I recently joined the Dairyland Driving Club. They had a trail drive on Sunday that was combined with a safety talk. After the talk those of use that were new got to tag along with the mentor drivers and pick up some tips. It was really a lot of fun.
The drive was at Blackhawk Ridge near Sauk City. Just a beautiful part of the state. Actually I love Wisconsin, I love all parts but this area is one that was hit by the glaciers and is really hilly because of it. It is also the site of a horrible part of our history with the Native Americans. Here is a plaque that describes the event.
First thing we did was listen to a talk about trail safety. It was a really interesting talk and I picked up a few pointers, always a good thing. One little gem passed on through our speaker but was originally from Jeff Morse. He describes the relationship between horse and driver as labor and management.
I really wish that I was able to hear the talk he gave because it was sure the talk of the drive. The gist of his message was seems to be that we are the management and the horses are our labor. Management makes the decisions and labor does it. Simple as that. If we let our horses make small decisions, then they will continue until they are making big decisions. The example was from our speaker experience. She was describing some difficulties to Jeff that she was having with her driving horse. Jeff asked her how the horse was when she was harnessing. She admitted that the horse moved around a little but nothing really bad. His response was that the horse was being allowed to make decisions that he should not have been making. It made a lot of sense, and seems to be a message that I am getting through a lot of different sources. Something to think about.
I got to drive in a marathon cart, let me tell you I have a new item for my wish list. That was just fun. Spider, a pinto arab, was pulling the cart. Spider epitomizes the expression, 20 years young. He was not like any 20 year old horse I know, more like 20 going on 4. Super horse, the kind you never see for sale because they are just that good.
Our driver shared a little more wisdom from Jeff. His tidbit was, you don't stop a horse with his mouth, you stop him with his mind. Another great little idea to think about for awhile. Nothing really earth shattering, but still something to think about. I think that is something that if you pick up just about any book on riding you find out fairly quickly. We get our horses working off our leg and seat aides, but gaging from the number of horsemen, trainers, etc that have a "bit addition" that is exactly what we try to do.
I met a lot of really neat people. Everyone sharing the same love of driving, and those of use that are really interested in getting involved in it. The were miniatures up to Frisians, and two very lovely Fjords that if I could have I would have squeezed into my Blazer! Everyone was really friendly. I hope to go to a few other events this year.