THE SLED By Paul and Karen Lockwood.
I was talking with Ron Morgan from TMCA one day and he mentioned having to get a load of roofing iron up onto the February Plain to re-roof Basil’s Hut. He could get the iron to within 1 km of the hut but it was then a fairly steep walk up onto the plain and across to the hut. He was hoping that the occasional bush walker would carry it in one sheet at a time, trouble was there was 26 sheets.
I suggested that we use horses to drag the tin, maybe on a sled or something like that, I volunteered Spike for the job as he had already pulled a sled with a human on it, had also dragged many other objects and pulled a cart.
I had to design and build the sled, we needed something that was light weight, long enough to carry 8′ sheets of tin, and strong enough to endure the rocky terrain. I used 2″ poly pipe as runners with timber inserts for strength, a small hardwood deck, and a roofing iron bash plate underneath.
Next came the fun part, introducing it to the horses at home. I introduced it to Spike on line, and then pulled the sled around next to him, the rest of the herd all “helped”. I had made a harness from an old solid breastplate so I hooked him up to the swingle tree and sled and led him around until he could handle it, then I had him on long reins but decided that it was too difficult to control him from the ground in difficult terrain. I decided that riding was a better option so I attached the 22′ line to the sled and dallied around the saddle horn which made for a quick release if we got into trouble. This worked very well and after seven sessions with the sled we were ready for the job.
So on the morning of the 12th December Karen and I loaded up the horses and drove to meet Ron Morgan and Philip Griffin on the road to the February Plain. They had all the tin and the sled and went ahead to unload and clear a little of the path. We rode to the meeting place and on with the job. Loaded up seven sheets of 8′ tin, secured it, checked it for the weight as both Ron and Philip were needed to manoeuvre it in some of the more difficult terrain. I took up the lead rope and off we went with Karen on Bluey bringing up the rear and taking video of the day. All went well apart from some minor snags on saplings and big rocks, we made another two runs with eight sheets of 8′ on one load and then one 8′ sheet and ten 5′ sheets for the last load to the drop off point just near the hut.
Spike did the most amazing job, he was really with me and by the third load he was even anticipating the places where we had to manoeuvre around obstacles. He is a true partner. Bluey also did well with following the sled while Karen handled the video and also having Phil ride him part of the day, only the third person to have been on him.
Both Karen and I are very proud of what our horses achieved on this day.
Putting Practice to Purpose
Horse love nothing more than being given a job to do and so we should challenge our horses to test all that practice.
Paul and Karen Lockwood have been challengeing their horses to cope with a variety of events including parades, group trail rides and cattle musters.
Paul says of their latest adventure….
“We had a great time moving the cows 30 km in 2 days, from Emu plain to Mole Creek. Horses did 30 km on day 1 & 15 km day 2, gave them a break on day 2 & only rode the one way then got a lift to the floats so we could pick them up.
Bluey did great only having to do day 2, after 4 hours following cows he was starting to push them along & was so busy watching the cows he didn’t notice the Llama as we passed it at Mole Creek. Spike did great rounding up strays & breakouts, only got scared once by a Miniature black Pony, that was charging at him & squealing as we rode passed, lucky there was a fence.
Ron & Dean were a pleasure to muster cattle with, really know their job, and we learned heaps from them.”
If you have a ‘purpose’ story, please write to me and send a photo if possible. Click Here to Email Me.