Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Max In Harness
Today was another good day for the horses. For the first time ever, our Clydesdale, Ambrosius Maximus (Max), wore a harness. It is also the first time I put a work harness on a horse by myself.
Tracy was off on a trail ride, so I decided to spend some quality time with Max. Max has been getting markedly better about being handled and obeying voice commands, so setting a harness on him and seeing how he reacted seemed a logical next step. In the past, he had bolted during training sessions but this seemed more a case of bad manners and wanting to play rather than panic, as was the case with Aggie.
Things started a bit rough as Max wanted to munch the fresh spring grass, not pay attention to me. I finally got him to the snubbing tree and showed him the harness. No bad reaction there, though he was a still pouting about not being able to munch grass. Having last been on Aggie, the harness was ridiculously too large and needed a few adjustments. In the end it fit quite well.
With the distraction of the fresh grass, Max could not have cared less about the harness being on his back. So I let him munch for a bit then took him back to the main pasture where there is less distraction. Now it was time to see what he really thought.
I lead him all around the pasture and he never seemed to mind the harness at all. Then I thought, “I wonder if he can drive?” I was not sure he would take a bridle, and did not have one handy anyway, so I hooked the lines to his halter.
Progress was a bit erratic, but he took to driving well. Most of the time, I could get him within about five feet of where I intended. After about 20 minutes he was getting the hang of the voice commands and the pull of the lines.
We made one last triumphant lap of the main pasture then it was a reward of 45 minutes of uninterrupted munching among the wildflowers of the lower pasture.