By Bridget Simon
Radar is a foundation Shetland pony, bred from the McLeod Creek Shetlands. Standing at 10 hands high, he is my world. I first bought Radar with intentions of just walking and driving around the 560 acres we have. But after playing with some cones one day, I came to the realization that he liked speed as much as I do.
We enjoy driving in the CDE’s, competing in Dressage, Cones, and Marathon. Playing near our home in Alberta home is amazing. We have the River to zip through, sand hills to blast around in, rocky areas to challenge us, flat ground, gravel… If you can name a type of terrain, we have it right here at home!
Radar and I find adventure in all sorts of driving, from CDEs to crazy out back bush blazing. This means we need to have a variety of vehicles. Those vehicles are what I’d like to share with you about here:
First is our CDE vehicle. Radar and I drive a lovely Frey Small Pony Sprint, with some special options. These include: Patent dash and fender, drop cloth, and a dropped single tree. Since we drive CDEs with a collar, the dropped single tree gives us a better line of draft. Weighing in at just 125 pounds, the Frey Small Pony Sprint is an extremely elegant looking vehicle and our presentation seems to come together quite nicely.
Second, for our wild bush adventures, we have a Vander Veen Extreme Duty Cart, made here locally in Alberta. This is a little cart that you can really buzz around in. The Extreme weighs in at just 35lbs. I really like the shaft design on it – the shafts can be lengthened as well as turned to fit your pony better. Radar and I use this one when we do marathons and general bombing around at home. Finally, winter weather requires its own vehicles, and we have a couple of them:
First is our Quebec racing sled. Down east, they do a lot of Derby racing, where they have cones and obstacles set up in an outdoor area, and runs are timed. My sled can slide through the cones and around corners like there’s no tomorrow! I love the fact that it is so light-weight and I do not need a groom for balance. This one is 77 lbs. and can fit up to 12hh pony.
Next, we have our Otter Sled. You can buy these from pretty much any sporting goods or hardware store. The Otter Sled is often used behind a snowmobile. I put a square bale of straw in ours with a blanket and sheepskin on it. A friend made us a set of shafts for it – they are the best! Just pull the pins, and you can put your shafts onto a bigger or smaller sled. This one weighs 35lb. It is marvelous, because we can easily go cruising down the bank, across the river and up the other side. If you do go into deeper snow, it stays on top and does not make for a heavy pull on your pony. The Otter Sled has to be my favorite of all my vehicles.
Finally, I also have the VSE-Small Pony Frey Rebel. It is a newer vehicle recently released by the Frey Carriage Company. The Rebel has the coolest suspension yet, I think. We can take this cart and go way out back, through the bush, making our own trails, across the rough terrain where the cows have made pot holes and mounds. Also, we have taken this cart down the trails where quads go. I myself won’t ride a quad through those trails, but taking Radar is no problem. We never get stuck! Hahaha! This Rebel is 110lbs. Although I have the purple model, if it were black my Rebel would look amazing in the dressage ring, too!
Here we are with a fresh dump of 7 inches of snow. Radar is sporting his fluorescent orange Marafun harness from Comfy fit and hitched to his New Frey Small Pony Rebel.
Next we have Team Radar with the Otter sled. We purchased a sled from the local hardware store and had shafts made for it. This winter vehicle takes us on all sorts of adventures. We zip down the banks, across the river and up the other side. We go through the brush, ditches, mud… anywhere! It is so fun to play with!
Not only do Radar and I take advantage of a ton of driving in different situations and terrain, we also enjoy CDE’s. So, it is true, yes, we do dress up! Here we are driving in our blinged-out Frey Sprint cart. We love how it is elegant yet versatile in all ways… and check out our ComfyFit Harness! Perfect match for the vehicle.
Team Radar, having a bit of fun zipping through the river on our place. We are driving in our Vanderveen Extreme Duty Cart. It is made locally in Alberta, and you can find them on Facebook, too: Vander Veen Horse Carts. This one weighs 35lbs — And it matches our purple harness to!!!
Here is another shot of Radar and me testing out our new Quebec racing sled, for Small pony. Radar is 10hh. The weight on it is all of 77 lbs. We sure can fly around the cone course with this little gem!
Here we are out using our Frey Rebel cart – This little cart is amazing! Radar took me through some pretty remarkable terrain, and he, I, and the cart all did great. We love using our Comfy fit harness with the sliding back pad. It does not put any stress on Radar, whatsoever.
Whatever the weather or terrain, you’ll find Team Radar out enjoying the adventure of driving!