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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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Puzzle Fun

Scooter Jigsaw Puzzle Katz and Talon Jigsaw Puzzle Jane and Wes Jigsaw Puzzle Glenn & Junior Jigsaw Puzzle
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Future Events

DRAW II

DRAW II – Endless Valley 2005
20 Mile Drivers-Single
1st – Wes Licht driving Lena, a Morab
2nd – Derrick Dupler driving Rhia, a Morgan
3rd – Randy Rudstrom driving Buddy, a Standardbred
10 Mile Drivers-Single
1st – Wes Licht driving Annie, a Morab, 378 pts.
2nd – Gary Jackson driving Horus, a Morgan, 356 pts.
3rd – Jan Ethington driving Wylla, a Fjord, 342 pts.

Endless Valley (Endless Hills?)

By Jac Deweese

Our 5th event and a new location, July 2, 2005.

After following Hwy 60 along the winding Wisconsin River we arrive in Spring Green and discover the route south is closed. We follow the detour and soon find ourselves back on Hwy 23 looking for CTR T. There it is just beyond Talison. We take a left and following a winding picturesque road until we see the sign ‘Endless Valley’. We are looking over a valley filled with paddocks and horses. Following the narrow, winding road we soon see trucks and trailers and a very nice new stable and arena. We see a number of people that we have seen before at these events and our route to our camping spot is punctuated with greetings. Quickly we set up camp and introduce ourselves to our immediate camping neighbors.

Scooter is calm and seems at peace with his surroundings. A far cry from our last event where he was hyper and on edge for the entire day! We proceed to register and are able to vet in this evening, so that we are all ready to go tomorrow. It’s here that we learn that there are a lot of hills on this course. I’m not overly concerned because I am able to train on some pretty demanding hills and actually I’m looking forward to the challenge.

This is Scooter’s first attempt at 20 miles and I hold off on registering for Sunday until I see his condition at the end of the 20.

As usual, I have a hard time sleeping. For July it gets very chilly and combined with my nerves there is not much rest. I’m also concerned because at the last event I had some real excitement trying to get Scooter harnessed and hitched. He simply wouldn’t stand still. I’ve been working on the problem for a month and at home he has been near perfect, but this will be the 1st test away from home.

At 4AM camp noises destroy any further chance of sleep. This is the ‘TEST’ day for Scooter who’ll be evaluated for both behavior and conditioning. Space around my trailer is limited so Wes Licht graciously allows me to harness and hitch at his trailer. I take my time, trying to keep my nervousness from upsetting Scooter. This is the behavior test! He passes with flying colors. Maybe not perfect, but certainly a ‘B’ performance.

We walk up to the starting line and ask the timer how long. He says 15 seconds so we do a quick loop and are on our way.

Immediately out of camp we come to our 1st hill. It’s long, but about the same angle as one of our training hills and we easily negotiate it. Scooter is behaving well and I have the opportunity to enjoy the scenery. We move repeatedly between woods and meadow. Most of the hills that we encounter are in the woods and most of the meadows are gently rolling. The meadows are simply stunning! Literally covered with wild flowers and in seems like they are all at peak bloom. White and gold blossoms every where. The meadows are almost all at high points on the drive and the breeze is refreshing and the view over the wooded hills is outstanding.

The trail is mostly grass covered with very few rocks. Some of the trail in the woods is along ravines and with the wandering path made by the riders we must be careful to stay clear of the drop off alongside the trail. This is made more difficult by the tall grass which masks the danger. We have to look off the side and away from the trail to recognize that there is indeed a potential drop off.

We’ve covered about ¾ of the distance and I’m feeling good. Scooter is handling the terrain and seems to be in really good shape, but he has refused to drink at any of the many opportunities afforded by strategically placed buckets.

We come to the cutoff for the carts. A deviation in the trail needed to create the 20 mile distance, while the riders are doing 25 miles. Oh, Oh. This is a very steep decline and the grass is still wet from the dew. We’ll take this as slow as possible. This is still no worse than what we’ve been training on, except for the dew. As we near the bottom Scooter slides. His feet are in a good position but he sits right down on his butt. Quickly recovers and we are safely at the bottom. My thoughts are “that was bad, but not too bad and we handled it”. Next time will be better when it is dryer.

On through the woods and across a couple of dry stream beds. No problem, but we have to get back up out of this depression. This trail is fairly steep, but the real challenge is a couple of rather large rocks that seem to be strategically placed so that is almost impossible to get around them. Well if you can’t get around something, you must go over it! Not necessarily a problem, except that it puts a tremendous burden on the horse who is already working hard against a steep incline. I was pleased when Scooter gave the added effort and we surmounted both obstacle, but I’m concerned about accomplishing the same task on the second leg when he will be getting tired.

On we go and soon we see the 2 mile marker. Pretty easy from here on into the vet check. We are ahead of our allowed time by 21 minutes. We have that much extra time for the second round and when we have the best p/r’s Scooter has ever had, I’m thinking with the extra time we should do well for the whole 20.

After 40 minutes where I’ve tried just about everything I can think of to get Scooter to drink and he does finally drink a little, we are back on the trail.

With that extra 21 minutes, I plan to walk up and down hills and only trot on relatively flat and open stretches. I find that Scooter is eager to trot and we end up trotting a little more than I had planned. At the same time I have more opportunity to observe the woods. It’s got many interesting trees, although my eyesight wasn’t good enough to recognize those further off the trail. One section appeared to be a mix of hickory and walnut. One lone tree along the trail appeared to be an American Elm. If it was it is rare and quite old. Anther section had what appeared to be lark or tamarack, at least an unusual needled tree.

I was delighted that when we came to about the 2/3 point and discovered Linda Jacobson and my neighbor Glenna filling the water buckets. This encouraged Scooter to investigate and he drank a considerable amount of water while Linda slushed some cooling water on his neck. I felt really good about our probable scores at that point. I had an eager horse with a belly full of water, but we still had the tough hills ahead of us.

Time wise we were in excellent shape and my goal was to reach the 2 mile marker with 35 or 40 minutes to go. Well within reach. We negotiate the decline and I was correct. With dryer grass Scooter didn’t slip. He did express some hesitation, I think he remembered the slip!

OK, now for the steep incline and rocks. As we approach the 1st rock I realize that fatigue is setting in. With careful direction we avoid the rock, but in between the two rocks, I goof up and end up crosswise on the trail and Scooter refuses to side pass back onto the trail. This is unusual, since he has mastered that move. I get out and go to his head. Then discover that one wheel is high and the other low which has clamped Scooter between the shafts. I pull on the uphill shaft and discover that I can’t move it either. He’s really clamped and just not sure what to do. I study the area and luckily see a way through the brambles and brush that should get us back on the trail. With some urging Scooter follows me and we are soon out of our problem and beyond the hated rocks. Still a pretty good climb to the top. I get back into the cart and we easily move on.

I know the 2 mile marker is just ahead, but somehow I miss it. I’m actually getting a little concerned about time and we proceed a little faster than I had intended. I’ve just decided to start walking, regardless of time when Lori Windows, Joey Mattingly and another young lady come up behind. I pull over and let them pass, and Scooter is anxious to keep them in sight. We trot on.

Almost immediately we come to a slight down hill with a sharp turn between some trees. DISASTER STRIKES. I swing out to be sure of clearing the tree, make the turn and feel myself tipping. I’m suddenly on the ground facing the wrong way with the reins in my hand. I’m relieved when the reins go slack, but when I stand up I see Scooter cast on his side with all four feet off the ground. I quickly move to his head and he looks at me, but doesn’t move.

Suddenly Lori is by my side asking what can she do. I suggest she watch his head and try to keep him from struggling while I attempt to get the harness free. I easily release all of the harness except the breeching which is under Scooter. Joey Mattingly has now joined us and while he watches Scooter’s head Lori gets my box knife out of the spares kit. I quickly cut the hold back and we’re loose. Joey and I are able to pull the cart away and now Scooter is free, except he is lying in a pile of cut wood and can’t get his feet under him. We start pulling chunks of wood out from under him and soon have his front feet just touching the ground. I then ask every one to stand back and taking his halter I lift his head. He quickly gains his footing. Unbelievably, we can’t find a scratch or mark of any kind! He had been such a good boy and hadn’t struggled at all while we worked to free him. Lori suggested that I lead him in and have the vet look at him. After righting the cart and moving it off the trail we all proceeded to the vet check. I was amazed at how close we were to the finish! I’m sure it was no more than ½ mile and perhaps as little as a ¼ mile.

I really appreciate the help I received from the riders. In this case I would have been in real trouble without some help.

Scooter was pronounced sound by the vet, but I was warned that he might stiffen over night. Indeed he did develop some swelling in his rear hocks. I treated with ice packs, but in the morning he still showed some soreness, heat and filling and although the vets would have let him go I felt that the grassy downhill was just too risky on already tender hocks. I pulled and returned home Sunday morning.

I’m sure that with some rest and therapy Scooter and I will be back on the trail. We’re looking forward to the rest of season, especially now that I am confident that he can handle 20 miles over very challenging terrain. As far as the conditioning ‘Test’, I’d have to give him a ‘B’, not quite there but improving every outing.

For what its worth. At the time I thought I had actually hit the tree and that had caused me to roll. After reviewing the scene it was obvious that no one had hit the tree. In retrospect I must have taken the corner too fast, although I certainly was in no hurry. The fault was entirely mine, the horse obviously did exactly what I had asked of him. This certainly was not a dangerous point on the coarse and I had already negotiated it successfully. I’ll certainly approach these types of turns with more care in the future! Apparently no damage to the horse or driver. A cheap hold back strap fixes the harness and a metal back rest support was the only damage to the cart. A lesson learned at very little cost except to my pride and dignity. It’s really embarrassing walking into camp when you left in a cart!.

Endless Valley Demo

Just before a wonderful potluck dinner on July 2, three members of the Midwest Distance Driving Association (MDDA) were happy to present a demonstration for the riders and crews at the Endless Valley (DRAW II) ride.

Derrick Dupler of Stevens Point opened the demonstration by sharing his special relationship with Rhia, his black Morgan mare. Rhia was the star of the show as she performed tasks and tricks for everyone to enjoy – from kissing and bowing to fetching and painting. It was obvious that Derrick and Rhia have spent many hours of quality time together.

Next Jac Deweese (Pardeeville) and Wes Licht (McFarland) used Anniversary Annie, a buckskin Morab mare, to demonstrate the correct procedure for harnessing and hitching a light horse for driving. Wes talked about the various parts of the breast collar harness and how to adjust them as he put them on Annie. Jac and Wes then hitched her correctly to his restored road cart, completing the preparation for driving. Many in attendance asked some very good questions.

MDDA thanks Endless Valley Ride Managers Peggy Brush and Linda Jacobson for this opportunity. Derrick, Jac and Wes have appreciated the many kind words received from those who were in the audience and enjoyed the demonstration.

Sorry, no pictures available for this event.

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