Monday, April 28, 2008


I drove for about as long as I could... (have definately decided that the cart seat will need a cushion.)... gave out all the rides that I could muster (Butch says I will "put him out of business" --NOT) and decided that I should get the cookout going and feed these wonderful friends.

So, I turned Tonka and his cart back over to Butch. Their grandson had come with them for the day... and Butch wanted him to have a little ride behind Tonka....

Major was at the end of his workout with Becky... so the last I saw was the family all out together in the field....

It made a sweet picture.

After we had the horses "tucked" in and taken care of... we had a little cookout and went over the events of the day. To be honest, my mind was swimming.... I had so much new information, plus the thrill of driving and the thoughts of what it will be like, living up there and running out to the barn on a moment's notice...
it was a bit overwhelming......

But ... the silliest thing of all..... I nearly broke into tears when I saw this...

Hoofprints on the farm!!!!

cart work

As I was ground driving Tonka about the property.. Butch and Ed pulled our cart out. We bought this last fall, but Tonka has never been hitched to it. I was glad that Butch was there, and helped us make the fine adjustments that it needed to fit Tonka.

When they were ready, I drove Tonka over to the cart... he seemed unimpressed at the sight of it, so Butch had me back him into the shafts... MORE holes in my training. Tonka and I need to work on steering when it comes to backing up!!!! You can bring the cart up to the horse, but again, if I were ever to have a team with a big wagon that you couldn't bring up to the horse... you need to know how to back them in. That's ok... some pvc pipes on the ground make for good "shafts" and backing work.

Butch took Tonka out first .. by himself no less. Last time he had Becky go with him, just in case someone needed to "jump out" and attend the horse. But that wasn't necessary this time... (another improvement!!!)

Becky's beautiful paint, Major, was quite interested in all the "going ons". Becky is doing some great work with him, including driving. In fact, on Monday she is headed to New York state somewhere for a four day training clinic with him.

After a couple of spins around the field, Butch had me climb in and off we went. Tonka was an old pro and I can honestly say I felt very comfortable driving... even when we did hit the ruts in the field.

Then Butch jumped out, and said, I think there are some folks here that need a couple of rides.... have fun!!! So, he went "off" to help Becky with Major and left me to my horse!!! (though I know he was keeping an eye on things....)

I took "everyone" for rides... Sadie, Matt, and my friend Betty (who dropped by to see all the excitement) all went with Tonka and I. When it was Ed's turn, we had the greatest time driving together and chatting about the whole day. Ed did tell me that he is going to have Tonka and I help him fill in the ruts in the field... "since you hit every one of them, you know where they are".... ya, very funny!!!!

Ed also told me that I must have been having the time of my life... (of course, but what would make him say that.).. he said I never offered to let him drive Tonka during his ride.. I do feel a little sad about that... but not too much!!!!!


Becky and Butch arrived around 10:00... just as the rain began to have a "real purpose", Becky brought her horse, Major, to "play" with... it was fun to have a couple of "equines" on the property. We gave them the grand tour and waited for the rain to let up some.

Butch is a "true horseman" and has a talent for them that I can only hope to learn. He is very interested in natural horsemanship and uses that idea for training. So, he brought his usual "bag of goodies" and worked Tonka in the round pen. Now, here is where I have a few moments of bragging rights.

After we had visited with Butch last summer, I took many of his ideas and worked with Tonka my self. So, when I saw Butch pull out his "blue tarp" I thought to myself... piece of cake!!! and it was. Tonka could have cared less about that silly thing and continued to work just as Butch asked him to do. There were a couple of other things as well, a big beach ball... no prob... a tire that Butch asked him to step around, threw and over... no prob.... cones... "big" no prob (I don't even think Tonka noticed them) and a few other items. Tonka was very respectful of Butch's space (which I still have to remind him about with me) and he walked, trotted, cantered, whoa and turned on voice. I was so proud!!!! Until.... the whip!!!! When Butch pulled that out, I thought Tonka was heading for home!!!!

He has been extremely sensitive with the whip, so I am careful with it around him... but, after watching Butch yesterday... my "protecting "Tonka from it has proved not to be a good training idea. As Butch said, a snapping branch in the woods can sound a lot like a whip snap, and if I am driving out there... well, I don't want him taking off on me. It took probably a couple of hours for Tonka to decide that Butch wasn't going to hurt him, with that horrible sounding thing, and after the work, Tonka pretty much decided that everything was still ok.... but, I can see that I still have "holes" in my training work.

After the roundpen work, we harnessed Tonka and headed out. He hasn't been in harness since last Novemeber, but I remember hearing that "if you leave a horse in a good place, that is where he will likely return when you begin again". This proved to be true in Tonka's case, because in moment, Butch had him tugging a tire without any trouble at all.

Then it was my turn. I was surprised at how familiar it felt when I took up the driving reins. Guess all those miles of walking last fall have paid off. We went together like "peas and carrots" and I ground drove him all around the field.

He stayed happy and relaxed in my hands, and though the raindrops continued to be their pesky selves... we had a grand time and I could see that when I finally get up on the farm...

There's a pretty good chance I won't be leaving it!!!!!