. . . wear it! Good news- the green meanie is plenty big enough for Louie! Twice this week we've walked Louie with the cart, shafts just through the tugs, not hooked. On Tuesday I was a little more nervous than I think I would like to be, every time Louie took one step a little faster than I thought he should, I had a panic moment and stopped him. It's as if I forgot that the cart could easily be pulled away from him if he needed it to be. But today, I did much better- and so did Louie.
We just walked around for a few minutes with the cart through the tugs, with me leading Louie by a lunge line attached to his halter (over his bridle and blinder hood) and petting him and praising him all along the way. We practiced stopping every once in a while, and making turns with the shafts at Louie's sides. Louie is pretty desensitized to the feeling of shafts against his sides with all of his shaft training he's done, though the cart is a little more restrictive than loose shafts that aren't attached to anything, so he's getting used to stepping over and abiding by where the shafts allow his butt to go. The green meanie makes almost no noise behind him, so there's really not a whole lot to be desensitized to in that way- at least not yet.
I'll admit I'm a little bit nervous about hooking him and proceeding with the training, but we've got some good resources out there for assistance and professionals available to step in when we need help. We're making progress, slowly but surely. Onward we go. . . green meanie in tow!