View Full Version : Honey's driving career

28th November 2011, 08:23 PM
I'd really like to be able to drive Honey eventually. She's 2yrs 6 months at the moment and I'm hoping to start long reining her in the next couple of weeks.

First question: Is there anything major I should or should not be doing when long reining her? I've never done it properly, I generally just run around with 2 lunge lines then get bored. I want to do it right this time though!

Second question: What can I be doing with her that will help her start off her driving career? I need to get her used to bicycles going past her at speed as that's the only thing she's freaked out about so far, but any other ideas would be much appreciated :)


28th November 2011, 09:02 PM
Most important thing is get her voice commanded. She needs to go and stop on your voice alone. Stand, walk and trot on. then there is come about (turn around in a cart).

The other important thing to teach her is to wait....simply stand still for up to 5 mins at a time. When your behind a horse you are only relying on two bits of leather and a stick for control, so she needs to have confidence in your voice, and be able to stop if something went wrong by you talk to her. Work without a bit for as much as possible as that will make her far more responsive to a bit. She needs to learn to wait without anyone next to her head for road junctions and pulling out in traffic etc, don't want her messing about when your trying to pull out...or standing for the judge in a ring.

If you want any help, give me a bell and i could probably pop over at some point when travelling home :)

28th November 2011, 09:10 PM
gem come and have a go with razzle if you like hun only this time his breast plate will be on his breast and not round his neck lol poor boy haha

28th November 2011, 09:25 PM
Thanks Sarah. She listens to voice commands when she feels like it. That needs to change :lol: I'm going to be doing a lot more work with her over the xmas holidays so hopefully she'll improve then. What kind of whip do you recommend using when long reining?

Thanks Annmarie - once I get a bit of time I'll come over and see you :)

28th November 2011, 09:37 PM
I personally use a chooling stick when long reining ickle ones. If you can put a lash on it even better.

The stick in driving is meant to replace your legs, so when you lay the lash on the left side of the horse, they move over to the right. Its not about going (though useful for that to!) but more leg aids to help steer the body.

You should also get her dragging an A frame around. Makes noise and gets her used to long reining within shafts. You can then attach a tyre to it to make it heavier and more noise from behind.

28th November 2011, 09:45 PM
Plenty of good advice so far, can't really much other than get her dragging all sorts of stuff before you hitch her up. This is what we did with Kilo and it's worked out really well (he started off pulling a bit of brushwood, then logs, then a harrow and finally a cart - pics to follow when my computer starts behaving!). If you can devise a quick release system, and have an on-the-ball helper, it will be much easier and safer.

I agree that standing is the main thing to work on, for safety reasons. Do not despair - when we first got Kilo he wouldn't stand for more than 3 seconds without fidgeting and trying to storm away. He now stands motionless for minutes on end, and he hasn't even been here a year.

28th November 2011, 09:57 PM
Excellent, thanks ladies! She's well used to having stuff round her back legs and over her back (thanks to Jasmine doing her utmost to tie Honey up to and from the field) and she's not one to freak out, which I'm hoping will stand her in good stead. I'll have a word with the farmer and see if he's got anything I can attach to her when the time comes.

28th November 2011, 10:00 PM
Get her going as above in the confines of a field and then on the road with someone walking beside her. Gradually they drop back until level with you. This gives her confidence
Do this with just the reins, then with a swingle and then with a tyre fixed.
Go over as many different surfaces as you can so she gets used to different noises behind her and the bumping of the tyre
The standing part is one of the most important commands she needs to learn. She has to stand still for as long as you want her to and not move until told.
You can also teach her commands for turning left and right so just by saying them she will turn in that direction.
Its all far easier than you think, but don't go onto the next part until she is 100% with what you are teaching. Once they have it they remember it, but teaching too much too soon only confuses them and they can't them remember it all.
If she does start to get confused, go back to something you know she knows and start again.
Are you putting her in blinkers?
Some are ok long-reining without but panic with the tyre behind them if not wearing blinkers so be prepared. They can go berserk!
Attach tyre to swingle tree with baling twine from the start and always carry a sharp knife with you to cut the twine if she panics.

28th November 2011, 10:03 PM
Freya will long-rein without blinkers but went crazy with the tyre!
Added blinkers and she was fine.
She is one that never baulks at anything and takes everything in her stride but didn't like this 'thing' chasing her.

Oh forgot.
The hardest thing to teach them is to turn in a circle. They have to learn thst they cannot bend because of the shafts and have to be taught to cross their legs over.

29th November 2011, 09:48 AM
I had no idea what a swingle was so I googled it and was greeted with a swingers website :lol: I presume you're not suggesting I attach one of these to my little pony?! :pmsl:

I'd like to get her a little driving bridle with some blinkers. I'm going to be starting her off just using a headcollar as she's not bitted yet (but will be soon). Can anyone recommend anywhere for shetland driving gear? Luckily I have access to an indoor school so can have plenty of practice in there before we venture out. Our yard goes straight out onto a very quiet country road too (nobody goes above about 10mph and there's nothing up at the top of the lane so it's only a few residents) so that'll be a great place to learn. There is then an estate that we can move up to when she's feeling confident. Ooh it's exciting!

29th November 2011, 10:06 AM
You can easily make a swingle for training.
A block of wood 3x3 about 2ft long would be ideal for Honey.
About 2 inches from each end drill a hole through to attach to harness.Drill a hole through the middle to attach tyre.

Ebay do complete harnesses for about 50. Ask for the measurements first though as many are re-sold on as they are too big. Webbing is the best for breaking in.
A bridle on its own will probably cost 25

29th November 2011, 10:29 AM
I know someone selling a driving bridle. Labeled as a mini/baby shetty size but its too big for her mini's (they are the finer type of minis) I think its new but its been stored a while so the brass has gone a bit green.

29th November 2011, 11:51 AM
I got Alfies gear on ebay, had to make some adjustments (mainly the breeching and breast plate), was fairly cheap and surprisingly not bad for the money.
Alfie is just about ready to put to a trap now, eventually he will not only pull a trap but a harrow and a mini dray too.

29th November 2011, 07:16 PM
I knew a chap who had scurry ponies. When he started breaking to harness and getting them used to odd noises, he initially tied the empty cans etc onto his belt and had a helper at the head of the pony. If the pony did freak out it could be safely separated from the scarey thing.

29th November 2011, 08:27 PM
Ooh that's a good idea! I'll give that a go. She hasn't shown any nerves towards anything stereotypically scary so far (including chasing an empty feed bag being blown across the yard tonight :rolleyes:).

I've just bought her a little driving bridle with blinkers on that she can have as a Christmas present :D

30th November 2011, 04:30 PM
A tip i was also taught is to not teach them to go forward with clicks, especially if you want to show. I bet everyone here will watch a horse in a competition and find themselves clicking at it. Because a driving horse is so tuned to voice, this could lead to pony going faster! Spectators like to click at ponies so best they not know what it means lol

30th November 2011, 06:17 PM
:lol: I know what you mean. I always find myself clicking at them and then tell myself off. I've heard a lot of judges hate hearing people click at their horses.

Well we had our first proper session today. We did lots of walk-halt-walk transitions and LOTS of voice commands. She stands quite well for about 20 seconds at the moment, we'll keep building on it. To keep it varied I put a couple of poles out which she popped over like a pro. I put a jump up (yep...all 15cm of it!) and she bounced over it a few times, so adorable! She seemed to really enjoy the one-to-one attention and the poles. I'm going to keep trying to lay out different 'assault courses' for her to keep her ticking over and listening to my instructions. It's so much fun!

My Crazy Clan
2nd December 2011, 02:49 PM
I would start walking her out inhand everyday if you can, also getting her used to spooky things, road signs, cons, road work, bags, balloons, put obstacle's up and get her to walk through and under them.

One of the most important things for us is for them to stand for as long as you need! alot of horses don't like doing this though but some pick it up easily.

Lots of straight forward voice commands, we just use Left, Right, Stand and Walk on.

Use a roller when long reining its a lot easier, especially if they decide they have had enough and want to turn.

We use a driving whip, its half the size of a lunge whip and more firm but with a piece of string on the end to make a noise but we only use it if we have too.(it can spook them more).

It is up to you whether or not you eventually use blinkers, I would also use boots for when your on concrete just incase they stumble down.

Don't forget to wear hiviz if your going out on the road.