Harnessing and Driving Intro March 5, 2011: guest speaker Bob Noser
Attended by: Penguin, Janet, Donna R. (new volunteer), Tracy (new volunteer w no horse experience), Jenna Burdick, Nancy, Jeanie.
Several of us practiced ground driving (driving while simply walking behind the horse) Jewelee. Although she has only tried this once before herself, Jewel did well. We found that the driver has to move a lot to stay behind her if turning a lot. Also, a clear loud voice is more effective in eliciting an immediate response.
We also saw how funny Penguin and Wild Cowgirl look wearing a fjord harness. Hopefully, next time a real fjord will be available.
Talk to the horse! Let it know where you are, especially if it is wearing blinders.
Groom the horse well before harnessing.
Watch the area on the center of the head just behind the ears. It can get sore where the bridle the lays. Also they get sore where the collar hits the top of the neck and the front of the shoulder where the collar fits and the tug comes up.
The harness should fit well. The britchen (aka breeching) holds the load back so it doesn’t roll up on the horse. If the britchen is too high it rides up and slides off. If it is too low it interferes with the back legs. Adjust the britchen so it rests were the rump tucks back underneath. (Rainy Moon’s britchen was set too high and has been corrected.)
The collar is what the horse presses against to pull the load via the tugs. Some harnesses use a breast strap instead (like Rainy Moon’s). Which ever it has, it must be low enough to avoid resting on the horse’s windpipe.
Single horse carts have either wooden or metal “poles” that are in each side of the horse. These are called staves, shafts or fill. The britchen gets strapped to the fill.
Bob approves of the verbal commands known to our fjords.
Gee = turn right, Haw= turn left, Whoa = Stop, HO= STOP, Get up= move forward, Back = move backward. (Stand = stay stopped; I’m not sure the fjords know this one.)
When learning to drive it is good to start with an older (8-9 year old) well trained team.