If so, you’ll enjoy teen blogger Haley Ruffner’s hilarious recounting of trying to relate driving to riding during a recent Driver’s Ed course.
Top photo: Flickr/redjar/Creative Commons License
Upon finishing the obligatory summer Driver’s Education course last week, I have determined that riding a horse is much, much easier than driving a car. When I got my driving permit over the winter, I was excited to gain the independence associated with driving… but after spending four weeks learning the intricacies of three-point turns, parallel parking, and expressway driving, I’ve decided that I much prefer traveling on horseback. While a car is obviously faster, it is also extremely unwieldy, bulky, and does not respond well to voice commands or seat cues.
While I attained a level of proficiency with driving during Driver’s Ed, I am sure I also provided a measure of entertainment to my instructor and fellow students. I found myself inadvertently reacting to situations as I would if I were on a horse and cueing the car to perform different maneuvers with my seat, voice and legs. Needless to say, this was largely ineffective and resulted in a few delayed maneuvers. Here are some things that I found out firsthand just don’t work when you’re driving a car:
1. Saying “whoa.” And, when that fails, pulling on the steering wheel like it’s reins doesn’t help either. Cars are a little like spur-broke horses in that you use your feet/legs to cue a halt, except that you have to push your toe down to stop… it just feels all wrong!
2. Conversely, clucking doesn’t work either. Or kissing, or saying “walk on.” Squeezing your heels together when your voice commands are ignored won’t have much effect either.
3. Leg yields. When performing a left lane change, my first instinct is to apply my right leg and push the car over sideways. Lane changing is a maneuver that requires much more rein (steering wheel?) and less leg than it would on horseback. Likewise, parallel parking would be SO. MUCH. EASIER. if cars would leg yield. Just line yourself up to the space and sidepass over into it.
4. Turning on the forehand/backhand. The first time I pulled into a parking spot crookedly, I tried my best to perform a slight turn on the forehand. It seems like such a ridiculous process to have to back out while turning and pull forward again when the problem could be remedied by a fraction of a pivot on the forehand!
5. Jumping. That huge pothole in the road or those awful bumpy train tracks you cross on the way to work every day? At least your car won’t spook at them or refuse them, but it certainly isn’t going to jump them either. No matter how impeccable your two-point is, or how well you keep your eyes up and heels down.
Haley Ruffner is a high school student who rides on Alfred University’s hunt seat and western IEA teams. She also owns and trains her 5-year-old quarter horse, At Last An Invitation (“Cricket”). Haley is an avid reader and writer and has been riding since she was five.
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