Updated: May 23, 2022
At least once a week I have a phone call or an email telling me that they have a yearling or a two year old pony and they would like to start driving training. What do I recommend they start with?
YOU should do what you feel is best for you and your pony. This is what I do with MY ponies!
I start my driving training right away when I have a baby. We start with things like:
learning to walk politely on a halter & lead rope
how to stand tied (patience is a virtue!)
to be brushed
to wear hoof boots
to go for walks & hikes
to ride in the pony trailer
to be a good citizen at the vet
to come when I call (a hard-to-catch pony is a pet peeve of mine.)
to be polite during feeding
to be tolerant of my dogs & cats
to wear a blanket
to be clipped with the clippers & have their manes trimmed with the scissors
To name a few.
I do not:
put a harness on them and ground drive them
put a bit in their mouth
put a bridle with blinders on them
have them pull a travois or a cart or a tire
Oliver does have a harness and I will put it on him to make a video about how to fit a harness to a young pony. But, he will not wear it at all this year, other than in a video and for a few photos. He won't wear the bridle with the bit at all.
Oliver is a two year old this year.
Here is a video showing what I have been doing with him to help prepare him for driving. We have done this since he was a weanling!
To put it simply - EVERYTHING you do with your young pony is preparing them for driving. There is no need to purchase a full harness set and have them wear it all the time. They can be babies and spend several years just simply growing up, all the while, learning how to be a driving pony.
No experience is a waste of time, everything means something to babies!