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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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Rock River

How disappointing!  After struggling to get new trails open, our very own (president) Tony Troyer had no drivers participating at his event!

Two drivers actually wanted to compete but were foiled by issues with their horses!  Both were Illinois residents who consistently support events held in Wisconsin.

Why is it that Wisconsin drivers find it difficult to support events held in Illinois?  Is it the health certificate requirement?  Or maybe you consider the distance just to great?

Comments are encouraged!

8 comments to Rock River

  • Tony Troyer

    Well…what can you say??? It is what it is…:):)
    I was planning on driving this year until I found out that I was the only driver and thought that “its not right for me to do that”.

    I will give it one more another year to see if it is worth the time and arwards to have it.:):)

  • Linda Hammersmith

    I spent some time with CDE drivers in Aiken SC this past March. They were all retired and appeared well to do.

    Middle-class carriage drivers require a trailer to carry a cart or carriage and one or two horses.

    Observing distance riders, many double or triple up sharing trailer, camping and expenses.

  • TimRuth Casserly

    By the way, thanks for all the wishes for Harley’s speedy recovery. For those of you that didn’t hear, we discovered at the vet check at Rock River Charity Ride that Harley was grossly off in his hind end. He hid it well at a walk, but his trot was hideous. Dr. Beecher checked him out and reported that he probably had a cracked pelvis and would need 6 – 9 months of stall rest to heal.

    It probably happened on the previous Thursday evening when Tim observed the boys tearing around in the pasture having a good time. Tim saw Harley take a corner too fast and spin out, but get up and continue to play and be his goofy self. We guess this is when the injury occurred.

    It’s been just 1 week, but we’re adapting. Harley is doing very well, I believe. One of Dr. Beecher’s warnings was to not rush the healing process. I’m already really impatient. Standing around in the stall, he seems fine! And for that I am very grateful. But it’s going to be a LONG winter.

    Ruth

  • TimRuth Casserly

    I’m interested in the post from Max Bernsdorf on Yahoo’s DRAW group. She says that as of June 2011, vet health certificates are only required if going to a show or a sale but not for trail riding. And “we are trail riders…..” I would like to think this is true, but don’t know for certain.

    Meanwhile, I have multiple thoughts on why our numbers are small. I DO believe that we have to support our events or else the ride managers will pull the plug on us. Fuel prices are high and times are tough for riders, too. Somehow they still find the time and funds to compete.

    Last spring, Tim and I rode in the Novice division at AHDRA I because there was no driving offered. Riding that one time doesn’t give me loads of experience, but did give me a view of the dark side (OK, the rider’s side). The first observation is that riding requires a whole lot less messing around with equipment than driving does. Yes, it’s obvious. But it does add to the hassle factor. Another observation is that riding is a lot more of a social event than driving is. Because riders go out in groups and encounter other groups, there’s a lot more chatting and bonding on the trails. We drivers go out individually and have to stay vigilant around other horses. Occasionally we get chewed out for being there. In the case of single drivers, it can be a pretty lonely sport. At least with driving a pair, you must have a groom, with whom you can visit if you’re so inclined. Lots of riders at AHDRA I asked me how we liked riding and how it compares. I shared with them the above observations, and also that my horse was much less taxed riding than he is driving!

    Another problem we have is just the thin ranks of MDDA members. When two or three riders don’t show up to a ride, no one notices. But two or three no-shows of drivers, for whatever reason, makes a substantial dent in our numbers. Recruit! Talk up MDDA to all your driving friends!

    Even if your horse isn’t in the finest condition, these drives will not hurt them. As the driver, you will just need to take more time, exercise some caution and look at the event as a conditioning drive. To finish is to win.

    After the drive, hang around and visit with the riders and ride management! Don’t just load up and go home. Get to know the riders, you might make some new friends! And hopefully you’ll want to go more often!

    OK, down from my soap box. Your thoughts?
    :o) Ruth

    • Jac

      Ruth, Great Post!

      I’ve always wondered about riding vs. driving, relative to the horse, but have never ridden at an event. It’s obvious that riding allows for more social intercourse. I had assumed that driving was actually easier on the horse .. at least we were told that our pace was typically faster than the riders. 🙂

      Having so few drivers is a problem, but I can tell you that when we had more members (double the current numbers) we had even less participation! It seems to take a ‘special’ driver to want to compete in this sport. Personally always had a hard time understanding why so many drivers love CDE or Pleasure Shows, but don’t take to distance driving. Maybe it is the social aspect? CDE’s are more expensive and take just as much time, typically 2 or 3 day events. The only thing I enjoyed about a CDE is the variety of challenges with some distance, hazards, cones and dressage. I couldn’t believe how little time was actually spent driving!

      Unfortunately, I have limited social contacts and haven’t been able to influence others to participate. The champion at bringing in new drivers was Wes Licht with all his contacts. I hope he is continuing to promote the sport.

      Over the years we have had a number of drivers give it a try at one or two events and then never see them again. Perhaps we were not as welcoming as we could have been. It’s important to make the new driver welcome so they will look forward to future competition.

  • Linda Hammersmith

    I would like to add that I am very sorry that so few had to do so much work in clearing trails and adminstration for such an event in anticipation of a good turn-out.

  • Linda Hammersmith

    I’ve been de-railed due to my mom’s stroke, not being organized with my new trailer, and my new mare being in foal (she was suppose to be my distance driving horse AND she was not suppose to be in foal). The Herpes 1 virus still hangs on my mind, having to have a fresh vet check almost each time one goes to a gathering can get costly and then there is the price of gas.
    A big positive happend this year, I started riding again after being held back,by fear, for six years after a nasty buck-off.

  • So sorry to not have been able to participate in Tony’s Drive/Ride this past weekend. We were up way past our ears in Jackson Family Reunion activities held at our farm. A lot of work, and thankfully the weather cooperated as well. Hopefully next time we can make it!

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