Friday, June 19, 2015

Driving Lessons, Equestrian Style...

My son Noah recently turned 16, and in New Jersey that means you can get your driver's learning permit.  Which basically means that the parent of the fledgeling driver needs either a bucket of valium to remain calm while instructing the newbie, or a damn good stylist to cover the gray hairs earned during practice sessions.

Noah has been practicing in my truck, which is good because we'e in a lovely large cocoon of metal, and bad because it's my new truck and I know it's going to get dinged up and of course I want my baby boy protected but I'd really still like to keep my new truck dent free.  Deeeeeeep breath.

Today I let him drive home from the barn, which is a half hour trip, much of it on the highway.  It was after 8 on a Friday night, so traffic was very light.  I buckled into the passenger seat, took a deep, cleansing breath,  and prepared to be a calm and collected font of driving knowledge.

Here is some of the advice I gave him:

When we were merging onto the highway: "You're gonna need to give it more leg." (No kidding, that actually came out of my mouth).

When going up a hill: "More impulsion!" (I even clucked for good measure. Again, totally unintentional).

Coming in to a downhill turn: "Whoa. Whoa. WHOA!"

Before a dog-leg turn: "You're gonna want to half halt and balance up before entering the turn."

During the dog-leg turn: "You're bulging to the outside - what do you need to do?" (Thank God he didn't say to apply stronger outside aids).

Again, this stuff was just coming out of my mouth, 100% live streaming.  No lie.  I wasn't planning any of it.  You know how it is. When you're a horse person every other aspect of life is seen through the equestrian filter.

To give the kid credit, he didn't bat an eyelash and he didn't need me to translate a thing.  He did fairly well for a newbie.  Has a bit of an issue with keeping the pace consistent - he tends to rush or back off a lot.  There's no middle ground with him.  He has the same tendency when riding, so maybe if he improves one he'll improve the other.

PSA - If you live in Northern NJ and are on Routes 78 or 287,  you may want to avoid a champagne colored Chevy Tahoe. Just saying.