Driving At Nashoba
By Alex Clark
The Nashoba Carriage Classic, one of my favorite shows, is something that I look forward to all year long. The 2019 show was no exception. I had been practicing all year long and was so excited to see everyone. The show kicked off with the Mint Julep Derby at five o’clock on Friday. I was thrilled to see the large crowd of spectators, enjoying mint juleps and appetizers, while watching the derby. I was driving Rollingwoods Back in Black (aka BB) with Joanna Wilburn navigating, and as we walked down the ramp, I could hardly contain my excitement. I walked in, looked around at the familiar course, saluted, and picked up the trot, heading toward the start line. As soon as I had my first obstacle in sight I said, “Alright BB!” and we were rolling. The course was smooth and I had the time of my life driving it! After the derby, the juniors, directed by Susan Walker, took down the derby course. After the ring was cleared and dragged, we took control from Susan, designing and setting up the cones course for the next day. However, we did let her think she was still in charge.
Saturday morning started with classes in the Junior Division, with five junior drivers. BB was the ever-perfect Welsh Pony and I was having a blast! We competed in three rail classes and then drove the cones course. I love the rail classes, but I have to admit that the cones course was my favorite of the day.
After my driving classes, I enjoyed watching the side saddle classes and the War Horses for Heroes tribute. Following the conclusion of the classes, we had an excellent dinner, catered by Soul Fish, where the day’s awards were presented and everyone enjoyed each other’s company. And, yes, BB and I received some ribbons.
Sunday, the final day, began with the ride and drive, another of the favorite classes of the show. The class begins with rail work in harness; then the competitors line up in the middle, unhook, saddle their horses, and take the rail for the riding portion of the class. I was fortunate enough to be the first to do my own variation of this class (the same person never competes with two ponies). I drove BB and rode Rollingwoods On The Up And Up (aka Legit) – another amazing Welsh pony that I also compete in Welsh Shows. Dr. Ruth Wilburn drove Legit and Anna Hutchinson rode BB. The class was large and filled with tough, experienced competition. When Legit won the class I was ecstatic, as it was her first time in the class. It was also bittersweet since I drove BB and rode Legit, but I knew that it would be hard on me as I technically competed two ponies in the class. (BB placed fourth - which was still respectable in such a large class).
Following the ride and drive class was the last class of the show, the Magnolia Drive. This class is quite unique from the other classes in the show. Competitors drive through beautiful trails, stop about half way through for the judge to inspect their carriage and horse, and continue back through the trails. After the Magnolia Drive was completed, everyone had lunch together and championship awards were given out. BB and I were Reserve Champion in a very fun and competitive group of Juniors. I have already been practicing for next year (Champion is our goal). The show was wonderful, and reflected all of the hard work and time that so many put into it. I can’t wait for next year!
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