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Sterling Graburn Driving Clinic


Article & photos by Pam Gamble Anderson

Nashoba Carriage Association hosted internationally recognized driver, trainer and instructor, Sterling Graburn April 4-6, 2014 at Kimberlin Farms in Olive Branch, MS. Sterling has previously instructed the Nashoba drivers on several occasions, the lastest in 2012, just before he represented the United States in the World Single Horse Championships with his Dutch Harness Horse, Ulano.

Although it is easy to be a little “star-struck” with an instructor of such caliber, Graburn has a way of making everyone feel relaxed. He tailors his lessons on the needs of his students, but the general focus in every lesson came down to bending the horse properly.

Bending a driving horse is much more difficult than when riding.  Drivers don’t have that leg to wrap the horse around! Graburn always stressed bending the horse properly first. Then later the horse understands the corners better.  Graburn says, “Don’t sacrifice the bend for the corner.” He gave this lesson to the driver of every level of horse or pony.  

Graburn also brought a bag of bits and solved some bitting issues for people. He did this for Suzanne Campbell, whose horse was literally a “different horse” after the bit change. Graburn emphasizes working “with” your animal and not “against” it. “Figure out what the horse can and wants to do, and don't try to force the horse into a role it really does not care for,” he advises.

This spring clinic was the first outing for many of the horses and ponies.  Brenda Rachor brought her new horse, a lovely Andalusian mare named Viva, for their first outing. Viva has been a competitive Combined Driving Event (CDE) horse and Brenda is working with her towards their first year of showing together.

One of the highlights of the clinic was a dinner and lecture, in which Sterling spoke about the experience of taking a horse to the world championships.  Sterling never stopped teaching during the whole weekend! He was always telling one story or another, passing along his knowledge.

For more information about Sterling Graburn, visit

Nashoba folks are preparing for their next clinic with Tom O'Carroll May 9-11, 2014. The clinic will incorporate an Arena Driving Trial on May 10 at Bob Martin's Split Tree Farm near Moscow, TN. For more information, go to  Please join Nashoba Carriage Association at the Germantown Charity Horse Show the first week of June, where there will be several carriage classes including the favorite, Best Carriage Dog on Saturday night.     

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