driving horses

I’m getting ready to start working my yearling with the hopes of showing him in the pleasure driving classes next year. I posted awhile ago about sending him off to a trainer, but decided that I’d like to try to get it done on my own. The trainer I work under has broke horses to drive, and worked at a well established morgan farm that had plenty of driving horses, but I don’t think she ever did it start to finish. So I have some help. I’ll be investing in all of the equipment here soon. I have to admit I’m excited to get this done and hope my boy is fairly cooperative with this whole thing lol. Any advice on the whole subject either breaking, training, equipment or anything else?? Good stories are always welcome too!

14 Responses to driving horses

  1. Bill says:

    You said: “…I have some help.”

    By that I hope you mean some hands on help, not just advice on strategies and techniques. My best advice would be to never work alone.

    My second best advice would be to Not put back shoes on him. :)

  2. Carole says:

    I think that driving is the MOST dangerous thing that we can do with our horses. The horse already has a ten foot jump on you. Get some PROFFESSIONAL help with a person that has trained many driving horses.

    You need to learn to drive first on well broke driving horses.

    A driving accident is magnificant…Everything can get demolished…cart…harness…person …and horse. Get the best equiptment that you can. Use leather harness to start and a wooden cart…not one of the little cheap wire wheeled things.

    I have trained many driving horses in my life. Some horses never drive. They cannot accept the restraint from the front, sides and back….

    Get PROFFESSIONAL help. Of course there are all the Cindereella stories of “How I broke my horse to drive in two weeks.” That story is either “dumb luck” or the exception to the rules. Check with the American Driving Society for trainers in your area.
    Have fun. Be careful and remember-


    Carole Mercer/Dancing Morgans

  3. Carole says:

    P.S. I personally believe that a yearling is way too young to start to drive or even ride. Their brain and body is still that of a baby.

    Just my educated opinion…just a thought….I don’t start a horse to ride or drive until they are at least three and better yet at four years old. Carole

  4. morganmonarch says:

    Is your yearling long lining yet? I think a year old is pretty young to start driving. Obviously it is done, we have 2 yr old driving classes, but it is a tricky situation.

    If you are hard fast on breaking him yourself just take it slow, work with a partner who you trust to make the right decision if things get tight and wear a helmet. I know too many horses that won’t even look at a cart because of one bad driving episode. It is such a great alternative exercise for them when they are older that I hate not having that option. Good luck and keep us posted on how things go.

  5. morgangirl says:

    Carley- while it always seems like a good idea to save money and gain experience by training your own horse–it isn’t. Using a professional will save time and usually they include a lesson with training which will give you the knowledge to someday train your own horse. There are so many goo horse trainers in your area!
    You know your horse better than anyone else if you think he is ready to start he probably is, but be ready for that growth spirt that is going to happen this summer :)
    Good luck!

  6. Scottfield03 says:

    While I hate to sound like a broken record, and I certainly don’t mean to rain on your parade, I really feel like you are getting good advice here. Given how young your horse is, your admitted lack of experience and the lack of experienced help in general, I have great concerns about your chances for success in this situation. It is MUCH easier for a professional to start a horse properly than it is to “fix” one who has been frightened somewhere along in the process. I am all for Do-it-yourselfers under saddle… the worst that can happen is that you’d get dumped and scare your horse. In harness, it really is a matter of life and limb. Also, if you were to work with a professional this time around and get a feel for the process, you would have a much better shot of trying it yourself in the future. Also, don’t underestimate the advantage professionals have in not only experience, but equipment and facilities. They will know all of the “tricks,” recognize problems or potential issues right away, and know from experience what equipment and methods will best suit your horse. Don’t feel like you can;t be included in the training process, but for the sake of your horse, reconsider getting outside help. Good luck!!

  7. nightmusicfarms says:

    Boy oh boy, are you getting good advice all the way around. This is just not the place for at home project and certainly not with such a young horse. You would be so much better off sending your colt to a trainer.

  8. lol thanks for all the advice guys. im not planning on driving him ASAP, i fully intend on waiting till he’s mature enough both physically and mentally. I will have professional help (definitely on hand), and have driven horses before. There will be no pushing or setting any sort of a time frame. everythings going to go as slow as needed. And really… getting into the ring isnt my goal. Its just to have a good experience (for everyone involved)

  9. jns767 says:


    Good luck with your colt – I’m excited to see him.

    I’m sorry to hear about B.J.’s loss – Addy was a cute little mare…so sad.

  10. bks015 says:

    I am putting off doing work and stumbled upon this old post and am wondering because it intrigues me… what would leaving his hind shoes off do? I could think of several possible results that would make sense, but it would be nice to hear from someone who actually knows what they are talking about :)

  11. colwilrin says:

    If they kick up in the cart…and you don’t duck quick enough…the hooves hurt a lot less without shoes! :)

  12. bks015 says:

    Ahaha that makes perfect sense! Thanks!

  13. Chris Nerland says:

    A comment on driving green horses, and yes, even seasoned horses outside the show ring. Always, always drive a cart with a kicking strap rigged on the harness. It is the easiest, cheapest and most effective way to avoid the gentle patter of back hooves on your face and chest. Even an old horse can kick out at a wasp or horsefly , get a leg over the shaft and then proceed to destroy the cart, themselves and possibly you.

  14. GreatHeart says:

    Do YOU know how to drive? That might be the best place to start.

    I have driven for many years and have shown and driven for my own pleasure. I would never start my own horse without a professional’s help. Once a horse has a bad experience it is extremely hard to get him over it and he may never recover.

    Do yourself and your baby a favor and get professional training. And Good Luck! It is FUN!

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