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

Iron Oak

Singles – 6 mile


Driver Horse


1 Sheryl Stillions Megan (Freisian/Standardbred) 373
2 Jack Shea Lee (Canadian) 369
2 Glenn Garbisch Junior (Pinto/Arab) 369
4 Debbie Moser Barnon Ken (Morgan) 368
5 Gene Rhinehart Celtic (Freisian/Sport Horse) 358
6 Kate Rhinehart Gentry (Am. Quarter Horse) 352

Singles – 12 mile


Driver Horse


1 Derrick Dupler Rhia (Morgan) 389
2 Roger Houk Jazz (Morab) 364
3 Cathy Thomas Trade Fair (1/2 Arab) 357
4 Jac Deweese Cake (Arab) 353
5 Gary Jackson Horus (Morgan) 334

Pairs – 12 mile


Driver Horse


1 Jim Clay Pepe & Scarlet (POA) 351


By Jane Licht

Event organizers at the Iron Oak Clinic and Novice Ride/Drive event held April 29 were extremely pleased with the high turnout of aspiring distance riders and drivers. There were also divisions for veterans as well in the form of a 12-mile distance drive and 25-mile competitive ride. The event is sponsored annually by the Midwest Distance Driving Association (MDDA) and the Upper Midwest Endurance and Competitive Riders Association (UMECRA), and was held for the first time at the scenic Black Hawk Ridge facility near Sauk City.

Ride managers Wes Licht and Jac Deweese worked with DNR staff members and received assistance from former DNR employee Wayne Schutte to open the facility and make certain everything was ready. Over-grown brush and downed trees had to be cleared away, and trails measured and marked for the divisions of riders and carriage drivers. MDDA members Gary Jackson and Romona Radtke both joined Wes and Jac to help with the trail work, one of the many volunteer activities necessary for hosting a distance ride/drive.

Many participants had pre-registered for both the morning clinic and the ride or drive in the afternoon. A few attended only the morning clinic. Those with horses were encouraged to promptly present their horses and score sheets to the veterinarians waiting under the large pavilion. Actually, all the vet checks, including the “trot-outs” were conducted under the shelter of this enormous structure that saved horses and people from becoming water-soaked by the light rains that fell most of the afternoon.

Wes Licht welcomed the clinic participants and introduced the various speakers. First up was Roger Houk who reviewed the rules for competitive riding and driving. Elinore Tonsor discussed the score sheet and illustrated how scoring is determined, and Romona talked about feed and nutrition for the equine athlete. Dr. Howard Ketover found time to answer questions regarding the thorough vet checks done on every horse, Jac detailed the marking of the trails for the novices and Wes explained guidelines for a conditioning program. Lastly, Derrick Dupler (the 2005 MDDA Rookie of the Year) encouraged folks to relax and have fun. Door prizes, many of which were donated by McFarlane’s of Sauk City, were awarded to lucky winners.

The 25-mile competitive riders began their ride at 10:00 AM, the same time the clinic began. Official timer Gerry Millard was at the start area to send them on their way. Becki Deweese and Jacklyn Smith assisted with getting time cards to incoming riders. This crew also helped the four groups of novice riders going on their 12-mile journey. Each group departed in ten-minute intervals. Three of the small groups were lead by experienced distance riders Allison Goetz, Keith Baker, and Victoria Peterson. The fourth group’s undesignated leader was Dan Lynch and he managed to keep his group on the correct trail and return in good shape.

After all the riders had gone, the 12-mile distance drivers followed by the 6-mile drivers were sent out singly in 3-minute intervals. They reported earlier than their start time to allow for Wes’s safety check of their horses harnessed and hitched to the vehicles. The competitors reported that once they were in the woods they were sheltered from the rain for the most part. They thoroughly enjoyed the trails that offered lovely scenery and views of the countryside.

The group gathered back at the historic “Rhinelander” log cabin, made cozy with a wood fire in the large fireplace. Again, Dr. Howard Ketover answered several questions from the novices regarding their final vetting procedures and horse care. Wes thanked Howard and his assistant veterinarians, including Dr. Christie Loiacono from Boone, Iowa who came to help and learn about distance events. Wes also recognized the volunteers, including Marguerite Deweese and Dana Houk who prepared the elaborate spread of food that kept everyone happy and satisfied. In addition, the DNR staff and work crew were awarded a hearty round of applause for their excellent efforts in having Black Hawk Ridge in such good shape.

All the finishers were invited to select a participation award as they received their score sheets. In this sport, to finish is to win. Then participants, crew, family, friends and volunteers cheered as each ribbon winner was announced. First prize winners in each category received a special bonus – one of Elinore Tonsor’s safe, strong and snazzy-looking hay bags embroidered with the words “Iron Oak 2006.”

The MDDA Board of Directors and other long-time members have worked hard for years to promote the great sport of distance driving. And it seems to be paying off.

Cake’s 1st Experience in Competition

By Cake Van Gogh

I was surprised and pleased to see Jac out so early in the morning. The sky was just starting to lighten when he appeared. I was so pleased to be getting breakfast so early that I immediately came to the barn when he called my name.

It was a little unusual when he put my halter on and led me to the box on wheels. I’m not sure I like this place but I willingly followed Jac into the box because I was sure that was where breakfast would be served. I was right! I immediately went at that food, but was I shocked when Jac closed the door. I’m trapped!

I was sure surprised when the box started moving. It worried me a lot and I forgot about my food. We went for about an hour over some twisty roads, but we weren’t going too fast and I was able to keep my balance. I think I might learn to enjoy this riding but I sure wish I knew where we were going.

We climb up this never-ending hill and finally stop. Jac gets out and sets up some panels for a pen and then he puts me in it. He makes sure I have my grain (which I hadn’t eaten), hay and water. I sniff the water but it doesn’t smell quite right. The feed is OK, but I’m here all by myself and I’m really nervous. Jac left me all alone and I’m a little frightened.

Pretty soon other boxes with other horses start arriving. I wish I knew some of them, but they are all strangers. Pretty soon it becomes apparent that we are all in the same boat. At a strange place and none of us know what is going on.

About then Jac comes back, and leads me to this big barn like building. Some lady pokes and pinches and puts a ticklish round thing against my ribs and then moves all around my belly. Wonder what she wants?

Now we go over and another nice lady tells Jac to trot me around this bunch of cones. What the devil is this? I know what Jac wants; he wants me to trot around him. Oh, my, they are not happy with me. I was trotting around Jac, but he was moving. How the devil am I supposed to know what to do? Oh, well, we finally made it.

Now this nice guy is looking at my feet and legs. This is better; I know what to do here. Nothing to it!

Back to my pen and Jac leaves me again.

I finally decide that I might as well eat my breakfast. At least the beet pulp and hay are what I expected. No surprises there. After eating I decide to take it easy and just watch what is going on.

It must have been about noon when Jac shows up again. He takes me out of my pen and obviously wants to put my harness on. I’d really have liked a chance to look around, but that is apparently not to be. When I indicated my desire, Jac made it very clear that I should stand still and accept the harness. After I made sure that that was what he wanted I did stand for the harness. Once harnessed he tied me to the trailer. What the is this? But I soon get the idea that this is just a substitute for the barn and Jac soon has the cart hitched. I wonder where we are going now?

We walk around several people, past some other horses and I see that there are other horses hitched to carts and a lot of horses with people sitting on them. I guess I’m lucky. We walk up to a very pleasant man with gray hair. I think Jac called him Wes? He walked all around me while he talked to Jac. Apparently they agreed that the shafts were too high and Wes lowered some loops on my harness. I kind of liked the whole experience. All I had to do was stand there!

Then Jac tells me it is time to go and we walk down to this big barn like building with lots of people and horses. A guy named Gerry tells Jac that we have 2 minutes before we can go. We turn back the way we had come and made a big circle. As we approached Gerry again he says we can go. Jac heads me down this gravel drive and “what the heck, it looks like a bridge!” I give it my full attention but Jac is telling me it is OK so we get by that thing. At least I didn’t have to walk over it.

We drive by a post with a whole bunch of stuff on it. Good Lord, what that? There is a ‘specter’ standing just a few feet off the trail. Jac tells me it is just Jane, but I’m not sure he knows what he is talking about. He heads me down this trail that has trees on both sides and I can’t see where the trail leads. I decide to express my concerns and crow hop a couple of steps. I feel the reins and know I have made an impression on Jac. Oh, well let’s get on with this.

The trail is nice and Jac asks me to trot, so I do. I must be going a little fast cause I can feel Jac asking me to slow down. I do what he asks, but this is such a new and exciting experience that I just can’t stay at such a slow pace. We go back and forth, I’ll speed up, Jac will slow me, I’ll speed up and again Jac will slow me.

Actually, it’s kind of fun. There is a lot to see out there. There is one woodpile that I am sure is a bear, but Jac has guessed at my concern and eases my mind by word and rein.

Hey, what is that up ahead? A cart and horse, I’m not alone! I’d better hurry before they leave me out here all alone. Whoops, Jac doesn’t think that is such a good idea. Oh, well maybe I can keep them in sight and still keep Jac happy. Oh, my, there’s a big puddle of water, but that other horse drove across on the dirt bridge. Must be OK. Whew, we made it! Hey, where did he go? We round a corner and there they are.

Well it’s a good thing I was close, cause Jac had to tell that other driver where to go. I think his name was Roger. Oh, this is nice. The trail is almost straight and it is easy to keep that other horse in sight.

Hey, what is this, I’ve been on this trail before! There’s that woodpile and the big puddle all over again.

I’ve lost sight of Roger, but now I hear someone coming up from behind. Guess I’m not all alone after all. Jac asks me to pull over, and this beautiful black horse goes by. There is a tall skinny fellow driving, I think it is Derrick. I notice that he and his wife seem to be really enjoying the ride.

We now go back by that big barn like building. It’s still full of people and horses. Jac drives me up to this steel thing that appears to be full of water, but I make it clear that I’m really not interested in drinking. I want to keep those other horses in sight!

We head up the gravel drive and I think maybe it is time to return to the trailer. Boy, was I wrong! We go between some more boxes on wheels, past more people and more horses and then head into some new woods. I’ve lost sight of the other horses. Oh, well, let’s just enjoy this trail. It’s cool and little damp, but it really feels good.

There are some interesting flowers and the trees are really nice with their new leaves. There are some deep ravines but we don’t really get close to them. I think I even saw a river through the trees.

Well, now, how about that. There’s that black horse again! They are walking quietly and Derrick is obviously talking to his wife. They look like they are out for a drive in the park. We follow along for a while and then Jac asks if we can pass.

We’re soon around them and heading for some pasture (it looked like darned good pasture to me!).

Pretty soon we are approaching that big barn like building again and this time Gerry stops us and gives Jac a card. We then drive right into that building. Becki comes over by my head and Jac gets out of the cart. What the devil is Becki doing? Something flaps at my head. I’m out of here! Whoops, Jac still has the reins and he’s telling me to stop. Oh, well, at least Becki has removed whatever it was. I stand and Jac and Wes get the cart away from me. What’s going on here, they are not removing my harness? At least Michelle is offering me some of my beet pulp. It looks good, but I’m not sure what is going to happen next and just can’t concentrate on eating.

Oh, Oh, here comes that lady with the little round cold thing that she holds against my ribs. It kind of tickles. But Jac is standing right in front of me and I put my nose in his belly and try to forget what is going on around me.

This time we trot in a straight line out and back. I can do that; I’m just a little slow understanding that that is what we are supposed to do.

It’s only a few minutes and Jac is hitching the cart again. We are cleared to go and it is soon clear that we are doing just what we did before. Now that I know where we are going and what I’m likely to see, I’m relaxed. I let Jac tell me how fast he wants me to go and I’m pleased to walk when he lets me.

This is almost an exact repeat of the 1st time around. We catch up with Roger and then lose him again. Derrick and that black horse pass us and later we pass him again. The only real change is when that horse with the funny 4 wheeled thing pass us. It sounds different and disturbs me for a bit, but I soon realize that I’m chasing it and its running away from me. At one point I think Jac thought I was tired, but as we approached the end I let him know that I have plenty of energy left.

Postscript: The wind came up and the rain came down. The combination made me cold. Thank goodness Jac found this warmer blanket. I wore it in the pasture all night and it sure felt good. In the morning I got a warm meal and was able to stay in the stall until noon. By then it had stopped raining and I was dry. Everything is good, but I still have a sore spot in the middle of my back. Jac says another nice lady is coming out on Thursday to see if she can make it feel better.

2006 Iron Oak

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Debra Moser and Ken
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Sheryl Stillions and Megan
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Wes opens the clinic
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Derrick Dupler making a point
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The Clays demonstrate teamwork
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Jac leads the driver meeting
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Derrick Dupler and Rhia
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Ken Baker leads a group of novice riders
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Volunteers Jerry, Becki and Jacklyn
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Another group of riders
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Gary Jackson and Horus
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Competitive riders
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Jac and Cake begin drive
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Roger Houk and Jazz warm up
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Roger and Jazz on the trail
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Cathy Thomas and Trade Fair start out
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Gary and Horus on the trail
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Rhia and Duplers on the trail
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Glenn Garbisch and Junior
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Jack Shea with daughter Sara and Lee
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Trudy and Fran Mara with Sky
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Gerald Millard hads out score card to Jack Shea
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Sheryl Stillions and Megan on the trail
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Sheryl Stillions and Megan finish
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Glenn and Junior at vet check
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Our hard working veterinarians
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Jim Clay and his wife with Scarlet and Pepe
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Heather Dix with Sunny

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