buggy accident- how to start over

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buggy accident- how to start over

Post by Admin on Fri Feb 19, 2010 9:38 am


I have a SSH that pulls a buggy, rides in field trials, etc. Too fast for the plow. I started ground driving him over a year ago and then, with the help of two plow clubs we put him to a buggy safely. He worked just fine and we were able to ride off on our own at a walk in plowed fields...to help work him slow with a brake on the buggy.

We did a reception at a wedding pulling a Visa Vie (?). Probable mispelled that fine carriage. He did not like the bit that the driver was using , so we changed it to a snaffle (3 piece oval middle copper ringed). That was the charm. He pulled for 4 hours giving carriage rides at the reception.

So I bought a Canadian buggy at an auction for a horse with brakes, shocks and tires for our dirt drive and road. I wanted to wait for an experience driver to help me with it before we went out. So I hired the former trainer.

He was used to show tack and we had the collar and harness set-up. I believe he may have tack wrong?

Plus, it was a cold day and he thought nice buggy let's let him trot. We got some nice bucking going on and went through a fence. Once , I jumped off and settled Flint, I told Slim not to do anything but walk him. So he thought the tack should be re-arranged. WRONG!

Anyways, we walked. Well, some folks decided to come up and work on the fence and I got off the buggy to ask them to wait and let us work with him first to be sure he could handle the situation..no need in fixing the fence twice?

I turned my head to see Flint bucking again and almost kicking Slim in the head. Slim jumped off trying to hold the reins, but dropped them when he got ran over by the buggy. Then, Flint took the buggy down a culvert and up. We would have made a great YouTube video. :-( Ran a good 1/2 mile pass my trailer and truck to 60 parked cars....I prayed he would not hit them. He did not and someone was able to stop him. Thank God!

I ran and we jumped in the truck and pulled the trailer to him and got the buggy and tack off. I calmed him and got him on my trailer.

He is okay. Slim is sore, but okay. The buggy needs minor repairs. I have talk to experienced people since and had some of the hunting reserves come look at the buggy, tack and Flint. They all say, Slim should not have allowed the horse to go at a trot for at least 2-3 hours in 31 degree weather, especially with a new buggy.

Hard lesson learned. Glad my grandchildren were not on the buggy.

Now, I have to go back to ground driving and hope that he will accept the buggy again?

Any other suggestions are welcome...drag a sled behind?

Thank you,

Sonya W.

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Join date : 2010-02-15
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Re: buggy accident- how to start over

Post by Paul Williamson on Sat Feb 20, 2010 3:07 pm

PAUL- Hi Sonya,

Glad to hear you all came out of this experience in one piece. Unfortunately, accidents like yours is the biggest risk when you tie things to flight animals. The only way to get him back on track and pulling buggies again would be to proceed with patience and tedious training. First off, make sure he knows his cues for stopping and going real well. They have to work every single time before you tie anything to him again. He probably won't mind ground driving but letting him pull tires and sleds would work fine once you're sure you can stop him at any given time/situation. Just practice practice practice until both of you have regained your confidence completely.

Happy training,

Paul Williamson

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Re: buggy accident- how to start over

Post by Jeff Sanders on Tue Mar 02, 2010 7:34 am

Hi there, this is Jeff's wife, Katrina. While I am not a driving trainer, I do have experience with driving a multitude of different horses. One of the most important things to remember with any horse that will be pulling a cart, buggy or wagon is that the horse must be confident in his job. Because horses are naturally prey animals, hooking them up to any apparatus behind them automatically simulates the "chase" of a predator. Learning to read your horse, while at times can be difficult, is also paramount to your progress. In addition, taking extra time on a brisk morning to warm up is also important, especially with a green horse. Unfortunately, pushing a horse beyond their capability or current training level can set progress back a bit. It sounds to me like this scenario fits your situation.

One of my "rules" with introducing a new concept or tack to a horse is to provide him with the most controlled environment as I can. The next time you introduce new tack, maybe ground drive him in it the first day and ask him to perform the tasks he knows and is comfortable with. Then, if he responds well, next time try the new cart. I wouldn't introduce a new location until he is confident with the new set-up.

Although it may take some time to gain his trust back, I think your plan to return to ground driving is the best plan. Focus on his groundwork foundation both inside and outside the arena before you introduce the sled. By spending time focusing on confidence building exercises, you can help build trust between you and your horse. Once you have mutual trust, then re-introduce the cart. If you horse was confident before, he'll get it back. Remember to take your time and don't be embarrassed to get help from a local professional. Good luck and be safe.

Katrina Sanders
Jeff Sanders

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