Want to Learn to Drive - Petite Rider - Hinderence?
I would like to learn how to drive, but it occurred to me that being quite petite, my feet don't touch the floor (I'm 4'10). Might this be an issue with driving? I also have mild cerebral palsy, but rode horses for many years and (w/t/c/jumping/dressage) and am less worried about that.
I will be at the Brandywine Driving Club meeting in Malvern, PA to get my feet wet.
I'd consider, for a bunch of reasons, driving a pony. Everything is obviously downsized, so it will make it much easier for you to handle all the harness, etc. Vehicle will be easier to fit to also. Stuff is that much easier to transport. Ponies are also darn cute when they are trotting around!
I drove for some years w/ a horse, and swore that if I kept it up my next beastie would be a pony even if it meant a total change in vehicle, harness, etc.
Now I'm doing dressage on a full size horse, and swearing that my next one will be a fancy pony. (I'm and older, and shrinking 5'3+)
Edited to add - you are in a good area of the country to get into driving. Good luck and have fun.
We don't get less brave; we get a bigger sense of self-preservation........
I am lucky enough to live next door to the Benges right now and can say that getting to watch Megan drive nearly every day makes me feel stupid for complaining about what makes driving hard for me! they have an assortment of ponies next door, and being 5.3' myself and a pony owner, I wouldn't want anything big to drive. So do consider ponies.
If you get a good vehicle, seat height can change, move forward, and a "shelf" can be added to the floor so you can reach. A wedge seat is helpful too. I don't think you'll have any issues!
I would agree that the addition of a box or footrail to the vehicle on the floor, should be a big help if you want to drive. Works with ponies or horses, because that wedge seat WILL put you up in the air!
Wedge seat is to help you see ahead of your equine, get a better leg position for the time you are driving. Being able to FIRMLY place your feet is PART of the Driving position you need for effective body uses. You can't stay seated quietly, without feet being in the right places, good grip on the floor, open knee angles.
Wedges come in various depths, could be 4" thru 10" or more at the back. Depth you need will depend the driver's height, how well they can see once the wedge is added. You get your wedge chosen, then build the foot device to the height needed for the driver on that wedge.
While ponies are cute, you are not required to drive ponies if you are a smaller person. The reasons for choosing ponies are valid, but if you want to drive a horse, go for it!
I live in Aiken and have seen Meghan drive numerous times, (as well as having the wonderful opportunity to ride with her on marathon at an HDT at Irene Gillis' farm) and I can tell you, she is one heck of a driver! You should absolutely give driving a go! As others have said, with a wedge seat and making a few adjustments, you should have no problem!
Thank you to everyone for their input! It is invaluable. I went to the Brandywine Driving Club Meeting yesterday and had a wonderful time meeting everyone. It was amazing to see the range of experiences and ages - driving is for any age!
Tricia and Barbara here. Sorry we hadn't seen your post before the Brandywine meeting, it would have been nice to meet. Barb was the speaker.
Short can be worked out with size of equine and proper equipment. Meghan is a great example... as is Becky Merrit who is an instructor at Delaware Valley College in Doylestown. There are a lot of people in the Brandywine club who can help you get set up correctly to really enjoy your time driving. Reach out and I'm sure you will find the help you need setting up.
We are up in North Central NJ, but if we can help... let us know.
Thanks Tricia and Barbara! Barbara - your talk was amazing! I was the lady sitting next to Susie Buchanan for a bit. I'm sure that you saw me talking with Debbie Donovan. I talked with a few people - I'm not able to drive a car so getting to and from is the real question. A few of us have our thinking caps on, so eventually, I will drive a horse, I am sure!