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“First Indoor Arena Driving Event Held in Vermont”
by Vivian Creigh
please read our copyright notice

It was our first attempt here in Vermont at arena driving, and we all hoped that the weather would capitulate as it can be pretty dreary here this time of year, but although it was cold, it was brilliantly sunny and seven brave souls drifted in around 9:00 AM. We decided to hold it at our farm which has no indoor, but a large driving dressage arena and a smaller fenced in ring about 30 meters x 50 meters. The dressage tests were driven in the large open area and two hazards were built in the small ring. Jon Woodhull and my husband Sam designed and decorated the hazards using jump standards, hay bales and jump elements. Greenery was used to decorate the fences and Fjord ponies added an element of interest by hanging out along the fence line to check out the festivities.

We started with dressage and then moved up to the small ring to do hazards. Jon and Sam did a wonderful job flagging the hazards which also had a lot of eye appeal. Carla Skinder's Perch mare "Jasmine" was fantastic in the tight but nicely flowing hazards at the Preliminary level and Kelly Bragg's Lipizzan mare "Amerika" was just awesome at Training Level. Forward with a lovely easy trot and quite handy given her young age. Kelly drove her very well in the hazards. Everyone did an exceptional job and except for Ed Werner rearranging one hazard a bit all agreed that this was a pretty neat thing to do. All the fun of a combined driving event without any of the hassle. No primping for turnout just warm clothes and lots of fun....

After the two hazards had been successfully negotiated Jon re-flagged them and everyone drove them again. Given the brilliant sunshine horses were happy to stand around snoozing while their drivers took time to re-walk the hazards, and extras sat in carriages. My daughter Wes was scorer and did a great job.

While we were finishing up the hazards Wes set the table and Sam started heating the lasagna. After hazards were finished we all broke for a nice lunch.

While we all ate Jon and Sam moved the hazard elements out a bit and designed a fantastic cones course that wound through and around the elements. Although it was a very confined area they managed to have 14 sets of cones and a course that drove astoundingly well for the dimensions in which it was set. Because we had no wheel to measure the distance we were unable to give a time allowed so Wes scored their time spent on course like a hazard and then added 5 point cones penalties to penalty score which worked really well.

The sun was going down by the time all had gone in cones so everyone packed back up and ribbons were awarded compliments of the Groves' who had extras from their backyard cones show in October. After everyone had basked in the warmth of their success they handed the ribbons back to Robin and Wilson for use at our next "Party With Horses."

Although this was a totally informal "event" it gave those that participated a chance to taste all the elements of Combined Driving in a very low key atmosphere. Plus it was for a very good cause and when all was said and done we raised $500 for the Long's. We all wished that Milton could have been here and are looking forward to having him and his wonderful enthusiasm and laugh back soon, as the hills of Vermont seem decidedly empty without him.

A big thanks to Ceacy Henderson, Kathleen Fallon, Sue Rogers, Susan Lathrop and Natalie Olbryich who gave more than the required entry or who didn't compete, but sent checks anyway to support this cause. Special thanks to Jon Woodhull for his expertise and the use of his hazard building materials and hugs to my sweetheart, Sam Creigh for being a tireless worker and keeping things flowing from course design to a well heated lasagna. Big motherly hugs to my event riding daughter for her support and scoring expertise and general enthusiasm.

Of course now we have all decided to try this with sleighs (Northern New Englanders get very bored in the winter) and are even looking forward to a dump of the "white stuff."

My whole family was totally into this event and we are all happy to have been able to help out the Long's, as Milton and Linda and Bill are good friends as well as being able to provide our friends with a nice day. I think it's safe to say that there will be many more events here at Rainbow's End Farm.

Vivian Creigh

Event Results:

Training Level
First Kelly Bragg
Second Johnna Dana

Preliminary Level
First Carla Skinder
Second Wilson Groves
Third Robin Groves
Fourth Ed Werner (with a pair)
Fifth Sue Lathrop



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