This topic contains 12 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  MuleManDonn 2 years, 10 months ago.

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  • #85310

    CanoeTomah
    Participant

    First this is a great site.
    We have one horse that is harnessed trained and has pulled logs, carts, and sleds. I have started training another horse to drive and to date have had her pulling logs and a conveyor mat. How long should I continue to train her single before trying to hook the two together? She has only pulled stuff a few weekends.

    I have no team handling experience. What would be some good 1st steps or things to avoid in trying to hook them together the 1st time? What would you hook them to for the 1st time? Any help you can throw out to a beginner will be appreciated.

    Thank You

    • This topic was modified 2 years, 10 months ago by  CanoeTomah.
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    #85315

    Rivendell Farm
    Participant

    Hi,
    I suspect you could try them together most any time now. I wouldn’t pull anything with them at first. Just ground drive them and see how it goes. You might consider fastening them together at the rear so they can’t swing apart until they get used to walking parallel to each other. Also make sure you have a good set of properly adjusted team lines. That said, I must admit my training skills are limited, though I have worked horses for many years. You may yet hear from others with ideas. Bob

    #85316

    MuleManDonn
    Keymaster

    From the horses perspective working in a team is easier than working single. You can probably put them together when ever you want. I like to start horses single so they connect with me and not take directions from the team mate. But it doesn’t take very long before they are ready. I like to see them calm and relaxed, before I move on to each new thing.

    She looks very calm in these pictures. I am wondering if she has sort of a check rein as part of the bridle? I wasn’t sure from the photo, but if that was a check I would loosen it so the horse can let her head down as she works.

    I always figure logs are a pretty good bet. They work well for hooking a team. All you need is a doubletree with a hook and a chain. I agree with Bob about the importance of starting with lines set up right. Just let us know if you aren’t sure. Good Luck, Donn

    #85317

    CanoeTomah
    Participant

    Bob/Donn, Thanks for the input. Might get another chance next weekend.

    #85319

    Stephen Leslie
    Participant

    When I was in your situation of having it be my first experience of trying to hitch a green horse with a somewhat more experienced horse I drove them first several times together over several days in a round pen (just towing a tire to put a little tension on the double tree) before going out into the field. Both horses had been worked previously single driving in the round pen—-so it was a “safe” environment for all of us. Also agree that fastening harness to harness from the breeching with something as simple as some braided baling twine and a couple of clips to keep them spreading apart can save you a world of trouble. Lastly, if at all possible have an experienced assistant on hand to help out if you get in a jam.
    Stay safe and best of luck!

    #85320

    carl ny
    Participant

    Everything that everyone else said but also make sure that you use a neckyoke.

    carl nny

    #85327

    grey
    Participant

    I don’t like to use a neckyoke when ground driving a green team. It usually whacks them on their forelegs and some horses take real offense at that. Maybe bridle the green horse over a halter and attach a jockey stick from the hame ring of the broke horse to the halter ring of the green horse.

    #85328

    MuleManDonn
    Keymaster

    I also wouldn’t use a neck yoke in that situation, but I know many folks would. The idea is to help hold your team together. That is the point of hitching them together at the britchen as well. I also don’t hook horses together there, but I know many do. Without these added conditions a teamster is relying on their own ability to judge how well a team is staying together. The secret to putting a team together (if they seem to be spreading apart) is to ask them to move forward. Sometimes the beginning teamster and the green team get into trouble when the team needs to be moving forward and the teamster would prefer them to stand still. This is where these tools can be an aid.

    #85329

    grey
    Participant

    It can be an aid but I have seen the neckyoke be counterproductive in those situations by making the green horse jumpy when it whacks his leg. Is there a good substitute that won’t have that particular deleterious effect?

    #85371

    CanoeTomah
    Participant

    You guys were right. They went off with out many issues.
    Thanks for all the advise! Attached is a youtube video of the 1st run.

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 10 months ago by  CanoeTomah.
    #85373

    MuleManDonn
    Keymaster

    Hi Canoe Tomah, That is a good start. Not sure how much input you want on that, but there are some things there I would be careful with. You might already know all this. First, every time I hook to something new I consider it’s possible effect on the animals. A stone boat on the road is not bad, I would have looked for something slightly heavier, and slightly quieter, for my first hook. Being out on a gravel road seems to be a good place. I would also look for a place that has plenty of room to go should they go further than you planned.

    Did the black settle into the work after while? Being in front of the other horse to that extent is a risk. It will happen when you are starting a green horse, but you need to recognize the risk. Getting the lines back inside between the horses will help, but this may not be easy as long as the black is reacting the way it is. As long as one is pulling in front of the other like that be careful.

    Perhaps that horse settled down right after the video was shot. Keep up the good work and good luck.

    #85382

    CanoeTomah
    Participant

    Donn great observation you are right on. Interestingly the chestnut was the green horse and one I would have expected to be worked up and wanting to be 1st. Heck she was like an old plow horse. The black who we have used a lot was all worked up and wanted to be way ahead, just acting or scared and confused… We backed up and drove the black some more alone. Did some more ground driving together. Then we hooked up and used separate lines on both horses with two people. So we could hold the black back with out messing with the other horse. This worked great. Black continued to act up at 1st but we went a mile and things settled down after the 1st 1/4 mile. We will keep on this track for a little while. I’ll have to go back and reread any post on team driving or one horse hot. Team line work is not muscle memory yet but we will get there.

    Donn/others go ahead and blast all the things we did wrong. I can handle it and it may help some one else who may read this post. We do not want to lead any others astray.

    Thanks

    #85387

    MuleManDonn
    Keymaster

    I don’t think you have done anything “wrong”. Putting horses together and hitching them for the first time is hard work. It takes effort and you are doing it. A couple things to remember about team lines and one horse being in front of the other. When the offending horse is trying to stay a few inches or a foot in front of the other horse (I won’t use the term teammate yet!), The lines in each of your hands are only going to the horse in front. Look at the slack created for the horse behind. This is often not well understood by beginning teamsters. Folks expect correcting the offending horse to turn the team in a circle or upset the horse behind. It doesn’t need to. You can use both hands; with pulses or gentle pressure to put the offending horse back where it belongs, and drive straight while doing it. Always try to give release or partial release as a reward for the effort to relax and work along side the other horse.

    Sometimes a quiet (not leader type) will continue to back off as you slow the horse in front, and this can be the “upset the other horse” you are talking about. Here is one other little trick I like to use. With your stone boat or a log you have the freedom to walk where ever you want. This is very handy in the initial phase of starting these two different horses together. Just by stepping behind the slower horse you are moving it forward and exaggerating the lines ability to communicate with the forward horse while the other horse enjoys a light line. I always start the single horses getting use to me driving from each side and moving back and forth while they are moving. Then this is available to me as I hitch a team together so I can fine tune the pressure to each animal with my body placement. Moving myself left, right, and center is just like adjusting my lines three times.

    Ultimately it comes down to your hands convincing the forward horse that you want it to relax. Reward each attempt in that direction. They will make a nice team. Donn

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