View Full Version : Qualities of a Driving horse

12th June 2011, 06:37 PM
My OH has expressed an interest in Driving, and I wondered what qualities a driving horse would need. Mark has asked me if Uva could be broken to drive, and my answer was 'I honestly dont know' as I literally have no idea!!

For those that dont know she is a 15.1 criollo x tb, ex polo pony. She is pretty safe to ride doesnt buck/rear/bolt/nap or anything, but equally has never ever been in harness. She is eager to please.

So my questions are
a) What qualities does a driving horse need to have

b) Would Uva be able to be broken to drive?

c) Would Uva look completely daft in harness?

d) Would my non-horsey OH be able to learn to drive, or is it better to have ridden/horse experience first?

If we did it I would send her away to be broken to harness, and both of us would have lessons to ensure that we are 100% with it.

Would be interested to hear what peoples experiences are with it, and see pictures of driving horses that people have!

Uva pic (for built/conformation info!)

My Crazy Clan
12th June 2011, 07:32 PM
I would say the main thing for any driving horse is to be 100% with traffic and bombproof.

Most horse's can do it as long as the work/time/patience has been put into them and one thing you should ALWAYS remember is, it takes as long as it takes, there should never be a quick fix/rush to do it.

She would look fine in a harness, she actually reminds me of one of the wedding horses down here, very striking.

Whilst she is being broken to drive I would defiantly get some lessons in, they do it round here and I don't think its very expensive either.

The harness is the easy part, as your having her done pro, I would get her used to being long reined and make sure shes ok with things around her legs.

To start with make sure you wear a hat and hi vis, just to be on the safe side.

At the moment we are still breaking Magic to drive, I brought the cart but turned out it wasn't good enough so onces thats gone I will buy enough ready for when hes ready, he seems to taken to long reining out brilliantly.

13th June 2011, 02:41 PM
The most important thing in a driving horse is a willingness to learn, not a lot of argument and sensible head. They can still be hot horses as long as they are willing to listen to direction. Your relying on two pieces of leather and your voice to guide the horse so the horse can be sharp but sensible. Doesn't have to be a dead horse to be a good driver.

You would need lessons with an experienced driver first but its not like learning to ride so not half as complicated to learn. not like you have to learn to balance lol. Just have to really get your eye in to whether the cart and harness are balanced and fitted correctly which books cant really get in.

13th June 2011, 04:24 PM
She is the same build as Vinny and I drive him. Well, I did, until my FF pretty much banned me.

He keeps going on and on about how it is complete LUNACY to drive a horse like Vinny, and I ignored him for ages until I met a real carthorse (Kilo) and it all started to make sense. Until recently I considered Vinny to be a quiet horse. It's only in the last year or so, since getting to know Hasty and Kilo, that I've realised Vinny isn't all that quiet. We are in tune with each other and I know what he's going to do before he does, but that doesn't always mean I can stop him from doing whatever it is he's decided to do.

Haven't driven him for a little while.... I really must, he loves it.

Vinny is NOT your ideal driving horse in terms of temperament but he is a lot stronger than he looks (Standardbreds often are). He always carries a good amount of muscle, especially on his hindquarters, and I think this helps. The real problem is the INCESSANT spooking, and other erratic acts.

If you have a nice big flattish field to drive in I expect you could drive almost any horse. It's when you meet the roads that you're opening a can of worms. For driving on the roads your horse needs to be PERFECT in ALL traffic. Both my trotters are good in traffic, but liable to spook at a flower in the hedge, landing squarely on the other side of the road right underneath an artic lorry. So they need to be bombproof with everything, not just traffic.

Apart from that, brakes are a nice bonus. And as Sasca says, you need a quick and willing learner.

The problem with driving for me is you can't bail out very easily. At least if things go really wrong when you're riding, you can hop off in half a second and be at the horse's head.

Mungo Madness
30th July 2012, 10:31 PM
It depends what you want to do... I don't think they have to be absolutely 100% in traffic. Lizzie isn't perfect in traffic, she goes wiggley and swerves around when a car passes and sometimes shoots off for a few strides. BUT she listens and comes back straight after so it's not an issue, and at competitions she really pulls everything out the bag and is brilliant.

From what I've seen of Uva I think she'd take to it. I'd reccommend seeing if there's anyone near you who drives and going out with them for a while, and wear a hat. Like I said though, we only ever go out with two people as then whoever isn't driving can just jump off and go straight to their head if anything happens. We also always wear a hat.

ETA Also, it helps to have horsey knowledge and experience but I'm sure you could get around without it :)

31st July 2012, 08:13 AM
I think she will look good in harness.
As Sasca said, it depends on the horses attitude to learning and working in harness, and for your OH's first driving horse, something that is good on the roads, a spooky horse with an inexperienced driver is not a good idea unless you intend to drive her off road, a calm and experienced driver should always be paired with a spooky, novice horse.
If you do indeed go down this route, some pics and updates would be fab.