I'm getting bitten to hell and back, not midges, not mosquitoes, Obama. He is insanely jealous of all the attention firstly Winston the Mule got, and now Tikki the pony. I am sad not to take Winston, but to take a non driving animal that is scared of people on a journey this length, and then expect a novice to either handle said scared and scary mule, or to handle Obama towing two vehicles, is a bit much.
Winston is chilling out with Adele, and when we return I think he will be ready for the final stage of training, ie learning that people won't hit him. It's a pretty simple lesson to learn as long as keep him away form horsey people.. Ask non horsey people when you should hit a horse, and the answer is "Never!". Ask them why you should carry a whip, and the answer is "You shouldn't!" Ask them when you should USE a whip, and they think you are a fruitcake.
So I will keep Winston with people who don't include hitting horses, ponies or mules in their skill set. Then he is really easy and will become a useful member of the community.
Tikkki's only problem is that he isn scared of going in vehicles. Because it seems so obvious to me, and is so central to what I do, I may never have explained Rule 1 of putting animals in Saddlechariots. They must stand, freely, untied, in an open space, without blinkers, while you put the vehicle on, ON YOUR OWN.
How you do it is up to you. You can click, clack, shake it all about. Use bribery, offer obscene performance bonuses (apparently it works for bankers), or dfo whatever you like that does not involve force, threats or weapons.
And then having finally got the damn animal in the vehicle, if it shows even the vaguest desire to get out, LET IT OUT.
The Saddlechariot has an instant release system because I think letting the animal out of the vehicle is the answer to all problems. Use it. It hasn't got a whip holder because I think whips are stupid, vicious, pointless, cruel etc etc. So don't use whips. Don't use force. The pony wants out ........ LET IT OUT.
Put it in again and if it wants out, guess what. LET IT OUT.
Carry on until the poor bloody animal says, "Come on let's take this bloody thing for a drive. I AM BORED WITLESS!"
Boredom is a training tool, and a vital one. So the vehicle going on, and being attached is just BORING. then we go out somewhere, and guess what, there is grass to eat, blackberries, thistle heads, new sights, sounds.
The Saddlechariot going on is the sign we are going somewhere fun.So it has to be voluntary. They must stand still for the vehicle to be put on.
Rule 2, the minute they want out. Let them out. It mustn't be seen as a trap.
Rule 3, go somewhere interesting. Schools are boring. Education, from the Latin, ex ducere, to lead out.
And RULE 4, DON'T DRIVE, LEAD.
When they are learning the vehicle, you need to be at their head, holding the rip cord in your sweaty little hand, reassuring the pony and ready to release it the INSTANT it looks MILDLY WORRIED. The lesson it learns is that the Saddlechariot is something it can walk out of if things get stressful. And that is the WHOLE POINT of the SADDLECHARIOT.
If you would rather dominate them, and fight their fear, there are other blogs, there are other vehicles. Saddlechariots are for nice cowards and their ponies.
So Tikki is learning to stand while the saddlechariot comes up behind him, I can drive a wheelchair onto the bannedwaggon on my own, Lee looks pretty confident with Obama and Tikki, I have thought about starting to get my stuff together and we are off Monday/Tuesday.
Oh and I am going to drive the Bannedwaggon across Exeter in the wheelchair today. A nice relaxed program. That's after I fininsh the final welding, make a proper floor, spray the damn thing, put Tikki in the Saddlechariot ...........
To see some of my marginally more organised rants, try these links. If all else fails, try hitting them with whips. It works with horses, doesn't it? http://sites.google.com/site/wehithorsesdontwe/ http://saddlechariot.comlu.com/index.php