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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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DRAW IV

Singles – 15 mile

Place Driver Horse Points
1 Wes Licht Annie (Morab) 393
2 Jac Deweese Cake (Arab) 383
3 Jack Shea Lee (Canadian) 359
4 Valarie Dingman Annie (?) 358

Pairs – 15 mile

Place Driver Horse Points
1 Jim Clay Pepe & Scarlet (POA) 381

A great end to the 2006 Midwest Distance Driving Season!

By Jack Shea

The last drive of the season, DRAW IV, was located at Kettlebrook Farm Bed & Breakfast in New Prospect, Wisconsin on October 14, 2006. The 15 mile drive was scheduled to start at 10:00 AM so I felt if I was on the road by 7:00 AM I would be in good shape. I packed up everything I would need, according to my list, Friday afternoon so I would not be rushed Saturday morning. My two older daughters Sara and Megan and my wife Luann were kind enough to come along to provide support. We were a little late getting out but still got to New Prospect by 9:00 AM. So far so good! Jim and Kate Clay and Valarie and Jim Dingman had already arrived when we pulled in. It was pretty cold and the wind was quite raw but the sun was shining. There was no ride management in sight but we were pretty sure we were in the right place. It was fun to note that all of us were father daughter teams! Something about how horses pull a family together; the truth is you need the help of your family to do this stuff!

Wes Licht and Jac Deweese arrived shortly after 9:00 but still no sign of ride management or any vets. Within a few minutes Sheryl Levins, ride manager, drove up and told us that the vets would be back to camp soon and our start time was pushed back to 11:00AM. Sheryl opened her registration office in the back end of her horse trailer and we all paid our entry fees and waited for the vets to return to camp. Upon the vets return all horses were taken through their vet checks and given the OK to go. A driver’s meeting was held at 10:45 to review the order of go and details of the trail. We would be leaving the Northwest corner of camp to pick up the trail. After about one mile we were to cross a bridge and turn North on the main trail until Highway V then turn around and come back for a total drive of 15 miles. Sounded easy enough except for the part about the bridge! My horse Lee and I had never been over a bridge, it could be interesting. No time to worry now as we had to get harnessed up. I would be the fourth driver out at 11:15 with Wes being the last driver to go so he would be sure we all got out OK.

As Sara and Megan helped me get Lee ready I soon realized that I had left the back half of my harness at home! Boy, did I feel like a FOOL! I got my wife and daughters up at 6:00 AM ( which is not something they would normally do on a Saturday morning if you know what I mean) to help me out and now I can’t do the drive because I left my harness home. What really bugged me about this is I have this great list that I use to prevent this sort of thing. Well, I apologized to my family for being a complete idiot and went to look for Wes to tell him my tale of woe.

Wes went right to work to scrounge up a harness for me. We started with Jim Clay, then Jac Deweese but no luck. Wes said Jim Dingman lived the closest and would be our last chance. Jim had an old work harness that he thought might work. He called his wife Katie and asked her to bring it to us. It would take her 20 minutes but this was my only chance to make the drive. Then it was on to see Sheryl to explain to her my situation and try to buy a little time. Sheryl graciously allowed us the time we needed. Wes made sure that the other drivers got out on the trail to start the drive. Within a few minutes Katie arrived with the harness. The harness was old but it was going to work. I appreciated Wes’s help because I had never seen hold down straps like this and did not have a clue how to rig them. Wes got everything properly adjusted but I had no kicking straps. My horse Lee throughs a bucking fit now and then so I prefer to drive with kicking straps. Wes said no problem, did I have any rope? Instant kicking strap, we tied one end of the rope to the left shaft ran the rope through the harness and tied it off on the right shaft. I was ready to go! What an ordeal!

We were assigned new start times and away I went with Wes five minutes behind me. The wind was really blowing as we left camp; Lee was more than a little wired. Now it was time to worry about the bridge. The caution sign announced the bridge was just ahead. We stopped a few feet in front of the bridge so Lee could get a good look at it, with a little urging he went right down the middle and we were over it in no time. Turn left on the main trail and it should be routine from here. Lee and I had done the Colorama drive just four weeks ago but the trail looked totally different. Most of the leaves were down and they covered the trail. We were moving down the trail well when I saw it ahead. The dreaded culvert! The wind was blowing so hard that you couldn’t hear the water running under the culvert. Lee did not want to step on it! We finally got across it and we were back on our way. Wes caught up to us and at a wide spot Wes and Annie passed us. I thought the worst was behind me and it should be a piece of cake from here. We caught up to Wes in just a few minutes. He had stopped because there was a huge tree down across the trail. The woods were quite thick and we could not see an obvious way around the tree. As we discussed our fate Valarie and Jim Dingman came from the opposite direction with Jac shortly behind them. Valarie came through to show us the course around the tree. I learned latter that Jim had spent about 15 minutes clearing brush so Valarie and the rest of the drivers could get through. Wes went next and I followed his path. Now with this behind me I began to relax and really enjoy myself. Lee was doing very well! Jim & Kate Clay came from the opposite direction, Jim’s pair Pepe & Scarlet were doing well and Jim’s report was other than a deep mud hole at the bottom of a hill I had nothing to worry about.

Within a few minutes we were at Highway V, I offered Lee some water which he wasn’t interested in so we turned around and headed back to camp. Around the down tree, over the culvert (it was not a thing of beauty) and back over the bridge with plenty of time to spare. I planned to walk in from the bridge which was about a mile from camp. Just before we got to camp we came across a group of young riders and their horses were not too comfortable with Lee and our cart. There was open field on each side of the trail there so we were able to get around them and still keep some distance between us so their horses wouldn’t bolt. Hugo, the timer, was standing behind some brush to get out of the wind at the finish. Lee did not care for that at all and was sure that this man was hiding so he could do something evil! Lee and I reported for our vet check and other than a little tenderness in his left front leg all was well.

What a day! This was a drive I will not soon forget! A big thank you to Jim Dingman for the use of his harness, Katie Dingman for bringing the harness to us, Wes Licht for not giving up and helping to get Lee harnessed up and to Sheryl Levins for being flexible with my start times. This is an amazing sport with great people with a heart for helping one another. My first season competing in Distance driving has been a real blast. To finish is truly to win!

2006 DRAW IV

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Annie expresses her opinion
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Driver meeting
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Jack Shea with Lee
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Jack and Lee trot circles
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Going the other direction
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Jack and Lee at vet check
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Jack and Lee at final vet check
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Jack Shea with crew, Megan, Sarah, and Luann
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Jack with Lee and crew
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Jim Clay and Pepe trot circle
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Katy Clay hold Scarlet during vet check
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Katy and Scarlet trot out
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Katy and Scarlet trot
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Katy and Scarlet vet at finish
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Katy Clay with Scarlet and Jim Clay with Pepe
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Valerie and Annie are ready to vet in
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Valerie and Annie trot circle
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Valerie and Annie trot
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Wes Licht and Annie are preparing to vet in
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Wes and Annie trot circle
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Wes and Annie trot
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Wes and Annie trot
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Wes and Annie wait for vet
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Wes, Jim and Valarie discuss the trail

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