Driving Tuesday

Well, that was unexpected.

We showed up for Greg’s third groundwork lesson at Stepping Stone Farm [First, SSF] expecting more of the same. After about 5 minutes, Coach Courtney says, “So Greg, want to hook him?” Um, yes? I guess? We knew Milton would be put to a cart sometime this summer. Today was not on our radar.

Still, Miss Courtney liked way Milton was going and decided to get on with it. That’s why one hires a professional. Technique is the easy part. Knowing when to apply that technique is what takes a lifetime to master.

I dragged out the additional straps. Turns out Greg had been bringing all the gear along in case it might be needed. One of the barn Munchkins brought the jog cart up to the big ring. Greg grounddrove for a few minutes. We hitched. Miss Courtney drove from behind the cart while Greg led. They switched. We unhitched. Everyone exhaled. Milton was showered with praise.

Milton was awesome. Coach Courtney was awesome. Greg was awesome. Greg keeps asking me how Milton looked pulling a cart. I have no idea. I was so deeply, intensely focused on the lack of hysteria that I didn’t really see much else.

Not that the day was without drama. While getting ready, Milton got away and ran around field wearing half of his shipping boots. Then, shifting from long lines to driving reins involved a bridle adjustment. Milton objected. On the way from the covered arena to the big ring, Milton spooked and spun in several circles, taking out spectators and crashing into a truck (horse, spectators and truck are all fine). I would have pulled the plug. In the ring, Milton fussed about the clouds of gnats. In his defense, the bugs where vile.

The one thing he didn’t seem to care about all day was the cart rattling along behind him. Yay! The next step is for the driver to sit in the cart. Then, lots and lots of schooling. While there is still a ways to go before we can consider Milton a driving horse, this was a huge step. As Greg said,

Before Sat, Milton as a driving horse was a hypothetical. It is still hypothetical, but a whole lot closer to real.

No pictures. Deliberately. I wanted to stay vigilant rather than worry about recording the moment. Next time, expect many, many photos.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

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