Auto insurance

One teen’s unconventional driving feat

Thursday, December 31, 2015by  Sharlyn Petit

Working trot. Loop serpentine. Halt and salute. These maneuvers probably don’t sound familiar to you as you recall your driving test. But for one New Hampshire teen, the definition of driving is just a little different.

Swapping keys for reins, 16-year-old Ben Swatko recently earned an American Driving Society Level 1 Dressage – a certification to drive a horse and carriage. We bet he logged just as many practice hours and studied like his auto license-minded peers to get there.

Swatko’s interest in horses started when he was 6 years old and enrolled in Touchstone Farm’s therapeutic riding program for people with disabilities. Despite the challenges he faces, his friends and family say it is Swatko’s natural ability to connect and communicate with horses that helps him shine at equine events and, now, as a handler on the farm.

Like the average teenager, Swatko found his own independence and set of wheels. But it’s funny how common teen driver mistakes may still apply in his situation (knowing the controls, forgetting about blind spots, not using signals), though it's more complicated given the temperament of his “vehicle.”

Read more about Ben Swatko’s story at

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