Horses, Life, A Touch of Geek

Archive for the ‘Combined Driving’ Category

Foto Friday: Distance Problems

I need to figure out how to photograph Greg’s combined driving lessons.

Too far. CDE dressage rings are enormous. I’m sitting under a tree by the side of the ring. Greg is the distant red dot in the center of the ring.

Too close. From my navigator’s perch, over the driver’s shoulder.

I have a feeling I’m gonna need a really big, i.e. expensive, zoom for this. Or perhaps a GoPro.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Greg and the Ladies

Driving Thursday

Greg had driving lessons both days last weekend.

Saturday: saddle seat with Posh. I was kibitzing observing, so no photo [Photo Fail].

From earlier
MSSP 2016
Sandra Hall Photography

Sunday: combined driving with Bliss.

Photo by Kate Bushman

Photo by Kate Bushman

Photo by Kate Bushman

Both were as good as I’ve seen him drive in either style. I’ve always thought he would be a great driver. The only question I have is, What’s up with him and mares?

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Kate’s Carriage

Driving Thursday

Coach Kate’s lovely new marathon carriage.

The navigator’s seat. Used for cones. Removed for marathon.

I see one of these in my future.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Lots of Lessons

Driving Thursday

E is for Education. If you are joining me from Blogging A To Z, welcome! Since the blog is already daily, with topics for each day [About: Schedule], there is no specific A To Z theme. I may even skip a few letters. Gasp. Clutch the pearls. The goal for this year is less crazy, more visiting. [Ze State of Ze Blog 2014]

Our driving education continues. We both had lessons.

Combined Driving, Greg

This is what happens when the driver is heavy on the brakes.

Saddle Seat, Katherine

Speaking of brakes …

… Snippy legit ran off in my last lesson.

It really wasn’t too bad. By the time I realized, ‘Houston, we have a problem.’ and started to react, he thankfully dropped out of it. I suspect it was more disconcerting to watch than to experience.

I was more apprehensive about an incident earlier in the lesson. We were trotting. I was requesting an extended trot. Instead of complying, Snippy [earlier lesson, photo] slowed to a walk, then stopped. We were right next to the gate, so it could have been an innocent momentum dump.

However, as he ground to a stop in front of me, I had a flash of all the things that could go wrong from here. Greg and I have been told repeatedly that you get in less trouble driving when the horse is moving forward. Back and/or up are not things you want to think about (I feel superstitious even typing this). So, I took one look at the stationary horse butt in front of me and said, ‘No sir. You will resume trotting immediately.’

Later, while he was zooming along, I had a moment to think, ‘At least he’s going forward.’

Of course, that was then. Now my brain is obsessing over the minor incidents – that I totally handled – in an otherwise stellar lesson. There are times when I hate my brain.

Forward. Forward. Forward.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Concerning Conflicts

Driving Thursday

In Which My Magnanimous Gesture Turns Out To Be An Empty One

Snippy & Me
Photo by Courtney Huguley

Phase 1: We first discuss Greg’s driving schedule. NO conflicts. I send Coach Courtney, Stepping Stone Farm, a celebratory text.

3 organizations. 3 show schedules. No conflicts. #signfromtheuniverse

The three organizations were the two driving groups, AWWCC and MTCC, & the saddle seat folks.

Phase 2: Coach Kate, Whip Hand Farm, decides our plans have been a wee bit ambitious. We pull back to more local/regional activities. Dates collide. I write my Selfless Wife post saying that it is Greg’s turn and I won’t show for three months [Conflicts].

Phase 3: Life-related logistics conspire against the various combined driving activities.

Result …

I’m going to a horse show! Since I have a truck now!! I can bring the second cart, meaning I can show both driving and riding. Snippy will be my chauffeur (or I will be his?). While Snippy is marvelous to drive, he doesn’t have Alvin’s auto-pilot. We have been doubling up on lessons to get acquainted.

Between the Shafts

Horse Show! Horse Show!

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

The Downside of Driving

Driving Thursday

That’s a lot of tack to clean.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Milton Gets Hitched

In which we declare … victory?

Milton did so well with the walk-alongs [Milton Gets Shafted] that we decided to hitch him to the practice cart. Yes, we could have done more successive approximations, but the time felt right. As with backing a horse, you can lean on the horse all you want. At some point, you have to put your leg over and see what happens.

With suppressed trepidation, I connected the various straps, stood back, and watched Greg lead off. Absolutely no reaction. Shafts, traces, breastcollar, crupper, whatever. Milton plodded along peacefully. Milton was tied to a piece of equipment! The practice cart is so light that he wasn’t pulling much, but he was pulling something. Milton was tied to a piece of equipment! Milton was on his way to earning a big, bright, blinking gold star.

Then, the cows next door stampeded. They live there. Rodney and Milton see these cows all. the. time. In Milton’s defense, they were thundering and mooing and crowding the trees next to our pasture. The noise was epic.

Milton had a spinning hissy fit. Horse everywhere. Cart everywhere. Greg retained control of the front end. During a lull in the action, I was able to distract Milton by rattling a peppermint. I then shoveled peppermints as on conveyor belt. This localized Milton long enough for me to unhitch. Greg walked around until pulses stopped red-lining.

We are almost (almost!) completely convinced that the problem was the cows, not the cart. Usually the cows are at the far end of their pasture. When they are close, or when anything else needs investigating, Rodney takes point and Milton bravely guards from the rear. With his bodyguard chilling in the barn after work, Milton was not pleased to be left alone with feral, rampaging cows.

Cow Pastorale. The cows usually hang out far way (blue circle). On this day, they started up next to the fence (red circle) and ran to the right along the fenceline. The bare spot is Rodney’s observation post.

On one hand, Milton was not bothered by the practice cart, even when it was slinging around behind him. On the other hand, it’s hard to be happy with a schooling session that ends in hysteria.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott