Gentle giants with a purpose – page 8 – the horse forum gas monkey cast

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I second Two Horse Tack. Just bought the flat nosed sidepull for Dreams and the halter bridle for Thunder. Very nice quality stuff. I’m debating whether to get the harness for Thunder …. as a general purpose training/first time harness I really don’t think you can beat it.

A word of caution if you’re going to ride your horses bitless … you have no stopping power, especially on a big strong horse like a draft. None. You can haul on those reins all you want, it won’t do a darn thing if your horse doesn’t feel like stopping. I’m not saying this is the most important thing when riding … I ride Dreams bitless after all …. but you’d better compensate for that lack of control by making sure your horse has a darn good whoa. I actually didn’t get a sidepull for Dreams until I could stop him running loose in the arena just by saying "whoa" and have him immediately hit the brakes, no matter how fast he was going.

Also, I’m not sure how popular bitless driving bridles are in America (I’ve seen a few but they were all European or British models) but the crossunder style is NOT safe for driving. Without a proper throatlatch your horse can potentially rub the bridle off, and then you have a horse hitched to a wheeled vehicle with nothing on his head to control him. You are screwed. Personally I wouldn’t feel comfortable without at least a snaffle in the horse’s mouth, but I’m a newbie to driving so that may be why. At the very least, if you’re going to drive your horses bitless, make sure the bridle has a properly fitted throatlatch so that it cannot be rubbed off and cause an accident. Your horses are probably very well broke to drive, but anything can spook a horse and I’d hate to hear about you getting in an accident because your bridle fell off. : )

Aside from that, let’s see. We haven’t been able to do much. The pasture is a hot mess, lots of snow/ice/melt which is making for muddy/snowy/mucky/icy conditions. We keep on top of spreading the used shavings (without poo) over the ice to help with traction. I have been making sure I get down there at least every other day to check their feet to make sure they aren’t getting bruising from the ice and frozen poo. They are happy out in the pasture with the round bale, extra hay in the dry stalls, and now, TOYS.

Ohh so a funny story, which some of you may have already read. We get a text from the BO who asked if I had seen the hole in the barn. Now I was literally there hours before she sent it, and didn’t see any hole (not that I was looking) The weather was crappy (as usual) so I waited a bit. I get there, and there is literally a hole the size of a human ass (a large one) midway up the exterior wall of the barn. Way too big to be a hoof, and there are no rams, sheeps or goats on the property. (there are 2 female baby cows and they are too sweet to have headbutted the barn). I walk around, check out the hole, and I stand there deep in thought. It is just too big, and too high for Loretta and especially Duke to have made by bucking or kicking. So, back to thinking. I am checking over hooves and legs to make sure I didn’t miss any injuries or splinters. And there it is folks… a huge splinter of wood had pierced Duke’s coat! (brand new coat I just got him a month ago, I may add…) Duke, being the spiteful turn he can be, was standing right outside of Loretta’s stall door taking care of business when he must have slipped on ice, went butt-first through the barn wall, and then moved on like it was no big deal. We know he didn’t fall to the ground because he would have squished his poo, I know it was his poo because Loretta will only poo at the far end of the pasture because she doesn’t like to step on poo. She is very dainty. She won’t even poo in her stall (which makes cleaning it a breeze!)

So…. I told my BO what I think happened and neither of us could help but laugh. Duke tries so hard to impress Loretta on day 1 that he falls on his ass… now, he is trying to be spiteful (not really) but he could poo anywhere, but insists on pooping right there, in front of where she needs to walk, and bam, he slips on ice.

What else… hmmm… oh! The toys! I bought treat dispensers from the store. Well, origianlly I got 1, but after you see Duke’s reaction, you will see why I had to go get a 2nd, 3rd and 4th! Now, we have them spread around so they can get exercise, and keep mentally stimulated. It also helps to keep Duke from standing by the round bale and eating for 24 hours straight… lol