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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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Saturday Singles – 10 mile

Place Driver Horse Points
1 Wes Licht Lena (Morab) 386

Saturday Singles – 30 mile

Place Driver Horse Points
1 Jac Deweese Scooter (Morgan) 344
2 Mary Clapper Benjamin (Rocky Mountain) 275

Sunday Singles – 10 mile

Place Driver Horse Points
1 Wes Licht Annie (Morab) 383

Sunday Singles – 30 mile

Place Driver Horse Points
1 Jac Deweese Scooter (Morgan) 323

Wildcat 2007

By Jac Deweese

This was our 3rd year to come to Wildcat seeking to complete the two day 60 mile drive.  The first year found the trail to be on a gravel road which quickly lead to a stone bruise and an early departure.  Last year we came armed with boots but Scooter had an ulcerated eye.  The eye combined with a rub from the boots resulted in another early departure, but we did complete the 30 miles on Saturday.  Finally we are here with a healthy horse and although I failed to bring the boots (after laying them out along with a fly mask at home) I’m feeling pretty confident.

Friday night I am pleased to learn that Mary Clapper and Ben are in camp and prepared to attempt the 30 miles on Saturday.  Larry has come up to spend the night and crew for Mary on Saturday.  After learning that the trail is the same as last year and that we will start about 9:30 in the morning we retire for a little strategy conference.  I’ll go first since I am familiar with the trail and Mary will follow.  Larry offers to haul feed and water to the vet check and we decide that if he is there by 11:30 everything should be good.

We are hoping to see more drivers in the morning, since the 10 mile drive doesn’t start until around 2 PM.  I’m sure that Wes Licht is planning to come but don’t know who else may arrive.

After a restless night I am awake at 5 AM and Scooter is excited by all of the activity in camp.  The riders are getting ready to leave and he thinks he should be going with them.  We take a walk about camp and wish the riders and good trip.  With a 9:30 start we have plenty of time and enjoy a leisurely breakfast with Mary and Larry.

I decide to carry my buckets for water and feed on the cart but ask Larry to bring the hay.  I have electrolytes in the feed and carry a syringe in case Scooter fails to eat his grain.  Scooter is still excited as I prepare to hitch and I ask Larry to assist with the actual hitching.  After getting Mary hitched we quickly have Scooter ready to go.  With three minutes to the start time Mary and I drive around the camp area.

It’s time to go and Scooter calmly walks out of camp.  The gravel is pretty smooth and we move into a trot that he maintains for maybe a half mile and then he shows evidence of being tender to the gravel.  We slow to a walk pass the pond and go over the bridge.  This first section of about 4 miles is shared with ATVs and we are watching for them, but don’t see any until we’ve gone maybe 3 miles.  The trail appears narrow, but there is really no difficulty meeting or being passed by the ATVs.  The ATV drivers are very courteous and we wave and smile as we meet.  I’ve walked almost 2 miles and when I look back I see that Mary and Ben are relatively close.  When we hit sandy stretches of the trail we trot, but otherwise we hold to a walk.  Mary is maintaining her distance so that Ben doesn’t get excited by the sight of a horse ahead of him.

We turn off the shared trail and enter the woods.  I let Scooter go and he obviously likes the footing.  We are flying through the woods and I’m keeping a wary eye on the trail for any obstacles.  We make it safely through the woods and come out on the road.  A short trot down the road and we turn back onto the trail.  This is a sandy trail with excellent footing.  A marsh area, but I don’t see any sign of water.  Lots of Purple Loosestrife which is an invasive plant that takes over marsh land.  I’m watching for wild life, but the only thing I see are birds and those only fleetingly.  We are soon at the water tank and Scooter is ready to drink.  He takes a big drink and then looks around, but without moving his feet.  He’s soon back in the tank for another round.  He repeats this process three times before he’s ready to leave.  I’m real happy to see this since he often refuses to drink on the trail.

A short trot down this road and we turn back into the woods.  Checking my map I guess that I am on or approaching the Dead Horse Trail.  Elinore has told me that I may have to open a gate or two on this trail.  Sure enough we make a turn and there is this big orange bar across the trail.  I’ve never opened a gate with Scooter hitched before and I’m cautious.  He stands quietly and fortunately the gate opens away from us.  As I push it open Scooter has to follow the gate.  He starts to get nervous and I quickly get back in the cart.  We trot on and I’m trying to think of a better way to handle the second gate.  Fortunately it is wide open!  Another mile or so and we are on the road to the vet check.  Again it is gravel and relatively short so we walk into the check.  We arrive at 11:28, just shy of 2 hours for the 1st 15 miles.

I look around for Larry, but I’m not surprised when he isn’t there.  The rider crews are ready to share their water and Scooter is happily munching his grain.  As we are getting ready for our p/r Mary drives in with Ben.  Both horses easily pass the vet check.  During our hold we find some abandoned hay which Scooter and Ben proceed to share.  Scooter is pleased to find some carrots hidden in his portion of the hay.  He’s hit the jackpot!

We are just hitching when Larry arrives.  He thought he was lost and turned back a few hundred yards before he got to the check area.  Went back to camp and then returned.  He felt bad, but it really had no impact or either Mary or I.  We had everything we needed.

We now have 3 hours to return to camp and I walk every place there is a sign of gravel.  We spend some time at the water tank and walk the highway, but still arrive at the ATV trail with just over 2 hours to go.  This trail is approximately 4 miles long and although we walk the entire distance it is obvious that we’ll arrive ahead of our ideal time.  Mary and Ben have again caught up to us and this time she allows Ben to follow closely and we are able to visit between ATVs.  Neither horse is bothered by the ATVs and we are soon at the 2 mile marker.  As we mosey down the trail we note three riders coming up from behind.  As they approach it is obvious that the horses are not too pleased at the sight of the carts.  We try stopping to let them pass, but this fails with one of the horses shying into the deep ditch on the side of the road.  This upsets Ben and Mary is forced to take him on by Scooter.  Once Ben is away the three riders get their horses sorted out and they follow the cart for a little while.  With all of us offering encouragement one of the horses gets brave enough to pass and he is followed by a second horse.  The horse that shied still has a problem so I stop Scooter.  With some urging the horse finally gets by and we proceed.  The fact that he has been passed causes Scooter to try to keep up.  I watch and it appears that the riders have successfully passed Mary, but later I find two of them on a side trail watching me go by.  I’m not sure why they stopped.  We arrive in camp 21 minutes early.  Scooter shows some evidence of his tender feet but passes the vet check with flying colors.

As I put Scooter away I see Wes coming in and grab my camera.  I’d forgotten to take it with me on the trail so the pictures are rather limited.

After vetting we visit with Jim and Dawn Haas, then Mary offers to fix dinner for Wes and I.  We gladly accept and enjoy an excellent meal.  We’ve had an great day and are debating whether to go for 10 or 30 miles the next day.  At the awards ceremony Elinore explains that the turnout has been poor and she may not be able to hold the event next year.  That decides it, I must try for the 60 or there may not be another chance!

Wes has brought a 2nd horse and will definitely do the 10 on Sunday.  Mary anticipates the 30 but decides to sleep on it.  When she wakes she has hip pain along with a sore elbow and decides that she had better not drive.  When no other drivers show we are left with only Wes doing the 10 and I’ll do the 30.

With the times from Saturday as a guide the time for the 30 is adjusted down to 4 ½ hours.  After Saturday’s experience I’m determined to walk 100% of the gravel and this decision along with the reduced speed required when we meet riders on the Dead Horse Trail combine to put us into the vet check a good 45 minutes slower than on the previous day.  We’ve carried all of our supplies, except water, so Scooter is well cared for.  He passes the vet check with ease and we are soon on our way back.  I’m determined to make up some time but still don’t want to push him on the gravel.  Being the only participant the goal is to finish and I have nearly 5 ½ hours to accomplish that goal.

On the return trip we see no riders and only 9 ATVs.  The forced walk on the final 4 miles is very tiring for me and my shoulders are really tight.  We arrive back 26 minutes over our ideal time but well within our limits.  We are greeted by Wes and the riders who are having their awards ceremony.  After congratulations we proceed to the vet check and again pass with ease.  We’ve accomplished our goal!  Apparently the old saying “The third time’s the charm” is correct.

Sixty miles over two days is a test of conditioning.  I am very pleased that Scooter came through it as well as he did.

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