How do you get them up there, is there a trick? I had to haul one over a deer fence a couple of years ago, so I imagine getting them up on to a garron is hard grunt. Do the ponies ever mind a dead deer/herbivore on their backs? Do they need to be trained to accept them or are they unphased? Sorry too many questions, I worked horses when I started on the saw in the woods over thirty years ago. I am only familiar with hauling deer out or quads so genuinely interested in traditional ways and it is wonderful to see garrons working.
Considerable time is spent in training and preparing these ponies to carry out their tasks from young. It must be quite different from carrying a human on top.
On this occasion there were three of us. It was the ponies first stag for a couple of seasons so John the Stalker chose a lighter beast to take. The pony was reintroduced to the smell and was completely untroubled by the process. We positioned the pony below the stag to make less of a lift, I held the halter whilst Stalker and Gillie eased the deer up and over to a balanced point. The pony stood solid whilst any number of leather straps were skilfully fastened to hold the stag safely in the saddle.
Amazing to see how he picked his way down the hill avoiding the bogs and hidden burns that would have taken us well above our knees. Best of all was the quiet.
It was a true privilege that won’t be forgotten in a hurry.