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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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UPC Clinic

MDDA Presents Distance Driving Clinic in the Upper Peninsula
by Wes Licht

The small town hall just east of Manistique, Michigan, was bustling with activity on this early gray morning of February 23 as preparations were being made for the first distance driving clinic in the Upper Peninsula. Host Mary Lyon had invited Theresa Burns-Metcalf, president of Midwest Distance Drivers Association (MDDA), and members of her group to present information on topics related to this newest form of driving competition. Soon guests began arriving from near and far (up to 4 hours of travel time), registering and warming up with hot beverages and filling the cozy room with animated conversation.

Theresa began the session by welcoming the guests, introducing the other presenters Sharon Beck and Wes Licht and thanking Mary for organizing and publicizing this opportunity to present distance driving in the UP. The morning time flew by as topics on rules, scoring, conditioning, vet checks, driving the trails, nutrition and using electrolytes were shared. Theresa, Sharon and Wes used their photos, a spare’s kit, transparencies and material given everyone in an information packet to highlight their presentations. Just before lunch, some very nice door prizes were given out, compliments of Mary and MDDA.

The afternoon session was held conveniently just across the road in Mary’s indoor arena at Atlasta Farm. With many participants new to driving, Wes began by sharing ideas on the equipment needed using the harness, carriage and whip provided by Mary and attempting to answer the myriad of good questions. The pre-drive vet check was then simulated with Dr. Rae Birr, a veterinarian with much competitive and endurance riding experience, giving out lots of good information. Hot Shot, an Arabian crossbred gelding handled by Mary’s daughter Jean Willour, was put through a very thorough exam in front of the interested audience. While checking Hot Shot from head to tail and back to legs, Dr. Rae commented on his at rest condition while Theresa filled out the vetting/scoring form just as it would be done at a real drive. Jean led Hot Shot and demonstrated a trot-out in both directions on a circle as Dr. Rae evaluated his soundness, way of going and attitude. Wes, Theresa and Mary harnessed and hitched this very patient horse while reviewing appropriate fittings and safety procedures. After putting on the safety helmet which is mandatory in distance driving, Wes (who had earlier been coerced into doing the driving) took the reins and whip and drove Hot Shot around the arena to simulate the first half of a competition. Then, after unhitching, Dr. Rae demonstrated the half-way vet check normally done on longer drives.

Finally, Hot Shot and two other well-mannered horses were brought in so that all the participants could experience using a stethoscope for checking the pulse and listening for gut sounds. The participants also experienced counting the respiration rate, noting capillary refill time and checking for dehydration. Final questions and answers ended a very full day of learning about the basics for doing a competitive distance drive.

With the winds and snow blowing, sincere thank-you’s were given to Mary and her family for their generous help and the three MDDA members started back home on their long drive to southern Wisconsin. It had been a very good day with positive feedback from participants and with excited presenters hoping their efforts will help spread distance driving to the UP.

Other Distance Driving Notes:
Congratulations and thanks to Sharon Beck who is the new webmaster for MDDA and trying lots of new things. Check out when you have time and see pictures related to the UP clinic.

Thanks to Gary Allen who invited MDDA to present a short session on distance driving at the Morgan Driving Strategy Seminar held near Baraboo on March 2. Wes Licht made the presentation on the snowiest weekend of the winter.

Thanks to Debbie Dixon and Paul Wasielewski who have worked to make a new logo for MDDA. Look for it with our ads and publications.

MDDA traveled to Minnesota to present an all-day clinic on March 23, hosted by Kathy Johnson of Montrose. It was similar to the UP clinic (Feb. 23) and the Wisconsin clinic (March 16).

The first distance drive hosted by MDDA has a new home for 2002. It will be held at Horsemen’s Park, Palmyra, WI, on Saturday, April 27. Look for more details in our ad in this publication.

May 11th and 12th is the Glacier Trails Event. MDDA is sponsoring this weekend competition at Horsemen’s Park, Palmyra, WI. Ten and 20 mile distance drives are scheduled for Sunday morning. Saturday’s schedule includes a 50 Mile Endurance Ride, first day of the 50 Mile Competitive Ride, a 25 Mile Limited Distance Ride and a 25 Mile Competitive Ride. Other events slated for Sunday are A 25 Mile Limited Distance Ride, the 2nd day of the Competitive 50 Mile Ride, a 25 Mile Competitive Ride.

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