Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Update on Tío’s Driving Training

Half-Arabian Pinto Hitched to PercheronOn Saturday Max and I headed out to the Schubert Percherons farm to see how Tío has been progressing in his driving training. Tío has not been the easiest horse to train, either under saddle or, lately, under harness. He hasn’t been exactly bad, but he has a mind of his own and tries to exert his personality and get his own way. It takes a firm hand to say “no you don’t; no you can’t” and then he settles down and gives in. Tío is also not the most patient of animals and standing still is not his forte!

Mike Schubert knew we were coming so he had Tío’s driving partner already harnessed and was waiting for us to show up before harnessing Tío. It was an interesting contrast to see the giant Percheron standing still while on the other side of him we could see Tío’s feet in constant motion. He wasn’t going anywhere, but his feet were intent on tattoing out their own rhythm.

Percheron & Half-Arab Hitched to Boxed Sled Cart Then it was outside to hook to the winter training vehicle – a box on sled runners with canvas all around so that Mike can be inside out of the wind while driving. He invited Max and me inside with him so we could ride with him and I was surprised to see a little heater, comfy seat and portable radio inside. Why wouldn’t he want to be comfortable while winter training!

Off we went through the fields and at first everything was just fine. It wasn’t long though before Tío started acting up; he was hopping, trying to go faster, and swinging his hind end from side to side in the traces. The Percheron gelding he was harnessed alongside just kept going at an even pace; one wonders if he was telling Tío to knock it off and just behave!

Mike was explaining to us that there were a number of issues involved as to why Tío was misbehaving: Mike had been to a draft horse sale in Illinois for a couple of days and our gelding hadn’t been worked so he had pent up energy; the last time Mike had driven Tío they had trotted and today Tío didn’t want to stay at a walk; and then also it’s his nature to try and get his own way.

Even though he was hopping around, Tío was still listening to Mike through the lines and it wasn’t long at all before he settled in and acted like he’d been harnessed for a long time. Mike has been doing his training in the snowy fields because the roads have been icy, but we’re due for some warmer weather now and Mike will be able to hook Tío to the single cart and work him on the roads.

Max is going to leave the pinto at Mike’s place for a couple more weeks to give him more time in the single harness before bringing him home and then we plan on heading down the back roads driving both Tío and Joon in single carts. I’m wondering if we’d be able to double team those two to my buckboard – wouldn’t hayrides be fun!

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