter is also young, too, but his handler promised me I’d have fun driving him. And right she was.
Dexter is very sweet, and quite quiet. Both he and Leo are green. Dexter is probably more green, but he does not have the bull headed personality that Leo does. Dexter was happy as a clam to trot around the arena, and really was a very nice drive!
Dexter is one of the 40 surviving horses from an over-crowded, over-turned horse trailer accident that happened very close to home. It was a major incident when the slaughter-bound double decker carrying 52 Belgians and 3 standardbreds crashed, overturned, and skidded across a roadway in the middle of the night, while the driver speedily tried to get the horses to their brutal end.
The link below shows pictures. No, Dexter is not photographed.
Nearly all of the 55 horses packed on the trailer were less than 1 year, which puts Dexter at around 7 years old, maybe 6 1/2 – so about the same age as Leo.
It is a super great experience to drive other horses, and I am very glad that I put aside my reluctance and drove the gentle giant!
Have a great day!!