44/ JANUARY 2011 THE RIDER The Carriage Driver 2 Day Driving Clinic Beaverwood Farm By Nadja Davidson
There is gold to be found on the third line of Erin.
A graduate of the Har- ness Horse Industry Opera- tions program at Seneca
temperament. Since the early 1980’s, Kirsten and her horses have garnered over two dozen champi- onship awards in New York, Michigan, New Jer- sey and Canada. Kirsten
uary 2002 she was ranked World’s Top 6 Driver, International Equestrian Federation
She is a Gold Medal- list, North American Plea- sure Driving Champi- onships and has top 3 fin- ishes at the Combined Driving Single Horse Championships . She has won Multiple Canadian Equestrian Federation Awards of Merit and is a Certified Coach and Exam- iner. Kirsten is also a grad- uate of Seneca College in Harness Horse Industry Operations.
This young woman gave a driving clinic to 25 individuals and had them in a carriage driving on the second day.
College and a three time winner of the Canadian Equestrian Federation’s Award of Merit, Kirsten Brunner also holds the CEF Coaching Level I, Coach- ing Driving Level II, and the CEF Examiner Licences.
Since 1987, Kirsten has earned a reputation for raising ponies of excep- tional conformation and
was 1997 & 2002 Canadian Driving Team member, placing top 20 and top 10 at both World Pair Driving Championships in Reisen- beck, Germany and Conty, France.
She was 8 times Grand Champion Single Horse at Walnut Hill, New York and 6 times Lady Champion to Drive at Wal- nut Hill, New York. In Jan-
ranged from the ages of grandparents to grandchil- dren!
The first thing on the agenda was the information required to keep both driv- er and equines safe.
Next the terminology describing the parts of the harness, and the correct sequence of application and fitting.
Central Ontario Pleasure Driving Association
President: Jeff Kohler 705-733-8161 firstname.lastname@example.org
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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, firstname.lastname@example.org
Secretary/ Show Secretary/ Volunteer Co-ordinator:
Marion Hawley (519) 856-4605, email@example.com
Treasurer & Membership: Frances Uhran (519) 928-5923, firstname.lastname@example.org
Website: Jeff Kohler, (705) 733-8161, email@example.com
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: www.eopds.ca
Membership applications available on the website or from the Treasurer. President: Mary Mulligan 613-692-3296, firstname.lastname@example.org
Vice-President: Lynda Rivington 613-567-7347 Treasurer: Jennifer Rennie 613-831-2154 Secretary: Maney McNeil 613-347-2541
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I found I was grateful that she explained WHY the harness fitted the way it did. It was easier to remember how to adjust the different pieces. It is one thing to put a harness on that belongs and fits a particular horse, but trying and adjusting a harness properly from scratch is another matter. This infor- mation is crucial to persons interested in purchasing harness for their horse, pony, or donkey. Then we learned the sequence of removing the harness. Things could get exciting if this is done incorrectly and the pony escapes.
Next came learning how to hold the reins!!!! This was harder to get than most of us expected. We were to practice until pick- ing up the reins was second nature to us. Combined with this we were to hold a whip at the 11 o’clock position.
Long lining the horses and ponies came after this. We were in teams so one person would “head” the horse while another would pick up the reins from the present driver. This taught us to direct the horse with-
out a cart.
There were approxi- mately 10 horses and ponies in the ring at the same time with us amateurs trying to direct them through cones. Pilot, a Newfoundland pony, Starlight 10hh, Puffin, Kauri, Hanna, Topaz, Countess (fell pony), Gra- cie, a very pregnant stan- dard bred ) and Astilby did their best to train us. Most of Kirsten’s horses and ponies are Welsh and Welsh crosses. At the end of the first day Kirsten gave us a driving demo with Astilby. She did lead changes at the CANTER in the carriage.
The arena is a beauti- ful 200’ x 80’ with lots of light. All participants had lots of room to safely direct their ponies.
Day 2 started with an evaluation of harness brought in. Then she dis- cussed the suitability of horse drawn carts.
Rubber tires vs wood- en wheels. A discussion about 2 and 4 wheel vehi- cles and suitability to indi- vidual horse and pony. We then proceeded to harness up (everyone had the
opportunity to harness and unharness the horses.), more work practicing hold- ing the reins and whip, and every person long lined dif- ferent horses and ponies. Kirsten and her assistants then helped us hook up the carriages (several different types) and, with them driv- ing first, then allowing us to drive. I had the opportu- nity to drive 3 different animals. Much to my hor- ror I realized that while concentrating so hard to hold the reins properly, I held the whip at a perfect 11 O’clock position under Hanna’s tail. It is a credit to Kirsten’s well-trained hors- es that they tolerated these
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many faux pas.
With good humour and encouragement Kirsten corrected us and kept all 25 of us under control. What a feat.
At the end of the after- noon, all the horses were unhitched and returned to their stalls. Kirsten then hitched a pony, Raindrop, to the marathon cart to demonstrate how exciting combined driving could be. This clinic will be instru- mental in keeping us alive. We now know what we do not know.
There were many sto- ries told by the partici- pants.
One couple, Desiree and John, lost their equine friend and wanted a smaller replacement. Desiree decided that miniature don- keys would fit the bill. She chose one and then told John it would be unfair to just have one. It would be lonely. John adamantly stated it was one or none. Consequently they ended up with a 6 year old pair of donkeys called Merlin and Gandalf. They hope to start long lining them and even- tually train them for har- ness.
For more interesting tales from this clinic check out The Rider website: www.therider.com
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