Friday, June 19, 2015

Driving Clinic: Day 3

Day three was probably the least interesting day for me as a driver, but the most interesting day for Spud as a driving horse. The idea of the lesson was to bring other ponies/minis into the arena and have them drive around/with us since this is something Spud has never done before.

The Clinician asked me, "Has he been driven with other horses before?"
I replied, "Yes, riding horses."
The Clinician smiled and said, "But not driven horses?"

Spud loves his new friend.
 I didn't think it would be exciting for Spud, mostly because he's been driven dozens of times with other horses being ridden before. Boy, was I in for a shock when I saw Spud's reaction to the one mini, Jerry (first he was a bit shocked, and secondly he was inquisitive and curious of the mini pulling that "clanky metal thing"). Apparently driving horses can still be afraid of carts on other horses. How naive of me to think any less.

It was a great test considering, as I didn't even think to expose Spud to other driving horses because... well... he is a driving horse himself. Who knew a mini pulling a cart would be afraid/spooky of other minis pulling carts?

It's laughable now, really.

"Mom, there is a rather large thing behind us!"
Spud had to stop and look because Cotton was SO much bigger than poor Jerry.

We spent a large amount of time getting used to Jerry and his cart, but before long the Clinician asked another driver to join us in the ring. Cotton and his driver entered the arena and Spud subsequently lost a bit of his noodle - not in a bad way, but he was sure lookie-loo about it. The rest of the lesson finished off without a hitch, save for a portion where Spud became pretty oversaturated with knowledge and a bit balky to the aids when Jerry and his driver stopped leading us around the ring. His resistance wasn't malicious, but it was more, "I'm DONE." and we had to respect that and listen.

At one point, we were passing left shoulder to left shoulder (with Cotton and his driver on the outside rail and Spud and I on the inside) and Spud went super sticky on me and faced the rail, resisting to turn right. I clucked him up and he resisted harder and threw in a rear - to protest I'm sure. So Clinician put us on a leadrope to get that little tantrum out of the way and once he was going freely, we ended the lesson. Both the Clinician and I felt that Spud was just done with it all and we should respect him - he is still very much a baby and he had three days of very hard, and trying tasks.

No media of the actual rear, much to Jamie's dismay.
Although he had cranky baby brains, he stood rock solid for me to unhitch and once we were packed up and ready to go, he loaded quietly. Suzie loaded like a champ as well (not that I expect any less from them) and it was good to see that her pastern was less swollen and I was confident that once at home she'd walk down the remainder of the swelling in no time.

The first portion of the 3 hour drive home was uneventful, save for one point when the BF and I decided to stop off at a Farmers Market in one of the "blink and you'll miss it" towns. We had a hotdog and some ice cream before continuing on our way. It was nice that both horses stood quiet and waited for us to continue.

About 76km from home I was driving along when all of a sudden I heard a very loud bang. I jerked the wheel slightly, as it had startled me, and immediately looked in my driver's side mirror to see chunks of black rubber rolling down the highway. I recognized this black rubber to be parts of a tire. Starting to slow down, I began to question myself, "Was that me?"

Wasn't nearly this dramatic, nor did the tire come off the trailer.
 My heart sank when I heard the looming "da-dum-da-dum" sound and my eyes caught sight of the rear driver's side tire on the horse trailer and saw it flapping around on it's rim. Panicking, I whipped out my cellphone (after putting on my hazards and parking) and called Jamie, who was farther up the road driving and did not see I had slowed down/stopped. He advised me to continue towards a pull out, 2-3km ahead as he was not able to turn around and come back since he was pulling a 28ft trailer and the shoulders on the side of the road were very small.

The next 2km were the longest of my life.

After pulling into the wrong side-road and having to use someone's driveway to turn around, I pulled up and parked the trailer alongside Jamie's truck/trailer where he was waiting. Although we were nowhere close to home (50min away), we were only 18 minutes away from the next town. (As a sidenote, the town we were close to is where I do a majority of my showing and for some reference, is where Tally's (the black Warmblood mare) owner lives.) Jamie dug into the horse trailer for the spare and unfortunately, the spare was also flat with a fresh nail sticking out of it.

I told him to smile for the photo - trust me, this was a forced smile.

With no spare and a flat, chewed up tire, we were going nowhere with the horses. I made a few calls and no one was really able to come help us - which is unfortunate. Panicking, I made a call to one of my 4-H leaders who was back in Kitimat (50min away) and explained the situation. Without hesitation she said her husband would be on his way with a spare from their trailer and would meet us soon and to sit tight.

Knowing it'd be a while before her husband showed up, we unloaded the horses and I groomed them meticulously while Jamie pulled off the flat. We waited... and found out Suzie and Spud like pizza pretzels...and then we waited... and waited some more. The horses looked at us like, "So.... what the hell is happening?" They were great about standing around and being loved on, though. And once my old 4-H leader's hubby showed up, we swapped the tire over and were able to continue on our merry way. I am glad that it happened when it did and that we were not stranded out further, because that could have been all kinds of disastrous. The three hour drive in itself took us almost six hours (and that's just unloading the horses at the barn).

Spud wanted Jamie to share.
 Not only did I learn in the clinic, but I also learned to always check the spare. We had looked at it and we knew it was there, we just didn't check. It certainly is a situation I do not care to repeat, although I am glad that no one was hurt and we were able to make it the rest of the way home without any more hiccups.

 Sidenote: both horses settled back home fine and neither are worse for wear. Suzie's swelling has completely diminished (I trail rode her yesterday) and both have a pedicure appointment tonight after work.


  1. What a sexy little neck on that beast! And great clinic, despite the little mishaps :)

    1. He's starting to look better as the month's progress - with some more weight loss and muscle build, he'll look awesome!

  2. Spud was definitely the cutest one there! And boy do I feel you on checking the spare. The last time I had a tire go on my trailer, we thought we were totally fine to swap it out, but the spare was flat. It got us along to limp off the exit, but it was a loooong wait for someone to come save us.

    1. Haha - thank you!

      Gah, I felt SO stupid. But, lesson learned right?

  3. sounds like Spud did SO WELL at this clinic!! definitely a big outing for a little baby - but it seems like he got a ton out of it! glad the tire situation wasn't worse too - tho what a bummer on the way home from a long weekend!