Walking Behind the Cart When Training - Please don't do it.
Updated: May 23, 2022
This post is going to be a hard hitting, plain spoken post. If that kind of thing offends you, I suggest not reading this one!
In the last month or so I have received more emails from people telling me their horror stories about hitching their green ponies to the carts than I care to count. What do all of these stories have in common? Every single one of them said, "I was walking behind/beside the cart when...."
PLEASE!!!!! When starting a green pony, do not walk behind or beside the cart! If you have that pony hitched to a vehicle, put your behind in the seat, and be IN the cart. It is only a wreck waiting to happen if you are walking with the pony.
This especially applies to green drivers and green ponies.
The reason this is so dangerous is because, you have next to zero control over that pony, if your behind isn't in the seat. It is far too easy (and happens SO FAST) for the pony to pull the lines out of your hands, and now they are loose with a cart attached to them. This is a perfect way to damage your driving pony both physically and mentally.
I do know that accidents happen, and people get ejected from the cart. In this instance, I'm sure all was done before being ejected to get things under control. Why set yourself and your pony up for failure, by asking for trouble starting out in a dangerous position?
If you are afraid to sit in the cart behind your pony, then your pony is not ready to be hitched to the cart. Take a step back and re-hitch to the travois.
Please, please, please use the travois. I wish people would stop skipping this step. Just because the minis and ponies are smaller does not make them less dangerous to drive.
There are certain things and behaviors I expect from my ponies before I hitch them to a vehicle. This video shows how I want them to behave in the travois -->
When you have the above kind of behavior in the travois, this is how a first hitch will go -->
Another thing I can not recommend is putting the shafts through the shaft loops and then not actually attaching the pony to the vehicle. Too many things can go wrong in this scenario. And believe me, they absolutely WILL go wrong. This is something I hear about happening often. Do NOT hitch your pony to a cart with only a halter and lead rope and then go walk around with it. And NEVER try to lunge your pony with a halter and lead rope while attached to a cart. Yes, people do this. Please don't be one of those people.
Driving can be dangerous. Driving can be fun. Let's make sure we are always setting our pony's up for success by being as smart and thoughtful as we can with them.
We are the ones with the brains that can work through issues, it's up to us to use them.