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United States Driving for the Disabled, Inc Free Para-Equestrian Developing Driver Clinic a Success

RELEASE: August 21, 2013
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: USPEA

Lisa Miller driving Quakers, owned by Elle Weisfeld (Diane Kastama)
Lisa Miller driving Quakers, owned by Elle Weisfeld (Diane Kastama)
Howell, NJ 
- United States Driving for the Disabled, (USDFD) hosted a successful free driving clinic at Celtic Charms Therapeutic Horsemanship in Howell, NJ on August 10-11, 2013. Sponsors for the Para-Equestrian Developing Driver Clinic included the United States Para-Equestrian Association (USPEA) and United States Equestrian Federation (USEF). The Para-Driving clinic is held in conjunction with USDFD, USPEA, USEF, Celtic Charms Therapeutic Horsemanship, and Ann Miles of the Carriage Barn in New Hampshire. The clinic was for all levels of drivers and included clinician Sara Schmitt. 

The clinic provided instruction in driven dressage, hazards and cones and lessons were adapted to the skill level of each driver. 
 
The Para-Equestrian Driving Clinic was a raging success. There were 8 driving lessons on Saturday and 7 on Sunday, August 11. There were 9 participants over the course of the weekend and 2 Para-Equestrians were Nationally classified. All the drivers and potential drivers used provided horses and ponies.  Borrowed horses/ponies included: Wilbur, a Halflinger, and his Glinkowski 4-wheel carriage loaned to the program by the Neuberg's at Nearaway Farms;  Quackers, a Standardbred, and his Meadowbrook cart loaned by  Ellen Weisfeld and Mary Alice Goss; Misty, a Halflinger pony, owned by Celtic Charms and Nancy Forsyth's Pacific Cart; and clinician Sara Schmitt brought her own competition horse Savanah, a Frisian Saddlbred Cross mare,used by the advanced para-equestrians.

Saturday, August 10, started with pairing drivers with horses and carriages to figure out what would work best.  There was a cones course of 10 FEI cones setup and Sara Schmitt worked with each driver on steering accurately through the cones and working on getting the horses to go forward and straight.  Ann Miles worked with many of the beginning drivers on the basics of driving straight. This was executed by following a young man, Josh, that jogged the cones course in front of them.  Sunday, the drivers were introduced to a hazard and another cones course where the beginners drove gates A,B, and C and the more advanced A,B,C,D.  Diane Kastama and Sara Schmitt discussed how to drive hazards and take into consideration the ability to turn left or right depending on ones own disability.
The clinic was very successful resulting in 4 para-equestrian riders who are hooked on driving and want to continue to pursue the sport of Combined Driving. Our most advanced driver worked on her cones skills and hazard skills to help her in her future shows at the Intermediate level in Open competition.  Many drivers were enthused to see how fast they could drive and plan to continue their instruction at Celtic Charms Therapeutic Horsemanship center.

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