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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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Singles – 6 mile

Place Driver Horse Points
1 Paul Degan Tilly (Fjord) 382
2 Sheryl Stillions Megan (Freisian/Standardbred) 376
3 Edna Oakly Jake (Morgan) 371
4 Vicki Fraser Joe (Appaloosa) 370
5 Jada Neubauer Jo (Sport Pony Cross) 369
6 Tie Debbie Moser Barnon Ken (Morgan) 368
6 Tie Kate Rhinehart Gentry (Am. Quarter Horse) 368

Best of Iowa in Traces Society (BITS)
Distance Driving Clinic and Novice Drive
By Katy Rhinehart

An idea that was started in January became a reality on May 21, 2006. The 1st Annual BITS Distance Driving Clinic and Novice Drive was a huge success. All 20 entrants successfully completed the course and as MDDA says “To Finish is to Win”. President of BITS, Mary Winter, welcomed Jac Deweese and Wes Licht, leaders of Midwest Distance Driving Association (MDDA) who had traveled from Wisconsin to help finalize the event. When they inspected the trail they were pleasantly surprised to see how much had been done by the BITS volunteers. They finished the trail marking with the help of Earl Morris and Gene Rhinehart.

The “Vetting In” process was held on Saturday evening and Sunday morning. All horses passed the watchful eye of Dr. Christie Loiacono and her great help from the ISU vet students and volunteers and we were ready to compete. Unfortunately Jacklyn Smith, who had organized the agenda for the morning distance driving clinic, couldn’t attend due to illness but Steve Stillions put together the clinic materials into a special notebook for everyone. Speakers from Bits and MDDA shared lots of information about the sport of distance driving, all “without a hitch.” The schedule for the afternoon “order of go” and the trail description completed our morning clinic. Sheryl Stillions reported that enough door prizes were donated that every paid driver and clinic auditor were able to receive one. Deb Moser, Edna Oakley, Sheryl Stillions, Katy Rhinehart and various other BITS members gave everyone from the clinic a bag of goodies that had been assembled earlier with information about MDDA, BITS, and other groups in Iowa that drive horses. It also contained donated items from a variety of sources. We then broke for lunch where everyone enjoyed sloppy joes, salads, chips and bars.

The first driver Gene Rhinehart completed the “Safety Check” and started the 6-mile course promptly at 1 p.m. to the cheers of the audience and volunteers. This procedure was followed every 5 minutes by another driver until all 20 drivers were out. The course was a beautiful array of prairie meadow, hay fields, forest and wildlife. Baltimore Orioles, Blue Jays, Scarlet Tanagers, Indigo Buntings and Bluebirds were among some of the colorful creatures seen along the trail. On “the hill” you could hear people calling out “I’m coming down” or “I’m half way up!” as this part of the trail was navigated. It was fun to see other drivers on the route and be able to call out greetings as we passed. Although there were a few driving concerns about spots in the trail, everyone eventually made it to the finish line without incident.

At the awards ceremony a special “thank you” hay bag was given to Dr. Christie for all her help and wheel jacks from Wrightway Trailers were given to Jac and Wes. All competitors received completion ribbons for finishing the course, with their horses passing the final “Vet Check.” Paul Degan and Tilly received 1st place with a score of 382 out of a perfect 400 points. The 2nd place went to Sheryl Stillions and Megan with 376, 3rd place was awarded to Edna Oakly and Jake, 4th place was Vicki Fraser from Nebraska and her horse Joe, and 5th place went to Jada Neubauer and Jo. There was a tie for 6th with Deb Moser and her horse Ken and Katy Rhinehart and Gentry sharing honors. Other competitors were Anita Schlosser, Pat Ketterer, Mickey Hansen, Marjean McIntyre, Brian Morris, Earl Morris, Eleanor Eagly, Debra Knoll, Christy Hemken, Gene Rhinehart, Brian Thompson, Carmella Feldmann, and Mary Winter. You could hear people saying that “Next time, I’ll drive it this way or that way,” so you know there will be a next time!

A big thank you to 3G Farm for hosting a wonderful event and to all the BITS volunteers and others who donated time, prizes, food and helped make this event safe and fun for everyone.

Novice Distance Drive at 3G Farms

By Pat Ketterer

We arrived at 3G farm, north east of Ames Iowa on Saturday afternoon. May 20. Stalls were all ready for our steeds to rest and recoup from the 4 HR trip. We could have gone out and drove the course if we would have wanted to but chose to let the guys rest and help the organizer with what ever else needed to be done.

Early evening, we were able to get the vet check done. Now this was not the vet check we are used to (walk trot in a line etc.), the vet graded the equine on manners, P & R, gut sounds on both sides, hydration, swelling or any s oarness in legs, back, shoulders, rear end and down back of legs, any scars/cuts recorded. We are talking a really good physical, the only thing missing was the exray machine and blood tests. Everything was noted on the score sheet and given a number.

After that was done, we put our meat on the grill and enjoyed a scrumptious pot luck and much conversation.

On Sunday, there was a clinic given by Wes Licht, president of the MDDA (Midwest Distance Driving Association) and Jac Deweese, vice president, covering everything from how the vets score everything, hints and suggestions on driving the trails, to conditioning your horses to do the distance driving. The condition of the horse is of utmost importance, in fact it is all about the horse, not the time. After the clinic, we had a great lunch which had been put together by all the Bits members and was scrumptious.

Before you went out on the drive, there was a safety check on the harness and carriages.

On this particular Novice drive of six miles, we had an hour to complete a beautiful, well marked and mowed 3 mile course, that was driven twice to make the 6 miles. We went in fields, through the woods, on an access road in the field, around yet more fields and back again on a perfect day with a slight breeze and overcast skies with temperatures in the upper 60’s lower 70’s. We couldn’t have asked for a greater day. Nick hardly broke a sweat and that was under the harness.

This was a personal goal for me and Nick. Now I know that my wonderful pony is well on his way to total recovery from EPM 🙂

There were three of us from the Eastern Nebraska Driving Society that attended the drive at 3G. Marjean McIntyre with her great Morgan Rick, Vicki Fraser with her wonderful Appy, Joe and my Welsh pony Erin Leigh’s Nick O’ Tyme. Marjean and I were not in the top six as Nick’s P&R’s were higher than others and Rick has such a big motor that it is hard for him to go slow. Vicki, on the other hand did very well with Joe, she was in 4th place with a score of 370. We were very proud of her and Joe. 🙂

Well, after completing the course, you have 10 minutes to unhitch, unharness, offer water and try to quiet your horse before you get another complete vet check, which is compared to the day before to see how everything went and the condition of the horse.

We had a 2 mile sign on the trail and a lot of horses walked the last 2 miles to reduce the P&R’s. There is more of a deduction on the score sheet for the P&R’s than there is for the time allowed.

All in all, it was a great day of driving and despite the 4 hr trip, it was worth every minute of the drive.

With any luck, we can find a place to do this here in Nebraska also.

Really glad I went,

Pat Ketterer from Eastern Nebraska

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