As you surely know by now, I dream of being a driving mule and making FarmWife's dreams come true. With the help of my beloved and gracious friends, I have raised over $300 towards a beta biothane harness for the furthering of this cause. I am a lucky mule, and have the best fans in the world. Ears to you!
FarmWife's history as a driver includes starting wee Sir Lancelittle, a miniature gelding, in harness when she was a teen on beautiful Whidbey Island. That went well, and she came away confident in her ability to drive a larger animal. I have volunteered to be her next guinea pig! I have learned to ground drive, and now I walk and trot, between the lines, hither and thither through Wickersham with a proud step and glinting eye.
I have come up with some options, and because I am making a publicly-funded purchase I have decided to put it to you, my readers, to weigh them. I will give particular importance to the responses of A) kind donors, of which there have been many, and B) experienced drivers, from whom we seek to learn.
The Comfy Fit harness from Chimacum Tack. Chimacum is a sponsor of www.BraysOfOurLives.com, donating a generous commission on purchases via referral from the blog. It is a good company of great reputation, and its owner and founder is always willing to share her wisdom and insight with green drivers like FarmWife. The Comfy Fit is reputed to be a harness of wonderful comfort, which would certainly please me. Nothing is too good for Fenway Bartholomule!
With $321 in hand, we are well on our way to our monetary goal of $795 to buy the Comfy Fit harness, as was our original intention.
There is a harness for sale, second hand but little-used, by a private party. It is Amish-made beta, haflinger sized, stainless steel hardware, complete with brown lines, a bridle, and green fleecey pads. It sounds great, and the price is right! I could afford it now, with the funds already raised. I will guess that it lacks the wide, shaped breastplate and the high-tech weight-bearing tree of the Comfy Fit, being more traditionally designed, but it is a good harness.
A collar harness. It has occurred to me that a collar is harder to fit, but it might be a good choice for me. After all, farm work—skidding small logs for firewood, for instance, and learning to plow—may be in my future, and to use a marathon-type harness for such work would be unconventional! Chimacum, like other distributors, sells a lovely harness and collar setup for something in the range of $600-700 altogether, and I'm sure that the correct sizing could be managed with advice and careful measurement.
Now, if I haven't bored you to tears already I will tell you what it is I intend to do with this harness once I have it. It will help you in the rendering of Good Advice.
To start, I plan to drag tires about. Why FarmWife wants me to do this I cannot imagine, but she does and I will.
I will then move up to dragging the pasture, which could use some dragging anyway and which can be done with the equipment on hand. I may also be able to procure some sort of homemade training vehicle, since my human grandpa is a mechanic and welder of immense creativity and resourcefulness. We shall see.
I will save up to buy a vehicle, but it is more likely to be one of the cheaper two-wheeled types than not. I understand that these require careful balance so as not weigh the saddle to heavily, so we will resist the urge to buy a $400 bicycle-wheeled cart off Ebay and instead watch and save for a quality used cart or wagon. I will also save for lessons and clinics, and as FarmWife's children grow, her income and her discretionary funds will grow too. Perhaps by the time she is 40, and I am 25, we can have a real driving budget and some more competitive aspirations. Maybe even a green mule to bring along as my disciple!
In the immediate future, our means are limited. When it comes to buying a $6000 marathon carriage I simply must be realistic and admit that it's not part of our current plan. For now, FarmWife dreams to drive me on the gravel logging roads and paved backroads of Wickersham, take family drives to the restaurants and friends' houses, and do a bit of work around the farm.
So, there you have it. What I want, why I want it, and by what means I might be able to get it. Advice welcome . . . please, bring on your thoughts and comments!