Clinic Report: Muffie Seaton, Auburn AL
A million years ago, we tried driving with Mathilda. It did not go well [Driving Miss M]. In the distant future, her Chief Minion may try again. With this in mind, we audited part of a combined driving clinic last Saturday.
Although both are done with horse and cart, combined driving is a different beast than the academy driving that I do.
Sometimes likened to a team triathlon, a Combined Driving Event consists of three competitions – Dressage, Marathon, and Obstacle/Cones
In Dressage, horses or ponies and their drivers drive individually in specified patterns and gaits to demonstrate the skills, obedience, and development appropriate to their levels of training.
Marathon. Not only do competitors cover distance, they also negotiate challenge “obstacles” every kilometer or so, in which they choose their paths to go through “gates” in the correct direction and sequence.
Cones. To demonstrate the fitness, mind and training of the horse following the more physical challenges of the Marathon. [American Driving Society: Combined Driving] ADS
Basically, eventing with a cart.
In the sessions on Saturday, drivers practiced their driven dressage. It was all about circling and bending and half-halting. These are not skills I practice with Alvin & Co.
On the other hand, much of what Ms. Seaton had to say applied to any discipline, driving or ridden:
“The answer is always to go forward.”
“Be as subtle as he’ll let you be.”
“Ask the horse to go, but don’t drop the reins.”
Hmmm, where have I heard that before?
Pet Peave: People talking at a clinic
Shut up, please. I do not give up a day of my life, sit in the sun, and eat ring dust for the joy of listening to the audience. The only the clinician is allowed to pontificate. Disagree with the clinician? I don’t care. Listen respectfully, go home, and ignore everything. Can’t be quiet? Then go away. Your theories are irrelevant; your charming anecdotes, unwanted. Don’t ask me about my horses. Lunch break? Bring it on. Tell me the lineage of every member in your herd. The clinician is teaching? Then STFU. Seriously, S. T. F. U. Thank you.