The Kids at Work

2008 Trying Tandem

The following pictures and comments are ordered in reverse
chronology so the most recent will be seen first.

Here it is another year gone by. Now that I am hosting web pages for others mine gets put on the back burner.

2008 competitions ended just this month with the November edition of the Happ's Winter ADT series. After driving tandem all season we went back to pairs after the last Driving Trial in September.

Need for Speed

Though we started our competition year as a tandem we are finishing as a pair. The last two events we attended this year were arena driving trials, one in October and the last in November.

The name suggests that they are held indoors but these two at least were for the most part outdoors, again the weather being the determining factor.    Pictures here.

The thing we missed most this year was the speed. I know you with big horses are laughing but we can move it out. Not so much on the open flats but in the obstacles and cones we hold our own. One of the first things I noticed switching back was it felt like I had/have power steering. No more big arcing turns of the tandem, just a half halt and hang on!

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Happ's VSE DT-T, that's driving trial twice. I choose to do driving trial once then volunteered the next day. There were a couple challenges at this event we had not encountered before as tandem. One was a series stair step gates in cones the other was a huge hill as part of the marathon course. The cones course proved to be no problem but I had envisioned my leader turning around an facing me as my wheeler crested the hill.

Over the Hill

Hills are never my favorite but as a tandem they are a whole nuther challenge. Once I got K.C. headed in the right direction she guided us flawlessly as Willy muscled us over the crest.    click here for Saturday DT-T results

K.C. thought she knew it all this weekend. In almost every hazard she tried to extend the route. We would be traveling around through the gates and she would take it on herself to continue looping around. As whip I have to take responsibility here but at times it was all I could do to get her to head out and continue down the track. Just one of those tandem moments.    more Pictures here.

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Break Time

This year we lost one event and gained two others. Lincoln Creek CDE is no more, I will miss that venue. The new events, one in Oregon and one in Eastern Washington, we did not attend for one reason or another but mainly financial. This past summer gas prices kept us a lot closer to home.


08 August in place of the Lincoln Creek CDE we went to summer camp. Maureen at Happ's filled the event void with a fun all women's weekend. No kids, no men, no dogs. The perfect setting for a relaxing fun filled weekend with friends and horses.
Check out Wacky Womens Weekend Highlights here

Sky Line

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With the loss of Lincoln Creek the trip to Beavercreek, OR for their CDE was even more anticipated. This being our second time there we knew what to expect as far as the terrain goes. The new challenge was that like most places in the northwest the VSE were participating on the same course at the same distances as our larger counter parts. A very long hill and several water crossing were added to the course we were offered the year before. We knew this going in and we were ready.
click here for CDE results

Tandem
Merridy & Me

Merridy Hance my Groom/Gator for this event, also competed her horse Velvet. With me at the Training Level and Merridy Intermediate we hoped to be spaced far enough apart in the line up to not be a problem. The organizer, Tish Hodges, made that happen. Merridy went first and I was the very last.

Ever since the ADS permitted the VSE to do the same course as all others we (the VSE) more times than not are the last groups to go. Even so being the last of the last makes for a long day of waiting and fretting.

My horses do not care when it is our turn to go, once standing at the start of A,D and E they are ready. I was very proud of my guys, they took the hills and hazards in stride. My leader is most happy when allowed to be in draft which was much of the time during this marathon to help out her wheeler.    Beavercreek Pictures here.

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Dressage

The event we attended in June was Happ's Combined Driving Event. This is the one that starts the season for us, one we look forward to and the one we strive to do very well at. It is becoming a tradition that my good friend Jenn Charles grooms/gators for us at here, going on 5 years.

Happ's had a waiting list for the first time this year. A full 80 entries, with 20 being VSE. What has become our favorite and most familiar venue was new again when facing it as a tandem.

After the initial Vet Check and a couple of tense moments during the height measurement we were set to compete. The competition started and ended; 44.35 in dressage, double clean in cones; wonderfully. The middle marathon phase was a bit of a challenge.

About half way through Section E my leader decided to head back to camp. We successfully covered about 6k in sections A & D will no problems. Then about half way, after 2 hazards and 4 water crossings without incident, just as we were approaching the gate to the back K.C all of a sudden spun around and she and Willy were face to face. No worries, Jenn dismounted and proceeded to untangle the two.

Dressage

K.C managed to put her head over Willy's neck and neither could move. So when every body was back in their places we moved forward about 2 steps and it happened again. This happened 3 times in about 5 minutes. Finally after a little encouragement K.C decided to finish the marathon. I never figured out why but am still amazed at how fast the tangle happened the first time at a working trot the next two at nearly a stand still. Needless to say we had a few time penalties this day.    Happ's CDE Pictures here.

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The first outing with the tandem away from Happ's was an ADT in Carnation put on by Equestrian Institute. Held in April, the weather was wet and the footing in the dressage area was soft and deep. Being a small event only one dressage arena was set up. It was used all day Saturday for lessons then Sunday morning for tests. When it was our time we stayed inside the rail by six feet, doing otherwise would have been too difficult on my wheeler. The cones and hazard areas were not so well traveled and by the time we were into those parts the sun was even shining. All in all a good first go.



My young navigator this weekend was Logan Mackin.

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Just before the event season I bought a new trailer. Needed something with more room and lighter pulling weight. Came away with an all aluminum, 2/horse slant stock type Royal T. With a little modification 2 minis, a 4-wheel carriage, all their tack and feed for a week fits all nice and tidy.

Now the carriage rides in the trailer instead of the van there is no need to un-hitch the trailer everywhere I go just to unload. I am a happier camper! Also pre season the van was outfitted with a new, bigger engine thanks to my husband and son. We are ready and set to go.


     

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