Why we love driving (horses)
In addition to being riders, we also like to hop in the cart for a drive or two with our horses. And frankly, we’re surprised more horsey people don’t give it a try.
Here are just a few reasons why we love driving in addition to riding:
It’s a great way to introduce new friends to horses. When someone’s riding in a cart with you, they can feel what it’s like to walk, trot, and canter a horse right away, while it would take them months of riding lessons to get a taste of the power behind a horse’s trot or canter. It’s also pretty easy to teach a newbie how to drive, compared to the complexity of learning to ride (heels down, shoulders back, eyes up, hands even!).
- It’s a great bonding activity. We’ve all been there–trying to explain to a friend or significant other the joys of owning horses. Driving is something a non-riding boyfriend or girlfriend , friend or family member can do and enjoy with you. Depending on the horse and cart, you can even let them take the reins and show them firsthand how you experience your horse.
It’s also a great time to catch up with friends–the act of driving and the sites you see provide natural conversation starters, and you’re not as likely to be as distracted as you are when riding and trying to listen to your horse and fellow riders. I have had some of the best conversations seated behind my horse.
It’s a way for elderly people or those with medical limitations to enjoy the outdoors. For people who have an old injury or illness that makes a long hike through a park impossible, hitching up the cart for a drive is a great alternative.
It’s easier on the horse. Horses can hit the trail for longer in front of a cart than they can under the saddle–it’s physically easier for them to pull than drive. It’s also not as tiring for the driver as riding can be, so you can enjoy it for longer, too.
- It’s great fun for smaller children. It takes some time for kids to establish the balance, motor skill, and body control needed to go on a trail ride on their own horse, and riding astride poses some safety concerns. Little kids can ride in a cart next to a driver however, or learn to drive themselves under appropriate supervision.
It’s a great way to exercise an older/younger horse. A horse can pull three times its body weight but can only carry about 20 percent of its body weight. Because it’s pretty low-impact exercise, it’s great for horses who may be too arthritic or injured to do much under saddle work but may still need some exercise. It is also great early training and conditioning for younger horses you may not be fully developed yet for riding.
- It’s a new way to experience your horse. Behind the cart you will learn the true meaning of “horse power” Perhaps counter-intuitively, the faster a horse and cart go, the smoother the ride is–it feels like you are gliding!. Can’t afford a Cadillac? No problem. Just get a cart.
As you might have guessed, Two Horse Tack offers both a marathon and a pleasure driving harness in our shop–both of which are made of beta biothane (the marathon harness is modeled in these photos). The materials look and feel like traditional leather while remaining light on the horse’s back, and very easy to clean–just douse the harness with the hose–and it doesn’t require oiling. If you’ve had to take apart and clean and oil a bridle, just imagine how tough a harness is to get properly clean! Not only that, we design our harnesses to be good starter pieces for people who’d like to learn to drive or do so in their spare time, so both our harnesses are affordable and come shipped to you in just two pieces, making it much easier to get started!
With all the straps and lines, learning to put on and use a harness for the first time is pretty intimidating, especially if you don’t have an instructor locally to help you get started. I’ve been driving my horses for years and love introducing people to the discipline. Feel free to comment, email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call (859-338-4265) if you have questions. ~Natasha
Here are pics of just a few of the folks who have discovered the joys of driving!