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Update - 2nd driving lesson video

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  • Update - 2nd driving lesson video

    I had hoped to give it a try last year, but wasn't able to make the logistics work. I've found someone who focuses primarily on CDEs (though he also does other types of driving). The pony I'll be learning with has won his division at a few CDEs, and taught a couple of other newbies how to drive. Of course, I won't be specialising at this stage, but since that's the style I'm most interested in, I'm happy that I'll be able to start out that way.

    We've discussed it a little, and I'm planning to watch him work the previous horse (and he's going to explain a bit what he's doing). Then, he'll show me how to harness, and work with me on ground driving for a bit. If we have time, and everything goes well, we might go ahead and hitch him up, or wait until the following week for that.

    Anyone have stories about your first driving lesson, or tips to share?
    Last edited by Whisper; Feb. 14, 2008, 04:24 PM.
    Stay me with coffee, comfort me with chocolate, for I am sick of love.

  • #2
    Congrats! Welcome to the friendly world of driving, you'll have fun.

    Remember, this is supposed to be fun. Be comfortable, the reins will feel very heavy if you're used to riding and there's lots of buckles to wonder about.

    Did I mention have fun?

    Don't forget to report on your first lesson
    "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"


    • #3
      I'm hoping to take my first driving lesson this spring!

      I have tried to put the harness on my poor, patient horse while holding the instructions in one hand. I got so far as to have him pulling a little tire while being ground driven. Now I have found someone who will show me how it is really done. I can hardly wait.

      Please give us a report on your first lessons


      • #4
        Good for you! But I have to warn you (as I was warned a couple of years ago).... DRIVING IS ADDICTIVE!! I've done just about everything there is to do with horses from roping and working cattle to foxhunting to dressage to polo and even a pig stick (in India)! Yet driving has been the most fun. I think because of the people and the fact that it's just so darn social Oh, and driving horses are like coat hangers: they multiply

        Have fun and let us know how it goes BTW where are you located?
        Pat Belskie - ASHEMONT Farm

        PnP Distributors - KUTZMANN Carriages


        • #5
          Look forward to hearing how you get on and have fun.

          Got to just add that in decades of driving and a huge number of riders that I've NEVER had the feedback that the reins are "heavy"


          • #6
            First lesson stories:
            My plan was, when my daughter went to college, I would sell all the event horses and raise mini donks. I had ridden in carriages a time or two and thought my mini jack needed more to do than make a few babies every other year, so I was going to teach him to drive, with a lots of help. In the middle of getting him started, my trainer said, "you know, just like riding, green plus green, equals black and blue. You need to take a lesson with someone who knows what they are doing" So my first lesson was with a wonderful Fjord pony named Sophie. It was more fun than should be legal. I immediately started looking for a horse/pony/whatever (well, whatever with more speed than my mini jack).
            I ended up borrowing an old school horse for 6 months, kept taking lessons, got a 3 yr old OTTSDB and never looked back. I now have a Morgan pony, love to compete, but also love to hack down the lane, and take lessons every chance I get.


            • Original Poster

              Thanks, everyone! I'll definitely give an update after the lesson, and will try to get some pictures as well. Ashmonte, this one can't multiply, since he's a Welsh Cross gelding. I know what you mean, but right now, I'm fortunate enough to have several horses I get to ride for free on the weekends, but no access to driving horses outside of lessons. So, I expect that low-level eventing and vaulting will continue to be my primary two disciplines. Once I am ready to buy, I'd love to get a horse or pony who can do both, or work with a trainer with whatever horse I do get to crosstrain (just regular riding and driving, the vaulting club has horses). Thomas, I made the reining machine you explained to me last year, and it was very helpful. I've slacked off on using it lately, but plan to start backup now that I'll actually be driving. Pricestory, my new driving instructor said exactly the same thing, when we first discussed the possibility of lessons - not that I have a green horse or pony to train, just that he felt it was crucial to learn with a horse or pony who knows what they're doing.
              Stay me with coffee, comfort me with chocolate, for I am sick of love.


              • #8
                Its nice,but keep in mind that you should take care while driving,you have to follow the guide.Its better to you.


                • Original Poster

                  I'm not sure what you mean? I will definitely follow my instructor's directions.
                  Stay me with coffee, comfort me with chocolate, for I am sick of love.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Ashemont View Post
                    Oh, and driving horses are like coat hangers: they multiply
                    My coat hangers tend to go missing! But my ponies are multiplying, so maybe the coat hangers are just turning into ponies

                    Whisper...fancy meeting you here!


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by presentationmall View Post
                      Its nice,but keep in mind that you should take care while driving,you have to follow the guide.Its better to you.
                      Kanoe Godby
                      See, I was raised by wolves and am really behind the 8-ball on diplomatic issue resolution.


                      • #12
                        i started ground driving couple of months ago.

                        it all began as part of an effort to work my mare while building her topline while waiting for my new saddle to arrive. i like the ground driving and my mare goes so well without the saddle (probably has a lot to do with the poor fit of the prior saddle). anyway, my instructor (drives and rides) thought i was going to stop after learning some basic ground driving but i like it so much, i want her to continue with the driving lessons even after i get my saddle. we're ready to pull the tire which i'm sure will not be a problem and then she'll bring a little light sulkie to try.

                        it took me a couple of tries to sort out the lines in my hand, especially while making turns but it sounds like you won't have to worry about that since you're using an experience driving pony. that will probably make your experience a lot different then mine.
                        so cool best of luck!
                        TQ(Trail Queen) \"Learn How to Ride or Move Over!!\" Clique


                        • Original Poster

                          Hi, Ironbessflint!

                          Marta, I definitely hope I don't get anything tangled up. The pony is experienced (and specifically has been patient with teaching beginners how to drive), and the instructor will be right there to keep me on track. Good luck with your mare in her driving and riding training! It's really cool that you're planning to continue the cross-training even after she's going under saddle.
                          Stay me with coffee, comfort me with chocolate, for I am sick of love.


                          • Original Poster

                            I'm still practically glowing - it was *SO* fun! We harnessed "Mini" (the Welsh/Mini cross), then the instructor showed me for a few minutes how to ground drive, then had me give it a try. Next, he hitched Mini (he always does so with novice drivers, though he explained what he was doing) and drove with me in the left seat watching him. After about 15 minutes, he let me drive, both walking and trotting, and doing some turns (but only at the walk). I asked him to take a photo of us, and assumed he was just going to do so at the halt. Instead, he decided to let us solo! He felt I was doing extremely well, and since the pony is very calm and well-trained, that would let him see what I was doing and refine things better than if he was right next to me. So, we did more turns, and walk/trot/halt transitions, then I helped him unharness, take care of the pony, and put everything away. He told me that it's almost unheard of for someone to solo their first time driving, and that I'm only the second student he's had who he felt was ready that quickly. He's very excited to be introducing younger people to driving - in addition to me, he has two children taking their first driving lessons this week.

                            Next week, he's planning to have us go in the arena, and do some circles and work with cones a bit. He explained that I want to choose my path based on the center of the axle, which will be underneath me, rather than pointing the pony's nose where I want to go per se. He said he finds that students who do jumping tend to have an easier time choosing a line correctly. I definitely didn't expect to be able to move this fast, but I don't feel like he's pushing me or overwhelmed at all.

                            I misunderstood though - the Welsh cross with CDE experience is actually at a different barn he trains at, and is 13.2 hands. He said that once I get some experience with driving Mini, I may want to switching to the other pony. This fellow does have years of driving experience, and has been driven by beginners before, so I did have that part right at least.
                            Stay me with coffee, comfort me with chocolate, for I am sick of love.


                            • #15
                              Well welcome to the wonderful world of driving! I'm so happy that your first lesson went so well. Keep us posted on your progress
                              Pat Belskie - ASHEMONT Farm

                              PnP Distributors - KUTZMANN Carriages


                              • Original Poster

                                Thank you, Ashmont! I definitely will.
                                Stay me with coffee, comfort me with chocolate, for I am sick of love.


                                • #17
                                  There should be some kind of sound effect attached to the moment when addiction takes hold. I think I just heard it...


                                  • #18
                                    Ah first driving stories... I had taken lessons here and there from a friend of mine in TX who had her own horses and I would fill in as groom, assistant type for her at all the functions her and her husband would go for. If we had time, I would drive while she gave tips and kept an eye on me. I got pretty decent when one afternoon she told me she had been hired to take 3 of her vehicles to a big gathering in Austin TX, the Festival of Lights. It is usually put on by Michael Dell of Dell Computers.

                                    So..my husband came along to be my outwalker, I was all hitched up with the Percheron mare, Belle, who I was learning on and was going to drive the Vis-A-Vis with some passengers in it, no problem. Belle though, she was nervous, dancing around, playing with the bit, and settled some till we got into the line up. While there, were all standing in line BSing, waiting for folks to start to come out from having their dinner and get into assigned vehicles when a security guard came up to me, asked if I was one of the drivers for Spotted Horse Livery and I said yes, he said follow me. Now, I am probably #24 or so in line. I look over at my friend, she shrugs and says go I will be okay so we pull out of the line up, follow the security guard and he puts us in the #4 slot and says to wait. Now mind you, I am already sweating even though it was really cold, and beyond nervous.

                                    Security guard comes back a few minutes later with a very well dressed couple and two very rambuncious kids, they want to hand me candy canes while I kept saying nicely I couldnt take my hands off the lines. We go around our circuit, everyone is having fun, Belle is behaving herself for the most part, I am praying I can get through this without puking as this WAS my first solo drive in an unfamiliar trail, when we stop and another lady looks back from the cart in front of is and waves to the kids. Once it was done, the security guard thanks me, as he and another guard were walking with me. Turns out I had Michael Dell's kids and their good friends in our Vis-A-Vis, that is why we had security with us!!

                                    Hell of a way to be introduced to driving!!


                                    • #19
                                      Whisper, I am SO excited for you! I am a newbie too and need to find a trainer. My haffie was started last fall and I drove for just a few minutes. That's all it took to give me the *itch*! I longrein (ground drive) her now till I get a harness and cart, and even that is just tons of fun. I can't wait - and reading about your very successful first lesson makes me even more anxious!

                                      Thomas, I made the reining machine you explained to me last year, and it was very helpful.
                                      Now, what is all this about? I will try anything to become better prepared!

                                      "Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." -Groucho Marx


                                      • Original Poster

                                        MySparrow, you mean like when the cartoon character (I think Pepe Le Pew?) gets smacked by Cupid's Acme mallet, and has hearts circling his head instead of stars and birdies?

                                        Belplosh, wow, that's some pressure to be under! Heck, just driving solo in a parade with that little experience must have been pretty tough.

                                        Yip, the post is too old, so it got removed, but Thomas can explain it/point you at some plans. Basically, you connect rope or reins to 2-liter soda bottles filled part-way with water or sand, running through a wooden board. It lets you practice taking a contact and releasing, and getting more independent with each hand, especially if you are going to drive more than one horse at a time (I haven't tried it with more than one set of reins). I hope you find a good trainer to work with you and your Haffie - can you work with the same one from last Fall, or are you in a different area now?

                                        I'm just *SO* glad that Ironbessflint explained how to use the driving whip to help the horse bend! I found a couple of articles that covered it in more detail, so I felt much more prepared once I got there. The instructor covered it a bit, too, but feeling like I understood the concept ahead of time really helped me get smooth turns with the horse working into the outside rein instead of pulling his head around, and keeping him straight (on the line of travel) both on bends and straight-aways. It was fun navigating around puddles and stuff - just shifting our line of travel enough to avoid them, and asking him to straighten onto the new path. We did a couple of turns in the road without enough room to do a normal U-Turn. I watched the instructor first, but he didn't specifically talk me through it. I found that thinking of it like TOH, only with the entire unit including the cart made it work perfectly. It's probably one of those things that is super easy and obvious to anyone who's been doing it for a while, but I was pretty happy I figured it out and made it flow so smoothly! If anything, we even did it better than some of the TOH's I've done under saddle. The first time we trotted downhill (with the instructor still in the cart), it felt like the cart's momentum was trying to snowball and push the pony, instead of the pony pulling the cart (or it just rolling freely behind him). I asked the instructor what to do, and he said just to give a couple of half-halts to re-balance, and it worked perfectly. After that, I was mostly able to keep him balanced enough that we didn't get the cart running away with the horse feeling, and when I did for a stride or two, we got rebalanced right away. Granted, the slope was less than 5 degrees, and I wouldn't have noticed it at all if I'd been walking or riding. I did get the whip caught on the harness a couple of times when I was first figuring it out, and initally held the reins wrong. I tend to feel like I'm struggling with my body, or with the horse/pony to get things right a lot of the time, but the driving just felt really easy.
                                        Stay me with coffee, comfort me with chocolate, for I am sick of love.