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.

Louise Riedel Memorial

Saturday LRM
Last First Horse Place Miles Pts
Licht Wes Ranger (Morab) 1 12 5.28
Clapper Mary Benjamin (Rocky Mountain) 2 12 4.8
Schoofs Lori Laura Lee (Halflinger) 3 12 4.32
Sunday LRM
Last First Horse Place Miles Pts
Jackson Katz Talon (Morgan) 1 12 5.28
Licht Wes Ranger (Morab) 2 12 4.8
Schoofs Lori Laura Lee (Halflinger) 3 12 4.32

My First Distance Drive

By Lori Schoofs

The idea of trying distance driving was started on June 1st when chatting with

Wes Licht at a horse event.  He suggested I give it a try.  I went home and went through the MDDA website.

I started driving our 10 year old halfinger mare single again. For the last 5 years she has been part of a team. I decided to try Castle Rock because of the pipe corrals and I did not have any kind of portable fencing.

The excitement grew as August 8th came.  My camping list grew longer.   My friend Denise, and I pulled into the campground and set up camp.  We vetted in that night.   That went better than I expected. It really is a lot to learn.  We visited with Mary and Larry Clapper at night.

Saturday morning seemed to take forever. We met Jacque and his family.   Finally time to harness and go.  Mary went 1st, then me and Wes was 3rd.   I had a hard time at home keeping a pace of more than 5 miles an hour.  I knew if there was someone ahead that Laura Lee would be more willing to go.   We caught up to Mary and Ben.  I was a little worried about making a wrong turn and ending up  who knows where. Laura Lee was on the bit and really willing to book.   I did not have a watch, big error, thought I could use my cell phone but ended up dropping a glove.  Wes was very helpful in waiting for me to get back in my cart.  I think he might have been laughing though!

The two hour drive flew by.  We walked the final two miles in.   The part I dreaded was the vet check.  I did not know if my mare would make the PR’s, we had only been conditioning for two months.   We did and received a 359 for our score.  I questioned a few people if my mare could handle the next day and was told yes.

I really liked the early morning drive.  Fewer bugs and the cooler weather was nice.  I also liked seeing the riders on the trail.   We never caught up to Mary.   Wes and Katz Jackson passed us.  We were 9 minutes over our ideal time and our final score was 350.    I need to practice running the circle at home for the vet check.    I did not realize that fast was important and the vet gave us a minus 15 for fatigue.   She wasn’t tired, I was too slow.

The camaraderie of drivers and riders is really nice.  We have a lot to learn and look forward to meeting more MDDA members at future drives.

Louise Riedel Bra Buster Memorial Ride

By Wes Licht

I was stretched to the limit in getting my new-to-me truck ready to roll for pulling my horse trailer and in packing everything needed for the weekend for Ranger and me.  But once I arrived at the Ukarydee Campground I took a deep breath and began enjoying the weekend.   At registration I met up with Mary Clapper and new driver Lori Schoofs.  Lori and I had met at another horse event earlier in the year and she had decided to give distance driving a try.

Then a familiar voice greeted us.  It was Jac Deweese with wife Marguerite and daughter Becki.  It was great to see them and they were celebrating Marguerite’s first time out after her illness and ongoing recovery.  They had come to watch and take photos.   After a brief driver’s meeting, I urged Jac to do our safety checks before we each started out.  He obliged and sent Becki ahead to begin taking pictures.

The day was warm and sunny and I prepared Ranger for lots of bugs.  He was even more excited than I was and was eager to trot over the sandy road to the river.  Becki was snapping photos near the intersection of roads on the way out and Jac joined her a bit farther down the trail just before we turned into the woods.  With Ranger’s forward energy we made up much ground on Mary and Lori who had left 10 and 5 minutes earlier with their horses.  About 5 miles into the drive I passed Lori with her Haflinger and about a mile later, Mary walked Ben to the side of the trail to let us by.  Ranger just kept going on at a leisurely trot with limited walking.  My strategy for today was to cover lots of trail now and finish up with a long walk to end this drive.  I knew we’d meet up again with Mary and Lori.

With Ranger on a good walk near the end of the drive, Mary and Lori both caught up to me and passed me by.  They were interspersing walking with short trots and wanted to get closer to their window of finishing time and not accrue too many time penalties.

Ranger stood nicely for unhitching and drank some from the water tank provided at the vet check area.  We finished our vet check quickly and Ranger relaxed with some rolling and grazing in a small electrified paddock adjacent to my trailer.  Due to the abundance of rain, the grass was green and not yet parched by the summer sun and he appreciated this luxury away from home.

The evening was relaxing and enjoyable.  The potluck brought everyone together for some good eating and socializing and ride managers Monna Radtke and Elinore Tonsor handled the dissemination of awards.  This ride was sponsored by Jim and Gwen Helfter of Advanced Biological Concepts and they donated many fine prizes and we appreciated their generosity. Additionally, any proceeds from this ride would be split between the UMECRA Scholarship and International Competition funds.

As the sun was setting I had an interesting conversation with the couple camping next to me.  They were from Oregon and had been making a long tour of the Midwest doing horse camping with their two Arabians.  Now they were headed back on the northern route passing through Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Sunday’s drive was much different.  The night had been cool and with an early start, the trails were practically bug free.  Our driving time had been shortened by 15 minutes so the overall pace was a bit quicker.   Ranger was much more willing to walk and I was pleased with his relaxation at the beginning.  We alternated trotting with short periods of walking.   I took more time to appreciate the trail work that Mary and other members of her group had done to widen and clear the trails of brush and other debris.  A few prairie flowers were in bloom and again I found the small patch of brilliant red cardinal flowers that grace one low section of trail.

Katz Jackson was the fourth driver this morning and she and her Morgan mare Talon seemed eager to enjoy the drive.  She was ahead of me and obviously kept up a steady pace.  Katz had been concerned about getting off trail but the trails were well marked and she had no problem navigating her way through the scenic woods and prairie.

The morning drive was more relaxing for me and for the most part uneventful, which is usually a good thing.  It was wonderful to be out driving on such a beautiful day and

I expressed my appreciation to our ride managers Elinore and Monna and vets, Dr. Beecher and Dr. Gamm.  Finishing before noon was also a bonus as I didn’t have to rush packing up and heading back to civilization and home responsibilities.  I truly enjoyed distance driving at this event once again.