Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Florida Carriage Museum: Day One (Long Post)

This week I'm visiting my grandparents in Florida. We get a lot of down time when we visit here and although it's immensely relaxing, sometimes it's nice to really get out and do something. Lucky for us, the Florida Carriage Museum is just a half-hour's drive away.
Photo credit to my mom
The museum in itself is truly remarkable. They have all sorts of equine-pulled vehicles on display, complete with large model horses that match certain carriages. Some aren't lucky enough to have horses but oh well. They're just as cool. We didn't go in there this time around, because we've already been twice and admission is expensive. However, I don't think we've forgotten how awesome it is. It's also a resort which gives carriage rides with the four-in-hand (see picture above), hosts weddings, and basically operates the way you'd expect any other destination resort to operate.

Well, actually they don't really. The place hosts the Horse Shows in the Park, which are schooling shows for HITS, a big prestigious horse show thingy in Florida. A couple summers age we attended one, which was admittedly pretty unimpressive (AKA my horse and I could have ridden rounds to equal theirs, even with all our issues). It's a great show venue, though, and I think the people showing really enjoyed it.
Leaving the barn during my lesson
We went there today so I could take a driving lesson. They offer lessons for many styles of driving, and you have to begin with a single. Last year I took a lesson, as well, but most of the harnessing stuff slipped my mind pretty quickly along with how to turn. This summer I will hopefully be going further and learning to drive a double as well. My high school for next year has a farm program in which I should be able to drive the draft horses if I'm good enough. They go in pairs, so it's essential that I learn now.In my opinion, anyway.

The lesson was a lot of fun. I remembered most of it when we actually got started, so I think I have a good chance of learning to drive doubles during at least one of our two lessons next week. One of the great parts of taking lessons at the museum is that the scenery is absolutely stunning. The property is enormous and filled with large and beautifully kept pastures, most of which house only two or three horses, if that. And there are a lot of horses. After the lesson was over I convinced my mom, grandma, and sister to walk around part of the grounds so I could meet some of the horses and take pictures.

The first horse we met was called Hugo. He was at the top of the pasture when we first saw him but then  a golf cart drove by and he came galloping down to meet it. We, incidentally, were right there.
Galloping to meet us

Then we walked up by where the horse I had been driving, Tonto, was pastured. He's a Paint Horse-Draft cross. Very cute and chunky.
The next pasture along the road was full of two Friesians. One of them had just been used in the four-in-hand so he was rolling right as we walked up.
Fuzzy Wuzzy...
Itchy itchy
The fields right across each had a little chestnut pony.
Bad shot of Pony #1
Equally mediocre shot of Pony #2
The next horses we came across were pretty far along the loop we took, but it was definitely worth it to get some of the shots I did. The first was of this stunning Gypsy Vanner (I think...) who was in a pasture by himself. He was moving around a lot and the pics of him are pretty blurry because I stupidly forgot to turn the camera setting from "Flash Off" to "Sports." Head-desk. Either way,  the horse really makes up for it by being lovely. Excuse me for including lots of pictures of him because I can't help it.

 Ok, admit it, you enjoy looking at this horse. Right?!

 Hugo made a comeback, now with his friend. Apparently they got moved to a different pasture.

 Almost done! There was another pasture of Vanners at the bottom of the hill. Their manes were all braided to keep them from getting dirty, and it looked very cute.

Two pictures to go! One of the last horses we saw appeared to be a Haflinger. Sweet face, no?

 And the last equids... a rare French donkey protecting what I believe is either a mini or a Falabella. I'm leaning towards Falabella, because the proportions don't appear particularly horse-like. Either way, very sweet! The donkey is there to protect the mini from predators, because donkeys are good at that and I can definitely see the mini needing it.

All done! At last, eh? I'll be repeating this twice next week, too, on Tuesday and Wednesday. Be aware. And I can't resist putting in this last photo, which is what a lot of you must be thinking/feeling at this moment with the gargantuan post.

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE the shot of the Vanner's blue eye... so pretty! I love the horse's expression in the last one too. XD Nice pics!