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42/ JUNE 2010 THE RIDER The

Carriage Driver Sold on Driving:

Mary Mulligan shares her story By Brooklynn A. Welden

Mary Mulligan has had a long, active life with horses. She shares her story of achieving her dream of horse ownership and why she turned to driv- ing.

“I always loved horses and

dreamed about owning one. That dream came true when my husband bought me a quiet, buckskin Quarter Horse in 1981. I assured him this was all I’d ever want as I didn’t want to show. Well, guess what! It wasn’t long until I NEEDED a little better horse and so on and so on. I got my

Aaron Martin Harness Ltd. The Complete source for the harnessed horse

We manufacture harness for horses and pets offering top quality, handcrafted work, both ready made and made to measure.

• Harness for work, pulling, logging, show, pleasure driving, marathon, chuckwagons, etc. • Harness accessories and hardware • Wooden or steel hames

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• Collars of all kinds and harness pads • Bells of all kinds • Belts and accessories • Doubletrees and yokes

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4445 Posey Line, RR #1, Wallenstein, ON N0B 2S0 1-800-367-0639 • (519) 698-2754 • Fax (519) 698-2420 Visit

Central Ontario Pleasure Driving Association

Directors at Large: Mary Cork (705) 434-4848, Tri-County Carriage Association

We’re all about enjoying carriages and driving in Ontario!

For information call Sue Nicolas at 519-848-6288 or email The Ontario Combined Driving Association

President: Mary Cork (705) 434-4648, Secretary/ Show Secretary/ Volunteer Co-ordinator:

Marion Hawley (519) 856-4605,

Treasurer & Membership: Frances Uhran (519) 928-5923,

Website: Jeff Kohler, (705) 733-8161, Directors at Large: Janis Promaine (519) 942-4318 Courtney MacGillivray (905) 877-8798 Allison Plumbtree (905) 955-1070

OCDA Mailing Address: Frances Uhran, 182161 - 20 Sideroad, Orton, ON L0N 1N0

Eastern Ontario Pleasure Driving Society

Box 955, 6120 Rideau Valley Drive, Manotick, ON K4M 1A8 Website:

Membership applications available on the website or from the Treasurer. President: Mary Mulligan 613-692-3296, Vice-President: Lynda Rivington 613-567-7347 Treasurer: Jennifer Rennie 613-831-2154 Secretary: Maney McNeil 613-347-2541


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Repair and Manufacturer of Carriages, Buggies and Carts In stock: Various wooden double trees and neck yolks. White ash Wagon poles. Steam bend shaft pipes, Steam bend cutter runners, Steam bend sleigh runners. Plow handles. Much more. Wayne Kuepfer 7014 Perth Rd. 21, P.O. Box 173,

Millbank, ON N0K 1L0 (519) 595-8838, Fax: (519) 595-2608


President: Jeff Kohler 705-733-8161 VP/Newsletter: Gerry McCallum 905-936-5444 Secretary/OEF: Mary Gregoris Treasurer: Patricia Cooper (905) 880-2778, Promotions/Website: Eve Dexter (905) 854-0168,

first Morgan by accident and have been sold on the breed ever since. They are attractive, a good size for me, intelligent, steady, and very sensible. Today I have my dream Morgan in Vig- ilmar Irish Thorn. He, along with two younger Morgans and our TB Stud live on Mian farm in Manotick, Ontario.


English Bulldog called Blossom and a Boxer called Laird complete our family of “fur kids”.

“Originally I rode exclusively, both astride and aside. I loved side saddle! Then when

plines such as Pleasure Driving and CDE’s can meet everyone’s driving desires and skills. Then of course there is recre- ational driving as well. Noth- ing beats a Social Drive through our twisting 5 KM trail through the woods on a fine Fall Day. Win- ter sleighing is also a blast! The highlight of our show season is showing at Walnut Hill in New York State.

The Mary Mulligan

I got a Morgan I and knew they were popular driving horses, I decided I’d like to try driving. I did both and showed in Morgan breed shows for about 20 years.

“Having retired from a teaching career in 1998 I planned to ride and play golf in my future. But fate intervened. I was blindsided with a bout of Lym- phoma Cancer in 2004, followed by a heart attack in 2006. The end result of this was my left lung was compromised to the point where I could only ride for short times and therefore could no longer show. I still ride around the farm, however. Wanting to continue interacting with horses and showing, getting into car- riage driving was a natural progression. I guess I chose to look at my glass as half-full.

“I use the word “progression” intentionally because I think there is a general feeling out there that carriage driving is for older people, or people who can’t do the breed stuff. Well let me clear up that notion! In my opinion, carriage driving is much more challenging and demanding both for the driver and the horse. It tests one’s skill and the horse’s athletic abilities to a far greater degree than does riding. And the variety driving offers is a great bonus. For instance, there are cones courses, dressage patterns and many, many cross country venues and obstacle- courses as well as the ring classes. All breeds can participate, and the beautiful carriages and fancy dress are icing on the cake! Combining two disci-

show itself is classy and the he Carriage driv- ing people I’ve met at Walnut

Hill are extremely friendly and helpful.

“Another source of variety in carriage driving is the many types of vehicles available. Whether antique or reproduced, the possibilities are endless. After going through many carriages I now have a Tidaholm practice cart, a WCC marathon vehicle and a Spyder Phaeton. Each has its own specific purpose and I’m pleased with all three. Each has its own type of dress—don’t ask me how many hats I have! The most important thing I have however is the world’s best groom, my husband Ian, who is indispensable. He chores, trailers, grooms, constructs dressage rings and obstacles and the like, polishes vehicles, helps hitch and usually drives with me. I just do the driving and clean the harness. I know - I’m spoiled! It’s great to be able to share in the enjoyment of a hobby. In an effort to give back to the sport we love we serve on the Board of Directors of our local driving club, the Eastern Ontario Pleasure Driving Society (EOPDS, This keeps us very busy with clinics, social drives and other events, two of which are held at our farm each year.

“To people thinking of getting into carriage driving, I would recommend it highly. Go into it with your eyes wide open however and know, like any horse discipline, it is not a cheap hobby. A word of cau- tion: get professional help to choose your horse or vehicle. Your safety could well hang in the balance. And this sport is somewhat addictive!”

Creekside Carriages

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