How to Break a Horse to Harness
A different venue for something quite different. That was the aim for Asby WI’s June meeting when members and six guests gathered at High Plains, Drybeck at the invitation of Louise and Steve Reeve.
Louise explained that, as she had previously spoken about carriage driving to Asby Mothers’ Union (of whom a number of members were also WI members and present), she was going to approach the topic from a different angle. Choosing the title ‘How to break a horse to harness’ she led her listeners through the relevant necessary stages of doing this with help from Apple, Trigger and Robbie, plus husband Steve and WI member Anne Hulse.
Apple, who had been acquired from Appleby Fair travellers a year before, and who had been misused and unruly, was the least far on in his training. Louise emphasised that there were no short cuts but so far Apple had gradually learned to wear a head harness, then bit and bridle, and to walk with these on with a long rein. Using a gentle roller she was beginning to get him used to the idea of having something round his tummy ready for the next step. Any sign of a whip still upset him considerably: getting used to this was taking a lot of time and patience.
Trigger, a much older horse, happily wore a breastplate, saddle and crupper, and had learned to pull something behind him. Initially this was by being walked with Louise or Steve pulling a tyre along behind to get him used to ignoring the noise it made. Adding broom poles down his sides that occasionally bumped him got him ready for having a two-wheel carriage to pull as a start.
Carol Smith and Helen Cooper served refreshments at the close of the demonstration. And while people enjoyed these they also had the opportunity to ride in the two-wheeler, and go as a passenger or ‘ride groom’ on the back of the four-wheeler, courtesy of Trigger and Robbie – treats that weren’t entirely expected by the guests who had the first rides.