Horses, Life, A Touch of Geek

Archive for the ‘Combined Driving’ Category

Show Photo: ICDE 2017

Driving Thursday

(l to r) Katherine, Greg, Bliss WH
Photo by Journey Sports

Still no driving, therefore another belated photo from last year, the Indiana CDE [Show Report]. Part of a package bought by Coach Kate from Journey Sports, Terri Burton. I still haven’t ordered ours. Bad groom.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Transportation Issues

Driving Thursday

The goal is to get horse and carriage on the same load [Milton’s Show Schedule, Driving]. We have two options.

Horse in Bumper-Pull, Carriage in Truck Bed
We buy a cheap – relatively – bumper pull, leaving the bed of the truck free for the carriage.

Less Expense.

Less Ease of Use. This would mean going back to a bumper-pull, something we said we wouldn’t do after buying a gooseneck.

Less Convenience. Coach Kate says everyone goes through this phase. It sounds great in theory. Then you find out that you have to hitch/unhitch every time you access the carriage. Plus, you have to unhitch and unload immediately if, say, your wife uses the truck as her day-to-day vehicle.

Horse and Carriage in Long Trailer
Purpose-built for driving, either new or used.

Convenience. Load & go.

Horse Welfare. Horses have better, i.e. more stable, ride on a gooseneck. Far away venues equals long rides for the horses.

Carriage Welfare. Protected from rain and bug splatter.

Expense. Shudder

Size. Great for driving. Too much trailer for a single riding horse going to a lesson.

We are still mulling.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Show Photos: CAA 2017

Driving Thursday

Utility Vehicle Reinsmanship, Victory Pass

With Milton on injured reserve [God Laughs] and no saddle seat shows [Do It All], not much driving going on. Instead, here are some belatedly ordered photos from the CAA Carriage Festival last year [Show Report]. (You may notice that MY photos get ordered right away – the good ones at least – while Greg’s get ordered eventually.)

Greg drives Bliss WH. Double Jeopardy passenger is Coach Kate. Presentation Drive passenger is me. All photos by & purchased from Casey McBride.

Utility Vehicle Timed Obstacles

Double Jeopardy Single Horse

Presentation Pleasure Drive

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Milton’s Show Schedule, Driving

tldr: and yet more logistics

Driving Thursday

Milton’s rate-limiting step for driving shows is transportation. Locally, we could drive the cart over, come back, drive the horse over, show, reverse the process. If the show is 20-30 minutes away, that equals 3 hours of shipping. Cumbersome, but not impossible. This is what we already do for the driven dressage lessons.

All we have available locally are driven dressage classes at regular dressage shows. This means modified tests to fit in the narrow, ridden dressage ring. We have to travel for anything driving specific: derbies, combined test, pleasure shows, CDEs. The closest are the MTCC shows that Greg did with Bliss last year [HDT, Derby]. Those are 4 hours away. Other places are 6 or 8 or 10 hours. Double trips are not feasible. We have to figure out a way to get horse and cart on the bus at the same time.

Thanks to the showing last year, Greg has all the gear he needs: jacket, apron, gloves, show hat, etc. Milton has the harness. We have the cart. Now we need to get there.

Oh yeah, and prepare a green horse for his first show. Details.

At least we have the local driven dressage tests to start. The first likely show to have driven dressage is a few weeks after the show Milton & I might attend [Schedule]. This gives me a strong – albeit juvenile – motivation in order to show him first.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

I Do It All, But Not as Well As Milton Does

Saddle Seat Wednesday

I did not show last weekend. I did not feel ready.

Between rain, the holidays, the cold snap, and riding (yay!) and driving Milton, I’ve only had two saddle seat lessons since the last show [Show Report]. This was not enough to give me confidence that Whiskey and I were ready to go back into the show ring.

It is possible that the more I ride the home team (Kermit dance!), the more my saddle seat will deteriorate [Pondering]. Although I have not yet figured a way to continue dressage lessons [Dubious Future], whenever I sit on Rodney, I try what I can remember of the exercises. Every time this happens, I reinforce my dressage/hunter/jumper/eventing habits and move farther from inexplicable correct saddle seat habits, i.e. hands in the air, grip with the knees, sit on the cantle. Riding Milton (yippee!) will double the effect.

Even Greg’s driving tips the balance away from saddle seat. Combined driving is based on eventing. Driven dressage is ridden dressage with cart added. Listening to his lessons and watching him at shows puts me in the d/h/j/e headspace.

I had a brief reprieve in November, but the only thing Nationals proved was that I can ride Dottie [Show Report], which is right up there with proving one can drive Alvin.

This isn’t a bad thing. I have two sets of horses to ride. (!!!) More learning is good. I have faith that I can do both, eventually. For a while, it’s gonna get confusing, mostly for saddle seat. The habits of 40 years will always win out over the habits of 5 years.

Confession: There was another reason I did not show. Greg was not able to join me. I showed at the first Winter Tournament without him. It was not fun. My rides were fine [Show Report]. Beforehand, not so much. As I’ve said before [NRHA 2016], I don’t get any less nervous when he is there, I just have someone to be nervous at. I hope I will get my act together sufficiently that I can show without such intense moral support, at least at the little, one-day shows. This weekend was not that time.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Rein Arrangements

Driving Thursday

Milton has graduated to the snaffle rein.

Driving bits come with several places to attach the reins. The gentlest is on the top ring. The farther down the shank > the more leverage > the stronger the bit. Last year, Bliss alternated between the snaffle ring and the first slot, depending on circumstance.

[New Equipment: Bit & Pieces]

When we first hitched Milton, Coach Courtney wanted stopping power. The reins went in the first slot. Once Milton proved to be a good guy (as much of a guarantee as one ever has with horses), Greg switched to the snaffle. Happy horse.

It’s a trade-off. Annoy the horse, but be able to stop him once he gets annoyed. Or have less brakes, but the less chance of needing said brakes.

Milton has made it clear that he does not wish to return to the higher leverage. Therefore, I too have graduated to the snaffle rein.

(A while back I said that Milton does not care what is in his mouth [With Great Bit Comes Great Responsibility]. I might have been wrong. Or this may still be true. Or it might have been true then and wrong now. All we can say is that with Greg driving, Milton prefers the snaffle. Since Greg long-lines him before I ride, I inherit the same bit configuration. If horses were easy, they wouldn’t take a lifetime to learn.)

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

New Equipment: Riding Reins

Riding reins!

Riding reins for me to ride my horse!

BioThane reins from Two Horse Tack!

Why white? Why not? Since we are sharing the driving bridle at the moment [I Ride Milton!], I wanted a color that would not get confused with Milton’s black [Reins] and red (eventually, for marathon) driving reins. Since driving reins are removed when unharnessing, the potential for a tangled heap of reins is high. At least we will be able to sort by color.

So they get dirty. They are schooling reins.

Schooling reins that I will use to school my horse!

Schooling reins that I will use to school my horse who I rode again on Sunday! (Although getting on was harder than it should have been, or more accurately, harder than I wanted it to be. I will prevail! Eventually!)

I’ll stop! using! exclamation marks! at some point!

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott