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Nashoba Carriage Club’s Spring Driving Derby
“Zoom Zoom” is the phrase Derby drivers say to encourage their fellow drivers. It also describes the wind blowing through the Nashoba Carriage Association’s Driving Derby clinic held on April 23, 2022 at Kimberlin Farms in Olive Branch, MS.
Clinician Joanna Wilburn got her steps in early as she walked the course multiple times with the drivers, pointing out the strategic ways to guide their horses through the maze of paired cones and miniature tepee-like obstacle gates. Originally, the course included plastic barrels, but the wind proved too formidable, so they were gathered into a grouping that became an obstacle to drive a circle around. Each driver went through the pattern multiples times to refine their skills and decrease the time elapsed. Joanna used two-way communication headsets to coach the drivers as they navigated the course. These conversations were transmitted over a speaker system for the benefit of the many auditors.
The Nashoba Carriage Association is well known for its friendly, welcoming people who love good food. This clinic was no exception, as lively chatting and snacks were plentiful on the sidelines.
After the Derby course, drivers had the opportunity to drive a Cones course, capably designed by Junior driver Alex Clark. She limited the course to 12-pairs of cones, that were generously spaced apart, to encourage the more novice drivers and horses. The need-for-speed was fulfilled by several drivers who let their horses challenge the speed of the day’s wind and kept their course times low.
Carriage driving attracts a wide range of drivers and equines, as was in evidence this day. There were Miniature Horses, Welsh ponies, a Percheron, a Dutch Harness Horse cross, a Friesian cross, a Gypsy Vanner, and drivers from a 16 year-old to… well, it’s impolite to ask a grey-haired lady her age.
Ann Kimberlin graciously welcomed the group to her beautiful farm for this first Derby clinic of the year. The field was in excellent condition despite the wet spring, and scattered trees provided much needed shade. Summer definitely arrived in time for the event.
The group held their first-ever Egg Hunt on Sunday after Saturday’s Derby clinic. Drivers and their grooms scoured the field for hidden boiled eggs. When found, the grooms would dismount the carriage, grab the egg, and the drivers would race their horses back to their basket to deposit the egg. Multiple trips around the field gathering eggs and avoiding other carriages was a unique way to hold an Easter Egg Hunt!
To learn more about Driving Derbies and carriage driving, check out Nashoba’s website: www.nashobacarriage.org or follow them on Facebook.
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