9/25/08 - Vernon, NY - I’m settled in for the evening at a horse trailer sales lot about 2 miles east of Vernon. The owner Jim, has a very nice accompanying stable with stalls for over 30 horses. He was kind enough to offer my team a large grass covered paddock.
I had a late start this morning as I had to do some shoeing on Joyce and Dolly. I didn’t pull out until about 10:30 am and only traveled about 14 miles today. We’re back on route 5 to try and avoid a bunch of big hill on the stretch of route 20 that runs south of Utica to Syracuse.
The next two days, the team and I are taking a well deserved rest. They get a chance to pack on a few extra pounds, rest some weary muscles and enjoy being horses.
My friend Beth is driving out from New Hampshire tomorrow morning. I’m looking forward to a nice relaxing weekend, with some great company.
I’ve driven the team about 250 miles in the previous 5 1/2 weeks. I’m really amazed at how well they’ve held up. In this time the sum total of injuries they have had are; one small collar sore, one small neck sore, a couple of other small rubs and a couple of over-travel cuts. All the horses are muscling up well and have maintained their condition.
Doc - Continues to work great as my boss horse. Nobody moves until he does. He knows to within minutes, when I should be breaking for lunch and when it’s the normal quitting time. He let’s me know by getting “driveway-ites” When it’s time for an extended break, he picks a likely looking driveway and starts making a beeline for it. This keeps me busy on the driving lines.
Dolly - The first three weeks out I didn’t get much work out of her. If I corrected her to get her pulling, she would do a little vertical dance, but would not actually apply much draft to her collar. Lately, she’s been pulling her load most of the time. I still have to coach her, but she usually responds well.
Joyce - is a machine. When it comes time to kick in the wheel horses on a hill, I rarely have to ask her. Her hooves start slamming into the pavement and she leans real hard into the collar. But, she’s also a pain in the butt. She has a lot of little quirky habits when she’s agitated. I put up with these (as I always have) because when I need her, she’s always there.
Deedee - the slowest horse to start, she needs the most encouragement to get pulling, but she’s also the sweetest horse I have. She always walks half a step behind Joyce, but because of the evener, she pulls her share.
They’ll never win the 4-up driving contest at the World Percheron Congress, but all in all, they’re shaping up to become a pretty good team.