For the record, there was crying at the shelter. I was holding on when a cat volunteer tried to comfort me, then I lost it. There was sobbing.
Dana has asked me, through Facebook, to tell more about my driving. I thought is would be sedate and a bit boring, but it’s been very exciting!
I decided to do this driving thing several months before I actually did anything. I gave myself lots of time to learn and choose a course of action. Then I attended some driving events and chose an instructor and started lessons.
Now I have had four lessons. I’m still a beginner. Roger Cleverly is a fun and knowledgeable instructor and I am happy with that choice. He has a Welsh pony, Spunky, that he uses as a school horse. I have learned how to harness and put to, although the wraps and hold-backs are complicated and I still get confused. I have driven in the ring, and cross-country.
In our cross-country drive, Roger sat beside me in the cart. Spunky was trotting and the ground was getting rougher and rougher as we went. There had been recent rain. Horseback riders leaving deep footprints, along with farm equipment, had left ruts in the mud which was now drying and becoming hard. We were bouncing along at a good pace; I was beginning to catch air under my seat…. I was wondering when Roger would tell me to slow down. Finally, when I couldn’t take it any more, I told Spunky to walk. Good choice, says Roger. You’re letting the terrain tell you about the pace. Gaah!
Last time, Roger set cones in the ring and I drove solo in patterns around the cones and through the “gates.” It reminded me of jumping courses ages ago at L.O.V.E. Farm in Los Osos.
Spunky is getting easier to rate and lighter in the reins. I was worried a first that if Spunky was difficult to rate and slow down, Janow, with much larger size, would be impossible. I’m not worried anymore. Now that I have some driving under my belt (wow 4 whole lessons) he is much lighter. According to Roger, Spunky is getting to know me, so it works two ways.
Here are some pictures of Roger driving at a playday. I don’t have any pictures of me yet.
There is also a picture of the cart I bought, and I will try to get a picture of the harness I have ordered. It hasn’t come yet, so it has to be a stolen picture from the Carriage driving Essentials web site. The picture on the horse shows the empathy colar, which I did not get. There is a picture of the standard colar that I got. The picture with the horse also shows marathon shafts, which I don't have either. The shafts on my cart are wood and they are straight.
When the harness comes, I will get Janow super used to wearing it. When we are both ready, I will take him to Roger’s in Knightsen to actually put him to the cart. That is an hour and fifteen minutes by car, sans horse trailer. With Janow in the trailer, it will take longer. He will probably stay there for a while and I want to get him as ready as possible so he is there a shorter time and I have to drive back and forth less.
So there you go, Dana.