After church this morning, I went down to the barn and found my dear friend Betty there. Betty has been an amazing "barn fairy".. showing up on the weekends to muck stalls for me and do what ever else she can think of. She says it gives her a horse fix, but I don't think she really understands what a treat it is for me!!!! I have been wanting to have some time with Betty to do a "driving lesson" with her. However, we have never had the timing work out, either we both had to "be" some other place or the weather was just too "darn" cold. (mostly the weather has been our reason). But today, was different, we both had a free afternoon and with the temp around 22... it felt reasonable to be out and about.
We harnessed Tonka and began to do some ground driving with him. It was fun to show Betty how the harness goes on, and talk about all the parts and pieces and "what everything does". One thing that I have now added to the harness is a nice set of bells!!! Even at a "walking pace" they make a fine sound!!!
After I worked Tonka a bit and made sure his head was in the right place, I turned the reins over to Betty. I could tell by the look on her face (a smile that went from ear to ear) that she was happy to take them. She did a really fine job with Tonka!!! I dare say, far better than I did on my very first try at driving!!! I'm not sure how many "miles" we walked behind that big boy today, it's hard to say, as we drove and chatted together.. I don't even know how much time we spent. But it didn't matter, because it was simply wonderful (and with all that exercise... the cold seemed to "disappear"!!!)
When we finished up with Tonka, I asked Betty if she would give me a hand with Mocha. It's been a while since I had her out, and I thought that after driving Tonka, Betty might enjoy the "pee-wee" version. She was all for that. So, we harnessed Mocha and did some ground work with her. I was pleasantly surprised at Mocha.. she went very well. So, I got the bright idea of pulling out her cart and see how she went with that.
Last time I had her in the cart, I soon realized that she was not comfortable pushing into the shafts. Which means, she would not turn. She did fine forward, but when asked to turn, she would either rear up a little or back up, avoiding the turn if possible. I spent some time walking her hitched to the cart and practicing lots of turns. Then the cold weather and snow set it, and the lessons came to a halt. I was curious if she would remember the lessons from last fall. I put Betty on her head to coax her in the turns if needed. At first, she did need this little extra help, but towards the end of the afternoon, Betty was walking more as a guide than a leader and Mocha was taking the turns very well.
Ed was working around the barn, moving some snow, and filling the water tank. But he was able to snap these photos of Mocha, Betty and I all working together!!! (I love this picture... looks like all three of us are smiling!!!)
Ed wanted to do a little driving with Miss Mocha... she was as good for him as she had been with me!!! Maybe we finally have a handle on this driving thing with her!!!
AND... after all that "foot work" .. it was only fair for Betty to have a try at "riding"....
This is just the kind of afternoon that I "dreamed" about "when we are living on the farm"!!!! So, Mr. Winter, you can head back to the northern land.. because we are ready for spring... and Mr. Groundhog... you best not say "six more weeks" tomorrow!!!!!