Saturday, April 10, 2010

First Driving Lesson

On my second day in Florida I received my first driving lesson with Rosie. I was a bit nervous. I have driven a couple of horses before but never for very long. I am very paranoid about doing something wrong with Rosie and messing up all the training that has been done with her. I know this is something that I am just going to have to get over but for now I am a paranoid, anxiety ridden freak! Anyways.....back to the driving.

First we went over all the pieces of the harness, where they go and how they should fit. Yikes, I am going to need crib notes for this. Once the harness was in place we hooked up the cart. While we are hooking up the cart AT is going over not just how stuff should fit and where it goes but how a harness horse should behave and certain rules that must be adhered to for everyones safety. For instance, no one gets into the cart before the driver. This is a good rule, you wouldn't want the person with the reins getting left behind if the horse takes off with someone in the cart. After getting into the cart we discussed how a harness horse should never anticipate what you are going to do. No walking off on their own as you are stepping into the cart, etc. They can cock a leg or shift to get comfortable but other than that, nothing. Once we were in the cart and ready to go it was time for our photo shoot! AT daughter really likes to take pictures and when I handed her my big Nikon she went to town! Which is fine by me, I love pictures. Here is a sampling.

Isn't she so cute in her harness? The brown reins with the black harness is the traditional look. I have no idea why.

Here we are ready to go!

Upon the conclusion of our photo shoot we headed off to tour the property. AT trainer drove Rosie first while explaining to me all the different cues and voice commands. There is so much more to driving than I first thought. The reins were then handed over to me. Poor Rosie didn't know what to think when she felt a different set of hands on the reins. She handled it well though. I was a little bit drunken in my driving which is common with new drivers. We drove for a bit though, doing lots of turns and some gait changes. We also got to drive through the water! I love driving through water, it's so cool! After my arms felt ready to fall off, we drove back to the barn, put the harness and cart away and saddled up for a ride. We didn't take a break in between because it was forecasted to rain for most of the day with the morning and evening being the best time to be outside. We had already made plans to go to the dinner show "Arabian Nights" that evening so we had to get our horse time in that morning.

This time for our ride AT daughter was able to join us on her lovely palomino mare. We rode out from the house, down the road a little ways into the woods and onto some trails. We had a nice ride through the trees and at one point even saw a feral hog! I saw it first and thought it was a dog. It was all black and staring at us with it's ears perked up. Once it noticed us looking at it, it took off into the woods. We rode around for a little bit more but it started to rain so we wrapped it up and headed back to the house. Since it was raining, after lunch we decided watch horse movies. Did you really think we would watch anything else? First we watched National Velvet. Classic, classic movie. Then we joined The Black Stallion at the part where they are rescued from the island. Even if you aren't a horse nut, the cinematography in The Black Stallion is beautiful. I highly recommend it. The Black Stallion Returns was on after but we had to get ready to go Arabian Nights. So many horsey things, so little time.

Stay tuned for day three....


Banner said...

I wish my horses knew how to drive. I think that is such a fantastic thing for any horse to know. Lucky you!

Once Upon an Equine said...

Wonderful! Congratulations on your drive. I still have to refer to notes when I harness Marley. There are a lot of parts and pieces and everything has to be done in precise order. Rosie looks great in her harness. Have fun with your driving training.

Rocky Mountain Yankee said...

I think that I too will be referring to notes on how to harness up for quite some time. There is just so much stuff!

prashant said...

I wish my horses knew how to drive.
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