Draft Animal Power – Draft animals and sustainable land stewardship › Forums › Draft Animal Power › Mules › training Pete
- August 21, 2016 at 2:06 pm #89303
Pete has been the hardest animal I have worked with so far. I think some of the challenges where of my own making, but that is often true. He developed a pattern of getting away from me, and of course I was trying hard to change what I was doing in order to break that pattern, but it took me a lot longer than it should have to get in front of it. Now I would say that with each drive that he doesn’t get away we are slowly unwinding the idea he has, namely getting away is a solution to any situation he doesn’t like. It is a slow process.
The video (click here) is not great but you can see how we hooked him up with a rope that allows us to pick up a front foot when he tries to run. This has worked well. With the same rope I will hook him to a forecart soon, and that will allow us to starting getting him to do a little productive work. That would be good.August 28, 2016 at 5:58 am #89347
We have driven him about three times hooked to a tongue. We have ground driven him on a few days when we didn’t have the time or people to hook him up. In ground driving we are carefully hooking him to single trees and chains with an emphasis on keeping him relaxed and not getting away. Last week we broke the front off of the sled I built; combination of bad materials from the scrap pile and week design, yesterday we hooked him to the forecart.
All three times we have had to use the foot rope. It is simple and not an alarming event for him, but it does stop him. Yesterday we went over a couple miles of woods and fields. He was good, but made one concerted effort to get away as we were returning to the barn through the woods. He went about 100′ at a gallop on three legs. he was much easier to hook yesterday and it only took two of us; one at the head while the other hooked. he moved over toward the tongue with the help of the but rope and stayed pretty still while we hooked. Progress?
I think the process and the tools are working and working well. It is just a slow process at this point based on the history we have developed that we need to undue. I wish I had started with it much earlier. The only problem with that would be: I would much prefer to work an animal by ground driving until they settle with that and then add a pole. In our experience with this system it wasn’t fol proof for ground driving (read we feel down once while trying that). It has been fool proof for anything we could sit on or stand on.
In order to employ it earlier would basically mean moving an animal that has gotten away to a cart or sled directly. Probably what I would do much sooner next time. I hate to admit it but I am contemplating selling Pete. I think he is an awesome animal but might not be what I need right now. I will keep you posted. dAugust 28, 2016 at 12:23 pm #89348
Looks like you have just a single rope to the foot, is it hard to lift?? Was wondering if a small block and tackle from say, D-ring to britchen, would make it easier to lift..Or am I just thinking to much. Also, do you have the rope tied to the foot or do you use a dog collar around the foot. I used a dog collar when I had to tie up a foot on a horse to trim. Tied up just one front foot and then she would stand for the rest, Dumb animals, right..
Carl nnyAugust 28, 2016 at 3:51 pm #89349
Hi Carl, Good questions. We made sort of a home made hobble. It is wide leather with a buckle for a good fit. We started out with a 3:1 with a pulley on the belly band and one on the d ring (no pulley on the foot – just running the rope through a large lock link). This gave us plenty of lifting power, but a slower response when we wanted to lift. Turns out you only really capture the foot when the animal lifts it anyway. Last time we used it I modified it with out the pulleys and a simple 2:1, this seemed to work also although I am not sure which one worked better. I tried to do something similar about 25 years ago and it was a real failure, so I think keeping the rope system simple and combining it with a good cart or sled, and working with the right people are all elements that make it work this time. I wish I had more time because i would hook him every day. We still manage the situation, plan the where the equipment is parked, which way it faces, which way we will go first. For us, with Pete, all these things matter.August 29, 2016 at 11:48 pm #89350
you need to use a running w on him he wont run with it.February 2, 2017 at 8:31 pm #89995
With a little more time using the foot rope I see it more clearly than I did just as it applied to Pete. To start it on a green animal would be simple and just take a few minutes to introduce while standing around. Basically the same process as putting a harness on for the first time or anything else. While standing still, “hey look, I can pick up your foot!”. Teach him that when stopping a time or two and then walk off and teach him to drive, work etc. Take it off or put it on at point. a couple things I most liked about it where; it didn’t try to scare the animal it just had a great way to stop them. Also he quickly learned what “it “was and what it did. This meant that with out full deployment “taking his leg out”, you could just give it a shake and he would settle a little. Also with this added control method you don’t need to be a tight or be too quick on the lines. Imagine how you drive when you feel an animal is just about to take bolt or might try to run. You naturally tighten a little to prevent the mishap. Here you can just relax and drive naturally, which helps them relax.February 2, 2017 at 8:40 pm #89996
I have also simplified how the foot rope is attached. I started with a three to one mechanical advantage because I didn’t know what we needed. I also use a couple of small pulleys. Now the system would work fine with only 2:1 mechanical advantage and no pulleys. I just start by putting a small loop on the belly band and then down to the foot where we go through a carabiner attached to a hobble. Doesn’t matter which foot and we changed it as we moved the animal from one side to the other. from the foot we went up to a ring, carabiner or pulley attached at the Dring or center of harness. from here the rope just came back to the teamster or helper working the rope. You can hang it from the britchen just to keep it out from under foot. Very easy to place on or off.February 5, 2017 at 9:15 am #90004
Donn, glad things worked out. You mentioned with the foot rope he was able to take advantage still while ground driving. Did you come up with a better option while still ground driving to keep him from taking off.February 5, 2017 at 9:57 am #90005
I think the biggest problem when I first put it on him “ground driving”, was I was already dealing with an animal that was going to run. A little more effort was needed to stop him the first few times he did that.
I used this set up on two different animals yesterday while ground driving. I was still working with two people in each case, but it worked fine and was pretty easy to work. Neither animal made a full on effort to get away, but both did a couple of surges that were nice and easy to handle / discouragement from the foot rope. In the morning I worked with a friend who has been riding Zeek, a horse I drove last summer, but never really got around to working single. We were introducing working in an open bridle and working single. We also introduced a nice new bit (don’t know the name). Working with a friend who is a very experienced horse women, but not a lot of driving. For all those reasons the foot rope, made the work easy and enjoyable. Zeek was a little energetic, but did great and settled down nicely.
In the afternoon I worked at home, again with a pretty green teamster who I made do 90 % of the driving. We had pete ground driving single skiding poles. A simple task that he missed because of his convoluted training, saw him going to the cart with out mastering something simple like skidding poles by himself. Again with me on the foot rope, he did well, and moved a good pile of poles. Great tool for me, and something I will put on animals in the future as a matter of basic training.
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