Once upon a time Andy and Charlie were clean and tidy. These two hairy-fairies scrubbed up very nicely and used to do posh things like competing at big shows both in Shetland and in Scotland.
We started by showing them as a pair. They were very “enthusiastic” which actually means “sometimes out of control”. Side by side in harness, Andy and Charlie would start to race. In this picture at a local show, an important nut/bolt fell off the carriage because of their behaviour.
The week before we left for The Royal Highland Show, Jo drove Andy and Charlie out on the road as a pair. I was the groom. They were terrifying and when we were galloped towards a cattle grid, we seriously wondered whether they would actually stop.
A decision had to be made and quickly. Could we go to an important show, and therefore be seen in public, with two out-of-control racing Shetland ponies in harness? We sat at my kitchen table over a cup of tea, trying to calm our nerves whilst deliberating over what to do. If we were going to change the set-up, now was the time to do it. A deep breath and we decided to try Andy and Charlie as a tandem. We had never done it with them, driving them only as a pair, but this set-up was not working and they were becoming too dangerous to be driven. Jo went home and adapted their show harness to tandem and off we travelled to The Royal Highland show with baited breath.
The Gods smiled and the boys did very well – they won their class. This was probably their second time out as a tandem. Charlie, as the leader, could not race Andy if he was always behind him so he trotted along happily, enjoying the attention and did his best not to be a prat. Andy as the wheeler was steady and in his element. He did a good job and most of the work!
We even made it to the Grand Parade at the end of the day when there was a torrential downpour. Note the loose traces and Charlie pointing his little hooves to look pretty – perfect.
Andy and Charlie have never been driven as a pair again.