All of you are going to be so tired of hearing about Tonka's driving training... but Ed and I are having so much fun with this, that it's hard for me not to "talk" about it. Yesterday's lesson was all about "footwork"... getting Tonka to place his feet and body exactly where we want him to be. This is an important part of the training, especially if (when!!!) you have a team of horses that you are working.
(And yes, Ed and I have no doubt that one day, we will find a match for Tonka and have ourselves a little team of horses!!!)
Buffy set up an obstacle course for us to play with. The work consisted of one or two steps, to place Tonka in a more "exacting" position, and/or to work around and guide him thru. It's fussy work, and can be draining on both horse and human, to work on the communication between the two. Tonka is quite sensible and patient, which is good with new drivers like Ed and myself. He tries very hard to do just what we ask of him.
Here Ed is working on stopping him and asking for a solid stand between the logs.
I am working on "step back", asking him to back up one step at a time, and standing quietly between the steps. This is a good exercise to move him in between the shafts of the cart, or place him in a spot where you could easily hook up a drag or whatever else you wanted to be pulling. After all this work, we took him out along the road again, and had a nice walk. Buffy will be keeping Tonka the month of November to do more training with him while we are away. I need to speak with Dean about shoes... which I am going to do today, as he is coming out to do trims... and on that note, I need to get moving.....