Rockies are my passion. They have been for years, through all of the IHSA shows, hunter classes and even those spectacular reining horses. While I love to reach out and delve into the other disciplines (and want a NICE western pleasure horse one day), I still love my mountain horses at the end of the day and don’t ever anticipate being without one for any extended amount of time.
But let me tell you about my long standing dream (I mean, besides riding a Grand Prix dressage horse doing passage and one-tempis, or galloping down the beach bridleless, or owning that gorgeous Western Pleasure/Horsemanship Horse, we will stay in the current reality). I have always loved ponies and minis, and I wanted one for as long as I could remember. My first little pony, Prince, was a stinker but in an awesome little stink kind of way. He would just lay down with me when my quarter was up. He had an opinion and wanted me to know it. But I always loved him regardless.
I always wanted to drive him. He was precious and tiny and a little demon but I still wanted to do it. We even went so far as to buy a cart that a neighbor had, which in retrospect would probably have been a terrible idea as we had no idea what to do. But by the time we acquired the cart, Prince was in his early twenties and having lameness issues between arthritis and long standing founder issues. He was in no condition to pull anything. So the cart stayed mounted to our ceiling in the barn, never used even once. We eventually traded it for some round pen panels long after Prince passed in his early thirties. My dream of driving my own horse/mini was not to be.
Then, years later, I got to drive a friend’s horse around Mackinaw Island, MI. What gorgeous scenery! I was determined that I would drive my own horse again one day. I was all set to get a cart and harness and then… I saw the price tags on them. Sticker shock hit.
Fast forward another few years. I have now purchased Mac, my 16 year old mini stallion who was later gelded. I finally decided to teach him to drive and ground drive the fire out of him. Still no cart. Then one day, when I was in Arizona, I decided to pull the trigger. I bought a harness, something I’d never owned before (since I’d earlier put the cart before the horse in a literal sense)! One money order later, and it was mine, or at least waiting for me on the other side of that KY airport. I brought it home, tried it on him, and realized that my mini was strangely proportioned and wasn’t going to fit an out of the box harness. Sigh.
So the search began again, and this time I decided to go big or go home. I invested in quality pieces that would stand the test of time instead of just buying the first harness I found for cheap. I went with a Comfy Fit Harness and a G&S Cart, both well recommended pieces of tack. And I love them! And to top things off, I found a free mini with harness experience! Funny how things work.
Sunday was our first day hitching Keno, and it was amazing. His previous owner helped me hitch for the first time and Keno acted like he’d done it his whole life. He hadn’t been driven for two years but stepped back into that springy little trot like it was his job. I’ve driven him two days since then and Autumn took the reins a few times as well. Keno is going to be an amazing little guy and I can’t wait to hit the trails with him.
I can now check off something on my bucket list I’ve always wanted to do! Onward and upward!