Riding a horse/Driving a Car (same thing, right?)



For awhile, there was a popular poster that said that everything a person needed to learn they should have learned in kindergarten.  It actually made a lot of sense.  And I posted a blog from another mother about how her daughter has learned an infinite amount from having, showing and being responsible for horses.

This is right along those same lines, dreamed up by me in those early hours before dawn when I just don’t seem to sleep well.  See what happens, you get stuck with my ramblings.

This is my analogy- everything we need to learn to drive a car we learn riding and showing hunters and jumpers (probably other disciplines apply but I am going to stick with what I know best). Alex, whom I have known since she was maybe six or seven, got her license recently.  I started thinking about the similarities between her equestrian experiences and her driving a car.  This is what I came up with:

What Riding a Horse Driving a Car
Position head up, shoulders back, eyes forward, hands quiet head up, shoulders back, eyes forward, hands at ten and two
Basic strategy when faced by other riders/drivers Always Pass another riding approaching from the other direction in the ring- left shoulder to left shoulder. In 90 percent of the world traffic stays to the right, with drivers passing each other left shoulder to left shoulder (on a basic two-way street)
Stop means stop Any trainer worth their dime will tell you that “whoa means whoa” . It means stop.  Now.  Not slow down and not maybe. A stop sign means stop. It doesn’t mean sort of touch of the brakes.  It does not mean roll on through.  Stop means stop.
Look where you are going If you are not looking where you are wanting to go, the horse will go where you are looking or you will. As in, if you look down, you will fall down.  If look over and beyond the jump, you will clear it with ease. You must look ahead and anticipate traffic issues, dogs running out in the streets, balls rolling in the streets with babies following them (didn’t you watch that video?) and not down at your phone or over at your friend.
Anticipate issues, i.e. with weather, with footing, with clowns popping up, with wind, with stupid other people Any rider that has ridden in a group setting (arena, trail ride, warm up ring) knows a horse can spook at anything from a plastic bag to the blowing wind. Likewise other riders create issues by not riding as they should-too fast, too slow, too stupid and you must be ever vigilant to avoid them. Weather brings a whole neither set of issues, slidding in the mud, your horse knocking you out of saddle as he coughs up dry dust, snow filling your horse’s hooves so he can’t walk or heat knocking your well developed sport horse into a glub of sweat. You are never safe-anticipate issues. Any driver on the road knows cars can act up at any time, sputtering to a stop in the middle of the highway or suddenly losing your power steering. Other drivers make it worse as they drive too fast, too slow or too stupid.  And weather, well, what about the first time you drive on ice or in snow or down a muddy dirt road.  It is a whole new ballgame.  Heat knocks your radiator and cold temps can freeze your engine block.  You are never safe-anticipate issues.
Practice makes you a better rider/driver Remember the first time you got on a horse? It did not go so well.  You could no more canter a course with the right number of strides than ride standing on your head.  It took time.  And practice. And more practice.  In fact good equestrians never quit learning.  There is a message here. Remember the first time you got behind the wheel?   That did not go well either. Navigating through the Galleria or International Airport was way past your abilities.  So, keep practicing and keep learning and never stop looking over your shoulder!


I could go on here, but you get the point.  I acknowledge and support practice of both riding and driving.  But I also think Alex had a leg-up (pun intended) on her non-riding sister and friends.


Looking forward to a great weekend ahead with Amber and kids here from Denver.  Be on the lookout for fun times and great pictures.  And thanks for riding along.

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