Zorro and I went to Fraser School of Driving this weekend for our very first driving clinic. It was Zorro’s first clinic (aside from the beginner driving clinic he helped teach) and it was my first driving clinic.
We both had a blast!! It was so much fun, filled with fun loving people and lots of laughing. This is a very relaxed group of people with wonderful horses and ponies. Alex is wonderful to learn from as well!
It’s important to know what you are wanting to learn when you go to things like this. I have had a hard time getting Zorro to relax with the bit when there is contact. This was the perfect place to go for that, as Alex demands lots of contact all the time. When we drive with our other driving group it’s far more relaxed with a lot less connection. Alex drives more like I did when I was showing. So knowing what kind of driving you want to do is paramount when choosing who to learn from and who to drive with. I want to do all kinds of driving, so I will be going back to learn more from Alex!
Zorro was a rock star all weekend. He trailered over well, he settled into his stall perfectly (it was his first time ever being in a stall!), even going so far as to lay down and sleep last night and then when I went to harness him this morning he was laying down for his morning nap. He isn’t one to skip nap time just because he isn’t home. 😉
He hasn’t ever driven in an indoor arena. He hasn’t really driven with a group yet. He hasn’t even SEEN two teams of large, beautiful, black Friesian mares.
He’s definitely never seen two large teams trot and gallop around an indoor arena while he stood in the middle and had them charge past us. And yet he handled it like a pro. I was so proud of him!
The first day we practiced making nice round circles as we went around the barrels. That was what this clinic was about, being forward and smooth – not always fast – to complete the pattern. Zorro hasn’t done a lot of turning, as we trail drive, but he seemed to really enjoy it! We also trotted down the road to the neighbors to play with a bridge crossing for a little bit, then trotted back to the arena to keep practicing the barrels.
He did struggle a little bit with the contact, gaping his mouth, and swerving around a bit as he didn’t know what to do when I picked him up so much. Usually, I point him at what I’m looking at, then we go there. But there were too many changes of directions, happening too fast, for us to be able to do that without it being even harder on his mouth. That would have resulted in me snatching at the lines which is a big no-no and should never happen.
This morning we were put into teams by Alex and then we all went out to design a little marathon challenge. So there were two marathon “courses” ( barrels marked A – E) set up in the indoor arena, one at one end of the arena and one at the other end. Then Alex put a small cones course (cones marked 1 – 4) in the middle. We had to keep red on the right as we went through the “gates”.
Being the only small pony there, the course was very easy for us, compared to those with the big black teams and the marathon vehicles! LOL! Alex gave me pointers for making my times even faster, but there wasn’t a lot of technical stuff because of our size. I can basically turn my vehicle on a dime and no matter what (if I didn’t get lost out there) and our circles were lovely and round. So shaving time off our course was the goal today!
And my little Superman!!
There were so many firsts for Zorro this weekend and he handled every single one of them like a pro. I’m so so proud of my baby!!