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Tom O’Carroll Clinic and Arena Driving Trial


Sarah Foster drives Major, Andrew Foster Navigates

Walter Foster with a tandem hitch, with Andrew Foster and Ann May
Nashoba Carriage Association hosted   Tom O'Carroll for a carriage driving clinic and an Arena Driving Trial (ADT) April 5-7 2013 at Bob Martin's Split Tree Farm in Moscow, TN.  An ADT is a one-day event with three phases:  dressage, timed cones, and timed obstacles Bob is past president of Nashoba and an avid supporter of new carriage drivers in the area.

Tom, originally from Ireland, is the owner and trainer at Good Hands Training Center in Navasota, TX, where he trains horses to drive and schools drivers in the art of proper reinsmanship and safe driving.  Tom emphasizes safety every step of the way.  Tom also has perfected the construction of the rein board, an apparatus that allows drivers to practice proper rein technique while at the same time seeing the bit as it rests (and works) in the horse's mouth.  Nashoba members are excited that the club has purchased one of these boards so that they can make use of it year-round, and not simply when Tom is in town!

Tom demonstrated the use of the rein board at that Saturday’s evening potluck dinner during the weekend clinic.  He also gave a talk and answered questions on aspects of driving safety.

The turnout for the ADT was quite good. There were single ponies, single horses, a mini, a pair, and a tandem! The pair was one of Bob Martins. Walter Foster drove a tandem of Haflinger ponies--the ones that belonged to his father, the late Sonny Foster--and his niece, Sarah Foster, who drove Major, one of the Haflingers.

On Sunday, April 7, Tom judged the dressage phase of the Arena Driving Trial. Drivers had the unique opportunity to drive the dressage portion with Tom and receive immediate feedback from him.  As time allowed, drivers then were then given the chance to drive the test a second time in order to work on areas for improvement while the feedback was fresh!

This event was the first in Nashoba’s new High Point Award system.  Points from this Arena Driving Trial will be combined with points at the scheduled ADT in October (which is the first day of the Nashoba Carriage Classic) and also with the two speed classes at the Germantown Charity Horse Show in June.  There will have a senior high point and a junior high point for the ADT.

 In addition Nashoba has added a junior high point and senior high point for the pleasure division.  That kicks off with our Sherri Lower Pleasure Show on Saturday, May 11 (the day before Mother's Day). Points from that show will combine with points from the pleasure classes at the Charity Horse Show, and also pleasure classes at the Nashoba Carriage Classic.

Brooke Ballinger, spokesperson for the Nashoba Carriage Association stated, “We thought this would be great fun and also a way to encourage drivers of all ages to participate in our shows throughout the year.” For more information about driving and the Nashoba Carriage Association visit

The champions for the Arena Driving Trial with Tom O'Carroll were:
Brenda Rachor:  Training Pony Champion
Ann Ince:  Training Horse Champion
Robin Bates:  Preliminary Champion
Wanda Chancellor:  Intermediate Champion

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