The Kids at Work

2009 Back at it!

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

With our tandem adventure behind us we concentrated on fine tuning our game this year competing once again as a VSE preliminary pair with moving up to intermediate division on the horizon.

Unlike last fall/winter there are no ADT's scheduled close enough for us to compete. I'll miss those one day thrillers that for me kept the winter blues away. We are continuing our monthly lessons. There is always something new to learn and heaven knows my skills could use a tweak or two.

Pay Off!

We finished '09 as is becoming our custom with the VSE Driving Trials-Twice at Happ's in Ethel, WA. My latest navigator, Courtney, turned of age this past summer and helped us get into the ribbons. We have worked together several times this event year and I hope to continue that partnership.

In preparation of moving up we decided to do all five gates in the hazards. If I had time to learn a new dressage test my plan was to compete all weekend at intermediate, that did not happen.

So I took it upon my self to do all the gates in the hazards while keeping to the prelim times. Going the extra distance was not a problem either day and we improved times on each of the hazard the second day. In that department I think we are ready for the move.
More Pictures here.


The photos of this weekend were taken by my good friend and Happ's official photographer Wendi Ross Blue Ribbon Equine Photography .

15 Minutes
About Us
'09 Back
at it!
'09 ADT
'08 Trying Tandem
'07 Now & Then
'06 ReWind
The Kids
Odds & Ends
Bath time

Between Wacky Women's Weekend and the VSE DT-T we joined a group from Evergreen Miniature Horse Club and went to the Fall Fair in Puyallup, WA. We had a very interesting time introducing miniature horses to whoever chose to stroll through our barn. We were assigned a small arena to give demonstrations which also drew fairly large crowds. This is our first time at the fair it was fun but also tiring. I think we were all successful in showing that miniature horses can be more than a novelty.

The picture here is of my friend Carol Northfield giving her little one April a washing next to a very tall cow in the fair wash racks. This one and a few of the carousel horses are all the pictures I took this weekend. Click Here to see those.

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Wacky Women's Weekend was our only August outing. We were planning on trying out a new event here in Washington the "Competative Trail Drive" but due to an especially hot dry couple of months creating a high fire hazard that was cancelled.

2nd annual - This weekend is so popular we had three different dates to choose from. Too many wanting to enjoy Happ's and relax with friends, old and new, that it had to expand.

Arts & Crafts

Check out the fun time captured in pictures.

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Camp Ground

With another new navigator lined up we headed south to the Beavercreek CDE. Attendance was down this year like many places but there was a good showing none the less. The campgrounds were park like with baskets of flowers everywhere offered us a shady place to escape from the heat of the day.

We did well but there were better, with a little luck and perseverance we came out on top. Karla Axness my navigator for the weekend kept us primed and on time. Last one standing so to speak we took home all the top VSE awards.
Pictures & Video here.

Sun Nap

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A wet dressage day paved the way for a muddy marathon Saturday. That's the way the weekend started for the 09 Happ's Combine Driving Event. Jen Charles joined me to brave the weather here in mid June and as is her way played a big part in keeping us presentable. Pictures here.

The Gallery


Being a three day event, everyone was scrambling to clean up for cones on Sunday. Luckily Sunday lived up to it's name and it dried out and warmed up.

I would like to give a big shout out to all the minis gathered to compete. There were 5 VSE pairs this year, the most I have seen at a single event. Also at Happ's were 4 sets of 4-in hands, one of those a mini hitch and 17 single VSE competitors. VSE's were everywhere mingling and competing in three divisions, training, preliminary and intermediate. Way to go!

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getting ready

New to us this year was the Teddy Bear CDE located in Mead, Washington just outside of Spokane. Merridy chose not to bring a horse but did agree to be my navigator for this event. So she and her side kick Peter packed up and made the trek east across the mountains with me.


It's always a challenge when competing at a venue for the first time. The dressage area was nice flat and firm, the cones course was nearly flat with a few rolling hillocks. Dressage went without problems next in cones we got lost 3rd gate in but recovered nicely with just a slight time penalty.

The marathon course was nearly all hills and one swift deep water crossing. The officials were concerned minis were not up to the challenge and offered a modified course and/or more time to complete the course. Luckily they let the whips decide if their animals were up to the challenge. We chose to take the same route as the horse and ponies and made it in the original time. I knew we could do it. There were some very steep hills and if we were not going up we were going down not much flat to be found, sure glad I had brakes.

The water gave me more concern than the hills. The stream bed was sand and the water was up to my horses chests. We met this obstacle with an open mind and a grin. My plan was to keep moving no matter what if we stopped and bogged down in the soft footing everybody was going to get wet.

Once again my guys demonstrated the heart miniature horses are known for and headed down the bank with determination and crossed not once but twice because the path circled back through.

water crossing
Pictures show Merridy up on the top step and she still got wet. Here we are on the way out, look at the water at the wheels.       More Pictures of us Click Here

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Spring schooling shows at Happ's are designed to give competators a chance to tune up just before the actual competitions start. Dressage rings are set up, a full cones course and a Section E for marathon including flagged hazards are available for all to practice on Saturday. Then on Sunday we have full day of competition in driving trial style with all the judges, timers and volunteers needed. It's the perfect way to dust off the winter cob webs, practice the water crossings, new hazards and features along the marathon course and see what might need to be worked on in dressage.

The weekend we attended turned out to be beautiful weather wise. It was still pretty early spring so I chose not to body clip because it had been pretty cold and wet just a week or so before. I am not fond of my guys winter look.

No awards are given out but all the scores are posted. Even though it is not a "real" competition everyone compares scores and checks out who are the ones to watch out for at the coming events with a lot of good natured teasing thrown in.

Merridy took time out from her work with Velvet to ride with me for awhile and even took the reins herself and tried out the cones course with the kids. For competition day my ADT navigator, Courtney, agreed to accompany us. We were pretty in pink that day.       Schooling weekend Pictures Here

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After completing the winter Happ's ADT series the next event on the calendar was a TREC. Merridy, Peter and I as the "Three Caballeros" organized the first driven TREC held in the lower 48 at Happ's in Ethel, WA. Being one of the organizers and not being able to compete I offered my pair to be driven as singles by friends that were coming down from Canada to attend and help out.

Just before the big event Simon injured his shoulder and was not able to drive so, Plan B, back to pairs my two were used to demonstrate the different phases driven by Marsoe LaRose. I navigated. Had a great time on the back step but it is harder than you think to not cue up the horses when you see them misbehaving. Luckily with Marsoe in the drivers seat that did not happen often.

The weather rained off and on but we all had a lot of fun learning the in and outs of a driven TREC.    Pictures here.

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Just before the event season I took position of a new carriage. My very good friends Merridy & Peter Hance suggested I needed one and it did not take too much to convince me, then before I knew it it was sitting in my driveway.

The all aluminum TadPole, blue of course, manufactured by Russ Hardwick of Hardwick Hideout, Inc out of Florida. The day it arrived was a sunny one and after assembly and switching the shafts for a pole we were off down the road enjoying the new ride.


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