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1 year ago

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We've had a warm winter here in central IL---REALLY warm, with days averaging in the 50's and nights in the 30s. I think we've only dropped below freezing maybe 4 or 5 times all season so far. This means that when my boys would normally be keeping condition plowing snow, they wouldn't have had a chance. Instead, we have been incredibly blessed to be in high demand for carriage and wagon rides this season. in addition to any normal farm chores needing done (not many this time of year), we've been booked every single weekend since early September, and doing about 3 events every week of December. I'm exhausted, but not complaining. The boys are in great shape, as many of our routes have hills.

The last few rides I made an observation I just found interesting. In the past, I noticed it took about 3 trips on a route for the team to figure it out. They knew when to stop, where and which way to turn, and how fast to go. It was quite literally like running on autopilot, and I held the lines "just in case." This month, though, has been different for some reason. The boys know the route, and clearly know what to do. When we reach a stop sign, they hesitate--like they know they are suppose to stop....but then they don't UNTIL I give the command. I think I like that better. I'm not sure why the change, but it just seems they are more focused on me now. I like that idea. They know when a turn is coming up, I will see them think about it, but if I don't respond, they keep going straight. At the slightest lift of my line, they will go into the turn. It means I can't be lazy and have to always be aware of what's ahead (which is safer anyway), but I like this new focus. They are so in tune to me, I can actually speak so softly the riders seldom even hear the command, and the horses response to my voice commands has improved tremendously. It's like they are just waiting for the reassurance that they are doing what they are supposed to.

I am curious, though, as to why the change. Has anyone experienced this before?

K.C. Fox says 2015-12-19 10:05:27 (CST)



They are in tune with you and letting you know they need a leader. My son had a team of mules that he could speak to when you were driving and they would do what he told them to do. he was about 40 ft away from them. Grandad had a team of mules that would go to the windmill that they had caked the cows at the last time without anyone driving them 2-3 miles away with a wagon. And wait for the riders to roundup the cows to feed.


1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Dris Abraham says 2015-12-19 10:18:45 (CST)



I think it's you that has settled in and have becone an excellent teamster. You are comfortable and your team trusts you.


1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Klaus Karbaumer says 2015-12-19 11:08:05 (CST)



Congratulations! You have your team where you'd like them to be. Obviously your horses do not only anticipate, but also wait for your commands. You drive them with a soft hand, but clear instructions. They have learned to trust you completely.


1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Redgate says 2015-12-19 14:20:05 (CST)



We did actually have one other big change in the last month, that I wonder if it could have contributed....

We had a third horse that had been a replacement when one of this original team was injured. Since the original guy came back to work this summer, we have been rotating to ensure all 3 got worked. That 3rd horse never did settle in here. I suspect he was just too set in his old ways, and never would work well on a soft hand. I always had to be on the alert with him, and never did enjoy driving him the way I enjoy this team. I also noticed he always seemed to keep the other 2 on edge whenever he was paired with one of them. They often suffered from his random decisions. Well, we sold him a couple weeks ago (buyer was made fully aware of his oddities). Since he left, my team is just more relaxed over all. Driving is once again a pleasure.


1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Kate V says 2015-12-19 19:50:19 (CST)



Off topic.......are you the same poster as mtpclinics?


1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Redgate says 2015-12-19 21:54:43 (CST)



Yes, I am the same as "Mptclinics in IL." Before the new site went live, I set up my Mptclinic account during the test phase, and got to explore the new site and offer feedback. Then, when it went live, for some reason, it would no longer accept my sign in info, but also wouldn't let me set up a new password and such. I finally gave up and just set up a new account as RedGate, which is my farm....www.redgatefarmllc.com, if anyone is interested.


1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum


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