Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Where to start?

How do I get into driving or give it a try?  Several people have mentioned in the comments here and on other blogs about wanting to try diving. To that I boldly say GO FOR IT! If you've ever seen it and wanted to know more- the internet makes it easy to find s.o.m.e.o.n.e. out there who does it and would gladly help you give it a shot. I know our driving club is always looking for new members to keep things going and input on how to get more of us out there and involved.

Now I know not everyone is cut out for competition. Not everyone who rides or owns horses, competes. While there are many different events to compete in on horseback, driving is a little more limited, but not by any huge margin and drivers are not to be outdone when it comes to having FUN.

One place to start is the American Driving Society or ADS website. If you scroll over the words, it is a 'clicky link' to their page with the different Regions listed.  Find your state and click on your Region. It will produce a page with the Regional Director contact info, below that is a calendar of everything going on for the month in your Region. Below that is a list of all of the driving clubs in that region listed alphabetically by state. Each club lists their primary contact person, phone numbers, emails and of course their websites.

Nevada was the only state I seen that didn't have any information listed at this time. Utah and a couple other states only listed a name and phone number, but I'm sure the person listed or anyone at the ADS would be willing to pass along someone's information on who to contact to get involved. The Midwestern and Northwestern Regions also included Canadian driving clubs for our northern neighbors who enjoy driving too.

If you don't find anything nearby or close enough, you might also try looking on the website of the Carriage Association of America. Again this is another 'clicky link' taking you to their page listing all of their Chapters. While their websites and emails aren't set up as direct links, if you can copy and paste, you can get thru to them and find them online.

Both the ADS & CAA have a calendar of scheduled events. When and where of what's happening in the driving world. The CAA list isn't quite as extensive as the ADS list, the ADS also has an omnibus page listing all of their CDE's or Combined Driving Events, which are similar to 3 day eventing for those new to all of the driving talk.

My advice on this? Find a club, find an event and GO! Even if you just go to watch- GO! You can admire the horses from afar or go up and talk to people. The owners, drivers, trainers, event organizers, etc. that I have met, have been a friendly group so far, but you will find yourself immersed in it and there is soooo much to take in.

Talking to the different competitors and their trainers, you can set up a time to go take a driving lesson and give it a shot. This is kinda like test driving a car, you can try it before you buy it, type of deal. If you aren't confident enough to continue or decide driving is not your 'thing', you can at least say you gave it a try. You aren't 'out' the cost of lessons, training, harness, carriages/carts, gear, etc.

If you do decide to get into driving, you will have made a connection with a trainer who can help you either transition your current horse over to driving or help you find another one who already does. They may also have or know where to find all of the things you will need to get going in this new direction. It can be expensive, but then show me some aspect of anything we do with horses that isn't?


Allison B said...

I find drivers, and the hitch and farm drivers in particular (that is who I have most contact with) are extremely nice and willing to help a new driver. The hitch drivers love passing on their knowledge to another generation.

fernvalley01 said...

I am lucky to have several friends who drive and start their on as well. I have driven a single horse, and loved it but it has been a long time, gonna take all the help I can get