[drivingpairs] When to start

  • From: "M. Mitchell Duchnowski" <donkey_mom@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: drivingpairs@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 25 Dec 2005 11:08:34 -0800 (PST)

Ground driving at 3 or earlier, light work at 4 seems
reasonable to unprofessional me.   By all means have
the baby go out working next to mom if you have a safe
place to work.

In our draft horse club, drafters are started very
early.   The old timers believe that training begins
at birth.   No one wants to mess with a wild 2 ton
horse later on.  The foals are often seen trotting
beside their dams while the dams are working in either
in a farm or carriage environment.  Babies are ground
driven in furrels during our plow days.  Yearlings are
dragging those wood farm "sleds" around.

On a personal note, I also deal with small equines and
I like to see them then started a little later with
the harder stuff.   I trained a rescued miniature mare
last winter to drive.   She is 4 years old.   But when
her baby teeth fell out over the summer, I immediately
slacked off working her as often, figuring that her
malnutrition had led to developmental delays.   Since
she was already driving and level headed, I switched
her to be a leader in my tandem, figuring that at
least she wouldn't be pulling as hard or as often.

My guys LOVE to be worked - even the babies like to be
"worked".  We play dress up in the harness and "pony"
them from the cart.   Occasionally one of the
2-year-old's slip out when I'm fetching an older one
(they crowd the gate) and walk right over to the
hitching post!  Too cute.

At Harmon's - they have a couple of youngsters also.  
"Brooks" - a young belgin draft - also hovers at the
gate waiting for his turn.......

Martha D
Silk Purse Farm, VA
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