The Combined Driving Demonstration help at Davis Ranch was a great success.  About forty members of the Granite Mountain Riders showed up for the monthly meeting at the ranch. The members did a lot of catching up with other members while waiting for all to arrive.
By 5:30pm members made their way to the bleachers by the dressage arena to be able to watch the beginning of the nights program.
All were welcomed to the ranch after which I explained what Combined Driving is and how a Combined Driving Event is run.

Introducing Pinegrove’s Sailor Boy
I introduced my Friesian Sporthorse “Pinegrove’s Sailor Boy” who is a fifteen year old gelding.  I told them that I have been working with him for thirteen years and that he has competed through FEI level.
Sailor and I drove through a few cones to show the precision needed to be able to drive them without knocking any down.
We then escorted the ladies to an area on my cross country course to watch us run two of the obstacles on the property. 

Obstacles oh what fun!
In Sailor’s normal way he showed that he was very happy to canter through both of the obstacles.  The water obstacle is always great to watch, for Sailor due to his size,  creates a big splash.
After returning to the carriage barn to unhitch Sailor, I answered many questions and he hunted for treats as is usual after he has done a good job.  After returning him to his stall and getting his dinner we all  enjoyed a very tasty potluck dinner.
The night was finished off with a club meeting and everyone left to go home before the night got to cold to be outside.
There were many great questions answered and many great thanks for a great program.

Pessoa Training System with Pinegrove’s Sailor Boy is the best tool to use to help your horse find his own natural frame.

The Pessoa Training System was designed by Nelson Pessoa. With this tool you are able to start your green horse long and low and as your horse learns self carriage you can adjust to achieve the most advanced collected frame.

I have been using the Pessoa system with Pinegrove’s Sailor Boy for about ten years and it has been a great training tool. The best thing about it is that the horse is basically learning on his own. Sure I hold the lounge line, and I have a lounge whip to keep him moving and direct the direction that he is going, but I never pull on his head, mouth or face.

Once you have watched the video you will see how quiet Sailor is.  This is the way you want your horse to be during this training process.  When introducing your horse to the Pessoa training system you will start at a walk.  Your session only needs to be about fifteen minutes.  Remember the horse is learning how to carry himself in a frame and it will tire him out. Work several sessions at the walk until your horse relaxes into what he is being asked to do.  Once he is comfortable with the walk then move onto the trot and then the canter.  Only a well conditioned horse will be able to do the three gaits for any length of time.

Remember you are teaching your horse to carry himself in a dressage frame, staying round and on the bit during the whole session.

Sailor having fun at the ADT in Prescott this last weekend.  It was the first event that my Husband, Allan, has gatored for me since his by-pass surgery last year.  This was my trail event to make sure that all was good before we plan a trip later in the year to Colorado and possibly Texas for CDE’s.

The day started off calm and quiet with the weather but by noon the breezes started to come.  Our go time for dressage was 12:26 and yes we were the last to go.  By this time the ground in both the dressage arena and the cones was more like powder than dirt.

We did okay in dressage and Sailor was having fun just trying to make out the letters on the concrete bricks.  After dressage we headed for the cones course, by now the breeze was a lot stronger, so the cones and numbers were hard to see.

We went through the starting gate and then through the first set of cones and as I turned left towards the second set of cones the letters were so full of dirt there were no numbers, and then with the cloud of dust I had to make a second circle just to be able to see the numbers.  The rest of the course was like the blind leading the blind.  We managed not to knock any of the balls down for a clean round.

After lunch Sailor was hoping to have more fun but, by now the dirt was in constant clouds floating across the grounds.  We ran the four obstacles in good time and we were very glad to be done!

Overall Sailor having fun, and Allan being able to be there with me as my gator was worth eating dirt and being sand pitted!

The Festival of Driving with Shrimp Scampi started with our arrival at Dale Creek Equestrian Center on Friday March ninth. I found our parking space and a stall for Scampi and got her settled in for the weekend. As the afternoon went on more and more competitors arrived and by nightfall the grounds were pretty full.

With the arrival of dawn I was up feeding Scampi and figuring out my approximate time of my first class.  Being that it had been four years since I had shown Scampi, that she was now nineteen and she was diagnosed with PPID last year, I picked the classes that would be the best for her.  We had scheduled four classes for Saturday and four classes for Sunday as not to over stress her.

Four of the classes were arena, there was a super reinsmanship class and the other three were cones classes.  Now Scampi has always loved cones so I figured that she would do the best in those classes.

Of the three arena classes on Saturday morning of The Festival of Driving we placed a fourth and a fifth.  I had some time after the morning classes to have lunch and Scampi was able to have a rest before the first cones course in the afternoon.  The course was called Reverse Psychology.  The horse and driver drives the course of ten cones in order with red on your right, then once you go through the number ten set of cones you turn around and go through the set starting with ten down to one with white on your right.  It sounds easy but the driver has to rethink the red on right to white on right, and for as driver who has done a lot of cones courses it is a lot to rethink.  As it turned out my memory was working well and we ran the course in the second fastest time.

The second day of The Festival of Driving with Shrimp Scampi was met with damp ground from some overnight showers.  As the sun rose the day turned bright and sunny.

Our first arena class of the morning was the Red Hat class and there were a lot of red hats to be seen.  We pulled it off and took first place!

Then it was on to the Super Reinsmanship class where we drove the pattern that we had practiced at home ahead of time.  It was a fun class and we placed third in the pony division.

After a break for all involved for lunch, I was looking forward to the two cones classes coming up.  The first class was Fault and Out, where you keep running through the ten sets of cones until the whistle for times up is blown. I don’t think any made it further than set one after the first time through.  We pulled out a second place so I was pleased.

Out last cones class of the day was Your Route/My Route.  You first drive the ten sets of cones as set and then you drive them in any order or direction that you want a second time for a total of twenty sets of cones.  I think Scampi put it on full throttle and we won the class with a time of 02:45:62!

 

Pinegrove’s Sailor Boy competes at the Arizona Driving and Carriage Society’s first ADT of 2018.  I got an early start on the day, heading from my ranch in Prescott to the event at Apache Junction two and a half hours away.

Arriving at the event center about 8:30, there were already a lot of competitors there.  I picked up my entry number and settled into the routine of getting Pinegrove’s Sailor Boy out of the trailer and comfortable.  Next in line was to get the carriage and other equipment out also.  Then it was all about waiting for our time to go 10: 26.

I had Pinegrove’s Sailor Boy tacked up and harnessed by ten and we headed for the safety inspection, and then it was on to dressage.  Dressage not being Pinegrove’s Sailor Boys favorite thing we just headed into the dressage court in a very relaxed mode.  The whole test went terrific and I was very happy with a score of 54 at the Intermediate level.

  • Dressage

    Pinegrove's Sailor Boy at the Arena Driving Trial in Apache Junction Arizona in Dressage
  • Dressage

    Pinegrove's Sailor Boy at the Arena Driving Trial in Apache Junction Arizona in Dressage
  • Safety Inspection

    Pinegrove's Sailor Boy at the Arena Driving Trial in Apache Junction Arizona at safety check
  • Pinegrove's Sailor Boy at the Arena Driving Trial in Apache Junction Arizona heading to Dressage
  • Pinegrove's Sailor Boy at the Arena Driving Trial in Apache Junction Arizona heading to Dressage
  • Harnessing

    Pinegrove's Sailor Boy at the Arena Driving Trial in Apache Junction Arizona harnessing up

I then headed over to the cones course which was large and sweeping and Pinegrove’s Sailor Boy decided that an extended trot for the whole 800m would be the way to go. We went clean with no balls down and I think we made time but as of this news release the final scores are not posted.

Pinegrove’s Sailor Boy and I made about a two hour break during which I walked the four obstacles that we would be driving at 2:45.  Our time came and Pinegrove’s Sailor Boy was eager to get going and we cantered about 95% of the four obstacles.  No whistle was blown so we had no course penalties.

All in all it was a nicely run event in a great location.  All of the organizers and the helpers did a great job keeping it running on time.

I will post out final score when I get it, and everyone out there keep driving!

This past March I attended the ADCS Festival of Driving Show held at the Dale Creek Equestrian Village in Litchfield Park, Arizona.  I was joined by my miniature horse Spragues Orion Royale Herby otherwise know as “Snoopy”.

Snoopy is a 31″ American Miniature Horse and he is 22 years young.  He is a strawberry roan and has the personality of a gentle giant.

For this two day show I entered him in nine classes  which were either show ring driving or obstacle classes.  On Saturday he did very well in four of the five classes placing in the top six in all four.  Snoopy gave me all he had and was pretty tired by the end of the day.  He earned a well needed meal and a super rest for the rest of the day.

Now I had been having some issues with his back hocks, as they are showing signs of arthritis, so it was not surprising that Sunday morning he was a bit stiff.  I spent the first thirty minutes trying to limber him up at a walk.

When they called out first class of the morning we made it about two times around the arena and it was obvious that he was not comfortable driving so I withdrew him from the class.  At this point I decided that he had had enough and that we would get packed up and head for home.

Snoopy is now on a joint supplement and an arthritis medicine Equioxx and he is doing very well and is moving more normal.

A Mini Horse Club Gymkhana was hosted by the Saguaros State Miniature & Shetland Pony Club at the Davis Ranch on Sunday the 30th of April.  Twenty two members showed up, bringing with them about ten miniature horses and ponies.  It turned out to be a beautiful day with no wind, rain or snow to spoil the atmosphere!

The morning was taken up with in hand gymkhana games including an egg balancing race that all had fun doing.  I think that a  few of us older adults found running with our mini’s was harder than when we were younger.  There was a lot of huffing and puffing going on.  By 11:15 all were tired so we broke for lunch and our horses had earned a drink of water and a snack.

After lunch those who had horses that drove proceeded to get hitched up for the driving games.  Those that had proficient driving horses did some cantering which shows that these little horses can get there fast if need be!  Others with newer driving horses kept to a trot or walk and all went well without any mishaps.

When all was said and done this Mini Horse Club Gymkhana will go down in the history book as a success.  I think everyone received a prize and the horses got mint snacks!  A few of the drivers checked out the bridge  and water crossing as well as the hazards that are on the property.

 

I was asked to do a Participation Clinic at Verde Valley Equine Festival on Sunday April 23, 2017.  The day started out sunny with a temperatures in the mid eighties.  I arrived at the venue in Cottonwood Arizona at 8:30 to find people and horses already milling around the fair grounds.  The driving participation clinic started at 9:30 with two drivers signed up to participate.

The first driver had a well seasoned draft mare she was driving and the second driver had a Morgan mare that has been driving about two years with a new driver.  Both horses were well behaved and the drivers were proficient equal with their level of driving.

Many of the spectators that arrived were there to watch and learn about driving and how much fun that it can be.  It was really good to see the interest in the sport of driving as we need to bring more people into this sport so that it will live on for many years.

This Participation Clinic at Verde Valley Equine Festival was proof that people can get excited about this very old form of transportation and how it has transformed into a fun way to use ones horse.

Harnessing Clinic

After a brief break I then did a talk on harness and harnessing.  Even though the wind decided to show it’s ugly head there was a good turnout of people wanting to learn!  I brought along my miniature horse “Snoopy” as a demonstration horse to show how to fit and put on the harness an hitch to a cart.

While I was answering questions I had any of the attendees who wanted to try and put together a harness to do so.  I supplied a horse size harness with 29 parts that were disassembled for them to put together.  When it was assembled I gave them one of my “Harnessing & Saddling A Step By Step Guide” as a prize.  There is nothing better than hands on experience to teach a student how to do something!

This past Saturday and Sunday November 12 & 13, Pinegrove’s Sailor Boy Does Back To Back ADT’s in Litchfield Park, at the Dale Creek Equestrian Center.  The hosts opened up their facility to forty one horses and their carriage drivers for the weekend.  The event was put on by the Arizona Carriage & Driving Society which is the carriage driving club of Arizona.  The event organizers did a great job and both events went on time and in a very orderly fashion.  One of the clubs members Kevin Fetherston took pictures of cones for the ADT on Saturday and then pictures of hazard two at the Sunday ADT.  Some of the pictures you will see are ones that Kevin took so credit goes to him, thanks so much Kevin!

I headed out Friday morning with Pinegrove’s Sailor Boy at about nine in the morning.  As usual Sailor was ready and walked right into the trailer for his next adventure.  I arrived at the facility about eleven thirty and found a stall for Sailor and a nice parking place for our rig for the weekend.

I had time later in the afternoon to walk the cones course several times and also the hazards.  Both were pretty straight forward and easy to see and navigate.  My day ended by having dinner with friends that we had not seen in quite awhile.  We had a great dinner and lots of good conversation and many laughs.

Saturday morning was cool and sunny as I got ready for dressage followed by cones.  I was the fifth competitor to go out at 8:32 am.  Dressage went quite well and it felt good from the beginning.  Cones started out good but Pinegrove’s Sailor Boy wasn’t sure of the cones setters that were leaning over the fence, but with lots of soft word of reassurance he made it through all twenty sets of cones.  The only mistake was mine so I had one ball down.

Hazards would not start until 1:00 pm so Sailor had a chance to eat and rest before running them.  Allan and I helped man one of the hazards while the miniature horses and ponies went through before hitching of Sailor for our go around.  Pinegrove’s Sailor Boy did a great job and our average time through the hazards was about sixty seconds.  Fun was had by both horse and humans and we took first place for Intermediate Single Horse.

I got Sailor settled in for the night and I followed as the morning would come around fast and I will be going earlier than I did today.

Sunday morning was a bit cooler and there some high clouds so my jacket would be staying on for dressage and cones.  I was second to go and I was hoping that Pinegrove’s Sailor Boy would ignore all of the things he was concerned about on Saturday.  That is just what he did!   Dressage went even smoother than Saturday so I was really pleased when we headed to cones.  Cones today was no issue and we flew through all twenty sets with a clear run.

I proceeded to get Sailor settled in his stall and went to get coffee and a breakfast burrito from the vendor that was brought in for the weekend.  As I was walking back to the trailer, I went by the secretaries table and picked up my dressage test and I was more than pleased with our score for the day.  My test showed 48.6 which is the best score Sailor and I have gotten to date.  There were lots of positive feedback in the judges comments and I thought to myself, I would be happy to just go home at this point, having worked so hard to get this type of score.  What a way to end the last competition of the year.

The afternoon went pretty much the same as Saturday with faster times in the hazards. I closed the day out with another first place in Intermediate Single Horse.  Being proud of Sailor and how far he has come is hard to put into words.  When my horses get into their teens, they turn into just great competitors!!

 

 

I served as Judge At A Miniature Horse Show this past Saturday here in Prescott Arizona.  The Fun Show was put on by the Saguaro State Shetland Pony and Miniature Horse Club. This year the show brought out over forty horses to compete.

The day started out with judging the halter classes for Miniature Horses, Ponies and Miniature Donkeys.  Many of the competitors were new to the small horse world and many had horses that had not been shown before.  The beginning Novice Handler Open sported about sixteen horses and handlers.  Judging this class was a challenge to say the least because there were so many nice horses in the class.

Halter Class

Halter classes went on until about eleven after which we moved on to the Showmanship classes. Here again there were many competitors getting their feet wet in the novice class.  They all had fun getting their horses to properly do the pattern.  Of course Showmanship is judged on how the handler works with their horse.  I was really glad to see that we had one junior competitor in many of the classes.

Showmanship Class

We ended the morning with the Hunter class which is always a challenge for the handler as they need to keep up with their horse as they get them to jump, in form, over the five jumps.  We had about six competitors that tried their hand at this class.  We had some rails down and one jump that had to be reset when one horse went through instead of jumping it, but all had fun trying.

Receiving a Ribbon

The afternoon was started with the In Hand Obstacle classes.  The course consisted of a mailbox, trotting zigzag, side pass, back through, car wash and walk over poles.  The nemesis for most of the competitors was the side pass.  Most of the horses were wondering what their handlers were asking them to do, and why they were shoving them so much.  They all have plenty of homework for themselves and their horses.  The open class added a zigzag side pass and a grass inlay under the poles.  The side pass again, had the horses wondering what was going on.

Next to follow were the driving obstacle classes which included the mailbox, trotting serpentine, halt and back up, walk thru “L” and fake grass to walk over. The halt for ten seconds and backing the horse in cart were the major hang ups for the drivers.

Next we moved on to Pleasure Driving classes which saw many minis, ponies and donkeys hitched up and ready to show their stuff.  All of the driving classes went well with no major hangups.  They were all very well behaved and their drivers did a great jobs with them.  The Reinsmanship class followed  along withe the final driving class called “Golden Age Driving” where the driver had to be over fifty five.  This class proved we are all getting older!

We ended the day with a Costume Class which brought out the creativity of those who entered.  It was a great way to end a very successful and fun show.  I am sure everyone is looking forward to the 2017 SSC Fun Show!