I thought it might be fun to start a little forum here on my website. I get lots of emails with great questions and I think many of the questions would benefit the group.
Maybe people will start posting questions here!
Here is the latest question from Connie:
"I'm interested in learning about one line driving. How does it work? Do you mention it in your book? Thanks."
I do mention it briefly in my book. Just in passing - that I will start my ground driving with one line in many cases. Especially if I am ground driving two ponies at the same time. I find it so much easier to only have to juggle two lead ropes, one to each pony, rather than four in hand, two to each pony.
There are a couple of ideas behind one line driving:
1) It's hard to micro manage when you only have one line. Sometimes it can be such a challenge to get them to just simply go forward in a straight line that you will be so relieved you will simply STOP pestering them when they finally get it right. This is KEY. Micro managing is so confusing for you and the horse/pony you are trying to communicate with.
It requires a whole different level of communication with your pony. You are using your eyes (focus) your body language and your voice commands when you have only one line. This really solidifies your voice commands in both your mind and that of your pony. You will surprised at how quickly your pony catches onto what it is you are trying to say if you settle down, look where you are going (and not at their ears or butt!) and use your body to GO THERE.
It's a great way to build confidence for both you and your pony. Your pony will be so happy to show you just how smart they are, and how little it takes to communicate to them what it is you want! And you will be happy to feel that confidence in your pony. Having confidence that they truly understand what it is you are trying to communicate it extremely important once you get them hitched to a vehicle. No one wants to feel like their pony might go where they want to, or WHOA when asked!
Take this time to really refine your communication. If you have been driving your pony in cart for years it super fun to go back to one line driving and test that communication. Will your pony WHOA just off of voice or do you find yourself having to use the rope? Will your pony come over to the right with a voice command or do you need to use the rope? Will your pony turn around and go the other way with a voice command or do you have to use the rope?
I feel when Zorro and I do this exercise we get even closer, almost one mind, in our driving. We have more of those moments when I am simply thinking about trotting and he picks up the trot. Or I am thinking about stopping to admire the mountains and he comes to a beautiful smooth stop. Those are the moments I cherish.