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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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Glacier Trails

By Jane Licht

Our Midwest Distance Driving Association (MDDA) President, Theresa Burns-Metcalf, had stressed the importance of us volunteering for the Distance Riders Association of Wisconsin (DRAW) event on Saturday, May 12. She also requested that we either participate or volunteer for the MDDA/DRAW combination drive and ride on Sunday, May 13, at the same location near Palmyra, Wisconsin. Her gentle but persistent encouragement was reinforced by the strong, out-spoken voice of Romona Radtke, main organizer of the two-day events. MDDA members heeded the call for help and one long-time volunteer remarked, “We’ve never had so many volunteers before!”

MDDA members quickly learned their newly assigned duties. Roger Houk and this writer worked with veteran Hugo Hartman as timers for the riders on Saturday. As the competitive riders came to the first vet check, we wrote the time on their cards, the time (ten minutes later) that they needed to get their horse’s pulse and respiration (P&R) checked, and the time they could leave the vet area (thirty minutes after vetting). Many of the endurance riders who were very concerned about their time, were single-minded and no-nonsense. Many of the competitive riders were more relaxed since they only needed to make their window of time to avoid a few penalty points. All of the riders were concerned about P&R, with most checking their horses themselves before approaching the veterinarians.

This particular ride (and distance drive) is called, “Glacier Trails,” which is certainly appropriate considering the geology of the area. Theresa, Romona and Elinore Tonsor registered participants and issued DNR stamps required for entrance into the Kettle Moraine Southern Unit Horseman’s Park near Palmyra. Romona organized the volunteers and assigned tasks. Vets and volunteers were needed everywhere.

Wes Licht joined Randy Rudstrom and helped with timing at another vet check area on Saturday. Tom Krueger arrived in time to help stop traffic when the riders needed to cross the road. Most rides begin early in the morning to take advantage of the coolest part of the day, so the participants and some of the volunteers arrived the night before and camped out next to their horses. There happened to be a distance race (for people) scheduled at the park that day. It was interesting how similar in outlook the serious first wave runners were as compared with the serious endurance riders. Watch, out! They’re coming through so don’t get in the way!

MDDA member Sandy Rudstrom also helped on Saturday, in between crewing for her triplet daughters and their horses. Chuck Gray, another MDDA member, helped others in addition to crewing for his wife Connie on both days.

We were pleased that a number of the DRAW people showed up on Sunday to volunteer their time for the MDDA drive as well as assist the riders. A nice group of drivers participated. There were five single horse drivers who chose the 10-mile distance route, five single horse drivers who elected to do the 20 miler and one driver with a pair also did the 20-mile drive.

Since Wes decided to take Lena alone and just do 10 miles with only vet checks at the beginning and end, I was not needed to crew for him and thus, volunteered all day on Sunday. Wes and I had both helped by scribing for the veterinarians, writing down each horse’s metabolics on a score sheet as the vets would call out a ranking. Kris Welter did the majority of the vetting on both days. We wondered out loud how many individual legs she raised to check for swelling and stiffness. Another young veterinarian, Tracy Busalacchi, did some distance vetting under Kris’s guidance. Several people showed me how to tally up the score sheets. It was exciting to learn who the top competitive drivers were, based on their horse’s P&R at the beginning and end, willingness to trot out in a small circle in front of the vet, and all the other issues on the score sheet.

Most participants and volunteers stayed for the early afternoon awards presentation. Everyone who finished got to pick up their participation prize, which included some nice potted plants just right for Mother’s Day. Wes Licht and his Morab mare, “Lena Su Ladyhawk” were winners of the single horse 10 mile driving division. Pauline Stollenwerk won the 20-mile division with her sweet-natured Standard Bred gelding, “Tony.” Both of these horses had remarkable P&R readings. Even though Dan Soby and his pair of Haflingers, “Lizzy and Lucy,” had no competition in the multiples division, they also racked up impressive points.

All of these drivers welcome others new to the sport. Volunteering at these events and learning to drive with someone’s veteran driving horse are good starting points for distance driving. For more information, contact Theresa Burns-Metcalf at 608-943-6126 or via email – In addition, MDDA offers a website at with general information about the sport of distance driving and scheduled events throughout the season.

2001 Glacier Trails

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Monna, Theresa, Dr. Elaine Burkhart wearing cap @ Glacier Trails, Palmyra, WI
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Cassie on trail w/driver Sharon Beck @ Glacier Trails, Horseman's Park, Palmyra
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Randy Rudstrom, Monna Radtke and Theresa Burns @ Horseman's Park
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Gathering of competitors @ Glacier Trails, Horseman's Park, Palmyra, WI
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Deb Dixon receiving award from Theresa @ Glacier Trails
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Ed Thielbar and Tom Krueger getting scores and completion awards at Glacier Trails, Palmyra, WI
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Wes Licht, Roger Houk and Randy Rudstrom setting watches @ Glacier Trails
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Art Espe at finish w/timer Dana Houk @ Glacier Trails, Palmyra, WI
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Wes w/trophy, Glacier Trails, Palmyra, WI
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Karen Soby receiving awards @ Glacier Trails, Horseman’s Park, Palmyra, WI

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