Horses, Life, A Touch of Geek

Archive for the ‘Driving’ Category

Hippity Hoppity

Fortunately this ended well.

During Greg’s most recent driving lesson at Stepping Stone Farm, we over-adjusted some of the straps, apparently. As soon as Milton moved off, he started bucking in harness. Not a sight one wants to see. Coach Courtney gave swift but calmly-voiced instructions. Greg handled it. In retrospect, it was a few bucks over a short distance. Milton recovered immediately. The rest of us took a while longer.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott


Show Tweets: NACHS17, A Horse Show in 6 Tweets

National Academy Championship Horse Show 2017
Tennessee Miller Coliseum
Murfreesboro, TN USA
November 2-4, 2017
Show Report pending





This was not an inadvertent test of the Twitter effect [Pondering]. I was not in a bad mood. I just had nothing to say. I’d done it all before. I’d said it all before, down to the mint chocolate chip ice cream cone from Baskin-Robbins: [2013] 86 Tweets, [2014] 80 Tweets, [2015] 60 Tweets, [2016] 83 Tweets.

Perhaps my Twitter storms arise from the excitement of being in a new place. Perhaps the fifth year of Indiana [93 Tweets] or Nashoba [48 Tweets] will be less Tweet-intensive as well.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott


Show Photos: Alabama Charity 2017

Alabama Charity Championship Horse Show
[Show Report, Riding]
Terry Young Photography

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Show Report Driving & Lessons

Driving Thursday

Lots of driving lately.

Alabama Charity Championship Horse Show, [Show Report, Riding]
96 Academy Driving with HB Whizbang – 2rd of 3
Thanks to the Alvis family for Mr. Snippy

Snippy deeply objected to the big, soft, rubber, straight bar bit that went with a set of borrowed harness. Go figure [Bits From Hell]. In the lemonade-from-lemons category, I was able to channel his outrage into the best extended trot we’ve gotten to date. We even got a little bit of drift going in one corner. Not Alvin-level drifting [Show Report I, II], but I could feel a slight sideways slide.

Sorry Snippy, we’ll do better by you next time.

The day after the show, Greg had a driven dressage lesson with Mr. E. Yes, the same instructor Rodney and I can’t manage to take lessons from [Leg Yield, Dubious]. At this point, I am so far down the rabbit hole that, come the day, I wasn’t all that upset [Laugh or Cry]. Although, that night I did have a dressage stress dream wherein Milton was tacked up, I still needed to get dressed, but couldn’t find out if my test was right away or delayed until tomorrow because of the large number of barrel racing trips in front of us. Clearly, it’s still on my mind. But I digress.

Mr. E liked a lot of the things Greg was doing, and thought Milton had good conformation for driving. Some of the comments were things Greg has heard before, e.g. Use your voice. The main focus of the lesson was transitions, which is more of a dressage thing than a ASB thing. As I’ve said before, dressage horses wait to hear what comes next; saddlebreds get on with their jobs [Obedience Epiphany].

By the end of 45 minutes, Milton was walking better, trotting off more promptly, and downshifting without giving his ewe-necked cow impression. All with a horse who has been hitched less than three months [Maiden Voyage]. Go Milton!

Greg & Katherine


Milton’s first drive with the carriage [New Equipment]. Miss Courtney’s picture is over on Instagram, and for the moment on the sidebar. Milton was a star about pulling the heavier load and about entertaining multiple drivers.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Milton’s Autumn Plans

Now that we are up and about for Rodney [Plans], Greg has taken to working Milton in the mornings before work. However, he won’t have time on all days, and we will eventually run out of light.

Someone is gonna have to get his horse fit. That would be me. It doesn’t matter how dedicated one is on the weekend. Two days ain’t enough.

So, I have started. One day, we did our regular field walk in harness and long lines. The next day, we went into the ring to practice stopping and starting and steering. Well, for me to practice. Milton already knows how to do this in harness. I plan to alternate ring work with conditioning.

Yes, yes, riding would get him fit for driving. That was and is the plan. However, Milton is doing so well lately (Yay!) and he keeps having upcoming events that I don’t want to mess up.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Whizzing About

Driving Thursday

Photo by Courtney Huguley

When I – possibly, maybe – go to Murfreesboro next month, I will also be driving. Why not? No one else from Stepping Stone Farm is driving and Mr. Whizbang [Show Photos I, II] will already be there with his junior riders.

Strangely, this doesn’t stress me out. At least nowhere close to the level that riding does. I have no agenda for driving. Go in. See if I can find an extended trot [Show Report]. Whatever happens, happens. Obviously, if I could have this attitude toward sitting on the horse, I – and everyone within stressing distance of me – would be happier.

Therefore, I climbed back in a cart last week. As far as I can count, I hadn’t driven since the Mid-South show in May. (Okay, I sat in the cart with Milton [The Family That Drives Together], but that was proof of concept, not serious driving. Bear on a bicycle.) That’s four months. It went great. No, I’ll say it outright, I did great. Best driving I’ve done.

All the time I have spent watching Greg and Milton, plus four days immersed in driving in Indiana [Show Report] appears to have rubbed off on me. Hitch. Get in. Drive. Yeah, sure. I got this. My technical ability hadn’t changed. Improved attitude meant better application of technique. Yes, the continued parallel to riding is not lost on me. Sigh.

Learning by osmosis, who knew.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Guest Post: It’s Let’s-Wear-A-Helmet Day!

When I feel like a vox crying in a helmetless wilderness, I always know there is one person on my side. Been There, Done That and I have been horsing together for, well, enough time to have the stories to show for it. (Really, my eyes weren’t covered for that long, and the road was empty.) She wears helmets. She writes about wearing helmets, The Chronicle of the Horse: It’s Only Your Brain Afterall. For International Helmet Awareness Day, I asked her to talk about her plan to wear a helmet in a discipline where I’ve never seen a competitor wearing a helmet. Ever. Welcome BTDT.

My father rode jumpers internationally. When I was a horse-crazy kid, he made me promise that I would never, ever get on a horse without a helmet. I have kept that promise for over 50 years.


I finally quit riding (that’s a long and not-very-nice story with which I shall not bore you) after 35 years as an on-again off-again professional, and discovered that I still wanted to stay involved with horses in one fashion or another. The Rodney’s Saga blogger, whom I have known for ages, lured me into the world of driving the American Saddlebred. This is a whole new world.

I got very lucky, in that her trainer has some of the nicest and most tolerant school horses I’ve ever run into (and I’ve run into quite a few), and a good many of these are ride/drive chaps. I got involved in the Academy section of ASHA shows (Academy is designed as an introduction to riders who are new to the sport, who aren’t sure if they really want to show; gives them a chance to get their toes wet without undue expense or travail).

Very few competitors in ASHA shows wear helmets. When a specific venue mandates that juniors must wear helmets, the outcry astonishes me. By the time I’d participated in a couple of shows, I was the only driver wearing a helmet consistently. Most of the women drive bare-headed, with a fascinator, or with a straw picture-hat; the gentlemen wear porkpies.

Since I am now considering moving out of the restricted and into the open ranks (where looks and presentation do count), I started looking around for a way to wear my helmet without appearing glaringly out-of-step. So I got in touch with Debbie Navelski of RodeApple Hats (she works through Etsy) and she made me this!

It fits right over my helmet and will go perfectly with my suit and dress!

Close-up of brim design.

Previous IHAD Posts on RS
2016 Ride PHAT for International Helmet Awareness Day
2015 Networking Like A Boss, scroll down
2014 #IHAD

Every ride, every time.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott