My Combined Driving Horror Story

Today I entered my first combined driving show. Training level for greenies, like me. I have been training my donkey Doodles all summer with this show in mind. I thought of it often and talked about it to my friends. It was my end of summer goal.

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I knew Doodles would probably be the only donkey entered. There are other people who drive donkey’s in this club I was told, but I doubted I would see them. Still, I looked forward to other people who love to drive like me.

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What a waste of a day I will never get back, not to mention the money. I would rather waste money than my time so I’m more upset about that , AND I left early. Let me explain how awful combined driving was for me.

We pull up and what do we see but twenty awesome, big expensive horse trailers with the nice big trucks to pull them. OK, nice, people spend their money on horse stuff. Lots of money.

Now, neatly packed in those trailers are more expensive stuff. Out comes the eight to ten thousand dollar carriage, maybe two of them. Some trailers have remote control carriage extractors.

I roll mine in myself using two boards as ramps.

Next, the two to three thousand dollar harness, the well bred, pricey horse or pony, wait that’s not all, then out comes the four wheeler. Don’t forget this is a training show.

Needless to say I don’t have all that. I am a conservative girl by nature, but I don’t care what other people have or what they do, you know it’s all good. This is just what I’m seeing . OK, everyone is next to their nice big trailers under their awnings in the shade getting ready for the classes (test) to start. Once everyone is harnessed and hitched to the wagon it’s warm up time where everyone is trotting in and out and around and around. To me the horses and ponies seemed nervous and so did the people.

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Now, mind you here I am with Doodles my donkey. He is just standing there, because he is not nervous. He’s not liking what he’s seeing either. Not one happy person, not one smile. Just a bunch of sour pusses nervously trotting in circles. We got a very negative vibe. I would say nice horse or nice pony and would get NOTHING in return, not a smile, not a nod, not a thanks, nothing. At first, I thought maybe they don’t hear me, but as we all know I am loud , so I highly doubt it. After this happened five or six times I just thought how rude! These people are rude. I hate rude people. I don’t hang around rude people , I avoid them.

Now my summer dream is turning into a nightmare. Once they let the first person start, it’s show time. Let me explain what that entails. Combined driving is done one contestant at a time, one after the other. First is the dressage test. It’s in a driving dressage arena, so it’s big and you pretty much trot a pattern, circles mostly. Around and around we go. In the blazing sun. Next, we move directly over to the cone test. This is where you trot a pattern through 17 pairs of cones with balls on top. The cones are placed just a bit wider than the wheels of your cart, so you have to be precise. You aren’t supposed to even bump the cones. That’s why the balls are there. All this is in a small area, so, around and around we go …… again, in the blazing sun. The cones are a timed test with precision. We murdered the cone test!

After every person finishes, it’s a mad dash back to their trailers to unhitch and unharness. The speed in which these people rushed back to their trailers to unharness AND change clothes was astounding! Then, they all jumped on the four wheelers. once on the four wheelers the vibe changed a bit. People seemed to smile and chat a bit. I told Scott, ‘seems like they have more fun riding their four wheelers’. I said, “look at all this expensive equipment sitting around not being used while everyone is off riding their four wheelers.” WOW is all I could say. It’s like keeping up with the Jones’s just to keep up, not because you love it. I have to be real. I just can’t waste my time striving and collecting just because I think I’m supposed to.

They all ride on their four wheelers to look over the field course. Let me correct myself. It’s the marathon test obstacle course test race ????? Off they go without me because I’m too slow, Dumb, lost, whatever. I’m thinking it’s ok I’ll just wing it. No sense being a baby, I can think on my feet pretty good.

After they all got back a nice lady said she had to drive the course again and I could ride with her. Thanks !! I said… Another MAD dash. My brain just can’t take it all in. What’s the big rush??

Can we mozy just a bit. I can see when it’s on your mark, get set, GO! Rush. I don’t want to rush for everything.

After we zig,zag through this huge field we come to the first of four hazards (obstacles} a mile away and she is explaining to me that I have to drive between the two A’s then the two B’s then the C’s then leave through the same gate you entered through. That’s sounds pretty simple, no it’s NOT because when you enter the gate, all the letters are turned facing back. You can’t even see any letters until you drive around to the back of the hazard. WHY, WHY, WHY??? What is the point. OH, I know it’s so you have to own and haul a four wheeler and a horse and a carriage in your trailer. That should make everything more fun. That was the straw that broke Becky’s back. I said I’m out of here. I try NOT to do stupid stuff. I won’t work hard and spend lot’s of money to DO stupid stuff.

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