After a year and a half with our big guys, and a lot of great lessons in working with draft harness horses, I am considering expanding my horizons a bit and trying to teach my little mustang to drive. She has a solid riding foundation, and could use the extra work, and I figure it would be good for me to learn how on something smaller.
That being said, I love the idea of introducing the harness and moving her around in the round pen for a few days, then introducing her to pressure on the traces until she’s comfortable with that, then progressing to simulated shafts, then to light pulling, and so on. My actual question, though, is about the possibility/safety of hitching her to my best draft boy for her first real working lessons. I have seen several folks on the front porch take this approach, and since my big boy knows his voice commands, is very soft on the lines, and I’ve used him with several other (experienced) horses, it seems this would be the safest approach. The upside is that my little mustang mare can’t pull him around at all if she spooks. HOWEVER, she is 14 hands, and he is 18.2. Is that too drastic to hitch together just for introductory purposes (no real loads necessarily, maybe the wagon)? They would also have to use the draft tongue to do that, and she is so small, I worry that would be too much weight for her. Another option would be to just tie her to the hame of my big team when they are working. At least she would get exposure to commands and equipment behind her.
I would love to know your thoughts on that future aspect. I want to have a plan in mind before investing in her harness. I attached a photo of the two side by side to show the size difference. It’s when we were riding, but gives the idea.