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I know you are asking yourself what does Eileen mean by the four “F’s” in combined driving

Years ago, a good friend and business acquaintance told me his theory behind the Four “F’s” as they pertain to any of us in the business world.

They are:

Friendly—– Fair —–Firm—– Forget It

This is how one deals with their clients.  Once your have done the first three with your clients and things are not going well, then you use the last one “Forget It”.  One always hopes that by the time you get to the third “F” Firm that you have worked out all the issues that are keeping you from achieving your goals.

I have found that these four “F’s” can and do apply to the training of your horse. So, let’s start at the beginning!

Friendly

Friendly: being kind and pleasant, amiable, cordial, warm, doing something in a friendly manner.

When I start a young horse, who has not had a harness on them, I try to keep the training at a very friendly, favorable level.  Everything I do or say is in a very calm and quiet voice. The horse responds to the lower voice and quiet movements better than if I were raising my voice or moving around the horse in a fast pace.

The young horse has no idea of what is happening, so you need to keep him in a calm state of mind. Most horses do want to be friendly!

I work the same way with any new horse that I acquire.  When I meet a new student’s horse being calm and quiet is also the way to go.  After all, the horse doesn’t know me, and I don’t know him.  If I were to approach the new horse running around and talking loudly, I’m pretty sure the horse would feel threatened and would not work at his best.

Fair

Fair: being fair-minded, reasonable, acceptable, without cheating or trying to achieve unjust advantage.

So, you’ve been working with you horse and his attention seems to not be on you and what you are doing, then you need to step up how you are working with your horse.

This is the time when you get that strong, but not angry, mothers voice that makes the horse stop and go “I think I made mother upset?”   It’s like that sudden knock on the door that makes you jump when you were concentrating on something else.

You are basically getting your horses attention back on the lesson at hand. 

My two-year-old pony is just learning to be harnessed and as I was working with him the other day, he suddenly decided that backing up to get loose was better than just standing quietly.  All it took was one sharp “Stand” from me and he planted all four feet. I let him just stand for a couple of minutes before continuing with the lesson, this is “Fair”. 

It was “fair” for me as my correction was just the right amount and letting him just stand for those couple of minutes was “fair” for him.

Firm

Firm: in a resolute and determined manner, unyielding, solid.

Yes, there are times in training a horse that one does have to be firm for both the safety of the horse and the person. 

I worked with a horse once that had a very bad habit of rearing.  Now, I never knew when he was going to do this, he would be good for several months then suddenly up he would go.

One time I was leading him out to the round pen when suddenly the lead got tight and there he was up on his hind legs.  This is a situation where “Firm” comes into play. I turned and pulled as hard as I could down on the lead rope to throw him off balance, and the tone of my voice for the “No” was most definitely “Firm”.

In a situation like this, your voice and facial expression needs to be “Firm”, believe me your horse can tell the difference.

If you have ever watched a mare and foal interact with each other, then you have seen how the mare’s expression with her eyes, ears and even body can tell the foal what not to do!

A moment when you need to be Firm with your instruction so you do not get run over as your horse goes through the gate.
A moment when you need to be Firm with your instruction so you do not get run over as your horse goes through the gate.

Forget It

Forget It: you’ll never understand, hopeless, overwhelming, impassable are just a few meanings.

There are times in training a horse that you get to a point where you know that the horse is just not ever going to get it.  If it is a horse that is mature, you might not ever figure out what has caused the horse to be at the Forget It point.

I had a three-year-old gelding given to me once and he had good pedigree and all, but his learning ability was always as a beginning horse.

For six months, I worked with him everyday and everyday we had to start at square one.  I would walk into his stall and he would back away, when I would go to put his halter on. Once I finally got him haltered, he could not remember how to walk on the lead with me, or even how to walk out the gate. His learning ability was zero, a Forget It for good moment!

I have also had horses that I have worked with and I would get to a certain point and it would be like the horse was stuck.  This is a “Forget It” moment when you just stop what your doing and go onto something totally different. I find that after several weeks of not doing that one thing that the horse seemed to be stuck on and I go back to it,


I suddenly see the light go on in the horse as if to say, “so that’s what you wanted”.

When a horse and trainer get to the “Forget It” point the trainer needs to back off and let the horse have his space.

 Horses that you buy when they are over five years old, there is no telling what bad baggage you will run into.

As we all know, there are many kinds of trainers out there and unfortunately not all of them are kind or good.  Learn to listen to your horse, read his body language, look at his eyes and ears, all this can tell you a lot about what’s going on inside your horse’s mind.

I know that right now you are wondering why I am talking about how to fall.  We all think that you can only fall off a horse while we are riding it.  But take my word for it, you should also learn to fall out of a carriage or cart when you are driving.

No one ever wants to fall off a horse or out of their carriage.  We all know, that whenever you are playing with horses in any manner, there is always a chance that you can fall.

Have you ever been walking with your horse beside you on the way back to the barn and something startles him, and he jumps your way?  The next thing you know you are sitting on the ground!

We all know that falling off your horse can and will happen at least once in your lifetime, if you are an avid rider!

Have you been driving your horse down a peaceful dirt road and suddenly that scary deer jumps out and your horse jumps sideways and turns back the other way, and your carriage cannot go under itself to do that U-turn, and the next thing you know you come rolling out of your carriage!

These are all real possibilities, that can and will happen!  So why not learn how to fall properly, so when that time comes, you are prepared to receive the least amount of trauma as possible!

You are probably thinking that falling out of a cart or carriage is different than falling off a horse, but it isn’t.  No matter how or when you fall you still need to know how to fall properly.

Quite a few years ago, I was able to do a clinic with Gawani Pony Boy, where I was able to learn how to fall.  Since that clinic I have had one time when I had to bail off a horse I was riding.  I have used his technique and I came away with no injuries at all.

I have also used his technique for falling when my carriage tipped in an obstacle while competing in New Jersey.

So, what is the best way to fall!

To start with, you need to realize that jumping from a moving cart should not be your first choice of what to do.  Horses can run from 14 mph to 43 mph.  Most horses can only do this for a short period of time, but even at a trot they can go 8 mph to 12 mph.  If your think about deliberately jumping out of a carriage, leave it to the stuntmen!

There are times however, as when my carriage tipped, that one has no choice but to fall out so knowing how, is a good thing.

When you realize that you are going to come out of your carriage you need to try and stay as relaxed as possible.  Do not try to use your arms to stop yourself from hitting the ground.  Arms straight out will not stop the weight of the rest of your body without breaking.  You want to become like a rolling ball.

First thing you do, is to hug yourself with your arms as you feel yourself starting to roll out of the carriage.  Start to bend your left knee if your coming out the left side of your carriage and push away from the carriage, as you do, you will feel your left hip following your left knee, and then your left buttock to the ground. When your left buttock is on the ground you want to roll over onto your right butt cheek.  This will keep you further away from the rolling carriage. You will then continue your roll with your right shoulder.  By this time, your momentum will have slowed down, and you will be sitting there wondering what just happened.

Remember to let go of the reins or you will be dragged! 

Practice falling and rolling at home on a nice soft carpet. You can also place pillows on the left side to even give you a safer place to land while practicing.  Seat yourself on a dinner chair in the middle of the carpet.  Now hug yourself and proceed to lean to the left as if you are rolling out of your carriage. As you start to go down, bend your left knee and push with your foot and knee away from the chair.  Your hip follows and your left buttock gets to the floor, transfer your weight to your right buttock and roll onto your right shoulder.

As with any new skill you are trying to learn, start slow, have someone with you if that makes you more comfortable.  Remember, this is a learning process and once your muscles and your brain learn the routine it will still come naturally when you need it.  Once you have learned how to fall to your left, then practice the same routine to the right.

Just like driving your car, you run through your mind all the scenarios needed if a deer runs out in front of you, or you’re hit from behind by another car. If you do the same with falling from your carriage, it will come to you naturally.  You always need a plan just in case the unexpected happens.

Remember, that in 99% of all falls, you do not land on your feet, so be prepared to hug and roll.

Driving the senior horse is not what it used to be.  Twenty years ago, a senior horse was any horse that was over fifteen.  Now the senior horse is considered senior when he is over twenty.  This has all come about because of the advancements in veterinarian medicine, as well as the way we now feed and care for our horses.

When your horse becomes a senior it does not mean you have to put them out to pasture to just hang around for the rest of their lives. How would you like it if when you turned sixty years old, you were told that you are too old to do what you love to do?  Sure, they will take a little extra care and attention to keep them going strong. The way I figure it, we owe it to them when they have served us well.

When I look at the horses in my barn, they have all served me well and they are all able to still do what they love to do. My horses range in age from one year old, and then it jumps to fourteen through twenty-two years for the other five horses.

When they get into their upper teens and twenties, you will need to adjust what you do, as well as how you do things with them.  Take for instance my twenty-two year old miniature horse.  He competed in his last Arena Driving Trial and driving show last year.  He now has some arthritis in his hocks, so he is on “equioxx”, as well as a supplement that is working really well for him.  We still go out driving and he is a great horse for new driving students.  This being said, I don’t expect him to work five days a week like he used too.

SBF Shrimp Scampi in a halter class at a mini and pony show in Prescott Arizona

Now, this little guy has been shown since he was five in both Combined Driving Events and show ring driving.  He has been my front guy in pairs, unicorn and four-in-hand, so he has done a lot.  He is a horse that has been there and done that, which makes him a great beginners horse. Besides, for being a part of my horse family since he was four months old, I would never sell him or stop having fun with him just because of his age.

One of the best things about driving the senior horse is that no matter what you do, they will always have your back.  This is indispensable when you are at a new Combined Driving Event venue and there are lots of strange obstacles that the novice horse would jump at, but not the senior citizen.

Our senior citizens really don’t know that they are as old as they are.  That is a thinking process we put on them, because that is how we think. They will still run and buck and frolic around when let them out into a large open space.  Sure, maybe not quite as long or as high as they used to, but they still have fun out there.

Many of our senior horses are being used as student lesson horses.  It is a job that they excel at, as they are so settled that they actually show a new student what to do.

One of my other senior horses, Scampi, an eighteen year old Hackney pony, is a perfect beginners driving horse.  When I am working with a green driver and Scampi does not understand what the driver is doing, she will walk over to me and stop.  She has this expression on her face as if to say “what is this person trying to tell me, I know I am not supposed to run into that fence”.

“There is no price you can put on this type of senior horse.”

Many novice drivers that want to get into carriage driving are able to get a better feel for how to drive from a forgiving senior citizen.  At a time when the number of drivers is decreasing across the United States, it is better for novices to learn on these senior horses. That way, they are not scared by a young fractious horse and decide at that point that they would rather not drive.

I generally start out new drivers on my miniature horse Snoopy (31″) and then progress to Scampi (12 hands) and then to my Morgan Nicky (14.1 hands).  By starting this way, I find that the student stays calmer, and a calm student is a learning student.  Can you imagine starting a new driver behind a 16.1 hand, 1300 pound horse?  This large horse might be the calmest horse around, but his shear size itself would be scary!

These senior citizens are used in many areas because of their age and the calmness that comes with it.  The average age of the horses for the Budweiser hitches is fifteen.  Most upper level dressage horses are in their teens.  When it takes so many years of training to get ones horse to this level, why would you not want to take advantage their knowledge and experience in their senior years.

The other area that the senior horses excel at is taking care of the horse crazy kids that are now in their senior years. I know that dealing with an excitable young horse is not at the top of the list of things that a senior person wants to do as they get back into horses after many year of being away.  Lets face it, as one gets older, they have creaks and stiffness that they did not have in their younger days.  I know many seniors that want to get into horses for riding or driving just for the fun of it and to remember their childhood when they rode every day of the week.  Driving the senior horse would be a great way for them to safely get back into horses.

So, as you can see, driving the senior horse who has so much more going for them then most people give them credit for.  Don’t replace you seniors, for age is just a number and not a true picture of what the horse can really do! Enjoy them, hold them sacred and appreciate all of the years that they have given you!

If you are taking a private lesson or participating in a clinic, your mindset going into it will set the tone for what you will learn. Getting the most out of a lesson or clinic is all up to you.

What is a lesson as compared to a clinic?

  • Clinic:  a group meeting devoted to the analysis and solution of concrete problems or to the acquiring of specific skills or  knowledge. Examples: writing clinics, golf clinics, driving clinic.
  • Lesson: an activity that you do in order to learn something

As you can see both a lesson and a clinic are an activity that one participates in to learn something, in this case driving a horse.

 Lessons are generally given one on one.  I know there are some trainers that will do lessons for a group, but in my experience with giving driving lessons, it is very hard to concentrate on a group of drivers at one time. Drivers are generally at different levels of skill as are their horses. Private lessons also provide a quieter and distraction free experience. There is also the safety issue of a group of drivers in an arena at the same time, especially if the arena is not large enough.

 Clinics are generally given to one student at a time with spectators and other drivers watching. This way all of the drivers and spectators get the benefit of what each student is working on and the knowledge of the clinician.

 When you are paying good money to a driving instructor you expect to get good instruction.  You as the student, need to be able to take constructive instruction, whether it is how you are used to doing things or not.

 Instructors all have different ways of teaching and as in anything, there are different ways to do most things.  If you do it one way and the instructor shows you a different way, it does not mean that either one of you is wrong. 

When you have worked with horses for years, you soon realize that every horse learns in a different way, and processes the information given them in different ways. 

 Students should never argue with the instructor and the instructor should never yell or demean the student.  With horses there is never a clear right or wrong way of doing a movement, just many different ways to look at something.  Besides arguing and yelling will just upset the horse!

 You should always start your lesson by letting the instructor know what issues that you want to work on.  By doing this, the instructor will be looking at how you are currently driving your horse to be able to discern what you or the horse is doing wrong.

 When you have paid your money to attend a clinic as a driver or as an auditor, there are things you need to know.  As the driver, you need to come with a clean and well groomed horse.  Your cart or carriage should be reasonably clean and in good, safe working condition.  Your harness should be clean and in good condition.  Bailing twine holding your trace onto the carriage is not good condition!

Know ahead of time what you want to work on with the clinician.  The clinician will not know what issues you or your horses are having unless you let them know. 

Clinic at Verde Valley Equine Festival

Verde Valley Equine Festival in Cottonwood Arizona with Eileen doing a participation clinic with drivers

 After you have completed your time with the clinician, and after you have put your horse away, you should write down the comments that the clinician has given you while they are clear in your mind.  This way when you get home you won’t be going, “what did the clinician say about my trot”?  You can also get permission from the organizers to be able to record your lesson with the clinician.

 Now, it is time to go and watch the other participants with their horses.  It is amazing how many drivers will have the same issues.  You will probably also learn other lessons that will be of help.  It is always good to experience the “wow” moment when the clinician says something that you have been having an issue with.  You can always come away with one good tip and that tip makes the whole clinic worth it.  While you are watching the other students, be respectful and not talk loud to your friend that just showed up.  Pay attention and learn as much as you can from the clinic.  After all, you have paid good money for this experience so make the most of it.

 When you have a scheduled lesson with a trainer and you are using your horse, then you need to allow enough time at the lesson location to get your horse and carriage unloaded and hitched up before your lesson time. 

 If you are taking lessons on a trainers horse, you probably expect that the trainer will have the horse ready for you when you arrive.  If you are late, then the horse has to do more work than just your lesson.  Be respectful of the trainer and their well trained horses.

 When you have taken lessons from the same trainer for awhile, then they will know what items and issues that you have been working on

When you are driving your own horse and have worked with the same trainer for awhile, then the trainer will know if you have worked on your lessons at home.  Working on lessons at home will make your next lesson better and you will not be repeating the same thing over and over.  The trainer always likes to see their students advance in their driving abilities

Be on time, be ready and have an open mind and you will start “Getting The Most Out Of A Lesson”.

It was a sunny May fourth and I had an appointment for my dog to be groomed.  My husband and I dropped our dog “Kandi” off at the groomers and then decided to get breakfast out.

By the time that we had finished breakfast, we headed home to get some work done before picking up Kandi.  I got the call from the groomer about noon and I asked my husband if he wanted to go with to pick her up. We headed into town and got Kandi and then headed home with her.  As I was driving, I noticed that my husband kept stretching his left arm and then rubbing his left shoulder.  I asked him several times if he was alright and if he needed to go to the doctor. He kept saying that he was alright, so I proceeded to drive home.

When we arrived home he decided to sit and take a rest. I asked again if he was alright, and again he said he was.  I told him I was going out to drive my horse Sailor for about twenty minutes and I would be back in.

Now, what happened next was Beyond The Expected!  As I was coming around the front of my property, I noticed a van sitting in my driveway at the gate.  My first thought was that the FedEx truck was delivering a package. Then about thirty seconds later, I heard sirens and they were getting close. Coming up my road was a fire paramedic truck pulling up to the driveway. By this time, I realized that the van was an ambulance and I knew that my husband was the one who called 911.

What was going through my mind at this time was how am I going to get Sailor unhitched without him being spooked by all of the forthcoming commotion.  I decided to drive him straight into the side of my round pen which would keep most of the activity of the paramedics out of his view. After taking a few deep breaths to calm myself, I started talking with Sailor in as calm a voice as I could mustard at the time.  For him, this was not his normal routine so keeping him calm was necessary because I didn’t need to get hurt.  I managed to get him unhitched and walked him to the barn and stripped his harness off as quickly as possible.  I could see the confusion in his eyes, but I also knew that he trusted me to keep him safe. By the time I was heading to the house, one of the paramedics was coming to find me.  As it happened, my husband was having a heart attack, so the quicker he got to the hospital, the better his chances would be to recover.  The paramedics did what they could for him at the house and then loaded him into the ambulance.  This whole time the paramedics were in contact with the heart center at the hospital.  By the time I got myself together and to the hospital, my husband was already in surgery having a stint put in. He made it through the whole ordeal, but he will need double bypass surgery to fix other arteries to his heart.

By now you are wondering why I am telling you this story. “Sailor” is a Friesian Sporthorse that I have been working with now for over eleven years.  We have become great partners and we have competed in many combined driving events across the country. During this experience, Sailor had no idea why I unhitched him in such a weird place and returned him to his stall in such a strange manner.  During the whole process, I could tell that he was concerned by watching his body language.

The bond that one develops over the years working with a horse is beyond words.

This bond showed itself about two weeks later when I hitched Sailor up to go for a drive on the course on my property.  My husband decided to ride along, and I only let him after making him promise that he would not try to move the carriage around and just be a passenger.

I headed out on the course at a walk as I usually do for a full round on the course.  Then, when I asked Sailor to trot he went about fifty feet and then went back to a walk.  We repeated this about four times at which time I realized that he knew there was a special person on the carriage and that he needed to be very careful on this particular day.

We drove at a walk for about thirty minutes and not once did Sailor take a wrong step or do anything that he was not asked to do.  You could see that he was stepping with such care, almost like walking over eggshells. I would not have even realized Sailors concern if I had not been working with him for those eleven years. I have learned all of his normal ways of going and this day was so different.

For all of you who only have your horse for a couple of years and then send them down the road, you are really missing out on the relationship that you could be having with your horse. This is not the first time that one of my horses have reacted in this almost human way, but most of my horses I have owned for many years and most until they have passed away.

“Beyond The Expected” is truly what this whole experience was about!

What Is That Elusive Half Halt, what do I use it for and how do I get my horse to do a Half Halt?

The American Driving Society explains the Half Halt like this:

The half-halt is a hardly visible, almost simultaneous, coordinated action of the aids, (voice, whip, and hands of the driver), with the   object of increasing the attention and balance of the horse before the   execution of several movements or transitions to lesser and higher paces. In shifting slightly more weight onto the horse’s hind quarters the engagement of the hind legs and the balance on the haunches are facilitated for the benefit of the lightness of the forehand and the horse’s balance as a whole.

The half-halt performs many functions: rebalancing, asking for attention, adjusting tempo (use outside rein for this), setting up for a transition between gaits, setting up for a movement, figure, or change of direction, increasing the horse’s core strength, asking for greater self-carriage and engagement, just to name a few.

Mary Twelveponies, in her book “Everyday Training Backyard Dressage”, shows how in the Disney movie “Miracle of the White Stallions”,  that during the exhibition for Patton, when Podhajsky comes down the center line in the canter and starts a canter pirouette, his use of the Half Halt puts his horse back together and he finishes the movement beautifully.

When you are riding a horse you also have your seat and legs with which to help communicate the Half Halt to your horse.

For drivers, we communicate the Half Halt to our horse by slightly squeezing both reins or one rein to get him first to listen to us.  Then again signaling him to  shorten his stride.  Once he shortens the stride, then slightly release the rein so he knows that you want him to stay where you have put him. Now you want to tell him to engage his hind quarters by using his lower legs. 

When driving, this is done by a slight tap on the inside with your whip.  You need to tap him where your leg would normally be squeezing him if you were riding.  If you also ride your horse in ridden dressage, than this will come easier to your horse.  If you over tap, then you run the risk of his back dropping and his head coming up, whereby losing the self-carriage that you are trying for.  It is actually easier for your horse to do a Half Halt and get into self-carriage while being driven, because he does not need to compensate for the weight of the rider when he raises his back.

The Half Halt is the tool that drivers use to help set up their horse for the movement that they want them to do.  This tool helps the horse’s balance, rhythm and harmony while you are driving him.  Yes, it is hardly visible to the non-horse person when done properly.

When teaching your horse the Half Halt you will first start as with all things with your horse at the walk.  If your horse cannot do it at the walk, then he won’t be able to do it at the trot or canter.

To execute the Half Halt while the horse is at a walk and on the bit, the driver will squeeze with their pinky finger just until he feels the horse check, and before the horse wants to slow, the driver then releases and urges the horse forward with his whip.  This results in the horse coming into better self-carriage.

The Half Halt can be asked for with both reins or with just one. One rein is used if the horse becomes overambitious, whereby you would use the outside rein, which is your speed rein.

If you want your horse to move to the left or right slightly, then you would use the rein opposite of the direction that you want to go.  This Half Halt has to be timed just as the inside back foot leaves the ground.  The result is the foot when it is set down will be under the center of the horses body, thereby moving him over a few inches.

When you are driving and ask for a Half Halt, have a word that you always use with the Half Halt, and soon all you will have to do is say the word. 
With my horses, I use the word “and”.

  •           A Half Halt helps rebalance your horse.
  •           Use your pinky finger and your word, then your whip on the horses side.
  •           Remember to release your pinky when your horse responds.
  •           Watch for your horses hind legs to become more engaged.
  •           Horse will develop self-carriage.
  •           Make sure your horse is always on the bit.

Teaching the Half Halt is a process that will take time.  If you have never used a Half Halt, you need to do short training periods, as your horse will get tired and possibly confused.  Once he has it at the walk, then you can progress to the trot and then canter.  You will notice that your horse will become more muscular as he learn to carry himself in a balanced manner.

As my final note, using Half Halts when coming down the center line to stop, will produce a smoother and squarer halt.  We all know that this is the last thing the judge will see at the end of your dressage test.  Leaving a good last impression is always a good thing!

Triton St Nick is an American Morgan Horse gelding , standing 14.1 hand .  He is the most recently acquired horse here at the Davis Ranch. I purchased Triton St Nick in 2014 for his driving ability, even though he had not been driven in a number of years.   He was born and trained to ride and drive by Triton Morgans out of California. He was shown by them in western pleasure, hunt seat and sport horse.

Horse Shows
Show Description Class Year Position
160 Morgan Classic Royale WEST PL NOV HORSE 2003 4
008 Morgan Medallion WEST PL 1ST YR GREEN 2003 3
216 Santa Cruz Morgan Horse Show JR WEST PL STAKE 2003 4
008 Morgan Medallion JR HUNT PL 2003 2
216 Santa Cruz Morgan Horse Show HUNT PL LIM HORSE 2003 3
160 Morgan Classic Royale 4-YR WEST PL 2003 2
160 Morgan Classic Royale 1ST-YR GREEN WEST PL 2003 4
221 California Pleasure Horse Cl. JR CL PL 2002 1
221 California Pleasure Horse Cl. CL PL LIM HORSE 2002 3
221 California Pleasure Horse Cl. CL PL CH 2002 2
221 California Pleasure Horse Cl. 4 & UNDER GELDINGS 2002 2
146 Mother Lode All-Morgan SPORT HORSE 2- & 3-YR GELDINGS 2001 1
146 Mother Lode All-Morgan GR CH SPORT HORSE GELDING 2001 2
146 Mother Lode All-Morgan 2 & UNDER GELDINGS 2001 2

Since 2004 Triton St Nick has been used as a trail horse both in California and for bout six years in Hawaii.   After coming back from Hawaii his previous owner rode him on trails in the Lake Tahoe area and Big Bear mountains of California.

Since Triton St Nick arrived here in Prescott I have put some much needed weight on him and have put him back in cart.  I well also be using him as a trail riding horse for myself.

As soon as Triton St Nick is ready I will be using him as one of my horses to teach new students to drive.  Nicky as he is know in the barn is a very quiet and easy going guy.  He is now seventeen so he is perfect to use as a student horse.

 

My Pinto/Hackney pony “SBF Shrimp Scampi” foaled a colt, Scampi’s Silver Fox, on May 15, 2016.  She was bred to a Dartmoor Stallion  “Teignhead King of Clubs” who has sired foals in the United Kingdom, Germany, Netherlands and now one in the United States. Scampi’s Silver Fox or  “Silver” as we call him around the barn is now three months old and has shed his foal coat to reveal a coal black coat underneath. Scampi’s Silver Fox is going to be quite a flashy driving horse when he grows up.

Now at 5 1/2 months old, he is weaned from his mother, which is good for SBF Shrimp Scampi, as I am having trouble keeping weight on her.  It turned out to be a no issue weaning and nare was a word spoken between them.  After two weeks of being separated Scampi’s Silver Fox had an appointment with the veterinarian to become a gelding. This like the weaning was basically a no issue for him and two days later he was romping around the paddock.

  • Scampi’s Silver Fox at 5 1/2 months

  • Scampi’s Silver Fox at 5 1/2 months

  • Scampi’s Silver Fox at 5 1/2 months

  • Scampi’s Silver Fox at 5 1/2 months

  • Scampi’s Silver Fox at 5 1/2 months

  • Scampi’s Silver Fox at 5 1/2 months

  • Scampi’s Silver Fox at 5 1/2 months

  • Scampi’s Silver Fox at 5 1/2 months with Pinegrove’s Sailor Boy

  • Scampi’s Silver Fox at 5 1/2 months with Pinegrove’s Sailor Boy

  • Scampi’s Silver Fox at 5 1/2 months

  • Scampi’s Silver Fox at 5 1/2 months

Scampi’s Silver Fox is now learning about manners, walking on a lead, grooming habits and having his feet played with.  Most of this is going very smoothly as I did a lot of imprinting when he was first born.  Right now he only has an attention span of about five minutes so teaching new things is a slow process, which is how it should be.

He loves to watch while I am working with the other driving horses on the property.  He likes to run after Pinegrove’s Sailor Boy when we go by his turnout.  Sailors not quite sure of what to think of all of his antics.  Hopefully he will learn by watching so when it is his turn to be hitched up it will be a calm and quiet event.  I will hitch him first with his Dam, SBF Shrimp Scampi, and drive them as a pair.  She has already taught him so much about being a horse, she should be a great asset in teaching him proper driving manners.