Coming back from an Accident

Carriage MUST be removed before the bridle. Once the carriage is off and the horse is secured you can remove the harness in whatever order you want or are used to. Removing the bridle before unhooking is dangerous - I’ve seen what can happen.

Personally, I unhook and remove the carriage, grab the halter, unhook the lines from the bit, remove the bridle, put the halter on and tie them up. Sometimes I leave the harness on for a short break, other times I take it off.

Also, always keep the lines in your hand and be ready to use them until the horse is unhooked and secured. I have one hand on the lines and use the other to unhook and push the carriage back.


I’m part of the DA team as well, I’d like to think it counts for something when it comes to quality!

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I always took the cart off first and moved it where my pony couldn’t possibly tangle with it. Then I would pull lines through the turrets and remove the bridle, loop the whole thing over my arm and put the halter that was around his neck onto his face where it belongs. I could pull off the breastcollar and traces after unbuckling one side of the neck strap (everything still attached because my traces were all one piece with the breastcollar) with the bridle over my arm, then march all that stuff into the tackroom. Come back and take the saddle and breeching (again, all attached, I would just undo the girth and crupper and leave everything else together, pull the breeching off backward, and march all that into the tackroom. Then come back and brush him, check feet, give him treats, etc.

I never, ever made the mistake of taking the bridle off before removing the cart. So wouldn’t you know it, the day we had our career-ending crash when my car rolled down the driveway into the cart when I was driving the pony up next to the driveway, my husband went and caught the pony for me. Said pony was quietly grazing up in the back yard, still hooked to the wrecked cart. DH brought him down, and before I realized what he was doing, he pulled the bridle off to put the halter on him, with the cart still attached. I was lying where I’d landed halfway down the driveway, yelling “no, no, no” at him. What did the pony do during all this? He stood there like a statue and waited for me to limp up to him and pull the cart off.

He was a great pony. I would have been very tempted to get him back to driving, but he had cataracts and had started to do small spooks when he saw stuff he was very used to. He’d previously been unflappable, so I figured it was time to hang it up.

He was quite a comedian. I had panic snaps on the posts I clipped him to when harnessing, and he would quietly play with them in his mouth until they opened. Then he’d just stand there, and I swear he was laughing.

I retired him after that crash, but kept him with me for the rest of his life. He especially liked the move from Colorado to South Carolina, as he loved hot weather.



Oh cool! Is it regional or national? Wonder if you know each other!

National, all FEI/international sports under the USEF umbrella have emerging, developing and elite athlete programs. Elite is the going to and/or been to Europe, Developing is the “shows potential” and is split into two levels. I’m in the “welcome to the club” level, or as I like to say, I’m adjacent to the people who are adjacent to the really talented people. :rofl: But it’s a really great program offered by USEF, we get access to upper level clinicians and other learning opportunities and start to learn about competing as part of a team. I’m thrilled to death to be part of it!

I’ve met many of the developing drivers, so maybe I have met this, you can fb message me her name!

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Message sent. That sounds super awesome!!

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I am over my shock around the ratio of driving trainers to under saddle trainers now :joy:. I was sure there HAD to me someone closer, but I’ll gladly take an hour drive to someone with that level of experience who does specifically do driving lessons as part of their business model.

I only drive 100 miles to the barn, so I get it.

It’s kind of funny, but my trainer has ended up with about half his show horses being driving horses. Of his show ‘riders’ half of us are either too old or broken to ride. Along the way, he’s gotten a fair number of horse show moms (including his own) in a bike the last couple years. We’re still working an easy horse nice enough to show. That should have been my pony, but not so much.