Mom teaches Forward Driving Aids…

Mom’s here visiting again from South Carolina.  In between helping me teach my students (she’s very fond of trotting poles) and critiquing my riding (she fancies herself the classical master), she has driven me around while my truck is being repaired from mouse damage (the topic for another blog).  I don’t want to sound ungrateful but she has a few driving habits that need schooling.  The most pronounced one reminds me of the problem I have with a few students. 

This comes at an opportune time as I was trying to think of ways to simplify some dressage concepts anyway.  Mom’s flawed technique might help someone better understand the concept of “forward“.  This sounds simple enough, but like most dressage terms there is an underlying complexity involved.  In the Mom example, I live in Atlanta where there are multiple lanes of traffic.  Lots of lanes, lots of merging.  Mom tends to panic when forced to merge into heavy traffic.  During the lane transition she takes her foot “off” the gas.  This causes a considerable loss of power, and a lot of stress for me.  Because we were going forward previously, we are still moving in the same direction but the engine is not engaged, thus we experience a huge loss of momentum and another close call with an eighteen-wheeler.  This is similar to a horse that is traveling from one spot in the arena to the other as if in idle.  The horse is getting where it needs to be, eventually, but the engine is not engaged, hence the instructor keeps screaming “forward, forward, more forward!” even though you are moving (sort, of).  This is very common in corners.  Taking your foot “off ” the gas when you need to engage the engine.

I tried to explain this to Mom, as I have a hundred times before.  I thought my dressage analogy would make it clear and she would see the light.  Instead she told me “I was doing half-halts”.  I guess that’s another blog too.

9 thoughts on “Mom teaches Forward Driving Aids…

  1. You always give the best analogies that make everything click — a trait that makes you one of the best trainers to work with!

  2. Ahahahah! So how does it feel to be outsmarted by your Mom? I was doing half-halts! It’s going to be my answer from now on.

  3. A. I’m so relieved I am not the only human on the planet whose truck sustained “mouse damage”. (Who knew?)

    B. GREAT analogy! The freeway/gas pedal analogy made me (also) realize how often sharing the arena inefficiently causes stalled engines all around. My most common cause of “not coming from behind” is usually “avoiding the half pass at 3:00”, (and vice versa!) Most people follow arena right of way rules. Very hard to stay engaged, focused and effectively interact with a lot of horses and riders at different skill levels! Any ideas? Other than a nice air traffic controlling system? 🙂

    1. Ooooh… I like that idea for a blog! I’ll have to mull that over, I like the dynamics of the show warm up arena too! Lots of characters there, snick, snick!! I’m glad someone else has been victimized by the mouse, I think they thought I was a bit strange at the Goodyear!

  4. In my last lesson I’ve accelerated into a corner in a counter canter. It was not so much fun. Somebody’s else life flashed in front of my eyes while I was thinking if anyone ever attempted a half-pirouette in counter canter to avoid rapidly approaching corner walls. Thank God the horse wanted to live.

      1. I was more inclined to think of myself being in a casket at the time. I guess shoebox won’t be such a stretch.

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