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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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UMECRA Meeting

2007 UMECRA Convention

By Jac Deweese

Wes Licht and I traveled to the Clock Tower Resort near Rockford, Illinois for and UMECRA Annual Meeting and Awards banquet.

We arrived mid morning and were able to listen to the speaker, Melissa Ribley, DVM, chairman of the AERC Vet Committee.  Her talk centered on things to watch for with your horse and how to tell if he were in the ‘good to go’ (green), ‘showing warning signs’ (yellow) or ‘needs attention’ (red) zones.  Her key point was that you should not rely on the vet to identify these conditions.  You know your horse better than anyone else and should be aware of changes that indicate yellow or red conditions.  Share any concerns with the vet for the well being of your horse.

This year we had 5 drivers qualify for UMECRA awards.  This was a new all time high and, although two of our recipients could not attend, we were looking forward to the banquet and awards ceremony.  Besides Wes and I, Tony Troyer was in attendance from MDDA.  (Tony had the responsibility of being one of the organizers for the convention.)  We were all representing rides and thus needed to attend the meeting to vote on various amendments put before the convention.

Several rules were put forth and voted on.  Those that directly affect MDDA were approved and included the following:

Competitive Driving Rules

General Rules

A.  The pace for a drive is between 5 and 7 (changed from ‘8’) mph.  The pace will be determined by the drive management.  Factors determining the pace will be heat, humidity, difficulty of the terrain, conditions of the trail.

B.  Mileage of Distance Drives shall not be less than 5 miles (changed from ‘10 miles’), but may be any greater distance (changed from ‘Mileage can graduate in increments of 2.5 miles’) that provides a safe and practical venue for driving.  Longer distances are encouraged.

2.  Rules for Drivers

L.  Bicycle type wheels are not allowed.  Traditional wood or metal wheels are recommended.  Pneumatic tires on automobile or heavy duty spoke wheels, such as those used on motorcycles, are acceptable.  (changed from ‘Pneumatic tired vehicles are not allowed’)

The availability and cost of insurance for events was also discussed.  Jill Feller reported that the same insurance will be available this year.  UMECRA will again pick up ½ of the cost of the insurance, however, the ride will be responsible for 100% of the co-insured (added insured) costs at $20 per added insured.  This cost will be incurred even if the event is cancelled.  This change will increase our insurance cost $10 per added insured versus last year.

It was also called to our attention that the insurance requires that all events post equine liability signs at the event and at every change of ownership on the trail.  It appears that we will be required to obtain one of these signs for our organization.

A slightly revised schedule was presented and I have used this to revise our tentative schedule on our web site.  It will be official around the 1st of March.  Key changes of note include a 2nd day of driving at DRAW I, a slight increase in mileage at Glacier Trails, the loss of driving at Endless Valley, the addition of 2 days of driving at Lincoln Trails, the cancellation of AHDRA III, and the replacement of the Northern Illinois Challenge by the AHA National Competition (one year only).  I am told that the AHA National will offer a drive on Sunday.  They would like some volunteer help from drivers on Saturday and are offering the drive to encourage drivers to volunteer.  (I did this at the Appaloosa National event two years ago and found it fun and rewarding.)  It appears that we should have 18 days of competition at 10 events in 2008.

The UMECRA board was re-elected with our own Tony Troyer elected to replace Mary Mott who resigned her position as vice president.  Congratulations, Tony!

After the business meeting many of us gathered in the lounge to watch the Packers beat the Seahawks.  Go Packers!

For the banquet we joined some riders from Indiana and Michigan for an excellent dinner.  After the fine meal and some delightful conversation the awards were presented.  We soon realized that our table partners were very active riders and they received several awards.  We didn’t feel to shabby since we collected several awards ourselves.  (It helped that we accepted the Reserve Champion driving award for Mary Clapper and the 5th place award for Jack Shea who were unable to attend.)  Jac Deweese accepted the Champion driving award, Tony Troyer the 3rd place award and Wes Licht the 4th place award.

After the awards I noticed Wes enjoying a quick dance while I arranged to place bids on some potential awards for Glacier Trails.  Unfortunately, I learned that this item got away from us in the end.

It was another excellent event and I look forward to seeing more of our members at the UMECRA convention in the future.

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