Wednesday, September 26, 2007


And if the weekend wasn't "fun enough" with Dave's birthday, the Common Ground Fair and the Acton Apple Festival.... we packed Tonka up on Sunday morning and headed to W. Sumner to see our friends, Becky and Butch. They had offered to spend some time with us and see what Tonka knows about his driving. What an amazing day!!!!

The first thing Butch did, was a little round pen work, to get to know Tonka and see what his manners are like (fortunately, his manners are very good!!! thanks to good trainers who have advised me well!!!) Then Butch likes to do this lesson using a blue tarp. It's to show him what the horse's tolerance level is, and to build up a trust factor between him and the horse. Tonka was quite sensible about this and it wasn't too long, before Butch could all but wrap him up in the tarp and still make him work. Very interesting lesson, and I learned a lot, and plan to practice that one myself!!!

After maybe an hour or so, and a little rest, we put Tonka's harness on, and Butch did some ground driving with him. And it wasn't too long after that, when he hitched him first to a single log and then his "scoot". Tonka pulled it like a pro, and Butch feels that somewhere in his past, Tonka has definitely been a "driving horse" . His skills are "rusty" and I have a lot of finishing work to do with him... and with me... but overall, Tonka has the knowledge and we just need to continue on with it. But the best was yet to come, before I hardly even knew it, Butch had Tonka hitched to his training cart, and asked Becky to hop in and do a little steering, while Butch stayed on his head. And after that, Butch hopped in the cart and did the driving.

I could hardly believe it when I heard the words "Your turn!!!" And here it is..... I am driving my horse!!!!!

On top of that, Ed drove him as well, and then, because we had a tired horse and everything was going so well, Becky hitched up the Belgians and the four of us took the horses on the trail. Butch and I took Tonka, and Ed and Becky had the Belgians!!!! It was a perfect fall afternoon, leaves just beginning to turn, miles of dirt roads, and the sounds of horses!!!!! I really doubt there is anything much better than that!!!!! So last winter when we ordered that harness, and I had the dreams of driving, it's just amazing when you see it all come together. I still have a couple of goals in mind, and know that the work has just begun... but this kind of "work".... I'll do any day!!!!!!