Rely gets criticized rather often for his strong-willed nature; but, it is the contrast between his usual behavior and the compliance he shows in this activity that is so illustrative.
You've heard the expressions 'put out to pasture' and 'put to a vote', but have you heard, "he was first put to at the age of two"? Not, 'put out' or 'put upon', but 'put to?'
I love the expression, we 'put Rely to the carriage'. That means to hitch up to drive. I still remember how off-putting putting to was to us in the beginning. We had a fully trained horse, a carriage and a harness, but we were clueless about how to merge them so that we could drive. We went to a 'hands on' clinic at Tom O-Carroll's Good Hands Training Center and were given the basics. That was about six years ago. We've not forgotten anything he taught us! But, one thing he told us was "you need to practice!" We have been lax about that instruction. We said we would do it; we intended to do it, but we rarely actually get to it! It would get easier for us to 'put to' if we did it more often, but the intervals are so great that each time it is like a quiz.
There are plenty of folks that can 'put their horse to' all by themselves. Alone. I've done it twice, I think, and it is NOT easy for me! So, I have to wait until my Hub is willing to assist. It is such a special day when he agrees. Not only does he help hitch, he also takes photos! I LOVE seeing the expressions on folks' faces! I can't see them while I'm focused on driving. So, I rush to the computer when we finish to download the photos he's taken and savor them long afterward.
Anyway, for weeks, we've had lovely weekend weather (especially for this time of the year) and I've been chomping at the bit to drive. Each weekend we keep riding instead. But, this past Saturday, I was bound and determined to drive and we did!
I really love driving. It is quite different from riding. It is sort of gliding over the ground: skimming along. It feels elegant. I love looking down on the horse with his neck bent to the task. The harness is fascinating to look at with the muscles working under it.
And one thing I like most about driving is that you can include others! Although it is possible to take a small child up on horseback with you (riding double), with a four wheel carriage, we can 'cart' around four to five folks at once. Rely actually pulls more than his weight! We don't make him go up hill and down with it. Just around and around on level ground.
He steps right out and treds the breeze, nimbly threading through the trees! Analytical person that I am, I ponder why this is so exhilerating to my soul. I think the primary reason is that Rely has been PUT TO a true purpose! He is fulfilling his potential. He is serving those who his master asks him to convey and he is doing it with comprehension, willingness, obedience and grace. Only those that know him well can understand how out-of-character this is for him. He transcends himself when harnessed and pulling in accordance with the steering and voice of his driver.
Footnote: a certain sweetie who shall remain nameless (unless she asks to be identified) took some of the photos on Saturday for us. She'll likely know which are hers! She did a great job!