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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 – 20 mile


Driver Horse


1 Derrick Dupler Rhia (Morgan) 390

Singles – 12 mile


Driver Horse


1 Bruce Thayer Dayo (Morgan) 370
2 Jac Deweese Cake (Arab) 369

Pairs – 12 mile


Driver Horse


1 Jim Clay Pepe & Scarlet (POA) 361

DRAW I 2006

By Jac Deweese

I arrived at the horse park in New Prospect shortly after 7AM to find Bruce Thayer and Jim Clay in camp and ready to start the 12 mile drive at 8AM. Derrick Dupler and his horse Princess Rhia were already on the trail for the 20 mile drive.After registering I had to rush to get Cake vetted in order to start the drive.
After quickly hitching I was prepared to go and we elected to take a turn around the campground. As we passed Hugo, the timer, I mentioned that my primary concern was the culverts on the trail. Almost immediately we encountered some black erosion control plastic at a culvert. Cake was very leery of the plastic and ignored the culvert. After some encouragement we continued down the trail.

Cake was obviously nervous, but he was paying attention to my cues. He stopped and stood quietly at the road crossing and after checking traffic we proceeded down the trail.

This was the same trail we had driven last fall and it was good that Derrick, Bruce and I had all driven it before. Many of the trail markings were down, but it was easy to follow the tracks of the earlier carts.

We soon came to the section of trail with the culverts. There is obviously a drop on the exit side and the water noise is noticeable. Cake is very unsure of water and the culverts have significant drops on both sides. With gentle urging we made it across without incident. The third culvert was exposed in the trail and I wondered if Cake might try to jump it. He was very concerned and did try to bolt after crossing it, but he did cross it without jumping.

The views are very beautiful with the early green of fresh leaves on the trees, lush meadows and views of ponds in the distance. At one point we seem to have reached one of the highest points on the trail and we are able to look out over the surrounding forest and marsh.

We travel alongside some large evergreens and the trail is easy. Very soon we come to the first ‘steep hill’ sign. The sign is accurate, but the real challenge is the large rocks liberally sprinkling the trail. (All of the drivers agree that going up these hills is no particular problem, but they are a real challenge coming down, primarily because of the rocks. The horses have a difficult time holding back the cart on the downgrade and several suffer tendon soreness from the effort and difficult footing.)

I can’t remember exactly where the turn around should be and based on the time I feel that we should be approaching it. We haven’t yet met anyone coming back and I’m wondering if we have taken a wrong turn. Almost immediately I meet Bruce and Dayo. Bruce tells me that we are getting close to the turn around. Very quickly we meet Jim and his wife Mary with Pepe and Scarlet. Cake is disturbed by the 4 wheeled vehicle and we have some difficulty getting past the pair.

We are soon at the turnaround and Cake checks out the water tanks, but refuses to drink. We have taken just slightly more than half of our allotted time to reach the turn around and must make better time going back if we hope to be within our window of time.

I try to regulate our pace so that we walk the steep down hill portions and most of the rocky trail section. Cake is performing very well and I feel we are making good use of the terrain.

We have only gone a mile or two on the return when we see Jim stopped and Mary on the ground. As I approach I ask what the problem is. Apparently the brakes are acting up and they are trying to resolve the issue. (Turns out they end up disabling the brakes, fortunately most of the steep trail is behind them.)

We continue on and I am pleased at the pace we are able to maintain. Jim catches up just as we are exiting the Goose Pond Loop. This is the only scary portion of the drive. The pair startles Cake in the midst of the turn and he bolts causing one wheel of my cart to come off the ground. I am easily able to bring him back and we avoid the upset. Shortly, I find a nice open area to pull Cake over and allow Jim to pass. Interestingly, Cake doesn’t mind their passing. We are now about half a mile from camp and we walk in. Arriving 4 minutes over our time window proves decisive as Bruce and Dayo earn 1st place by one point.

Bruce, Jim, Derrick and I have a good time visiting while we wait for the riders to come in and the awards. Most of us are planning to be at Glacier Trails next weekend. I am pleased when several of the riders comment on the excellence of our Iron Oak event. Jim Haas was particular in complimenting our luncheon spread.

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