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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.

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!