Site Users

This site is not optimized for mobile access.  Would you like to access from a mobile device?
41 Vote
7 Vote

Subscribe for updates




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.

Stored Msgs

Puzzle Fun

Scooter Jigsaw Puzzle Katz and Talon Jigsaw Puzzle Jane and Wes Jigsaw Puzzle Glenn & Junior Jigsaw Puzzle
Join MDDA now!     Check out what drivers like about distance driving (right sidebar)

Future Events


Results from Yellowstone 2002

20 Mile Winners:

1st-Randy Rudstrom & Gus – 355

2nd-Art Espe & Fancy – 351

3rd-Connie Gray & ToGo -320

10 Mile Winners:
1st-Lana Santamaria & Noble – 383
2nd-Wes Licht & Jessie – 379
3rd-Jacque & Becky Deweese & Nora – 349
4th-Larry & Peggy Ciesla & Trigger – 321

Pairs Winner:

1st- Theresa Burns-Metcalf & Larry Schultz & Gus & Opal – 700


By Jane Licht

Yellowstone Wildlife Refuge horse trails offer rolling hills, expansive scenic views, and the varied terrain of “driftless” southwestern Wisconsin. “Driftless” is a geologic term referring to the fact that the various glacial melts missed this corner of the state and thus it is more rugged and well-drained than glaciated areas. The Midwest Distance Driving Association jointly sponsored a ride-drive along with members of Distance Riders Association of Wisconsin (DRAW) on Sunday, September 2.

Most of the distance drivers, including Wes and me, arrived Saturday and camped out in the farm field next to the wildlife refuge. We had talked long and hard to convince our friends Larry and Peggy Ciesla from Yorkville, Illinois to try distance driving with their four-year-old gelding. The Cieslas own Dakota’s Golden Topaz (Trigger), a Palomino Morab that they have been driving. We told them we were bringing our four-year-old Morab mare, RL Jessie Jane, who was even less experienced than their Trigger. You have to start somewhere, we told them. We could both do the shorter 10-mile distance and there is no pressure to meet your 10 minute window of time. Better to take longer if needed, so that the horse has acceptable pulse and respiration readings at the finish.

Early Sunday morning Theresa Burns-Metcalf rolled in with her pair of duns and her groom, Larry Schultz. They had their horses vet checked and then joined the rest of us for the driver’s meeting. Ride manager Peggy Brush gave us an orientation regarding the trails. MDDA member Chuck Gray assisted and set the schedule of start times for each distance driver. Sandy Rudstrom and I did safety checks, particularly for the newer drivers.

The twenty milers went first with Randy Rudstrom taking the lead driving his Standardbred Gus. Five minutes later Connie Gray drove her Arabian mare To Go down the trail, and then Art Espe took his turn driving his Arabian, Fancy. Wes was the first 10-mile driver. Next was Lana Santamaria with her horse Noble, and then Larry and Peggy with Trigger. Theresa and Larry Schultz were to follow up the rear but a late arrival, Jacque DeWeese was the final driver. Jacque and his daughter Becky were in a cart driven by their Morgan mare.

I ended up starting the participants and timing them at the end. I also took photos as they finished so I kept snapping the shutter and checking my watch. The 20-mile drivers had a mid-point vet check. Randy arrived quite early, announcing that he let Gus trot the entire time because he had plenty of energy. He also said that there was no 2 mile marker on the trail, which would make it difficult for drivers to gauge how fast or slow they should move their horses for the last 2 miles of the drive.

Connie and Art came in together somewhat later. Apparently, Connie’s meadow brook cart broke a bolt along the trail and Art stopped his horse to help her repair it. They used lots of duct tape to hold it together temporarily. (Red Green was right about the merits of duct tape!) During the 30 minute rest period at the midpoint vet-check, Connie’s husband Chuck and others helped repair her cart so that she could continue the second half of the drive safely.

Wes was the first 10 mile driver to make his appearance and following closely behind was Lana. I could see them moving very slowly on the hill near the end of the trail. I checked their start times and my watch and then realized why. They were both coming in too soon. Wes was 2 minutes early and Lana was 7 minutes before her window of time. However, they would only get one penalty point for each minute. Pulse, respiration, leg filling, gut sounds, any new cuts or abrasions, and unwillingness to trot out at the end – these could likely all cause more penalty points than the relatively few time penalty points assessed to them.

Wes explained that Jessie Jane trotted willingly and never seemed to run out of energy. She was relaxed and on the bit. Even when she came upon something new along the trail she looked but just kept on going. He was proud of his young horse. She trotted out well for the veterinarian, and her P&R rates were good. However, she had some filling in the front legs and soreness in her hind tendons. Nothing serious but Wes applied ice to her hind legs and kept watching her for some time after the drive. He gave her another dose of electrolytes, offered her water and let her eat grass. Many distance riders and drivers will give their horses electrolytes the night before and shortly before the event as well as after. The salty electrolytes are often mixed with applesauce or yogurt to improve the taste. They encourage the horse to drink water and they are a hedge against the inevitable loss of body salt and minerals through perspiration during the long drive.

Lana was delighted that her Arabian gelding, age 26, came through the drive very well. His P&R rates were excellent, he trotted out willingly and the vet could find really nothing wrong with him.

I continued to wait for Larry, Peggy and Trigger. However, the next vehicle was pulled by a pair of part Quarter horse duns. Theresa said that she passed the Cieslas rather early along the trail. Later, Jacque DeWeese and his daughter came to the finish. Still no Cieslas. I was beginning to worry. We had really worked hard to convince them to come and try distance driving – what if they had some terrible accident? Finally, about 35 minutes after their window of time, Larry appeared driving Trigger with Peggy running along beside the cart. With all of the high, rolling hills, they had decided it would be better for Peggy to get out to lighten the load. She ended up walking and running several miles so she really got a work-out. Trigger, it turns out, was content to walk rather than trot and Larry decided to let him walk. Larry explained that he and Trigger do a 6-mile loop in a park near their home but, being in Eastern Illinois, it’s all flat ground. The huge hills of southwestern Wisconsin were a bit daunting to them. But the three of them made it, and the rest of us were all proud of them for doing it.

Lana and her horse Noble took first place in the ten mile division, but all the horses had respectable scores – even Trigger. The 20-milers were bunched close together with Randy and his horse Gus taking first place. For Jacque DeWeese the Yellowstone drive was truly a milestone, proving that his Morgan mare was still a solid driving horse even after a bad experience last year. Some of the drivers and their families set up an impromptu pot-luck lunch as they visited and waited for the awards ceremony. It was a perfect day at the MDDA distance drive at Yellowstone Wildlife Refuge.

2002 Yellow

[img src=]100
Connie Gray gets help repairing her cart
[img src=]30
Art Espe and Connie Gray unhitching
[img src=]20
Art Espe and Connie Gray coming in to mid point check
[img src=]20
Connie Gray, Sandy and Jessica Rudstrom harnessing ToGo
[img src=]50
Dr. Wes Elford checking Wes's Jessie at finish
[img src=]10
Driver's meeting
[img src=]20
Jac and Becki Deweese unharness Nora at finish (Nora's 1st drive!)
[img src=]10
Lana Santamaria at the finish
[img src=]20
Lana Santamaria heading out
[img src=]00
Theresa Burns-Metcalf & Larry Schultz & Gus & Opal
[img src=]10
Larry Ciesla with Trigger
[img src=]00
Larry & Peggy Ciesla & Trigger
[img src=]00
Linda Jacobson checks Jessie's pulse
[img src=]10
Checking Jessie's respiration
[img src=]00
Peggy Ciesla and Trigger trot circles
[img src=]00
Randy Rudstrom unhitching Gus at mid-point
[img src=]10
Randy and Gus at finish
[img src=]10
Randy Rudstrom and Gus near finish
[img src=]10
Sandy Rudstrom gives Larry Ciesla some pointers
[img src=]00
Theresa and Larry near finish with Gus and Opal
[img src=]00
Theresa and Larry wait for final vet check
[img src=]10
Wes and Jessie trot circles
[img src=]10
Wes and Jessie at end of drive
[img src=]10
Side view of Wes Licht driving Jessie

Leave a Reply




You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>