Katie's Journal

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The Screaming Eagle Goes Flying

by @ 9:42 pm on December 24, 2005.

I blogged earlier about the two sleighs that mom and I bought in a moment of total insanity. We bought the sleighs on Sunday, the 18th. We went back to pick up mom’s on the 19th, and then returned one more time on the 20th to pick up mine. It’s about 90 minutes each way to get there, so those visits really ate into our days for that stretch, and put us behind in a lot of things. Anyway, when we got mine home, I wanted to make sure we’d be able to attach the harness so it would be ready to go the next day when I wanted to try it with Caleb. Two trips to Lowes, and a lot of improvising later, we thought we had a workable solution. You’d think they would’ve come up with a consistent way for harnesses to hook to shafts, but no. We have three sets of shafts, and every single one of them hooks differently. And we had to jerry rig all three of them to get them to work at all. While that was a frustrating process to go through, between dad and I we did end up coming up with things that will work well, and be easy to deal with.

Wednesday morning we toted the sleigh out to the barn, and got everything hooked together and Caleb harnessed. I took him out, and we got the shafts of the sleigh fitted into the harness. I still think they’re a little small for him, but they’re workable. I hitched him all up, and he stood very well for me through all of that. To start with, I walked by his head and just had him pull the sleigh. That went fine, so very quickly I switched to driving from behind, but not getting in the sleigh yet. That also went fine, so I figured what the heck, and jumped on in. Caleb did just fine. He was still a bit fussy about the whole thing – lots of head tossing – but overall he was very, very good, especially for his first time. Mom was even brave enough to get in with me for a little bit, although she did have to bail once when one of the runners got caught in a drift and the sleigh tipped a bit.

As always, I have a full album of photos available here, but am posting a few of my favorites:

Calebsleigh1

Calebsleigh2

Calebsleigh3

Calebsleigh4

Just mom and I went to the barn on Thursday (the day after these photos were taken) for a second ride. Caleb did much better about being settled through the whole thing. He was pretty much content to walk, and he didn’t toss his head nearly as much at all. Regrettably, those are the only two rides we’ve taken so far. After that I had to take a few days off to get some stuff done around the house. And then we hit a few warm days which is melting down the snow (it’s raining as I type this). But I think the temperature is supposed to start dropping later today, and hopefully will turn back to snow sometime tonight.

On one other note, Kota’s new harness arrived. It’s very nice, and I’m anxious to try it on him and get some pictures, but haven’t had the chance yet. He’s never worn blinders, so I’ll have to see how he takes to those. His sleigh is ready to go (dad and I had to jerry rig it, as well), but we haven’t taken it to the barn yet. It’s still decorating the front porch. Caleb’s harness didn’t fit Kota well enough to hook him up to my sleigh, so I was waiting for his new harness to arrive before really doing much with the sleigh behind him. I did hook him up to mine with mom and dad back with the sleigh to make sure it didn’t slide anywhere it shouldn’t, and just led him down the driveway and back to get him pulling it. He did well going in a straight line, but when it came time to turn I think having to push against the shafts upset him a bit. Not that he did anything bad, but his eyes got kinda wide at that part. It was a tight turn there at the end of the driveway, but it’s something else I’ll have to get him used to I think before getting in the sleigh. It was easy with Caleb – I more or less just got in and went. I think with Kota it might even be worth hitching up the sleigh and leading him on a long walk out through the field to get him used to the blinders and the turns and such before I try driving with him. He’s been doing so very well, it’s sometimes hard to remember how new all this is to him. So now I’m off to work on cleaning the house, hoping that soon this nasty rain will turn to snow so I can go out sleigh riding again.

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