Tag Archive for: equestrian

Protein for your horse is the building block of their organs, muscles, skin, and hormones. It’s as vital to your horse as is water! Protein is made up of 21 amino acids.  Twelve of these are made by the horse’s body and the other 9, which are the essential ones, need to come from the horse’s diet.

All types of grasses and alfalfa will contain different amounts of protein. Horses, depending on their type of work and the amount of work they do, will require different amounts of protein in their diets.

Now, the standard over the last fifty years has been 14% protein for a horse in light to moderate work.  When you went to the feed store and bought your horse’s grass or legumes, you were able to see a test of the proteins and mineral amounts in the feed.

I know you are now wondering why all this talk about protein for your horse? Here is why!

About four months ago, my Friesian Sporthorse starting showing signs of energy loss.  When I hitched him up to drive all he wanted to do is walk.  When I asked him to trot, I would get about six to eight strides and he would go back to walking. It was like he had no energy!

After a couple of weeks of this, I found when I harnessed him up that I had to cinch the girth up one more hole than normal.  I removed the harness and immediately taped him for his weight.  This is a horse who has had a consistent weight of about 1300 pounds since he reached maturity.  Even when we traveled across the country to compete, he always maintained his weight. His weight was down to 1075 pounds!

I had my veterinarian out to check him and she did a physical and bloodwork to try and figure out the problem. At this point, we upped his normal sixteen pounds of feed to twenty. All tests came back normal, so now I went into a research mode to try and figure out what was going on, as he was still feeling tired and had put on no weight after two weeks!

This is where all this talk about protein comes into the story!

I found after looking at many bags of horse pellets, cubes, and baled feed that the protein content for these types of feed range from eight to twelve percent. Then, I went back to the bulk cubes that I had been feeding my horses until about mid-2020, and its protein was 14-16 percent.

This resulted in my horse getting anywhere from 2 to 6 percent less protein in each of his meals for six months. I conversed with my veterinarian about what I found and we changed his diet to eight pounds of cubes at 10 percent and two pounds of alfalfa pellets at 15 percent protein (yes I did find pellets that were over 14 percent) for each meal.

What happened to 14% protein?

By the end of the first month on his new rations he had gained back approximately 40-50 pounds, and his body started to fill back out in places that were looking piqued.  During this first month, I did not drive him so that everything he ate went into building his body, not pulling this carriage.

We are now about another three weeks on the higher protein diet for him and he has added approximately another 20-25 pounds.  I have now started to drive him again, and he has enough energy to trot several times around the arena without wanting to go back to a walk. Also, when I put his harness on and went to buckle the girth, we were down one hole instead of two.  So we are making steady progress to getting Sailor back to his normal self!

In my research of the major feed companies, it seems they have set up a new outline of what they feel our horses’ protein intake should be:

  •           Non Working horses 10%
  •           Light to medium 14%
  •           Performance 10-20%

We all need to be aware of the changes that the feed companies have made in the packaged feed, as well as the baled.  Always check the protein content of these items so that your horse gets all the protein that he needs. My other three horses are doing just fine on the ten percent protein cubes, but two are ponies, so their protein does not have to be that high and the other is my trail horse, whose energy requirement is less than my Friesian Sporthorse.

One can always add more protein when needed by using one of the many new “ration balancing” feeds that have come onto the market. These can be very expensive, so save the cost and just keep checking your horses’ current feed for any changes in the protein content.

So is there a difference between Driven Dressage and Ridden dressage?

The biggest difference is the fact that in driven dressage your horse has to do everything that a ridden dressage horse has to with a carriage attached to his body.  The extra weight that the driven horse has to pull while doing all of the elements of dressage can be overwhelming, to say the least.

Lately, there has been a lot of conversation about moving up through the levels and how long it takes one to be proficient at a level before moving up. Let me try to break it down for you!

In ridden dressage you work your way through levels:

  • Introductory – Walk, trot, canter, rein change
  • Training – move more freely, shallow loop canter, stretch circle trot, canter to trot diagonal
  • First Level – use of hind end, 10m circle trot, 15m circle canter, lengthen stride at trot and canter, leg yield, counter canter
  • Second  Level – more power in the hind end, collection, medium paces, Travers, simple changes, 10m canter circle, half turn on haunches
  • Third Level – horse has established uphill balance, transitions at collected medium and extended gaits, flying changes, half pass trot, Renvers, half pass canter
  • Fourth Level – suppleness, power, precision, collected canter, walk pirouettes, multiple flying changes, tempi changes, partial pirouette canter
  • Prix St-George, Intermediate I & II, Grand Prix – these are the USEF levels so when you get here you need to know it all.

In driven dressage which was based originally on ridden dressage, there are fewer levels to get through but it is just as hard to get there!

  • Training – working trot, working walk, walk stretching, 40m circle trot, 20m half circle
  • Preliminary – working trot, working walk, lengthen walk and trot, 30m circle trot, 3 loop serpentine, 20m half circle
  • Intermediate – working walk and trot, lengthened walk, collected and medium trot, 20m circle at a trot and collected trot, 10m deviation, 2 loop serpentine, 40m canter circle, 20m deviation, 30m circle collected
  • CAI1, CAI2, CAI3 – these are the USEF levels

Now that you have an idea of what your horse has to learn at each level, let’s consider what it will take you to get your horse there!

If you buy an already trained horse that has been trained to the intermediate level, that’s great!  But if you have never done any dressage you will need to learn before you can properly ask your horse to do what he knows.  If you don’t know how to ask the horse to do an extended trot then he won’t do it even if he knows how.

On the other side of the coin, if you are proficient in dressage and your horse is not trained in it, then when you ask your horse to do that extended trot he will not know what you are talking about.

Whether you are doing driven dressage or ridden, you both need to know what you are doing to be able to do that extended trot.

Most horses need to be at least five to be able to physically and mentally do any dressage above training level. For example, I drove my Friesian Sporthorse in his first ADT at the age of five.  At this point, he still lacked focus and patience to be able to do a complete dressage test. After returning home I decided that I would wait another year before I would try another event.  He needed the time for his mind to catch up with his body.

For those of you who have a good dressage background then you are ahead if you purchase an already trained driving horse that is driving at the upper level.  Those of you who have never done dressage before will need to have lessons to learn.  Blind leading the blind is not a good idea when you are driving a horse!

How long does it take to train an upper-level driven dressage horse?  This all depends on the horse and what his ability is.  Like in any horse modality some horses are more proficient than others.  A lot of a horse’s ability has to do with their body type and how they are put together. For example, Quarter horses make the best cow horses because that is what they are bred for.  The most sought-after combined driving horses are Dutch Harness Horse, Welsh Ponies, Morgans, Haflingers, Hackney, and German Riding Ponies.  These are all great breeds but remember each horse is an individual, so each needs to be assessed for their ability to do dressage.

Now that you have the basics as to what’s involved in getting your horse trained in dressage I will talk about timetables in which to go from one level to the next.

“There is no set timetable!”

As with us humans, we do not all learn at the same pace and neither do the horses.  When I train a horse it is always at the pace of the horse I am working with.  Your horse will only learn as fast as he is capable. Some of the horses get the lesson faster than others so you need to train at the horses’ pace.

The same goes for the humans involved in this sport.  It is not a race to move from one level to the next. For those who are just getting into the sport, an event can be overwhelming, to say the least!  The five or six tests in each level are there to help walk you through the levels.  If you and your horse cannot do all of the tests at one level, getting an above-average score, then you are not ready to move up. When you are driving a proficient horse that does great in dressage but you are having problems in marathons and cones, then don’t let anyone tell you, you have to move up.  If they have a problem because you place first in dressage, then it is their problem.  

It means that they need to work harder!

There are three parts to combined driving, it is not just dressage so your horse and you need to learn all three parts to be successful in the sport.

I have seen too many drivers over-facing their horse, as well as the horse over-facing the driver. If you are just out to have fun and want to stay at a level that is comfortable for you then do that!

Three of my driving horses I have taken to the top of their driving careers. My current horse, Pinegrove’s Sailor Boy, took six years of training and competing up the levels to reach FEI (Federation Equestrian International) level. 

You need to have patience, time, and knowledge to get a talented horse to the top!

Microchipping your horse is the easiest way to locate your horse in an emergency!

In 2020 the United States experienced twenty-two weather disaster events with a total of one billion dollars of loss.  The events are broken down as follows:

          1 drought event

          13 severe storm events

          7 tropical cyclone events

          1 wildfire event

With this many disasters happening in one year, it gives you even more incentive to get your horses microchipped. For all of us here in Arizona we escaped these disasters this year.

For those of us who have lived in Arizona for a long time, we can remember the Rodeo-Chediski fire in 2002, Cave Creek Fire in 2005, Schultz Fire in 2010, and the Doce Fire in 2013 (this was in my back year) just to name a few. 

These are the types of disasters when you need to have your horses microchipped.  When you are in an emergency and you are given only minutes to evacuate you do not have time to paint your phone number on your horse, you are only concerned about getting somewhere safe.

Microchipping your horse is now a requirement for many of the equine associations.  The FEI (Federation Equestrian International) was one of the first organizations to require microchipping.  They were joined by The Jockey Club, USEF (United States Equestrian Federation), the US Hunter Jumper Association, and the Retired Racehorse Project.  I am sure there will be many more to follow as equine owners realize the value and peace of mind that having their horse microchipped brings.

Microchipping of horses is also being used for the tracking of infectious diseases when there is a breakout.

Microchipping your horse also helps during a disaster if your horse has to be left behind during evacuation or runs off during a fire and winds up at an emergency holding area for lost pets and livestock.  We have all seen this on television after a hurricane or fire.  If your horse is microchipped and is at one of these facilities just think how much faster, you can be reunited with your favorite equine!

Yes, this does include all of us that drive our horses! 

There are those times at show grounds when your horse unties himself and wanders around and you are in a state of panic!

This happened at the rodeo grounds in Oregon while my son was stationed there during the fires.  The other side of the rodeo grounds was being used for a horse show and one of the horses untied himself and took off.  He wound up on the opposite side where the firefighters were camping. My son was able to get control of the horse, and eventually, the owner showed up. If they had not and if the horse was microchipped, they would have been able to get in touch with the owner.

I think all of us drivers have seen the proverbial runaway horse and carriage!  They can run faster than us and can be gone in a nano-second.  Having them microchipped will help to get them returned to their owner.

The other runaway horse and carriage is if you are trail driving and your horse gets scared and runs off, wouldn’t it be nice to know that a “Good Samaritan” who stops your horse, can have a veterinarian scan him, and be able to get him back to you?

Microchipping your horse

So, what is involved in microchipping your horse?  First, you need to have your veterinarian come out equipped with the chip and scanner.  Microchipping is safe, simple, and inexpensive!  The cost is about $75, and they stay functioning for 25 years or longer. The chip is a lot smaller than the chip in a computer.  It is about the size of a grain of rice, after all, it must fit into a needle! 

The veterinarian will implant (inject) the chip halfway between the poll and withers, in the nuchal ligament on the left side.

The microchip is encapsulated in a glass with a unique one-of-a-kind number.  This number can be read by the scanner and it will be the number you will put on your horses’ papers.

The chip then needs to be registered:

Without it being in the Equine Protection Registry it will just be a chip in your horse.  So you need to go online and register.  If you need to check a chip number there is a universal pet microchip lookup site https://equinemicrochiplookup.org/  or  https://www.horselookup.org/ set up by the American Horse Council or https://www.petmicrochiplookup.org/ set up by The American Animal Hospital Association just to name a few.

To sum up the reasons for microchipping your horse:

  1. A permanent and effective way to identify your horse.
  2. When you can compete again and decide to go to an FEI/USEF show you will be ahead of the curve.
  3. It can prevent the dishonest seller from portraying the wrong horse.
  4. Microchipping is easier to read than a tattoo, especially in older thoroughbreds.
  5. Stollen horses can be identified quicker, to be able to get them back to their owners.
  6. Microchipping is invaluable during a natural disaster especially if the best thing for the horse is to let him free.

My horses have been microchipped for many years before it was the right thing to do. I have been at shows where horses have been taken, along with harnesses and if your horse is microchipped you have a real chance of getting him back.

We all think that the proverbial bad thing will not happen to us but unfortunately, it can, so be prepared and Microchip Your Horse. 

The first snow storm of 2021 appeared on our doorstep on Friday the 22nd and stayed around until Tuesday noon on the 26th. We knew that the snow storm was coming but had no idea how much snow it was going to bring us. Where our ranch sits, on the edge of the Granite Mountain we have a tendency to get a lot more snow than most.

Davis Ranch Combined Driving Center
Snow Storm

As you can see we got three feet of snow and drifts up to five feet. We have not had this kind of storm here in quite a number of years. For all of those who wondered if it snows in Prescott, here is proof!

After trudging through snowbanks and taking pictures of the occasion I have put together a slide show to document the occasion. Click on the following link https://plus.smilebox.com/play?g=01ad7a63-e3af-4dc2-9eba-339c544a8386&sbid=3466 it will take you to the slide show, ENJOY!

Preparing for the New Year needs to be fun for both us humans and our equine partners.  I know we all feel like we have aged ten years in just one year but we can only believe that 2021 will get us back to normal.

Here are a few of the things that you can do to start the process of preparing for the New year.

Get Equine Insurance

Now, I know you are thinking this will cost a lot of money, but wait!  Most mortality insurance covers unseen death, euthanasia, a stolen horse to name a few. Then, there is medical insurance and it can be pricey. The best insurance out there is with the supplement companies that will cover your horse for colic, as long as the horse is on their supplement.  Two of these companies are Platinum Performance Equine and Smart Pak Equine.  I have three of my horses on the first and they cover up to $7500 on colic issues.

Mark Your Calendar

Start scribbling on your new 2021 calendar and fill in all of those dates that you know things have to be done.  Shots both spring and fall, routine vet visits including teeth floating, your favorite equines birthday, so you don’t forget that special vegetable salad he gets.

You can also enter the dates of any known shows, ADT, etc., that you are looking at going to.

Cook For Your Equine

I know that my horses like it when I make one of their favorite mashes or some homemade horse cookies! Here is a recipe for each of them:

Bran Mash

2 quarts bran                          3 quarts sweet feed

1 cup oats                                4 carrots grated

1 apple grated                        8 round peppermint candies chopped

Mix all ingredients, then add warm water enough to make it sloppy.  Let stand for 15 minutes and serve warm.

Horse Cookies

15 cups sweet feed                  4 – 12 ounce jars molasses

1 cup water                              5 cups flour

Mix the first three ingredients, then mix in enough flour to hold together.  Coat muffin tines with vegetable spray and spoon dough into cups and press down to compact it.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until dark brown.  Let cool.  

Give Back

Giving back is a good way to help support many of the equine non-profits.  My personal favorite is Morris Animal Foundation.  Over the years, they have had research programs on all sorts of equine diseases and issues.

If your cleaning out your tack room and don’t know what to do with all that lightly used tack, donate it to one of the many local Equine Rescues. This will always make you feel better!

Photo Shoot

Take the time to get a professional picture of your horse.  You know you have always wanted to do it, but most of the time we wait too long.  So do it now, so you can remember your equine friend as they are now.  A good way to do it is when you are at a show. Generally, the show photographer can be a good contact.  You might even be able to arrange for it to be done at the showgrounds.

Nothing beats a great photo of your equine partner that you can reflect on!

Repairs and Maintenance

Now is a great time to get your harness out and do a thorough cleaning of all pieces. That means that you need to take it all apart, unbuckle all buckles, take all thirty or more pieces apart, and clean and oil them.   If you don’t think you can remember what holes different pieces go into, then write it down on paper as you take the harness apart. Polish all the metal parts.

When you finish the harness, then move onto your vehicle. Be sure to first clean the whole vehicle with soap and water.  Touch up the paint where needed.  Tighten all nuts and bolts on both the carriage and the wheels.  Wooden wheels are always shrinking, so the screws will loosen during this process. If your vehicle has brakes, then check them and replace the brake oil if it has been several years, if not top off the oil reservoir. If the spokes are loose in the wheels, then you will need a wheelwright.

Check out your horse trailer while you are at it and make sure you haven’t taken any items out to use at home and replace them. I know, I am guilty of this infraction!

You will also want to go through all of your outfits that you wear and decide if they are still what you want to show in?  If not, think about hitting up the local women’s resale stores for new apparel.  For those outfits that you will be re-wearing this year, make sure they are clean and in good repair.  Don’t forget to spruce up on those pretty hats for dressage.

In Conclusion

Especially this year, preparing for the New Year seems more like a chore than the fun that it has been in the past.  We have all had to contend with almost everything horsey that has been canceled this year.  There might still be some cancelations of events early in 2021. 

I have to believe that all will get back to normal and that scheduling of shows, clinics, trail rides, and just fun events, will be there for us.  I am looking forward to CDE’s (Combined Driving Events)  coming back by mid-year in towns across the United States.

I know that my driving horse Sailor is wondering what’s going on?  This year is the first year in thirty-five years that I have not had at least one of my horses to a driving show or a CDE.

I am just thinking positive when preparing for the New Year, that all will return to normal and we can all get back to doing what we love most, driving and showing our equine partners!

Your going to a driving clinic and you want to get the most out of it that you can! I think one’s attitude going into the driving clinic is important. It starts with knowing what to expect before you go. Your going to a driving clinic and you want to get the most out of it that you can! I think one’s attitude going into the driving clinic is important. Your going to a driving clinic and you want to get the most out of it that you can! I think one’s attitude going into the driving clinic is important.

I have participated in many driving and riding clinics over the years. Most of these were many years ago when I was learning the craft of driving.  I have been driving for over thirty-four years. In the past twenty-five years, I have been the clinician for many clinics both here in the United States, as well as internationally.

As a participant in a clinic, there are many things that will make your experience the best that it can be. After all, you are paying good money for the driving clinic, so you want to get as much out of it as you can.

Here is a list of some basic things you need to have at a driving clinic:

  1.  Come with an open mind.
  2.  Have your driving horse in the best condition you can.
  3.  Be sure your harness is properly fitted to your horse.
  4.  Be sure your vehicle is in good working order.
  5.  Bring a helper with you. Helpers can assist you with getting ready to drive, as well as being a second set of eyes and ears during your lesson.
  6.  Have a camera or cell phone that your helper can use to take video or pictures of your lesson.
  7.  Always wear a helmet.
  8.  Bring plenty of clothes for layering, if needed.
  9.  Be kind and respectful to the clinician and other drivers.
  10.  Be on time for your lesson.

From the clinicians’ point of view, they are getting paid to help you with any specific problem or driving movement that you might want to work on. 

Eileen giving a lesson to a pair at the HCCDC clinic in Calgary, Canada
Eileen giving a lesson to a pair at the HCCDC clinic in Calgary, Canada

Not all clinicians teach the same!

The first thing you need to realize that not all clinicians, work the same way when giving a lesson.  You can go to one trainer and they will approach an issue one way and then if you go to a second trainer, they may approach the same issue in a different way.  This does not mean that one way is wrong, or one way is better than another.  People in general do not always learn the same.  There are three different ways that people learn:

  1. Visual – They learn through seeing, they think in pictures.
  2. Auditory – They learn through listening, they think in words.
  3. Kinesthetic – They learn through moving, doing and touching.

Clinicians develop their way of training which in many ways are based on how they learned and on their life experience with driving horses.   

Once you arrive at the driving clinic grounds, make sure you find out where you need to park and where the arenas are that you will be having your lesson in.  If the clinic is more than one day, then you will need to find your camping space and a place to house your horse.

Check out the facility

When you are all settled in, then take a bit of time to check out the facility and say hello to your hosts. Generally, there will be a schedule board with the times for the lessons.

There is a schedule to be kept, so make sure you are at the arena at least five minutes before your time slot.  Lessons at a clinic are generally forty-five to fifty minutes with a ten-minute break in between.  These ten minutes is when the clinician has a chance to sit down, have a drink and take a walk to those little green, blue or white boxes.  Be patient, and if the clinician is a couple minutes behind, it is not the end of the world.

Once you have finished your lesson, be polite and thank the clinician, they really do appreciate it.  Exit the arena as the next student is waiting to come in.

I have just returned from a clinic in Calgary, Canada sponsored on by the High Country Carriage Driving Club. I was one of two clinicians invited to this yearly event that the club has.

The event was well received by drivers in Canada, and the club did a great job in keeping the event running like a well-oiled machine. This was amazing, as at the last minute, they had a acquire another facility as the weather decided to rain the week before and for two days of the event.

Rain was on the schedule!

This being a four-day event, the days were long for the clinicians with eight lessons each day.  You can see that well mannered horses, as well as knowledgeable drivers, made our jobs easier.  The organizers kept us well feed and dry, which was a chore within itself!

By the last day of the clinic, both the students and I were able to see the progress that many of the horses had made over the four days.  Many of the students that I taught, took a lesson from me all four days which made it easier to work on specific things that the students were having trouble with.

As a clinician, there are many things that I look at when helping the students:

  • Look at the vehicle that they are using for safety.
  • Check the harness for proper fit.
  • Ask about the horse and its history.
  • Find out if the student is a new driver or a seasoned driver.
  • Then find out what they want to work on and accomplish.

There is a lot of work that the clinician does while teaching a student.  When they ask you to remind them what they were working on the prior day, don’t think they have a bad memory.  They have seen eight students, that they have just met on the prior day, and remembering exactly what they worked on with you can sometimes be difficult.  Speak up and refresh their memory, it only takes a sentence to jog the clinicians mind.

Remember to get the most out of the clinic, keep an open mind, and be able to adjust if schedules get backed up.  After all, you have come to learn and getting upset does not help you or your horse. If you get one good tip that helps you with your horse, then the clinic was worth participating in!  You have paid good money for the opportunity, so learn and most of all have fun!

So, what has happened to the marathon over the past twenty years?  There are a lot of drivers scratching their heads and wondering if the American Driving Society (ADS) has lost their minds!

As with any sport rules and ways of doing things and playing the game has changed for many reasons:

  • Football – to help save the players brains for the future.
  • Gymnastics – so that the young gymnasts have a safe environment.
  • Baseball – so that fowl balls do not hit the spectators.

I am sure there are many other examples that you can think of.

In the driving world we have seen helmets and safety vests arrive and the walk section of the marathon disappear.  We have seen a drop in the number of drivers go down but has risen again by the inclusion of miniature horses.  The American Driving Society, and many other horse groups, have given up a lot of their control, and United States Equestrian has gobbled us all up.

Due to fewer drivers and fewer volunteers, we have seen the three-day Combined Driving Event be sent to the background and the one- and two-day events take over the calendar.  In doing so, we have watched most three and five phase marathons be replaced by the two-section marathon. 

This new two-phase marathon has a lot of advantages:

  • You need less property.
  • You need fewer volunteers.
  • Less signage along the course.
  • Fewer timers.
  • We all get to go home sooner.

For those of us who are west of the Mississippi river, where there are fewer events, it is hard to justify driving 500-1500 miles for just a one- or two-day event. For me personally, the closest ADS events are a hard-two-day drive, at minimum, for me and my horse.  Some can be three days of driving. That is just one direction!  I must drive that same amount of days to get back home.

When you are living in a densely populated area, say on the east coast, you can be to an event in less than a day’s drive.  The west is so much more spread out that we don’t have that advantage.  Don’t get me wrong, I love where I live, and I wouldn’t move for all the tea in China.

Now, as for the marathon and where it has evolved over the years.  There is no longer a “walk” section, the “Transfer” has replaced it.  The time to do the transfer is set by the technical delegate. The transfer has no set pace so you can walk, trot or canter at will, if you make your time. This is just for the three-section marathon.  Transfer section is now 800-1500 meters.

Eileen driving SBF Shrimp Scampi at Ram Tap CDE, CA and she was going HC
Eileen driving SBF Shrimp Scampi at Ram Tap CDE, CA and she was going HC

The two-section marathon (A & B), now is done at a slower speed so the competitor can choose when to walk, trot or canter.  There is no transfer section.  You can also just stop and stand still if you want.  On a 6km section A, you could trot the first 5km and then just walk the last 1km. That way your horse will supposedly come in more relaxed.  The compulsory vet box is still ten minutes.

Basically, they are saying that on the two-section marathon, it is up to the driver to decide if they want to walk their horse before they get to the vet box.  The speeds for section-A have been lowered, so competitors don’t feel as rushed to get there.

Section-B has stayed pretty much the same. The entire section can be done at whatever pace you want (walk, trot, canter) except for training, they can only walk or trot.

ADS verses FEI

If you happen to be at an event that is ADS and Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI), then you need to know which rules are being used for the event.  There might be lower levels using ADS rules, and advanced level using FEI rules, or everyone will be using FEI rules.  The last option seems to be what is normally happening when there are advanced competitors. 

If you are attending a Driving Trail that is ADS, then only section-B is used, but beware, this section can now be up to 10km.  In the two or three section marathons, the maximum length of section-B is:

  • 4 km for training going 13 kph
  • 5 km for preliminary going 14 kph
  • 7 km for intermediate going 14 kph

So, having a 10 km section-B you better be sure that your horse is conditioned to do that length without any rest.  Remember this is the section where the obstacles are, and we all know that we want to do them as fast as possible.

My suggestion is that if you are going to any ADS or FEI events, you need to read the ADS rule book on combined driving (which is the yellow section) or the FEI rulebook.  Whichever one of the two that is going to b used at your chosen event.

The last thing we ever want to happen is to be eliminated, because we were unsure of the rulebook being used for the specific event. 

Now if you are only going for the fun of the event then just go HC (hors concours) and relax and enjoy yourself.  HC means that you are not competing for a placing or prize. 

Remember, most of us just want to go and have fun!

        

      

It was a pleasure to be invited by the High Country Carriage Driving Club to be one of their two clinicians at their 4th Annual Driving Bonanza in Calgary Canada. The event was held June 24 to 27, 2019 at the Fish Creek Ranch in Bragg Creek, Alberta. Due to inclement weather it was moved to a nearby fairgrounds. The lovely facility with a new covered inside arena had plenty of room for two clinicians to work students at the same time.

Enclosed arena at the Fairgrounds

The hosts of the event Susan and Doug did a great job keeping everything running, even with the change of venue. Monday and Thursday were wet days but the students took it with a grain of salt. They all showed up on time at the arena for their scheduled lesson.

There wide range of horses that here presented included singles, and pairs of all sizes. The breeds that were being driven included:

  • Andalusian
  • Fjord Mix
  • Miniature
  • Standardbred
  • Shire
  • Mule
  • Welsh Cob
  • Haflinger

and I’m sure I have probably missed one or two breeds.

Eileen Teaching at the HCCDC Driving Bonanza in Alberta Canada
Eileen Teaching at the HCCDC Driving Bonanza in Alberta Canada

Eight lessons were taught each day with different drivers and sometimes the same drivers with different horses. Some students had a lesson with me each day. It was nice to see the progress that they had made by the last day.

The 4th Annual Driving Bonanza ran smoothly despite the rain and cold. The two sunny days I taught most of the students outside. They were able to practice cones as well as drive in an area that was flat enough to do a dressage test.

It turned out to be a fun day with Eileen and Snoopy her twenty-four year old miniature horse. Eileen has had Snoopy his whole life and has literally been there and done that!

Eileen and Spragues Orion Royal Herbie better known as “Snoopy”

Snoopy is an American Miniature Horse and loves his jobs. When I got him he was only five months old and was about fifty pounds. My son-in-law just picked him up and put him in my truck to bring him to my ranch. Now Snoopy is about 160 pounds and stand 31″ tall at his weathers. He is considered a strawberry roan.

Snoopy has been my lead driving mini, as he will go anywhere that I ask him to go. He always pulled his partner through water when I drove him as a pair. He was my lead man when I drove him in a unicorn hitch in carriage driving shows. In a four up hitch he was the one I depended on to always go where told even if the other three mini’s were not sure.

Eileen and Snoopy waiting to play musical hula hoops!

June 1, 2019 we went to a Fun Playday and he got to hang out with a lot of other mini’s and play some games. Now at “24” he is still as solid in what he does as he as ever been. We did a poker run through obstacles to earn out poker hand. He did great but my poker hand only had a pair.

Eileen and Snoopy just hanging out!

It was really a fun day, being able to hang out with my best little man. Snoopy enjoyed himself but by the end of the day he was really for his Senior Citizen mid day nap!