In my last post I asked for everyone to comment about what they seen me doing wrong. Although nobody claims to know much or anything about driving, several of you seen it, but just weren't too sure about it. I have the reins looped over my finger, then back down through my hands...
Usually I use the rest of my fingers to 'tickle' the reins, to signal for turns. Small tugs on one or the other. This is fine for some things and not others. Gary (in the background of the first photo) came back to the trailer and pointed this out. He showed me two ways I should correctly hold the reins and how and why either one is better (than what I was doing) and for which type of competitions. Then he asked if I hold the reins that way when I ride?
"Ummmm, nooooooo.... So then I'm guessing you don't do it when you drive either?" Yay me! LOL! Brilliant huh?
Holding the reins the way I am in the photos, makes sliding your hands up or down- shortening or loosening- difficult. What happens is, as Fern and Indigo pointed out- my hands are up high, way over this way or that, essentially trying to take up slack in order to turn or stop. As Cattypex asked- your hands should be low and 'quiet'. What else happened because my hands were all over the place? You tend to forget about the rest of the length of the whip. You aren't thinking about that and I know I wasn't. I think I may have whacked my passenger/groom with the end of it a few times by accident.
Since this was a Darby and you are 'judged' only on speed, we weren't expecting a lot and made big wide sweeping turns, it wasn't such a big deal. Had this been a pleasure class or reinsmanship which is similar to equitation??? Hahaha I would have bombed it in a BIG way!
In the one photo I also noticed I am leaning, trying to help him around the turn. I have dropped my shoulder and he has too. This is a bad habit of mine that I have when riding too and obviously it carries over. What is it about the reins that 'transmitts' that, even when you aren't sitting on them???
I have also added a page at the top of "Things I Use". There you will find the links to the websites and products, such as his protective boots, the harness, etc. that we use to work and compete. I opened up the comments there as well, so if anyone has any questions about anything, all you have to do is ask...