Monday, June 11, 2018


One day when we came home from school and went out to the barn to help Daddy with the chores we were surprised to see a new horse standing beside Jim. I didn't particularly care for the new horse. He was a burnt orange color and next to faithful Jim he looked awkward and out of place.

Daddy explained that he bought this two year old to train so Jim would no longer have to work so hard pulling our buggy up all these Somerset County hills. The horse didn't have a name so we got to help choose it. We went through a whole list of names and finally settled on Bob.

We used to hurry home from school to watch Daddy train Bob. He spent a lot of time talking and currying him and rubbing him down with old feed sacks. He explained that the feed sacks actually felt good to Bob and he needed to get used to seeing white things flutter close to him so he doesn't head for the ditch or try to run away if anything should happen to flap beside the road while he was hitched to the buggy. Bob's training progressed nicely. Once no part of the feed sack made him jumpy at all Daddy told us to bring an umbrella and open it right in front of Bob.

John and I ran to the house to get our big old black umbrella and took it out to the barn. Standing in front of Bob we opened it. It startled him and he jumped back. Daddy spoke calmly to him and then told us to do it again. It took a little while before Bob stood with out flinching the slightest bit as the umbrella opened and closed right in front of him.

Daddy was pleased at his progress because it would never do to have a skittish horse hitched to the buggy with the rest of his family at risk.

The day came when he tried a harness on him. Bob calmly accepted it and his training continued as Daddy walked behind him in the pasture holding the reins on the harness teaching him everything he needed to know to be a safe buggy horse.

Once Daddy was satisfied that he understood what was expected of him he hitched Jim to the buggy and tied Bob along side of him and took them for a drive down the road. When they came back Daddy was all smiles saying that Bob did really well and with several more weeks of running along beside Jim, Bob would be ready to go solo.


  1. What a patient man your father was and how gently he trained Bob.

  2. That was well done...far better to work with, or school a horse rather than breaking it

  3. It takes a patient person to train a horse or a frightened doggy. God bless your Dad.

  4. I enjoyed reading about Bob's training. Your Dad must have been a good trainer.

  5. Growing up on a farm over 70 years ago, my Dad always trained a new, young cattle dog by tying it to our old cattle dog! He would send the old dog out to bring in the cows, at milking time, and the young dog would have to go along! That method worked great, to train the young dog, so I'm thinking that the new horse would learn it's road manners from the old driving horse, as well! A great way to train an animal! It makes me wonder now, if my Dad learned that lesson watching his Dad train their young buggy horses??? I LOVE reading this column! Thanks for sharing!


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