Horses, Life, A Touch of Geek

Archive for the ‘Driving’ Category

Driving Mr. Whizbang

Driving Thursday

Mr Whizbang and I are not as good as Alvin and I were last year. Alvin’s not only a great horse, he’s an easy-going one. He’ll reward you for being close enough. Mr. Whizbang, not so much. I have the feeling that there is a very specific way that Mr. Whizbang wants to be driven. Only, he’s not going to tell me what it is. It’s on me to find out.

In our most recent lesson, we had a few steps of stellar, dirt-flinging extended trot. When I asked in – what felt to me – exactly same way, he cantered. Repeatedly.

Corners are similar. If I let him go, he canters. If I support as I did with Big, he slows down and we have to recreate the extended trot for each long side. Somewhere in there is the right amount of whoa and go. We had it for one turn around the bottom of the ring.

Mr. Whizbang is not being mean. If I get it right, he’s happy to cooperate. If I don’t get it right, meh. He sees no reason to do my job for me.

Talent and willingness are separate attributes. A talented horse might be hell on wheels, or a joy to work with. Ditto horses on the other end of the scale. Nor are these attributes absolute. Depends who’s asking. The blogger Bad Eventer bought a horse to move up the levels.

It turned out, anything with a ditch involved was a deal breaker as far as she was concerned.

Click over for the, um, illuminating photos. The mare has her good points …

As long as you stay below Novice and don’t point her at anything with a ditch underneath it she’s an absolute rock star.

… and is adored by new owner.

“I’m so grateful to have such a beauty in my life. Thank you to everyone who helped me have this moment and so many more with this mare I love.”

Bad Eventer: Where are They Now? Part Two

Mr. Whizbang is waiting for me to be the driver he deserves.

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

Sudden Switch

Driving Thursday

Switching in a hurry from driving to riding makes Alvin mad. The only time I have felt Alvin threaten to mutiny was at a Dixie Cup show when our riding classes immediately followed his driving class.

In numerous shows, Alvin drove first and then was ridden a few classes later. He was fine. In fact, I was of the opinion that the driving loosened him up and put him in a good mood for riding [Report]. Just don’t ask him to do it back-to-back.

The switchover can be hard on riders as well.

Between the driving class and long-lining Milton, I have been holding my reins for driving more than for riding lately. It took me half-way around the first trot to mentally switch back. MSSP 2015

At Dixie Cup this year [Report], I didn’t have to suffer the switch. Mr. Whizbang did. After the victory pass in Academy Driving (!), folks swarmed him like NASCAR pitcrew. Harness came off. Saddle & bridle went on. One lap around warm-up. In we went.

Either Mr. Whizbang was of the same opinion as Alvin, or I had gotten myself into a state thinking he might be of the same opinion as Alvin. Whoever was the originating culprit, I clearly felt a deep breath go through the two of us halfway through the class.

Like my Mama says, It’s not the ups and downs. It’s the sudden changes of direction.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Show Photo: Pro-Am 2017, The Wonderful Mr. Whizbang

Driving Thursday

W is for The Wonderful Mr. Whizbang. 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]


HB Whizbang on the way to winning our inaugural Academy Driving class.
Photo by Doug Shiflet

Thank you to Shiflet Photography for giving photo certificates as Academy prizes [Show Report II].

My photos: Shiflet Photography > View Proofs > 2017 Pro Am > Saturday ACA >
120 – Aca Showmanship Driving
121 – Aca Reinsmanship Driving
132 – Aca Equitation Adult WTC
133 – Aca Showmanship Adult WTC
136 – Aca WTC Championship
Purple vest, black helmet
Note that everyone had helmets! It may have been required for juniors.

This is the first time I did not buy a riding picture. It was that bad. [Show Report I].

Coach Courtney’s thesis that it’s all in by head gets further proof by the lovely pictures of Desi in her other classes.
127 – Aca Equitation WT 9- 10
128 – Aca Showmanship WT 9- 10
Blue vest on the rider, knee boots on the horse.
Yes, being shown in walk-trot by a 10-year-old. No, I don’t want to talk about it.

Coach Husband thinks the problem was showing a new-to-me horse for the first time. He has a point. He usually does. With the inexplicable exception of Previous Horse [Defense], I have always taken a while to adjust to a different horse [Report, Sorta]. My record is seven years with Opinionated Jumper Mare [Jump Crew].

Neither of these preclude my stick or dressage lesson arguments [Report I, above]. Why not both? I am vast, I contain a multitude of methods for getting in my own way.

Previous Photos
[2016] [2015]
List of posts [Perry GA]

Alvin in 2016
Photo by Doug Shiflet

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

Milton’s Contract

C is for contract. 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]

We have done – if I may say so – an outstanding job acclimatizing Milton to harness. He accepts pressure on the breastcollar, the crupper under his tail, the shafts bagging on his sides, all of it.


The time has come to readdress the horse underneath. I don’t want to imagine Milton having a snit fit [Hitched], with Greg sitting in the cart. A little more broke, if you please. (I know broke isn’t the PC term, but you know what I mean.) Less ground-driving at a walk and trot in harness, more trotting and cantering with a saddle on the lunge.

Greg will be doing most of the lunging work. I don’t have the level-headedness for it. I figure, Well, they’ll stop galloping about eventually. Plus, he did all the lunge work with Previous Horse and that worked out, at least as far as installing a ridable WTC. Whatever else we may or may not have done after was between me and Caesar [Defense].

After the first work session under the new paradigm, Milton stood in the barn wondering how his contract had gotten unilaterally renegotiated.

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