Friday, June 20, 2008

Driving Journal 1

A few days ago I had my first session learning how to drive horses. At 8:00 in the morning we headed out to Rick's house, and led the horses out from the field. I tried somewhat unsuccessfully to absorb all the names and parts of the horse and harness, but I think I got the general idea. (I did get the knot down, though, and used it to tie up the cow yesterday for milking.) We simply practiced ground driving, without any implements, which was tricky enough. At times driving horses can start to feel like driving a car, pulling two lines instead of turning a wheel. It's similar, but really the horses only go anywhere because they decide to. It might feel like I have control over where they go, and if I push on their bodies they do generally move away from pressure, but if at some point a horse has other ideas there's little I can do about it. They're pretty big. That's the whole point. My job as driver, it seems, is to convince the horse to decide to walk where I want him to go. But to do this I have to act like I know what I'm doing. I don't. Pete, of course, knows exactly what's going on. I feel like even though I try to fake being sure of myself, he's still thinking, “Dude, you don't have a clue.” Which is mostly the case, for now.

1 comment:

Rick said...

David, your first driving experience was incredible, your command of the language and the softness in your hands will pay large dividends once you have more experience. You are correct in thinking that Pete is in control right now, that will change as you begin to gain confidence as a teamster. During our next driving session, I would like you to absolutely make sure you know what the next step is before you ask the horse to execute a command--this may require you to ask me for clarity prior to movement. We will be working in the woods and with implements during the next session. Great job.