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WELCOME to MDDA

We’re glad you stopped by to visit our website on distance driving. Perhaps you’ve just discovered MDDA and want to learn more about just what we do. Perhaps you’ve come to check the schedule to see when and where competitive drives are being held or check the results of past drives. Or perhaps you are just interested in looking at some photographs of our horses and drivers at the various competitions. Whatever the reason, thanks for browsing and drop us a line if we can answer any questions or be of service to you.

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First Year Experience

I feel like I had two first years, one was my first year and the second was Scooter’s first year.  I’ll recount my first year here.

I was excited about getting started in distance driving and had both a pony ‘Ashes’ and a horse ‘Nora’.  Nora was a new purchase who turned out to have some issues.  As a result she was at a trainer’s when the driving season started so I was forced to drive Ashes in my 1st competition at Iron Oak in Palmyra.  Glacier-Jacque trots his Welsh pony crossI was encouraged to find that a miniature was also participating that day but discouraged by Ashes’ performance.  I felt that he was being asked to do more than he was capable of and determined to use Nora for this sport.

Much later I realized that Ashes was simply out of condition plus the setup of harness and cart was increasing his ‘load’ and making him work harder than necessary.  Just two years later, after making adjustments to both harness and cart, Ashes earned the Champion Limited Distance award.

Being frustrated with Ashes and Nora in training I had to wait till late in the season to participate in my second drive.  Finally I felt Nora was ready and we attended our first drive together.  The drive was at Yellowstone in the hills of southern Wisconsin (no longer exists).  I had difficulty finding the camp (no gps) and I managed to miss a trail mark and drove an extra mile.  The result was a very tired horse who didn’t have any idea of what was wanted at the trot out and a dismal score.

Believe it or not, I wasn’t discouraged.  I really liked the sport so I went home and practiced the trot out.

Our third drive was Colorama and proved challenging for Nora. The first challenge was a very steep and rocky hill followed by a long stretch of water covered trail.  I hadn’t encountered water before and Nora didn’t want anything to do with it.  I had a balky horse until a fellow driver passed.  Nora then followed quite willingly, even though the water was near our floorboard and the trail was rutted by tractor tracks.  We finished successfully and Nora never had a problem with water again.

Now I have to note that Nora was a cribber and naturally a ‘nervous’ horse.  Up to the fourth drive I had never horse camped and I was terribly nervous as well.

Our fourth drive was at Black River Falls and it was late enough in the season that the leaves were starting to fall.  It was also chilly!

In spite of my erratic sleep, Nora escaped from her halter.  Fortunately she visited another camper who caught her and returned her to our campsite.  I didn’t even know she was gone.  When I finally hitched she was still excited and nervous.  Almost impossible to hold for the safety check and I suspect everyone was concerned about whether we would even finish the drive.

black-Jack practicingBelieve it or not, she settled almost instantly and it was one of the most beautiful drives I have ever had.  The poplar leaves were floating down in bright sunlight and the trail had puddles from a recent rain.  Although I was sitting on one hand or the other most of the time due to the cold, Nora was responding to every request and seemed to be enjoying the outing as much as I was.

That drive more than any other clinched my love of the sport.

It also earned me the Rookie award for completing a minimum of three drives in my novice year.

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