https://www.combined-driving.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/HZK_1081-ps.jpg21363216Eileen Davishttps://www.combined-driving.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/EileensLOGO2-300x84.pngEileen Davis2020-12-30 11:12:332020-12-30 11:17:59Top Best Errors In A Horse Ad
Your going to a driving clinic and you want to get the most out of it that you can! I think one’s attitude going into the driving clinic is important. It starts with knowing what to expect before you go. Your going to a driving clinic and you want to get the most out of it that you can! I think one’s attitude going into the driving clinic is important. Your going to a driving clinic and you want to get the most out of it that you can! I think one’s attitude going into the driving clinic is important.
have participated in many driving and riding clinics over the years. Most of
these were many years ago when I was learning the craft of driving. I have been driving for over thirty-four
years. In the past twenty-five years, I have been the clinician for many
clinics both here in the United States, as well as internationally.
a participant in a clinic, there are many things that will make your experience
the best that it can be. After all, you are paying good money for the driving
clinic, so you want to get as much out of it as you can.
Here is a list of some basic things you need to have at a driving clinic:
Come with an open mind.
Have your driving horse in the best condition
Be sure your harness is properly fitted to
Be sure your vehicle is in good working order.
Bring a helper with you. Helpers can assist
you with getting ready to drive, as well as being a second set of eyes and ears
during your lesson.
Have a camera or cell phone that your helper
can use to take video or pictures of your lesson.
Always wear a helmet.
Bring plenty of clothes for layering, if
Be kind and respectful to the clinician and
Be on time for your lesson.
the clinicians’ point of view, they are getting paid to help you with any specific
problem or driving movement that you might want to work on.
Not all clinicians teach the same!
first thing you need to realize that not all clinicians, work the same way when
giving a lesson. You can go to one
trainer and they will approach an issue one way and then if you go to a second trainer,
they may approach the same issue in a different way. This does not mean that one way is wrong, or
one way is better than another. People
in general do not always learn the same.
There are three different ways that people learn:
Visual – They learn through
seeing, they think in pictures.
Auditory – They learn through listening, they think in
Kinesthetic – They learn
through moving, doing and touching.
develop their way of training which in many ways are based on how they learned
and on their life experience with driving horses.
Once you arrive at the driving clinic grounds, make sure you find out where you need to park and where the arenas are that you will be having your lesson in. If the clinic is more than one day, then you will need to find your camping space and a place to house your horse.
Check out the facility
you are all settled in, then take a bit of time to check out the facility and
say hello to your hosts. Generally, there will be a schedule board with the
times for the lessons.
is a schedule to be kept, so make sure you are at the arena at least five
minutes before your time slot. Lessons
at a clinic are generally forty-five to fifty minutes with a ten-minute break in
between. These ten minutes is when the
clinician has a chance to sit down, have a drink and take a walk to those
little green, blue or white boxes. Be
patient, and if the clinician is a couple minutes behind, it is not the end of
you have finished your lesson, be polite and thank the clinician, they really
do appreciate it. Exit the arena as the
next student is waiting to come in.
have just returned from a clinic in Calgary, Canada sponsored on by the High
Country Carriage Driving Club. I was one of two clinicians invited to this
yearly event that the club has.
event was well received by drivers in Canada, and the club did a great job in
keeping the event running like a well-oiled machine. This was amazing, as at
the last minute, they had a acquire another facility as the weather decided to
rain the week before and for two days of the event.
Rain was on the schedule!
being a four-day event, the days were long for the clinicians with eight
lessons each day. You can see that well mannered
horses, as well as knowledgeable drivers, made our jobs easier. The organizers kept us well feed and dry,
which was a chore within itself!
the last day of the clinic, both the students and I were able to see the
progress that many of the horses had made over the four days. Many of the students that I taught, took a
lesson from me all four days which made it easier to work on specific things
that the students were having trouble with.
As a clinician, there are many things that I look at when helping the students:
Look at the vehicle that they are using for safety.
Check the harness for proper fit.
Ask about the horse and its history.
Find out if the student is a new driver or a seasoned driver.
Then find out what they want to work on and accomplish.
is a lot of work that the clinician does while teaching a student. When they ask you to remind them what they
were working on the prior day, don’t think they have a bad memory. They have seen eight students, that they have
just met on the prior day, and remembering exactly what they worked on with you
can sometimes be difficult. Speak up and
refresh their memory, it only takes a sentence to jog the clinicians mind.
to get the most out of the clinic, keep an open mind, and be able to adjust if
schedules get backed up. After all, you
have come to learn and getting upset does not help you or your horse. If you
get one good tip that helps you with your horse, then the clinic was worth
participating in! You have paid good
money for the opportunity, so learn and most of all have fun!
It turned out to be a fun day with Eileen and Snoopy her twenty-four year old miniature horse. Eileen has had Snoopy his whole life and has literally been there and done that!
Snoopy is an American Miniature Horse and loves his jobs. When I got him he was only five months old and was about fifty pounds. My son-in-law just picked him up and put him in my truck to bring him to my ranch. Now Snoopy is about 160 pounds and stand 31″ tall at his weathers. He is considered a strawberry roan.
Snoopy has been my lead driving mini, as he will go anywhere that I ask him to go. He always pulled his partner through water when I drove him as a pair. He was my lead man when I drove him in a unicorn hitch in carriage driving shows. In a four up hitch he was the one I depended on to always go where told even if the other three mini’s were not sure.
June 1, 2019 we went to a Fun Playday and he got to hang out with a lot of other mini’s and play some games. Now at “24” he is still as solid in what he does as he as ever been. We did a poker run through obstacles to earn out poker hand. He did great but my poker hand only had a pair.
It was really a fun day, being able to hang out with my best little man. Snoopy enjoyed himself but by the end of the day he was really for his Senior Citizen mid day nap!
https://www.combined-driving.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/20190601_111441_resized.jpg22413984Eileen Davishttps://www.combined-driving.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/EileensLOGO2-300x84.pngEileen Davis2019-06-05 09:23:172019-06-05 09:23:21Fun Day With Eileen And Snoopy
If you are one of those new drivers who has ridden horses your whole life, then this article is for you. You have been astride, one if not many horses over the years, and now as you reach those senior years you are finding it harder to get up on your horse.
What commonly happens is that
a friend says, “why not get a horse and drive them” and you think to yourself, that
is a good idea.
Most new drivers do come from
the ridden world of horses. You probably figure that this will be an easy
transition. I’ll just put my riding
horse in front of a cart and drive away, “WRONG”.
Just because you can ride your horse does not mean that he will like being hitched up behind a noisy carriage, and there are a lot of very noisy ones out there.
The best way to transition into the carriage driving world is to buy an already trained and seasoned horse that has been there and done that when it comes to driving. Once you have your horse, cart and harness, then you need to find a knowledgeable trainer to show you how to put it all together. It sounds so simple until you get into the cart and start to drive.
You will be learning a whole
new way to communicate with your horse.
Astride you have your legs,
seat, hand, reins. Behind the horse, you
have your reins, voice and the elusive whip which becomes a strange stick in
your hands that you will find very hard to control at the same time you are
using the reins.
As those astride horse lovers
become accustom to this new way of communicating with their horse, they will
realize that the trust between them and their horse needs to go to a whole new
Your horse is basically free
wheeling out in front of you, and without extreme trust between you and him,
this whole experience can go wrong real fast.
Talk to your horse when you drive!
Most driving horses know a
number of basic words such as “walk, trot, canter, whoa, easy, stand and, then
the really good ones also know gee and haw (right and left). Using your voice
quietly to tell your horse what to do by talking to them is a must. Those
astride converts will have a hard time remembering to talk to their horse.
The whip that you carry is
not a tool to beat your horse with, it is to tap him when needed to speed him
up when your voice que doesn’t do it. The whip is also an extension of your
leg. When one becomes very handy with
the whip you can press it at their side where you would squeeze your leg to get
your horse to bend or step over. Many
drivers I see carry a to short of whip to do them any good. Your whip should be long enough to reach your
Things to consider in learning to drive!
Your reins are another item
that will take time for the astride to behind driver to get the proper feel
for. Most riding reins are 4 ½’ to 5’ in
length, as compared to driving reins, at 15’ to 18’ for a full-size horse.
The que from your hand to the horses’ mouth to his brain takes longer to get there. Your horse must become very in tuned with the driver to be able to feel that little squeeze of your pinky finger through the long reins.
I have seen a lot of the astride to behind drivers come to me to learn how to drive. I always suggest that the new driver take lesson from a trainer with a horse that has been there and done that. It is easier for the new driver to get the feel of the reins from a proficient horse. New drivers doing these lessons can then decide if driving is for them. As with the horses, not all of them like to drive. It is the same with new drivers, some find that the transition to driving is not comfortable for them.
Here are some of the most often made mistakes that I see with new astride to behind drivers:
When asking the horse to speed up they want to squeeze their knees together.
There is the death grip on the reins.
And on the opposite end, is the student that just gives the reins away
The student wants the horse to go right or left, they move their arms and hands to the right or left.
There is the slapping of the reins on the horses’ butt to speed them up. This only happens in the western movies!
Once the horse is going where and how the student wants them to go, they keep playing with the reins.
The student that leans forward to try and get the horse to move forward!
The student that is stiff in the body and they can’t seem to relax.
The astride to behind driver
can be a difficult transition but with some patience, time and practice you can
become a proficient driver. Remember it
is all about having fun with your horse whether you are astride or behind your
Horses and Smoke do not go well together. The obvious signs of smoke from the Tinder fire should be a reminder to everyone about how quickly a fire can start from just a campfire being in an unauthorized area and being left unattended.
It also brings back the memory of the Rodeo-Chediski fire in June 2002 and the Dose fire in June of 2013. The Dose fire I remember well, being I live at the base of Granite Mountain. My son called from Orleans, California to tell me that the Doce fire was heading our way and if it comes over the pass, we need to get out. My son is a career wildland fire fighter with the US Forest Service and was stationed here in Prescott.
Extremely Tense Days
I watched many horse owners try to figure out what to do if they had to evacuate. A good friend of mine who lives on Mint Creek had to evacuate and she called me to help with her horses and miniature donkeys.
There was much that went wrong that week, as well as much that went right. When trying to get up Williamson Valley Road, I had to dodge look-e-loos parked on the road taking pictures! Then, there were those that were unable to get their horses into trailers at all. When the officials finally set up road blocks at both ends of Williamson Valley Road, evacuation then became easier.
You are probably wondering where this is all going too?
It just so happened that my Hackney pony mare was in foal at this time. I consulted my veterinarian for the best thing to do with her and the rest of my horses during the fire.
Because my pony was older, my vet suggested that I keep her as quiet, and in no way exercise her!
The smoke has a drastic effect on horses to start with, but her being pregnant, it would be even worse.
This study from the University of California Davis proves that horses and smoke do not go together. Smoke is an unhealthy combination of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, soot, hydrocarbons, and other organic substances. Smoke is a mixture of solid and liquid particles that are in the air. They can irritate your horse’s eyes and respiratory tract, which then hampers their breathing. All horses should have very limited activity whenever smoke is visible. Even a human has eye and breathing problems during a forest fire.
Remember horses and smoke do not go well together.
If you have a scheduled event in an area that is smoked filled due to a fire, it is always better to cancel and be safe then it is to go! Several years ago, the organizers of the Tevis Cup canceled the race because of the amount of smoke in the area.
Now, if you must evacuate then you are faced with the problem of getting your horse or horses out to a safe area. In my situation during the Dose fire, we were on stand by evacuation for a week, as the fire management had no way of knowing which way the fire was going to go. Fires can be very unpredictable!
I had my large trailer hooked up and ready to leave at a moment’s notice. I can get all six of my horses into my trailer at one time. There were many people who had to evacuate and did not have trailers big enough to get all of their horses into. Many people need to take several trips to get all of their horses out.
The worst thing that happens when you are told to evacuate is getting your horse into a trailer. Here are some tips on how to get them in:
Everybody stay calm!! If you’re not calm your horses will not be calm. Act as if there is nothing special about this trailer ride.
Always be sure that your horse is trained to get in your trailer. When it’s time to evacuate, it is not the time to train your horse!
Load your horse like you would at any other time. If you use leg wraps, then put them on. If you use a different halter, then use it now. The horse needs to think that this is just like any other ordinary trailer ride.
Don’t be in a hurry. If you are, your horse will think there is something wrong.
If you normally load your horses by yourself, then do it by yourself. I know it is tempting for friends and neighbors, that may or may not know anything about horses to volunteer their help. Graciously, refuse their help.
If you have multiple horses, load them in the same order that you would if going to a show or trail ride.
Give your horse time to think if he needs it to get into the trailer. My Friesian Sporthorse will always stand and look into the trailer for maybe up to sixty seconds before getting in. This is his normal. You don’t want to change your horses’ normal routine of how he gets into his trailer.
You Can Smell The Fire In The Air!
Most evacuations, especially with fires, we are all able to see and smell them well before the actual notice. This is the time in which you need to get together any special medication that your horse will need along with a copy of his registration papers to have in your truck. All of the other stuff you might want to bring like feed, tack, buckets, blankets, etc. are just material items that your horse can do without during an emergency. Your horses will survive on whatever food and water is at the stable of facility you are evacuating too.
The most important thing is to save your life and the life of your horse!
The importance of warming up your horse, especially when you are at a driving show or a Combined Driving Event is probably the most important part of showing and competing. But it does have to be done correctly.
Learning how to warm up your horse starts at home as part of your normal routine.
All horses, whether you compete with them or just drive them for fun on the trail where you live, need to have a warm up period in which to get, not only their bodies ready for work but also their minds.
We will address the mind first, for without it being present you won’t even need the body. A well-trained horse who has a particular job, in this case, driving, needs to have his mind on the job at hand.
Most of the time when you go to drive your well-trained horse he is there with you, but there are those few times when you are all hitched up and ready to drive out and within the first five minutes you get the feeling that your horse woke up on the wrong side of the bed!
When this happens the best thing to do is ask him to do just one small thing, say like halting and backing up two steps. Then you take him back to where you hitched him up, unhitch him, take off the harness and put him in his stall. You will be thankful later, because he will remember that kind gesture when you least expect it. Even horses can have a bad day, for whatever reason, and it is just not worth the fight!
I have had this happen with my horses, and when I have come back the next day, all is well and good. Just like you and me we sometimes have a bad day for whatever reason.
I will use my Friesian Sporthorse as an example here for the warm-up that I do at home:
Once he is harnessed and hitched I start by walking him quietly, on a loose rein for about five minutes. I then will move him up to a slow trot to give him time to get all the normal coughing and light snorting to clear his airway and lungs out. Continue to trot him working up to a working trot for about twelve minutes and going approximately 1.8 km. I do this whole warm up on my property by going around the flat part of my course four times. Then I walk him for about five minutes, or until his pulse and respiration comes down to normal.
This is my warm-up that I do every time I go to drive Sailor. You need to note that Sailor is 16.1 hands and about 1250 pounds, so it takes this amount of time to get all his muscles and tendons warmed up to be able to work on dressage, cones or the endurance that is needed for a marathon course.
This type of warm-up will keep your horse sound, so if you don’t have a lot of time one day to drive more than about 15-20 minutes, then just use your warm-up as your drive time. Warm-up time is still driving your horse and having fun.
So, you are at a driving show or are getting ready to do one of the three parts of a Combined Driving Event and you need to warm-up. You want to do the same warm-up that you do at home. First, doing what your horse is used to in a warm-up will keep him thinking there is nothing different about what he will be doing.
If you don’t lounge him at home don’t do it at a show.
If you don’t canter him around for ten minutes at home don’t do it at the show. I think you get the idea. You want to make the warm-up seem as normal as possible. The last thing you want to do is get your horse hyped up or so exhausted he will not be able to show at his best. When I am warming-up at a competition I try to find a quiet area in which to do this. When at home my horses are generally driven by themselves so trying to warm-up in a place where there are ten other carriages being driven around can become distracting to your horse.
At a show or competition is not the time to try and teach your horse anything new. If he does not know it by the time you leave your ranch, he will not miraculously learn it during warm-up. If you think after the warm-up that your horse is not really wanting to do this competition, there is no shame in pulling out of a class or portion of a CDE.
We all know that our horses become very aware of where they are at especially when you have trailered to a show. There are so many new things for them to see and smell. This is all normal so if you keep everything you can the same at the show as at home it will help them enormously:
Take his normal water and feed buckets with.
Use his regular halter and lead rope
Use his regular harness that you show in for several weeks before at home. (My show harness is the same type as my regular work harness.)
Use the carriage that you will be showing in at home for several weeks. (My horses presentation carriage I do not use on a regular basis until I am getting ready for a competition.)
Just remember going to a show or competition is supposed to be a fun experience for both you and your horse!
My motto has always been: “If you’re not having fun than don’t do it!”
https://www.combined-driving.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Example-of-a-small-crowded-warm-up-area.-Eileen-is-driveing-SBF-Shrimp-Scampi..jpg23043456Eileen Davishttps://www.combined-driving.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/EileensLOGO2-300x84.pngEileen Davis2018-05-01 07:32:022018-06-05 09:55:42The Importance of Warming Up Your Horse
This past March I attended the ADCS Festival of Driving Show held at the Dale Creek Equestrian Village in Litchfield Park, Arizona. I was joined by my miniature horse Spragues Orion Royale Herby otherwise know as “Snoopy”.
Snoopy is a 31″ American Miniature Horse and he is 22 years young. He is a strawberry roan and has the personality of a gentle giant.
For this two day show I entered him in nine classes which were either show ring driving or obstacle classes. On Saturday he did very well in four of the five classes placing in the top six in all four. Snoopy gave me all he had and was pretty tired by the end of the day. He earned a well needed meal and a super rest for the rest of the day.
Now I had been having some issues with his back hocks, as they are showing signs of arthritis, so it was not surprising that Sunday morning he was a bit stiff. I spent the first thirty minutes trying to limber him up at a walk.
When they called out first class of the morning we made it about two times around the arena and it was obvious that he was not comfortable driving so I withdrew him from the class. At this point I decided that he had had enough and that we would get packed up and head for home.
Snoopy is now on a joint supplement and an arthritis medicine Equioxx and he is doing very well and is moving more normal.
https://www.combined-driving.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/A026ps.jpg800450Eileen Davishttps://www.combined-driving.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/EileensLOGO2-300x84.pngEileen Davis2017-07-01 11:49:232018-06-05 09:55:44Festival of Driving Show
A Mini Horse Club Gymkhana was hosted by the Saguaros State Miniature & Shetland Pony Club at the Davis Ranch on Sunday the 30th of April. Twenty two members showed up, bringing with them about ten miniature horses and ponies. It turned out to be a beautiful day with no wind, rain or snow to spoil the atmosphere!
The morning was taken up with in hand gymkhana games including an egg balancing race that all had fun doing. I think that a few of us older adults found running with our mini’s was harder than when we were younger. There was a lot of huffing and puffing going on. By 11:15 all were tired so we broke for lunch and our horses had earned a drink of water and a snack.
After lunch those who had horses that drove proceeded to get hitched up for the driving games. Those that had proficient driving horses did some cantering which shows that these little horses can get there fast if need be! Others with newer driving horses kept to a trot or walk and all went well without any mishaps.
When all was said and done this Mini Horse Club Gymkhana will go down in the history book as a success. I think everyone received a prize and the horses got mint snacks! A few of the drivers checked out the bridge and water crossing as well as the hazards that are on the property.
https://www.combined-driving.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/IMG_0134ps.jpg15182957Eileen Davishttps://www.combined-driving.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/EileensLOGO2-300x84.pngEileen Davis2017-04-30 13:25:542018-06-05 09:55:45Saguaro State Mini Horse Club Gymkhana
I served as Judge At A Miniature Horse Show this past Saturday here in Prescott Arizona. The Fun Show was put on by the Saguaro State Shetland Pony and Miniature Horse Club. This year the show brought out over forty horses to compete.
The day started out with judging the halter classes for Miniature Horses, Ponies and Miniature Donkeys. Many of the competitors were new to the small horse world and many had horses that had not been shown before. The beginning Novice Handler Open sported about sixteen horses and handlers. Judging this class was a challenge to say the least because there were so many nice horses in the class.
Halter classes went on until about eleven after which we moved on to the Showmanship classes. Here again there were many competitors getting their feet wet in the novice class. They all had fun getting their horses to properly do the pattern. Of course Showmanship is judged on how the handler works with their horse. I was really glad to see that we had one junior competitor in many of the classes.
We ended the morning with the Hunter class which is always a challenge for the handler as they need to keep up with their horse as they get them to jump, in form, over the five jumps. We had about six competitors that tried their hand at this class. We had some rails down and one jump that had to be reset when one horse went through instead of jumping it, but all had fun trying.
The afternoon was started with the In Hand Obstacle classes. The course consisted of a mailbox, trotting zigzag, side pass, back through, car wash and walk over poles. The nemesis for most of the competitors was the side pass. Most of the horses were wondering what their handlers were asking them to do, and why they were shoving them so much. They all have plenty of homework for themselves and their horses. The open class added a zigzag side pass and a grass inlay under the poles. The side pass again, had the horses wondering what was going on.
Next to follow were the driving obstacle classes which included the mailbox, trotting serpentine, halt and back up, walk thru “L” and fake grass to walk over. The halt for ten seconds and backing the horse in cart were the major hang ups for the drivers.
Next we moved on to Pleasure Driving classes which saw many minis, ponies and donkeys hitched up and ready to show their stuff. All of the driving classes went well with no major hangups. They were all very well behaved and their drivers did a great jobs with them. The Reinsmanship class followed along withe the final driving class called “Golden Age Driving” where the driver had to be over fifty five. This class proved we are all getting older!
We ended the day with a Costume Class which brought out the creativity of those who entered. It was a great way to end a very successful and fun show. I am sure everyone is looking forward to the 2017 SSC Fun Show!
https://www.combined-driving.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/IMG_0073-3-ps.jpg23613147Eileen Davishttps://www.combined-driving.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/EileensLOGO2-300x84.pngEileen Davis2016-10-25 07:35:192018-06-05 09:55:46Judging A Miniature Horse Show
Spragues Orion Royal Herbie or “Snoopy” as we call him, took a first place at the SSC Arizona Driving Trial. It was a beautiful day when we arrived at the hosting facility. We found miniature horses and their people milling around, getting their trailers unpacked.
First order of business was to check in and then I went to check out the dressage arena. The cones course comes right after dressage so I needed to walk it several times so memorize it. There were several blind turns in it which could be a problem if you are not ready for them.
By now it was about 10:00 so I had plenty of time to watch some of the drivers do dressage as well as cones. It looked like everyone was having a good time with their miniature horses.
Finally it was time for me to get Spragues Orion Royal Herbie ready to drive. After a good brush out I harnessed him up and we took a leisurely stroll down to the dressage arena. There were still two competitors waiting to go, who were in front of me. This made for a short wait until it was my time to go.
Spragues Orion Royal Herbie was ready to go, so we took our one lap around the arena and proceeded up the center line. Stopped and saluted the judge. The last time I competed with Spragues Orion Royal Herbie, was in 2004 at the Old Pueblo CDE (Combined Driving Event) in Tucson Arizone. I was not surprised that Snoopy just went to work like it was just yesterday. He did a fantastic job in dressage and I couldn’t have been more proud of him.
We then proceeded to the cones course where they were still setting the cones width for us. The judge blew her whistle when ready and away we drove. We did a good part of the course at the canter so that we could make our time. It was a great plan as we were only two seconds over in time and we had no balls down. Spragues Orion Royal Herbie really enjoyed doing the cones, as always.
All competitors took a break for lunch for both them and their horses. After which we all hitched up our horses for the obstacles, of which there were four. Spragues Orion Royal Herbie had a great go through all four of the obstacles. We had to race through four gates in each of the obstacles in the fastest time possible, while still being safe.
By the end of the day Spragues Orion Royal Herbie had the top dressage score of all the competitors and the top combined score overall. We placed first in the preliminary single horse division. Not to bad for a 21 year old who hadn’t competed in a CDE since 2004.
https://www.combined-driving.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/IMG_0020-ps.jpg24483264Eileen Davishttps://www.combined-driving.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/EileensLOGO2-300x84.pngEileen Davis2016-10-07 08:24:542018-06-05 09:55:47Spragues Orion Royal Herbie Wins Again