Friday, August 30 2019
En route to my first ever driving clinic, I felt knowledgeable enough about driving a horse to slip past all but the most critical radar. Uh huh, sure, and the world-class driver who was our instructor knew right away that I didn’t have much of a handle on anything. Besides, I was confounded by Sunni, who unlike her normal self stayed in a big hurry while I fumbled to lower her energy (she had transitioned into hyper-Rosie). It was as if we’d never had a training session.
I could feel Suzy (the instructor) reducing her energy. She stepped into the carriage, rode with me and provided basic driving instructions–kind, patient, knowledgeable–repeating many things our trainer, Megan, has said, but enough differently to capture my attention. In that situation, all our street work was meaningless, for now, Sunni and I had to practice competition-style driving. Suzy worked us in 40 meter circles (yes, exactly 40 meters), and each circle had to be round, smooth, accurate, with Sunni’s gait exact and steady. In a nutshell, nothing like our street driving.
Sunni and I have practiced 40 meter circles with Megan, but new eyes and a new voice threw me, and in my discomfort I couldn’t adequately control my horse. It didn’t take Suzy long to reassure and calm me, and so, together we reconnected with Sunni. Finally, things went better, but not enough. There’s much work ahead if there’s to be a competition in my future.
We discussed how to practice discipline while out on the streets. Suzy suggested choosing a mailbox and walking the horse in a controlled straight line to another mailbox; or setting my cart’s wheels near the far edge of a curve and moving the horse into a smooth turn; or (if it feels safe enough) driving on the wrong side of the street, against traffic, in order to circle right and across (most on-street circling is toward the left). Today, Sunni and I will practice discipline using these methods (and others that come to me) while out on the street.
Tomorrow, Saturday, I’ve another session with Suzy. I had planned to spend it in the field where courses are set up for cones and obstacles. Now, instead, I will opt to work again in the arena, on those 40 meter circles. Hopefully, I’ll be less fearful and perform better, and if so, Sunni who takes cues from me will cooperate nicely.
Dear Friends: It’s Emerson’s Law of Compensation, expectations vs. outcomes. Diana