FOR THE SKIJORING CLINIC, SCROLL DOWN TO THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE
HANDS-ON DRIVING AND DRAFT WORKSHOP
INSTRUCTOR PAT WOLFE
WHEN: JUNE 17, 2013 WHERE: BUTTERNUT FARM, NEAR OTTAWA , CANADA
LENGTH: 5 DAYS, MONDAY TO FRIDAY, 9-5
COST: $550 (LUNCHES INCLUDED)
SAFETY AROUND HORSES
STARTING A YOUNG HORSE TO DRIVE
TEACHING A HORSE HOW TO PULL
PRACTICING FOR SHOW RING CLASSES:
PREPARING FOR THE SHOW RING
SHOW RING ETIQUETTE
LOGGING WITH HORSES
CONTACT PAT WOLFE AT email@example.comOR AT 1-613-256-0631
HANDS-ON WORKSHOP DAILY SCHEDULE
June 17, 18, 19, 20 & 21 , 2013
Monday will be dedicated primarily to all aspects of safety around horses, such as safe harnessing and safe hitching. As well, we will take a young, green mare and begin her training in the round pen. We will work with this young mare for a short period every day and if she is ready, hitch her on Friday.
Tuesday will deal with training both horse and driver for show driving tests. These include ring classes and cones. Working with the young mare.
Wednesday will deal with training both horse and driver for draft tests, including log skidding and farm classes. Working with the young mare.
Thursday will deal with training both horse and driver for NFHR Evaluations, driving and draft classes. Working with the young mare.
Friday we will go into the bush and learn about logging with horses and chainsaws. If the young horse is ready, we will hitch her.
Lunches are provided.
Article by Howard Fiedler, written after attending the
Howard skidding logs with Fflur
20 hours after leaving Green Valley Farm in Illinois, and after crossing Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York state borders and the US/Canada border without incident, Roger Kathka and I reached our destination, Pat and Jane Wolfe’s Butternut Farm. This will be our home away from home for the next five days. We are here to take part in Pat’s driving and draft workshop. The farm is a mile off the beaten track, right in the middle of the Canadian bush.
9am Monday morning we meet our fellow students. We come from varied horse backgrounds. Patrice Dupont, from Quebec , for instance, has never worked with a horse before. He has country property and hopes to do some horse logging in the future. Cindy Duffy from Ontario , teaches riding and owns three Fjords that she would like to show in driving classes. Cheryl Beillard, also from Ontario, and Curtis Pierce from Virginia are interested in honing their driving skills while Pat’s nephew, Nathan Vallillee, wants more experience handling horses. Roger Kathka from Missouri , like me, is here because he wants practice in the performance classes for the up-coming evaluation.
We start the morning in the classroom, with the important topic of safety. With Pat we discuss 100 safety issues to be aware of when working with horses. Many of them I’d never thought of before. One of the high points of the morning is a simple non-slip quick-release knot Pat shows us. When the knot is released, the horse is free from the post but still under your control.
Round pen training
On Monday afternoon Pat embarks on a week-long project to hitch a totally green horse, a three year old Fjord mare called Rosie. He begins in the round pen and a half hour later he has a join-up with her and he stops at that point. As the week continues Pat spends a short session each day with Rosie and she progresses well. By Friday, we all agree she isn’t quite ready to hitch, and in the name of safety, we let Pat give her a few more days after we leave. Calm, quiet and time are fundamentals in working with horses.
The main focus of this week is to teach us how to train and show our own horses in the driving and draft tests of the NFHR evaluation. There are many obstacles in driving tests so we spend Monday afternoon leading haltered horses around and through every obstacle used in the program. At the beginning our horses are a little nervous but after an hour or so they relax and so do we. Pat doesn’t want any surprises. Then we long-line our horses around and through these obstacles, prior to driving later in the week.
Tuesday and Wednesday we learn the correct way to fit a harness, and to hitch to a cart, and then we begin driving. Pat shows us the techniques of holding the lines and whip, plus appropriate body positions. I found driving a cones’ course for the first time is a lot of fun. Nathan won the timed drive-off, after tying with our newest horse person, Patrice.
On Thursday Pat shows us how to hitch Cindy’s Fjord mare, Grenia, to a cart for her first time. After all our preparations for this big adventure we are relieved when she does exactly what she’s supposed to. Within minutes Cindy has her trotting on the rail. Later we practice all the advanced driving test obstacles, driving those we have trouble with over and over until we feel confident. Later we drive the advanced test and are scored. It’s amazing how well we all do but Patrice is amazing. With no past experience he has a very good score.
Patrice skidding logs
Thursday afternoon we go to the log pile and start training our horses to pull. Steering the hind end of the horse with the traces, and then with the lines is quite a challenge. Few of us have ever tried this before. Pat likes to start the horse off pulling a light load and then to increase the weight as the horse gets the feel of it. Some of these horses have never pulled a log before. With a few hours practice, we are ready for the draft tests.
Roger doing a draft test with Tunica
Thursday, June 24th is also my birthday and I invite everyone to dinner. Cheryl offers her charming log house, an hour from Pat’s. We have wine, hors d’oeuvres, steak on the BBQ and cake, a real feast. It’s also a good chance to visit her Fjords, especially a new foal, born last night. Cheryl and her family’s hospitality make getting home at 2am worthwhile, although Friday morning comes awfully early!
Curtis backing Solveg through the L
On our final day we introduce the horses to the draft test obstacles, one at a time. Backing through the L is the tricky one and I amaze myself. My assigned horse Fflur, a five year old Welsh Cob mare, has never done this before and I get her through with flying colors. We are also scored on the advanced draft test and with the cones on the field representing trees. I have to admit a lot of timber bit the dust that morning.
Nathan knocking down trees with Uvaer
Friday afternoon we head for the woods. Pat shows us how to cut down trees safely and then how to bring out the logs. Curtis and his Fjord mare Solveg make a great pair in the bush, skidding logs. It’s quite an art, certainly harder than it appears.
Pat Demonstrating how he teaches a horse to skid logs
Each student has had his or her own horse for the week, either one of Pat’s or a horse he or she brought. Our last event of the week is a vote on what horse improved the most over the week. I’m proud to say that Fflur, under my instruction, is the winner. She was a green horse on Monday and she came out a champion, doing everything she was asked. We do the same for the drivers and Patrice, our novice, is voted driver of the week. We all vow to go home and practice all we’ve learned.
We all left Butternut Farm knowing more than when we arrived, and having spent a week doing what we all love best, playing with horses.
HORSE SKIJORING CLINICS
WINTER 2013: January 19 and
February 16. COST: $60 which includes lunch.
9 AM to 4 PM
BUTTERNUT FARM, MIDDLEVILLE, ONTARIO
For further information, CONTACT PAT WOLFE, 613-256-0631 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
102 Harding Road, Lanark, Ontario
2009 skijoring clinic
Directions from Ottawa:
Go west on Highway 17 to exit 155 (Almonte/ Carp Rd.) Turn left and travel to and then through Almonte and out the other end. You will now be on the Wolf Grove Road. 18 K's or so from Almonte you will see house # 3800 on your right. Continue another 100 metres and turn right onto Harding Road. #102 Harding Road is 1.6 K's on the leftt, down our winding, narrow road. A 4 wheel drive vehicle is a good idea.
Butternut Farm is 60 minutes from downtown Ottawa and 30 minutes from Highway 17.
What to bring:
Please bring a helmet to wear when skijoring (a bike, ski or riding helmet will work). The best skis to bring are downhill skis although cross-country skis will work too, but not as well.