|First time hitched to the cart with Trainer ground-driving.|
So let's keep the pitchforks down and the flaming torches to a minimum, okay?
When I sent Spud to the trainer (who is 14 hours away from me, but was only a short 45min from Spud), I wasn't completely certain how she trained. I knew she was successful at what she did, and that she has an extensive training record along British Columbia and into the States. However, to be brutally and completely honest: I have never met Spud's Driving Trainer.
I can almost feel every professional horse person shuddering at the thought of sending their horse to someone they have never met. Trust me, it caused a lot of mental turmoil within me.
I bought a mini I have never met.
I sent said mini to a trainer I have never met.
Two of the worst possible things anyone can do in the horse industry. Two things that are so frowned upon, I've had people literally raise an eyebrow when I mention I own a miniature and no, I haven't met him yet.
BUT, before I even thought about sending him to the Trainer, I verified my legitimate concerns and expectations. I was never once berated or treated any less because the situation, in all truth, made me a bit edgy. An open line of communication has been established and I honestly couldn't be happier.
So why haven't I shared my joy? Why haven't I uploaded any of the several videos I've been sent?
|Driving in an open bridle. 2nd time hitched.|
Trainer drives Spud out in the open. He is exposed to loose dogs, kids running around and playing, horses in the background neighing and trotting around in their pens, barn doors swinging open and closed, etc. He's been driven down narrow(er) aisleways, in a sandy arena, through mud puddles, around trucks/trailers/etc.
|Ground driving near open barn doors, kids toys, etc.|
So perhaps the "normal" way of training a horse includes a rectangular-fenced piece of dirt, but it doesn't fit into my world and it certainly will not give me a well-rounded driving horse. I want him to be able to face any kind of situation with a head-on personality and be able to be calm, collective and quiet in the event of something truly horrific happening. Safety is of paramount importance, which may sound ironic considering the chaotic environment he's being trained in, but everything that can be controlled in these situations is controlled. I want him exposed to walking over bridges, over tarps, through water, in the rain/snow, etc.
I want to shock his world.
And so far? Spud could literally give two shits. The worst thing he does is he tries to speed up and gets cranky when he is corrected. His only hindrance is his greenness, which is easily fixed through miles and wet saddle pads (or, harnesses, rather!).
On Tuesday I will be meeting Spud, and his Trainer for the first time. He will still continue his training until the end of October and by that time, we should have a pretty clear cut idea of where he stands. It'll be a long road, but in the end, it'll be worth it. My horses and I; social outcasts of "normal" equestrianism.