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Training Young Horse to Carriage Drive – Part 2

Carriage driving pony

Once the horse is 100% comfortable with all the harness it is time to long rein him in full harness. Once he is comfortable with this, attach traces to his harness and have one person lead him amd another two to hold the traces. The leading person trots the horse along and the other two people hold on and get ‘pulled’ along. Some people recommend getting the horse to pull a tyre, but these can bounce and hit a horse’s rump or legs causing him to take off. If you do choose to use this method great care should be taken to ensure there are no bumps to spook the horse.

Some people get the horses to pull railway sleepers, others prefer to use hay bales.

One person should get the carriage near the horse and bang and clatter it a bit to ensure the horse is comfortable with the noise.

Once your horse is ready, under the instruction of an experienced driver it is time to get your horse pulling a sledge. Your guide will take you through the steps of going about it correctly.

Once your horse is doing all of this calmly and confidently’ it will soon be time to put him to. But before you do this, get him used to the shafts against his sides to avoid problems by getting two wooden poles, old broom handles will do, and stand behind him ( out of the kick zone of course (even if you trust him with your life, he may still be spooked by wooden poles touching his sides)). Carefully rub the poles against his side, to recreate the effect of the shafts.

Once all of these steps have been sucessfully completed, the time has come to put the horse to. For this activity you need at least three people, one to hold the horse, and the other two to carefully lift the shafts over the horses back and gently slide them into place.

Once you have him put to, slowly walk him forward so he can feel the shafts against his sides.. With time and careful handling, you will soon be able to put weight on the carriage and then you will progress to actually driving the horse, teaching him to obey your voice and rein aids and you will be truly off and away!!!

good luck and happy times with your hose!!!

top tip: you will go so much further if you talk to your horse. Dont feel stupid about it, say whatever you like in a calming tone and he will trust you much more.

For more information on carriage driving visit http://www.hddg.co.uk/ to check out other carriage driving aspects and events

Your can read part one of this article here.

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