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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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Trail Evaluation

Driving Trail Evaluation
Location Palmyra, WI Horseman’s Park  (GLACIER TRAILS, ApDRA, BONECRUSHER)
Camping Excellent, drive through, water and rest rooms strategically located
Terrain Kettle Moraine Forest
Trail Condition Significant sand.  Hills and stone abound in 1st 2 miles
Road Crossing 2 lightly traveled crossings.  May have to negotiate berms set to impede motor vehicle access
Trail Length 10 to 16 miles (out and back on same trail)
Best Features Camping accommodations
Difficulty Level Intermediate due hills and sand.
General A heavily used park.  You will undoubted meet other equines, bicycles and hikers.
Driver Comment I’ve driven barefoot for several years but if your horse is prone to chipping they may benefit from boots or shoes due to the stone.  Your horse should also be comfortable with holding back (breeching) work and you should take care to properly fit and adjust the breeching.  Wider wheels will encounter less resistance from the sand.  Good springs will be appreciated.
Location Standing Rock Park, near Utica, IL, (ROCK RIVER CHARITY)
Camping First come, first serve, space for at least 40 rigs, several water hydrants
Terrain Woods and prairie, with hills
Trail Condition sod, some rocks, steep switchback.  Drains well but may be slick when wet.
Road Crossing two road crossings, minimal traffic
Trail Length 6 and 12 mile loops
Best Features Most campsites are wooded
Difficulty Level Difficult.  very tight corners in the first mile, steep switchback at about mile three, then trail opens up to prairie
General This is a good campground with lots of space.
Driver Comment This trail is very technical in the first mile.  narrower vehicles will do better, but I have made it through with a 67-inch wide Meadowbrook, with only inches to spare on either side. The switchback is steep, but the trail is well maintained and safe.
Location Crow Hassan Reserve, near Rogers, MN  (MOSQUITO RUN)
Camping First come, first serve, gets crowded during Mosquito Run, but everyone fits
Terrain Woods and very gently rolling prairie. Some marshy areas near some parts of the trail
Trail Condition  Horse trails are dirt or sod, little or no stone.
Road Crossing Two road crossing and you must drive along the road for about 1/4 mile.  Some traffic.
Trail Length 10 or 15 mile loop
Best Features Flat to gently rolling terrain.
Difficulty Level Moderate, with some hills
General This is a great park, but with minimal amenities. Shoes not required
Driver Comment This trail gives you a sense of what the pioneers would have seen as they crossed the prairies.
Location Castle Rock horse trails, Arkdale, WI  (LOUISE REIDEL, IRON OAK)
Camping Ukarydee equestrian campground include corrals at most campsites
Terrain Virtually flat woods and prairie
Trail Condition Gravel road and dirt trails through woods and prairie
Road Crossing You’ll be driving on the road entering the woods and then returning to the road before continuing on through prairie and woods before returning to the road to get back to camp
Trail Length 10 to 12 mile loop
Best Features Really nice camping facility, many with pipe corrals.  Generally you can choose heavy woods or relatively open areas for your camp.
Difficulty Level Easy for the short drive.  Intermediate for the longer distance.
General The road has minimal traffic and is paved that doesn’t present a problem to a barefoot horse.  The trail does have some tight turns and some of the tree roots may pose a hazard alongside the trail.
This is an excellent trail for beginners with many opportunities to return directly to camp in case of an emergency.
Driver Comment The trails are relatively level with some short stretches that are narrow or require tight turns.  There may be a mud hole that you will have to drive through.  There may also be a short stretch with stumps that you will have to negotiate.  They are cut off at about 6 inches and can be driven over safely at a walk, if you happen to miscalculate.  A good place to try longer distances.
Location Jim Edgar Panther, near Springfield, IL  (ENDURE FOR THE CURE)
Camping Good camping area with restrooms and showers.
Terrain Mostly  prairie, with one steep, and one long hill.
Trail Condition Mostly dirt, except for 2-3 miles of pavement
Road Crossing several
Trail Length 10 to 12 mile loop
Best Features  Mostly level trail.
Difficulty Level Easy,  moderate if wet
General Drivers have their own trail for most of the time, except for the first two miles near camp.
Driver Comment  The prairie is full of interesting plants, insects, and birds.  About 1/3 of the trail is pavement/tarmac, so shoes definitely recommended.
Location Northern Kettle, New Prospect, WI (COLORAMA, KETTLES AND BITS, DRAWARAMA)
Camping Horseman’s park, central water and restrooms (recently renovated)
Terrain Kettle moraine with hills and rocky trails similar but not as severe as Palmyra
Trail Condition A short stretch on gravel road then primarily woods and prairie.  Some culverts and possible wooden bridge
Road Crossing Will include at least one road crossing.  Good access and visibility.
Trail Length 10 to 15 miles (5 to 7.5 miles out and return)
Best Features Scenic, especially in the fall.
Difficulty Level Intermediate due to short steep hills.  Should be considered difficult for longer distance.
General This is a great drive in the fall when the colors are changing.  Enough variety to be really beautiful.
Driver Comment This is a typical Kettle Moraine drive with section of heavy stone, sand, and short steep hills.  It is important to have the breeching properly adjusted and foot protection may be required, although I’ve always driven barefoot without issues.  There may be black erosion control plastic and/or orange snow fence and you may want to condition your horse to these objects.  May be some mud puddles.
Difficulty Level
Easy Little stress on horse or driver.  Requires minimal conditioning.  Good starter trail.
Moderate Minor stress on horse or driver.  Requires some conditioning.  A good ‘next’ step after Easy.
Intermediate Requires some driving skill to negotiate and pace the horse.  Conditioning required for longer distances.  Not a ‘starter’ drive.
Difficult Requires significant driving skill or it may really stress the horse.  Horse must be well conditioned.

1 comment to Trail Evaluation

  • Amanda

    I was wondering what the trail is like at Utica, Illinois for the River Rock Drive. I have been to starved rock and was wondering if the drive a few miles south of it will be around the same terrain. If so, I would assume tht it is a difficult drive. Just wondering if anyone has been there and what they think. Thanks Amanda

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