If you have read some of my other blogs, you will know that we started from scratch.
We are self taught at this whole harness gig, learning as we went, thanks to our gorgeous Calvin. Until probably 5 years ago, I had never even driven any other horse than Calvin. I then broke Trudy in to harness, with a bit of guidance from some new found friends, followed by the Clydesdales. It wasn’t until 2 and a half years ago, that I drove Nibbles and Tabby- the first horses I have driven that someone else had trained.
For this reason and probably because of my ridiculous over thinking, all this time I have considered myself a bit of an amateur. There had been no real turning point that made me think perhaps I could consider myself ‘experienced’.
A couple of years ago it dawned on me, that I in fact, do know what I am doing, in the areas in which I am doing it.
Harness, and I guess more broadly all horse sports, have so many variations, techniques and methods. It has FINALLY dawned on me, that there are heaps of things I don’t know… but what I do know, I do very well, and I’m most certainly capable of passing this learning and knowledge on. That is why I am labelling my lessons as an ‘introduction to harness’ lessons. If you want to get into combined driving events- I can’t help you there. Heavy horse harness, with collars and hames- nope, still learning about that myself (and also the cost is rather limiting). What I do know about is safely participating in pleasure harness, starting a horse calmly and sensibly in harness, and helping people to understand the principals and the fitment of harness.
There are so many things to know about basic harness. I have 6 horses currently working in harness. They each have a different set of gear, and each set of gear has different ways to attach, adjust and can be used for different things. The gear is different again, if you want to long rein, or pull a sled (very important starting points).
Introduction to Harness Lessons
When you come to us for an ‘introduction to harness’ lesson, you will get to see and fit the different types of pleasure harness. The way the straps fit, and the mechanics of how it all works. We will start slowly to give you the feel of driving, and you can long rein Angus. We will work our way to actually driving a clydesdale in a cart- in your first lesson. We will also discuss why we do certain things, and the safety aspects of what we are doing.
I’ve chosen Angus as my teacher, as he is the most lovely, responsive, forgiving boy. He understands his job, and he is the best teacher. He responds well to voice and he is eager to please. He also fits into my jinker, whereas the others have outgrown it.
With repeated lessons, we will be able to cover many different subjects, including but not limited to long reining, 2 wheeled vehicles, 4 wheeled vehicles, pulling a sled, driving a single horse, driving a pair, breaking a horse to harness. My aim is to teach the basics, so my students can then apply what they have learnt to their own situation. If someone just wants the opportunity to drive my wonderful horses, using my gear, then that is also fine.
Im not going to pretend I know all there is to know. There will always be more to learn and experience. But being able to do what we do in a safe and efficient manner, keeping the horses happy, willing and safe- and being able to pass that on to other people. That is what I aim to achieve.