This story is embarrassing. But it’s also so damn funny that I can’t not share it.
two three years since I last harnessed up my mini horse for a drive. (This is Laura by the way, not Lois.) He recently came back to my house from Lois’ for some “retraining”. That means he was being a bully to the other, older animals. Click here for part of that story.
The training has been going well–mostly re-teaching him manners with leading and doing some longe line work. Where before he was impossible to catch, now he comes willingly.
Ok. So. We had to walk him next door to have his shots for the Petting Farm, and Danny thought we should drive him instead. I decided we would see how he did with harnessing and hitching up to the cart first.
He had grown, so I lengthened the harness as needed and he stood just fine. So far, so good. Even without a sturdy hitching post, we were gettin’ ‘er done. I was feeling confident that driving a horse was similar to riding a bike; you never forget. The bridle was tougher to put on (always has been with him) but I figured out how to make that bigger too, and was finally able to get it in his damn mouth. (THIS is why I have a mini instead of a Belgian.) I attached the lines -called “reins” on a riding horse-, so we had steering and brakes now too. Check, double check.
This is what I pictured: My Little Pony trotting up the driveway to Lois’s, with me and Danny riding comfortably. That is not even close to what happened.
Danny and I walked him down to the bottom of our driveway. There was a lot of traffic, so we waited patiently. I had the lines in my right hand and the longe line (aka emergency brake) in my left. I gingerly stepped into the cart and as soon as I sat down, I was flipping backwards. Next thing I knew, I was looking UP at the Norway pine, the sky, little hooves flailing and horse teeth.
My life flashed before my eyes, then I realized I wasn’t mortally injured– just banged up with a little road rash. When I regained my feet, there was the cart, with the harness and bridle and lines still attached, and the pony munching clover a few feet away. He looked at me like, “And you say I’M FAT??”. I became aware of cars passing and all I could do was laugh, now that nobody was dead.
This is what the cart looked like when I stood up:
…except the harness was still attached. By some miracle, Squirt aka Elmer just slithered right out of all of it! I was sure I would have a terrified horse tied up in knots right there on the shoulder of Hwy 24. Or worse yet, on my head. Apparently I forgot something critical.
Standing at the end of the driveway, all I could do was laugh. And laugh. And guffaw. And wave back at the cars passing. All I could think of was the hearse from Disney World’s Haunted Mansion ride.
*HA! I almost published this without answering the question, “What the hell went wrong??” .
I forgot to snap the cart to the breeching. I think the strap I neglected is called the Tilbury Tug. Horseman Ed calls them “holdbacks”. I now call it “don’tforgetthekeepthecartfromtippingnoverdumbassthingyclip”.