Archive for July 7th, 2011

Driving Not Writing

amywink July 7th, 2011

April 25???? Wow, that seems an age ago and I have been remiss in not writing more here. But I am happy to report that I am driving more. I hit 75 hours of driving time yesterday, in my goal of the 100 hour ADS pin (covet, covet, covet), which I hope to make this year. I’ve already driven more this year than last year (37 hours from Feb. 2010 to Dec 31 2010) and we have made significant improvements in our communication over the course of this year. The lessons with Francine continue and I have progressed to the Figure 8 (driven as two intersecting circles)….which sometimes looks more like a two Lima beans back to back instead. This is where I “lost” the reinsmanship class, at the figure 8–which I drove as a much more swirly figure 8 and ran out of room to turn correctly.

So here’s one I drove earlier this summer with Will:

Note the beany quality of one “circle”. cough. Still, that’s a lot better than this one, which looks more like a doodle than anything:
figuredoodle.jpg Maybe we can add that to a dressage test: “Drive a Doodle at B, with an extended Doodle at H.”

The one I drove the next day looks like a pair of aviator glasses:


So what to do???? Why are 2 circles so much harder than 1 circle!?!

In my attempt to get this right, I decided to get out the graph paper and see if I could visualize that intersecting turn a bit better–call me what you will (nerd, geek, obsessive-compulsive…looon-ah-tic) but I had to get this right! So, I mapped out a dressage arena on my graph paper (20×40) and used a compass (ahhh, Geometry, if I had only known….) to draw an accurate circle (20 meter to scale). Then I tried it freehand. . . . and found that I was making the *same* mistakes in drawing as I was in driving–cutting in too quickly at the turn and shaving off the curve of the circle. . . not unlike a flattening tire. Instead of curving toward the edge of the circle, I was going too straight. I drew 8 circles over and over and over again until I got the curve correct visually. Then I drew the circles as figure 8, changing direction after the intersection to determine *where* I need to shift my hands to turn in the opposite direction.

And on July 1, at my next lesson, I was able to get this quite respectable Figure 8 while driving Dol, who does know her stuff.


However, I am not yet consistent and the tensing of my hands and shoulders lead to a bit more squishing of my figure:

So I practiced with Will more and more this week and I can see the evolution of our Figure 8–now, I admit that the bottom of the Figure 8 is driven with no markers while the top circle has the touch points of the circled marked by cones so I was driving the 2nd part “freehand” so to speak. I do think, however, we got better and better at that second half and I can really tell where I began to relax my hands in this series of maps.


While the outer curves of the circle need improvement, I do think I’ve improved the direction change at the intersection quite a bit.