Driving Miss M

Although yesterday was my first driving lesson, it was not my first driving experience.

Way back when, we had the idea of making Mathilda into a Combined Driving horse for Hubby. Since she was gravitationally challenged, jumping and eventing were out. Although, Hubby is quick to remind me that Mathilda did complete one Elementary horse trial, which put her ahead of Previous Horse as an event horse. Being better than PH as an event horse is like being better than a polar bear at the Limbo. Given the mud, the solid jumps, the changing terrain, the lack of perimeter fence, there was no part of eventing that appealed to PH, but I digress.

Fortunately, we were living in driving-friendly area. Without looking terribly hard, we found a wooden training cart and set of used harness. Out came the driving books. Every tried hitching a horse based on diagrams? Not recommended. That part Mathilda did well. She stood while we fiddled with this and tightened that. She didn’t freak out the first time she felt the cart pull on the traces. After that, it went downhill without brakes.

We never found the right bit. If it was too strong, she’d curl up her neck. If it was too soft, she’d run off. On really fun days, she’d do both. My memory says that she was okay as long as Hubby was walking behind the cart. She never made the transition to trotting with a passenger. We tried maybe a handful of times. I know we never left our own fields. But, in truth, it’s all a bit blurry.

The memory of the last day blots out the rest. There was trotting. There may have been cantering. The two images that stay with me are Mathilda flying back into view with cart but sans driver. They had taken off into the second field and gone out of my sight. As they rounded the barn turn, Hubby thought she was going to cut into the barn and leaned that way only to have her turn the other way. Out he popped. Once we established that he was okay, we went back into the first field to see Mathilda standing in the middle of the field, straps dangling from every body part. The cart was wedged into the fence. To this day, we cannot explain how she drove both shafts into the wire mesh without being between them.

Is it any wonder I was nervous about driving?

Your driving experiences?
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Gratuitous Kitten Pic
Percy demonstrates an alternate use of the scratching pad.

Categories: Horses, Western

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