United States Driving for the Disabled sponsored a training clinic for carriage drivers with disabilities on March 31 and April 1 at Clay Station Horse Park near Wilton, California. Marcie Quist, Committee Chair for Team USA to international driving competitions, and USDFD President Diane Kastama hosted the event, featuring renowned clinician, trainer and instructor Sara Schmitt from Centerline Farm in Califon, New Jersey.
Access Adventure was represented by former USDFD President Michael Muir, Secretary Brenda Duncan and Director Randie Boardman, with our home-bred mare Stonewall Calypso. A total of eight drivers with disabilities attended this event, including our former students Stefanie Putnam and Abigail Stockinger, as well as our new students Cecilia Kirks and Caroline Strongman. Three able-bodied drivers also participated. Most brought their own horses, but a wheelchair accessible carriage and experienced competition horses were also provided for participants in this unique event.
Beautiful spring weather and conditions prevailed after our long, wet winter. Sara Schmitt was greatly appreciated by attendees for sharing her experience and training techniques with the wide variety of drivers and horses participating.
This event was one of three held across the country by USDFD to encourage more participation by disabled drivers in equestrian competition, and to increase the pool of potential members of Team USA to future international driving competitions. The next World Championship for Drivérs with Disabilities will be held in August 2018 in the Netherlands.
Photos by StormHalation Photography.