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!

 

 

 

 

I had fun with Pinegrove’s Sailor Boy at the ADT (Arena Driving Trail) this past Saturday in Prescott Arizona.

I was packed and ready to leave the ranch at 7:15 am and as usual Pinegrove’s Sailor Boy stepped right into the trailer.  I arrived at the host ranch by eight and proceeded to get checked in for the days activities. Our time of go for dressage and cones was not until 12:30 so I spent the first hour checking out the dressage court and then walking the cones course and memorizing it.

After a brief rest and a cup of coffee I went to walk the obstacles and decide what track I would take in them.  Once I memorized the four obstacles there was plenty of time to watch some of the lower level drivers  as they drove dressage and cones.  Of the 30 competitors the majority were Miniature horses and ponies. There were only about six full size horses that were competing.

About 11:45 I started getting Pinegrove’s Sailor Boy  harnessed up and hitched so I would have enough warm up time with him before doing dressage. Pinegrove’s Sailor Boy was calm and listening as I drove into the dressage court.  The test was going really well until out of the blue the judge blew her whistle,which meant I was off course.  Now I quickly run the course through my head as I head over to the judges stand, and I just did not know what I did wrong.  As it turned out I did nothing wrong, I just wasn’t as far along in the test as the judge thought I was.  So after this brief hiccup I continued on with the test.   Pinegrove’s Sailor Boy took all this in stride and did a beautiful test.

As I was the last competitor to go they were all waiting for me over at the cones course with bated breath.  I saluted the judge and away we drove.  I did most of the course in a very fast trot with an occasional canter thrown in for good measure. I ended up with two ball down and a couple of time penalties.

After a rest for Pinegrove’s Sailor Boy and a quick lunch I hitched up again to do the four obstacles.  The first obstacle had all sorts of large metal animals in it for the horses to spook at.  Pinegrove’s Sailor Boy took them all in stride and only gave the very tall horse a wink.  I have seen in the past these metal animals come alive to some horses.  Then on to the second hazard which consisted of six foot tall poles placed in rows with large flags on the tops.  Now Pinegrove’s Sailor Boy normally does not have an issue with flags as he has seen many, but these flags with the wind blowing them straight out were smacking him in the face and he took exception to that. He basically said this is more than even I can deal with.  For all the other horses this was not an issue as they were all a lot shorter than him and most could not see them unless they looked up. I eliminated out on this obstacle because it was the right thing to do and not force Pinegrove’s Sailor Boy through them.

The third obstacle was made up of these huge boulders placed within the obstacle. Just a note, as we went through the in gate there were flags on top of higher poles and Pinegrove’s Sailor Boy went right through. We flew in and out in record time and did not move one boulder.  The final obstacle was the water one.  When we got to it there were several competitors waiting to drive it.  Now as we all know training a horse to voluntarily run through water is not an easy task, thus the backup.  Now when  Pinegrove’s Sailor Boy saw the water he was more than eager to fly through at a gallop, and that he did.  We crossed the water pond three times to be able to make the fastest time we could.  Of course my gator, Allan, got quite wet during this romp through the water obstacle.  The three obstacles we completed we did in sixty seconds or less so it was a good go for us.

Spragues Orion Royal Herbie or “Snoopy” as we call him, took a first place at the SSC Arizona Driving Trial.  It was a beautiful day when we arrived at the hosting facility.  We found miniature horses and their people milling around,  getting their trailers unpacked.

First order of business was to check in and then I went to check out the dressage arena.   The cones course comes right after dressage so I needed to walk it several times so memorize it.  There were several blind turns in it which could be a problem if you are not ready for them.

By now it was about 10:00 so I had plenty of time to watch some of the drivers do dressage as well as cones.  It looked like everyone was having a good time with their miniature horses.

Finally it was time for me to get Spragues Orion Royal Herbie ready to drive.  After a good brush out I harnessed him up and we took a leisurely stroll down to the dressage arena.  There were still two competitors waiting to go, who were in front of me.  This made for a short wait until it was my time to go.

Spragues Orion Royal Herbie was ready to go, so we took our one lap around the  arena and proceeded up the center line.  Stopped and saluted the judge.  The last time I competed with Spragues Orion Royal Herbie, was in 2004 at the Old Pueblo CDE (Combined Driving Event) in Tucson Arizone.  I was not surprised that Snoopy just went to work like it was just yesterday.  He did a fantastic job in dressage and I couldn’t have been more proud of him.

We then proceeded to the cones course where they were still setting the cones width for us. The judge blew her whistle when ready and away we drove. We did a good part of the course at the canter so that we could make our time.  It was a great plan as we were only two seconds over in time and we had no balls down. Spragues Orion Royal Herbie really enjoyed doing the cones, as always.

All competitors took a break for lunch for both them and their horses.  After which we all hitched up our horses for the obstacles, of which there were four.  Spragues Orion Royal Herbie had a great go through all four of the obstacles.  We had to race through four gates in each of the obstacles in the fastest time possible, while still being safe.

By the end of the day Spragues Orion Royal Herbie had the top dressage score of all the competitors and the top combined score overall.  We placed first in the preliminary single horse division.  Not to bad for a 21 year old who hadn’t competed in a CDE  since 2004.

 

Snoopy’s In Demand at Nursing Homes so on July 29, 2015 my miniature horse Spragues Orion Royal Herbie,  “Snoopy” and I spent the morning at the High Gate Senior Living Center in Prescott Arizona.  This is the second home we have visited this year and we have another one later this month at the Prescott Nursing Rehabilitation Center.

Snoopy is a 20 year old 31″ mini gelding.  Previously he had been a competition and show horse in both pleasure driving and combined driving.

Now in his more mature years he enjoys visiting nursing homes and children’s programs here in the Prescott area.

I actually take Snoopy inside the nursing homes and into the rooms of the patients that can not get up. I visit the group areas and always answer many questions about the little horses.

Many times I am joined by my good friend Shirley and her Mini Buddy.

Spragues Orion Royal Herbie at nursing homes

It’s been a busy month for Snoopy. On August 15, 2015 the local Miniature Horse Club put on a “Meet A Mini” event at the Chino Valley city center park.  The main purpose was to introduce the general public and especially children to the uniqueness of the Miniature horse.  In all there were sixteen minis that showed up to the event.  It was a perfect setting in which to have one on one petting and loving on a mini. Lots of parents along with their children ranging in age from one to twelve years old enjoyed meeting all of the minis.

Snoopy at meet a mini

The children were able to have their picture taken with their favorite mini to take home with them.

Then on August 21, 2015 Snoopy headed over to the Prescott Nursing and Rehabilitation Center for a meet and greet with the residents of the facility.

The greeting occurred in their outside patio under the shade which he thought was great.  He was able to have his picture taken with many of the residents and of course they all thought he was handsome.

This facility has special memories for me as it is where  my father spent his last six months.  I brought Snoopy many times to see my dad when he was there and it always cheered him up.

On May 27, 2016 we once again returned to Prescott Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center to visit the many patients that live there, or are there for rehabilitation. It is always so much fun for the patients and myself.

Spragues Orion Royal Herbie at nursing homes

Then just this last week on September 30, 2016 we went and visited the High Gate Senior Living Center and nursing home for another visit.  There was quite a crowd waiting for us to arrive and everyone had a chance to pet and or hug a Miniature horse.  Snoopy especially loves the petting.  He walked over to one patient and they did not pay attention to him so he put his head on their lap and waited to be noticed.  It is amazing the smiles and stories that the people living there tell us about.  The smiles are the best!

My Pinto/Hackney pony “SBF Shrimp Scampi” foaled a colt, Scampi’s Silver Fox, on May 15, 2016.  She was bred to a Dartmoor Stallion  “Teignhead King of Clubs” who has sired foals in the United Kingdom, Germany, Netherlands and now one in the United States. Scampi’s Silver Fox or  “Silver” as we call him around the barn is now three months old and has shed his foal coat to reveal a coal black coat underneath. Scampi’s Silver Fox is going to be quite a flashy driving horse when he grows up.

Now at 5 1/2 months old, he is weaned from his mother, which is good for SBF Shrimp Scampi, as I am having trouble keeping weight on her.  It turned out to be a no issue weaning and nare was a word spoken between them.  After two weeks of being separated Scampi’s Silver Fox had an appointment with the veterinarian to become a gelding. This like the weaning was basically a no issue for him and two days later he was romping around the paddock.

  • Scampi’s Silver Fox at 5 1/2 months

  • Scampi’s Silver Fox at 5 1/2 months

  • Scampi’s Silver Fox at 5 1/2 months

  • Scampi’s Silver Fox at 5 1/2 months

  • Scampi’s Silver Fox at 5 1/2 months

  • Scampi’s Silver Fox at 5 1/2 months

  • Scampi’s Silver Fox at 5 1/2 months

  • Scampi’s Silver Fox at 5 1/2 months with Pinegrove’s Sailor Boy

  • Scampi’s Silver Fox at 5 1/2 months with Pinegrove’s Sailor Boy

  • Scampi’s Silver Fox at 5 1/2 months

  • Scampi’s Silver Fox at 5 1/2 months

Scampi’s Silver Fox is now learning about manners, walking on a lead, grooming habits and having his feet played with.  Most of this is going very smoothly as I did a lot of imprinting when he was first born.  Right now he only has an attention span of about five minutes so teaching new things is a slow process, which is how it should be.

He loves to watch while I am working with the other driving horses on the property.  He likes to run after Pinegrove’s Sailor Boy when we go by his turnout.  Sailors not quite sure of what to think of all of his antics.  Hopefully he will learn by watching so when it is his turn to be hitched up it will be a calm and quiet event.  I will hitch him first with his Dam, SBF Shrimp Scampi, and drive them as a pair.  She has already taught him so much about being a horse, she should be a great asset in teaching him proper driving manners.

 

 

Today is the last day of our 5800 mile trip to North Carolina and back. You might know that the last day of our trip would turn out to be the worst weather.  After leaving Grants we first had to stop for diesel and once we got to the freeway it was snowing and the visibility was closing in.  For the first hour or so I followed behind an eighteen wheeler so I could see his tracks in the snow on the road.  By this time visibility was about one-hundred feet so I needed all the help I could get.

Once it started to clear a bit I was exhausted so I let Allan take over for the next few hours.  It was good that I did as we now faced high winds and more snow and rain.  The weather again cleared between Winslow Arizona and Flagstaff which gave us some rest time while driving.  Once past Flagstaff the snow started again and we drove in it all the way until we got off the freeway onto 89 that goes south to Prescott.

We finally pulled into the ranch about 1:40 and were never so glad to be able to stop.  Of all the days of driving that we did the last two days were the worst so I guess that’s and too bad of an average.

I truly did have a great time on the trip and Sailor gave me everything he had each time that I asked him, so the way I look at it, it was a great success.

We will get on the road shortly and try to make New Mexico for tonight.  Well we did make Grants New Mexico by about 6:15 pm this evening.  It was an interesting drive as we started out sunny but with wind.  Then there was the fifty miles of fog It’s six am on Sunday and the wind is blowing.  We pulled into Arapaho Oklahoma last night about 6:00 pm to a very nice stable about six miles from the freeway so it was quiet and peaceful for both us and Sailor. We had a nice dinner in our trailer and fell asleep by 9:00 pm.

before getting to Albuquerque followed by rain, actually pouring rain, then some more fog and finally a stable so Sailor could get out and stretch for the night as tomorrow will be a hard day for all.

The weather outlook for the Flagstaff area is cold rain and snow down to 4000 feet.  Prescott is also showing severe weather warnings starting at midnight tonight through tomorrow evening.  All we can do is hope they keep the road clear so we can get all the way home.

Yesterday we started for home, Prescott Arizona, and it was a bitter sweet goodbye to my friend GladysAnn.  We shared so much, and caught up on all of the latest news and happening and competed at three events together.  It was a blast and I will have great memories of our time together.

The ranch where we stayed at, White Dogwood Farm, the owners were very gracious and helpful in everything that we needed.  I would definitely recommend their farm for anyone that needs permanent or short term boarding for their horse.

We drove to our first stop which was Lebanon Tennessee where we stayed at a pleasant stable for the night.

This morning we got an early start and everything was going well until we stopped for diesel in Palestine Tennessee.  When we got off the off-ramp we started to smell diesel and then there was the smoke just billowing out of the engine. We pulled into the Love’s truck stop and turned off the engine immediately.  Allan was able to locate a person that gave us the name of a local mechanic who showed up within ten minutes.  After careful scrutiny he informed us that the fourth injector split and was spewing diesel all over the engine.  He was able to find one but it was thirty miles away in the next town. He actually drove to pick it up and returned and replaced it and then we were off again.  By now it was 5:30pm and dark and our stable for the night was still 45 miles away so back on the road again to Hazen Arkansas.

When we arrived at the stable there was already a trailer pulling in ahead of us. We all introduced ourselves and then worked to get our horses situated for the night.  The two ladies were also heading home to Sonoita Arizona.  They were competing with their horses in dressage and were returning from Vermont.