When I started driving Kat, I knew we would be doing things alone for the most part and so his training was tailored for that. He would need to be solid and steady when harnessing up and putting to as well as unhitching from the cart and putting everything away. Kat and I have pretty much flown solo all along.
One thing I had set my sights on was going as far with it as we could. Would I love to be able to drive at the Live Oak in Ocala or Gladstone in New Jersey? Sure! It helps that I have friends who live 5-10 minutes away from both venues and it would be a hell of an awesome blast to see them again.
Am I disappointed if Kat and I never make it? Who wouldn't be? But right now, it's not in the cards for us. simply put, I don't have the time or the money to do either one. Entries and expenses alone would be a killer.
Now I'm not one to throw a big pity party so how about we look at what Kat and I HAVE accomplished so far.
1) He is the second pony/horse I have ever trained to drive. The first one was my daughters pony mare Pi and while it went smoothly enough and was fun in the beginning, it ended horribly with a wreck because of a number of factors. Nobody
2) We started out at training level and moved up to Prelim. We had 3 very well respected votes to move up when we did. This one still blows me away. Because of my lack of time, money and knowledge leading up to this, to think that these people had faith in us and seen what we were or are capable of doing? This still blows me away. Because when you look back-
3) I had no trainer. I have made numerous attempts to get together with Gary before different events and try to slip a lesson in and it. just. never. happened. Other than sending him an email with a few pictures and a likely lame ass description of what I was doing (or trying to do) and where we had problems, I never got to really work WITH him or have him give me directions and really nail things down. Had I been able to send the pony to him or anyone else, or really work with a trainer on a consistent basis, who knows where we might have gone or how far we could've taken it.
4) Consistency. We had very little of this as far as putting the proper amount of time into it. There were times when Kat and I would only get to drive once a week and then we hit an event as a pair of weekend warriors. This was sooooooo not fair to him and Damned if he wasn't a trooper thru all of it. Pony man never failed to fire and the last few ADT's he went way beyond what I ever could have expected.
5) Ground driving and long line work was not on my 'to do' list as far as learning things goes. Kat has taught me a LOT when it comes to ground driving and long line work. Thanks to Sherri, a driving club member who told me she often does more work without the cart than she does with it, I knew what we needed to work on. When I think back to the early days of our ground driving and long line work- it was boring, mundane, tedious and I doubt it was anything fancy to look at. We both got thru it. We learned. I learned. I learned a lot and I soaked it all in. I still have an image in my mind of Kat rocked back and moving like a freight train, bold, powerful and BIG, working in the front pasture flooded with irrigation water. He was a sight to behold. I now know how to get that movement from other horses and how great it looks when they do it.
6) Confidence. Kat has become a pretty level headed point and shoot horse. With the exception of the last ADT and his two hair brained incidents (one in the cones and one in hazard 3), he has become pretty confident and goes where I aim him. Water has been a big issue all along, but with the second water hazard at the ADT in Sonoita and the water hazard at the ADT in Prescott, he went in with little
We may never make it to Gladstone or Ocala, but with all things considered? We have already come a long way and accomplished a lot, with what little we had to work with. I'm proud of my pony and I'm looking forward to what is next to come. He's still in shape, looking damned good from the pictures I've gotten and shared via email (Blogger won't let me upload them for some reason) and the last time I had him in the lines- He. Nailed. It. I need to see what's on the calendar for the fall and bring him back to work in harness.
The Katman cometh...