Now Smokey's working tooRSS feed

Posted: Saturday 24 December, 2011

by Rosemary at 11:32am in Equines Comments closed

We're preparing an area for the pig enclosure. There are some rhododendrons that need to be removed, so we decided that Smokey was the boy to help. The idea was that he'd pull, using the scrub puller, and Dan would loosen the roots at the same time.

Smokey workingSmokey pulling rhododendrons

This was quite different to anything Smokey has done before - although he's pulled a log and a carriage, he's never pulled anything that didn't immediately follow him, and then that followed him in a rush. I was a wee bit anxious because a) it was new and b) I haven't really done much with him lately.

However, he got his harness on. It's a kind of Heath Robinson affair and a mix of driving harness, French collar, other bits of tack and baler twine. The French collar was bought last year since it's hard to get a properly fitting full collar, especially over t'internet. I used his normal roller instead of his driving saddle, since I was leading him so didn't need the terets for the reins, plus the back end of his driving harness - back strap, crupper, breeching. We don't really need the breeching because there's nothing to brake but the trace carriers are useful. The collar is attached to the roller and the breeching to the collar with multicoloured baler twine smiley. The traces are 12ft long and made of heavy yacht rope with lops at one end and metal carabiners at the other. I use a normal snaffle bridle with a Liverpool bit but have his rope halter on underneath with his 12ft rope attached.

Once harnessed up, we got him round to the wood, backed up and attached. First bush broke - it was dead and the wood snapped, Same with the second. If we get any new growth, we'll treat it with Roundup. The third one was alive and took a bit of pulling before it came away in a rush. That gave Smokey a bit of a fright and he shot forward about five yards before stopping for a look.

We've not had time to get out there again but I have been doing a bit of work on his basic obedience - just a wee reminder for him. Once Christmas is past, we'll get him out again although I might go back to the heavy log for a session or two just to consolidate his confidence.

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