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2008 Annual Meeting


By Jane Licht

The Midwest Distance Driving Association (MDDA) held its social and annual meeting on November 8, 2008, at the McFarland Municipal Building.  A grand time was had by all because the group really enjoyed the game playing and the awards ceremony.

Outgoing board member Jane Licht led the group in playing the “Clicker Training” game.  Teams of two people worked together with one acting as the trainer and the other was the dog/horse/etc.  (This game was inspired by a clinic on clicker training presented by Jane’s horse trainer daughter, Sara Licht.)  The person who was the “dog” left the room while the group decided on a task that the dog was to perform.  The trainer could only use the reward of the clicker sound to indicate that the dog was on the right track.  Most couples were able to accomplish the task amazingly quickly, especially Jim and Linda Low who were declared the winners.  Actually, in this sport just as in distance driving, to finish is to win so all the contestants were winners!  Next, they all worked on a light-hearted paper and pencil “test” called “How a Horse Changes a Light Bulb.”

After a delicious pot luck supper, a short business meeting was held.  Treasurer Jack Shea reported that MDDA is comfortably in the black at the end of the 2008 driving season.  Members commented on Jack’s clear and easy to interpret spreadsheet that he distributed.

President Jac Deweese said that the 2009 distance drive schedule will be similar to 2008.  The final schedule will be available by March 1, 2009, although there will be a tentative schedule posted on the MDDA website by January.  Scheduling of all events will be discussed at the Upper Midwest Competitive and Endurance Riders Association (UMECRA) meeting in January.  MDDA member Tony Troyer who also serves as the UMECRA vice-president, will explain MDDA concerns and suggestions

Three members of the MDDA board decided to step down this year and three new members volunteered to take their places for 2009.  The board wishes to thank Roger Houk, Glen Garbisch and Jane Licht for their work on the board and especially for helping at the drives.  Their continued participation in MDDA is very important.  New board members Linda Lee, Tony Troyer and Lori Schoofs will join current members Jack Deweese, Jack Shea, Gary and Katz Jackson, Mary Clapper, and Wes Licht.

A major item of discussion was on the topic, “Choosing Your Distance.”  Jac Deweese presented the concept which would allow drivers to sign up for a certain set trail that may be only 5 to 10 miles in length and then elect to do it again.  After the first trail is completed, after the pulse and respiration is taken, the driver could determine if his/her horse is up to driving the trail again.  It was felt that this method might encourage more participation from members and encourage more people to try distance driving.  This idea will be presented to UMECRA members at their annual meeting.

Gary Jackson presented an update of Wisconsin Horse Council activities and then the business meeting was adjourned.

Jac Deweese led the awards ceremony.  Jack Shea with his horse Kim won the MDDA Singles Limited Distance championship.  Wes Licht and Ranger won reserve champion, Katz Jackson and Talon won third place and Mary Clapper and Benjamin Blue won fourth place for the same category.

Tony Troyer with Heart of the City and Junior won the MDDA Pairs Champion while Lori Schoofs with Laura Lee was named the MDDA Rookie of the Year.

The MDDA Volunteer award for 2008 was presented to Gerald Millard who often times both riders and drivers at MDDA-sponsored events.  A special quilt made by Mary Clapper was presented to Marguerite and Jac Deweese for their many years of service to MDDA.

Some funny awards were presented, including a “Rein Alignment” award to assist Tony with harnessing his pair, and a “Can’t Lose Gloves” Award to Lori Schoofs.  They both seemed to accept these in a good natured manner.

We hope to see all the MDDA members as well as some new faces at the Iron Oak Novice Clinic and Ride/Drive at Black Hawk Ridge in late April, and on the trails through out the distance driving season.