Barrels in a buggy was too fun

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Tight Traces – February 2012 Barb Herringshaw “I got interested in driving when my fjordhorse (right) could no longer advance in ridden dressage, so I thought why not show my horse off in a sport where fjordhorses excell? The dressage training paid off both in the show ring and on the trails where she is a delight to Heather Dickson Barb and her Fjord “I had recently moved from Seattle to Langley and sent my horse up to Powell River to board with a long time friend, Alice Bourassa.

Alice asked me to look into finding a trainer in the lower mainland for her Canadian, Molson.

She wanted to have him trained to drive and compete in CDEs.

She asked me to be her navigator.

I knew nothing about driving and had no idea what a CDE was but said I would do my best.

I met Kay Veinotte at the Mane Event and after talking we decided if I was to be the navigator I should probably come and familiarize myself with the ways of driving.

We arranged for a lesson the next week.

During that lesson I met Kay’s wonderful schoolmaster Harry.

She was very complimentary as I got Harry to trot on the very first lesson.

Not something he did for everyone…you had to earn it.

Driving was fun but with Harry in the lead and my inexperience it was hard work.

A few days later I showed up for my 2nd lesson but instead of Harry I was met with Jack, Kay’s flashy little Morgan.

He was like driving a Ferrari.

Barrels in a buggy was too fun.

I left Kay’s, went home and phoned Alice and told her to find another navigator cause I was hooked!! Within a week we had Karen Harris “1954: Hitched my 4 year old brother Mark to my sled and drove him around the neighbourhood with a willow switch as a whip. 1958: Hitched my grandmother’s sow Susy to the wheelbarrow.

Not one of my better ideas.

Susy was a ridden not a driven pig. 1963: Visiting friends in Bergish Gladbach, GDR, I was invited to ride their Haflinger.

Bube bucked me off.

He’d never been ridden before.

It was explained he was double leg amputee Willie’s main transport.

A driving pony! Yes.

Willie had me help him harness and put Bube to a lovely classic landau.

We drove off down the country lane, onto a main road and within a half hour were driving in heavy traffic in downtown Koln.

Willy’s broken English and my childish half recalled German made short work of his explanation of how to drive a horse.

I took the reins.

Before I realized where we were I was driving past the Kolner Dom! We drove to the Rose Garten, we drove everywhere.

We? I DROVE.

I would not relinquish the reins.

Age 15 and I was driving this responsive, forward, bouncy gelding through one of the loveliest cities in Germany.

That is it, my magic moment.

Where did it lead? 1984: The children were outgrowing their 12hh Welsh/QH eventer/PPG/PC pony.

We decided to give Cookie a new job.

Doris Ganton took me driving.

I picked her brains, oohed and ahed over her carriage collection, bought her book.

We were driving north on Lochside Drive in her antique closed Doctor’s Buggy as Doris explained that her wonderful Polish Arab had only one hang up: Hogs Fuel delivery trucks.

Right on cue an enormous truck pulls up behind us, slows, passes carefully and then speeds away with air brakes screeching on release.

Doris’s husband Shorty came with the flatdeck to retrieve Doris, the carriage and me from the ditch after the Arab arrived home alone, harness flapping, one shaft still attached.

Not to be deterred, Heather Richards and I taught Cookie to drive. (continued on next page) 4 Tight Traces – February 2012 One week after the first ground drive we were on the road, in one of Doris Ganton’s build-it-yourself Amish carts, bright yellow on the flashy chestnut mare, driving into Brentwood Bay for groceries at Brentwood Mercantile, braving kids on HOTWHEELS and school leaving traffic. 1986: We used our new skills to start my 2 year old homebred TB.

Favorita pulled a travois loaned by Bev Marley.

I could not afford a carriage so that was the end of Favorita’s driving career. 1998: Alison Robb was teaching Mae to drive her horse Stephen.

Fav watched.

Fav was furious.

Fav had not forgotten driving and felt cheated.

She wanted Stephen’s carriage.

I bought a training cart and in no time at all we were tooling around.

Fav was 15.3.

I couldn’t see over her rump.

My feet did not reach the floor.

I would slide the width of the bench with every turn we made.

We still took all the Tim Wright clinics.

Some days we were great, some days we sent every barrel flying.

Why? I was diagnosed with Myotnic Dystrophy which causes muscle spasms.

Sure wrecked my driving consistency. 1999: Fav delivered a colt by Sterling Camlann.

Three years later she was on loan to breed polo ponies.

Felix became a 14.2 perfect pony.

Among his other talents Kris Dornan was driving him.

He died, age 6, from an allergic reaction to a herbal fly spray.

Driving seemed doomed. 2003: Stacey Langille was looking for a home for Felix’s half sister.

Bella, the love of my life entered center stage and has held it every since.

We do not have the budget to travel or compete.

Driving is what we do.

Roads and trails, parks and farms, we tour our municipality to Bella’s delight.

Fitness and schooling, our passion.

I also have Bella’s daughter Little LuLu.

One of these days a pair is in our future.

We have already tasted tandem.

Look at the calendar of my life in driving.

Nothing spectacular, but so very satisfying.

So many good friends have come of it.

All this thanks to a German war veteran’s kindness to his friend’s granddaughter almost 50 years ago.

I chose this photo to illustrate the group nature of driving.

Kris is on the box and I am on the back step.

Sue Billings offered me her cart to test drive on Bella before I ordered one so I would know it fit.

That’s driving, generosity and help always at hand.

Driving must be fun.

Every navigator I have ever had is now driving their own equine.” Karen, Kris, and Bella Pauline Kesteven “We met in a small parking corner of Chilliwack’s Cottonwood Mall.

A little white fuzzy Miniature horse foal riding in a camper was transferred from there to my hatchback car, where he rather promptly lay dawn and made himself at home riding home.

First impressions weren’t wrong.

HP (Seabloom’s Hocus Pocus) is a bold little beasty, alternately called Hamster for his enormous winter coat by Kay V.,(driving trainer), HP for his saucy attitude, my little War Horse (after the movie and for his courage and fighting spirit) and Hocus Pocus because he surely is magic.

HP went everywhere a dog would as a foal, including up and down the courthouse stairs.

He liked everyone and was very socially bold to check everything out.

I admired this, knowing how regular horses usually are about strange things.

He was easy to love.

I have always wanted to have a horse sleigh ridehaven’t yet but it is a life long wish of mine, so I was readily attracted to the idea of driving with wheels or runners.

My granny delighted me with stories of riding in the sleigh with the big buffalo cover for warmth.

I waited a long time to get him trained-he was 5 by the time he was both old enough and training circumstances were possible. (continued on next page) 5

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