Black Swamp Driving Club 1988 Newsletters


1988 Officers


President: Henry zumFelde

Vice President: Peter Kolan

Secretary-Treasurer: Chari Rutledge

And the Rest of the Board of Directors: Joe Bell, Robert Buchhop, Gary Gillifillan, June Petree.


Charter members of the Black Swamp Driving Club

In 1988 the club was organized.  The following were charter members:

T.R. & Gretchen Andrews
Dan & Terry Bailey
Rick & Deb Beach
Joe and Ann Bell
Dennis & Jan Bishop
Bob Buchhop
V. Beanie Cowell
Clifford and Alice Crabs
Donald Fern
Muriel Frasca
Gary and Connie Gillfillan
Al and Angie Hohenbrink
John and Sara Hunter
Wayne & Jeanette Kidd
Peter & Connie Kolan
Roger and Susan Murray
Paul Nafziger
Clara Nash
Jim & Julie Petrie
Richard & Brenda Recker
Richard & Darlene Reynolds
Ham & Chari Rutledge
Edwin Schroeder
Will & Shirley Stevenson
Bo & Sharon Swanbeck
Robert Voska
John C. Waldman
Patricia Williams
Henry and Becky zumFelde

July 1888 Newsletter (The First Newsletter)

By: Chari Rutledge


Carriage Driving is alive, well, and growing in northwest Ohio. On May 22, 1988 26 people interested in carriage driving gathered in Findlay and formed the Black Swamp Driving Club. Light horse, draft, ponies and miniatures were represented from all over northwest Ohio. The goals of the group are to enjoy the fellowship of those interested in driving; to get together for driving; to sponsor driving competitions; to sponsor clinics on various aspects of driving; to promote safety in the sport; and to assist and encourage beginning drivers.

Officers of the club are: Henry zumFelde, Wauseon, President; Peter Kolan, Findlay, Vice President; Chari Ritledge, Findlay, Secretary-Treasurer. Other board members are Julie Petree, Toledo; Joe Bell, Arlington; and Gary Gillfillan, Kenton.

The club is planning a drive on Sunday, July 10, 1988, at Gretchen and T.M. Andrews’ farm near Defiance. The directions to the farm are: go three miles north of Defiance on Highway 66 to Banner School Road; go west on Banner School Road to Evansport Road; right on Evansport to the 3rd house on the right. The drive will be about seven miles long and will include paved roads and field tracks. The drive will begin at 1:00 p.m. and a potluck will be held at 4:00 p.m. Participants should bring a covered dish to share, table service, and drinks. Coffee will be provided and refrigeration and heating will be available for the food dishes. Anyone and everyone are encouraged to join us on this our first outing, and we hope you will become a club member as well. If there are any questions about the drive, please call one of the club directors listed in this article.

On September 18, 1988, the club will sponsor a safety clinic and drive at Findlay College Equestrian Center, south of Findlay. The emphasis of this clinic will be on correct fit of harness, safe vehicles, tips on showing, obstacle driving, etc. Drivers are encouraged to bring their turnouts to be checked for safety. The day will include a drive and a potluck supper. Harnessing demonstrations will feature draft and light horses. More details will be available in the August and September issues of the Corral.

Interested drivers may join the club by filling out the membership form found with our news.

BSDC August 1988 Newsletter


As I write this club new from a cool (it’s 58 degrees and raining) island in northern Lake Michigan, I must admit I wish I had been in Defiance, Ohio, on July 10. That was the day of the Black Swamp’s first drive and from reports I received, it was a great success. Our hosts, Gretchen and T.M. Andrews spent a great deal of time preparing and grooming their trails and the weather was wonderful. Seven turnouts arrived for the drive; two pony pairs, four light horses and one draft. The ponies led the drive through the fields and woods and the horses let on the road section and picked up the pony contingent on the way back. After the drive 27 people enjoyed a potluck supper and watched some driving videos. It was a great first event with much credit going to the Andrews’ who spent a lot of time preparing to make it a success.

This leads us to out next event coming up on Sunday September 18. The Black Swamp and Kolan Custom Machinery are sponsoring a Driving Clinic at Findlay College Equestrian Center in Findlay, Ohio. This clinic is especially suited to beginning drivers, but there will be plenty to interest those who are more experienced.

Western Reserve Carriage Club members, Dennis Foulkrod, Ken McClure and Ellen Braatz will be our instructors. Emphasis will be on safety in driving and equipment, correct harnessing and driving techniques including obstacle driving, show and road driving. There will be a 5-7 mile drive at the end of the clinic on roads around the farm. A potluck supper will follow. Ponies and draft, as well as light horses are invited to attend this clinic. The more the merrier!

The facilities at Findlay College Farm are exceptional and include a 115 x 255 indoor arena. At this writing we are still thinking about adding some driving and other activities on Friday night – watch the September Corral for additional details. For registration forms and further information write to: Chari Rutledge, 1301 S. Main St., Findlay, OH 45840 or call Chari at 419/423-5887.


September 1988 BSDC Newsletter

After a month in the cool north woods of Wisconsin, it’s back to reality – heat, drought and horse flys…! In spite of the heat it is time to start planning in earnest for our September driving clinic. The details are: There will be a carriage driving clinic for all types of horses; drafts, ponies, miniatures and light horses. We think there is a real need for a basic clinic in our area – something that addresses safety techniques and driving fundamentals. This doesn’t mean beginners only! We will have plenty for the more seasoned drivers. The instructors from Western Reserve, Ellen Braatz, Ken Mc Clure, and Dennis Foulkrod assure us that they will keep everyone busy. Techniques for road and show driving will be demonstrated and there will be obstacle driving too. Those of you with horses will have plenty of opportunity to try your hand. We’ll have a 5-7 mile drive at the end of the clinic followed by a chili supper. Everyone should be harnessed and ready to go at 11 a.m. on Sunday. It will be a full day and hopefully we will have the chili supper around 5 p.m.

For those of you who have never been to Findlay College Equestrian Farm, the facilities are excellent. The indoor 115 x 255 arena insure that we will have the clinic, rain or shine. Box stalls are available after 12 noon on Saturday at $5.00 per day including bedding (sawdust). The cost of the clinic is $10.00 for participants with horses, $2.00 for observers and $2.00 for the chili supper. Lunch on Sunday is on your own – bring a sack lunch, drinks will be available. For those of you who can arrive by Saturday evening, we are going to have a barbecue at our home in Findlay. It will be a great chance to get to know each other and the instructors from Western Reserve will be there.

For further details and clinic registration forms write Chari Rutledge, 1301 S. Main St., Findlay, Ohio 45840 or call Chari at 419/423-5887 or call Peter Kolan at 419/424-1381. Registration forms must be in by September 12.


October 1988 BSDC Newsletter

The dust has settled in the arena and the last horse trailer has pulled out. The Black Swamp’s first driving clinic is over! I’m not sure how one measures success for something like this event but in terms of sheer numbers of people attending it was outstanding. About a month ago, I was preparing our clinicians for a possible small attendance and the morning of the clinic, they addressed a crowd of about 100 people in the Findlay College Equestrian Farm Arena. Dennis Foulkrod – usually never at a loss for words – actually had sweaty palms. He, Ellen Braatz and Ken McClure had never taught a formal clinic before, much less, one with one hundred people. For the next one and three-quarter hours they lectured, demonstrated, and answered questions and based on the fact the 99 percent of the people were still there in that hot arena at the end of the session, they must have said something worth hearing.


During lunch break one of the most popular spots was the table full of driving magazines. I’m sure the membership in the Carriage Association of America and the American Driving Society will go up, not to mention the jump in circulation for the Driving Digest. After lunch, our clinicians from Western Reserve presented their championship Esprit d’Corps drill team drive. It was thrilling to watch on Sunday, as it was when they drove it and won the championship at the Kentucky Carriage Classic in Lexington over Labor Day weekend. After their exhibition the twenty-two participants with horses put to and drove to the arena for a safety check. Our clinic included many people who were just getting started in carriage driving and one of our main objective was to make sure people were doing things correctly and safely. Even old hands at driving can benefit from someone else’s perspective. Our drivers then took a short pleasure drive on the roads around the farm. After the drive they had a chance to try their hand at obstacles in the outdoor ring and dressage in the indoor arena.


Soon it was all over – horses were put away and it was time for supper and socializing. It is amazing how many ideas were exchanged and contacts were made during that time. (And two vats of chili disappeared in the meantime!) We were all pleased with the feedback about the day. It seems it had a little bit of something for most everyone. We are so grateful to our friends from Western Reserve who did such a super job. Thanks Ellen, Ken, and Dennis from all of the Black Swamp.


For those of you who attended the clinic (and anyone else), Barb and Bob Laskey video-taped the lecture and other highlights of the day and put together a video of little over an hour in length. You may purchase it by sending $15.00 and your name and address to: Robert Laskey, Box 1045, Findlay, OH 45839


Our next meeting will be Sunday, November 13th at 1 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall of Trinity Lutheran Church at 935 W. Bigelow in Findlay. Directions to the church are: From I-75 turn west on Highway 224 (Exit 159). Turn right (north) almost immediately after turning on to 224. This is County Road 300. Proceed north 1 mile, Trinity is on the corner of 300 and County Rd. 95. Park in the lot on County Rd. 300 and go to Fellowship Hall. The November meeting has been designated our annual meeting. We are hoping for a large turnout and we hope to have lots of help planning next year’s schedule of events.


November 1988 BSDC Newsletter


Things are shaping up for our annual meeting on Sunday, November 13. The meeting will begin at 1 P.M. and will be held in the Fellowship Hall of Trinity Lutheran Church at 935 W. Bigelow Avenue in Findlay, OH. To get to the church from I-75, exit Highway 224 (Exit 159) and turn west on 224. Almost immediately after getting on 224 west, turn north on County Road 300, which parallels I-75. Go north about 1 mile. Trinity is on the corner of Cty Rd. 300 and Bigelow. Park in the lot on 300 and go to Fellowship Hall.

The meeting will be a combination of business and pleasure. We need input from members about next year’s schedule. We already have a few things lined up. Board member Gary Gillfillan has invited club members to a sleigh drive on February 5 at his farm in Kenton, Ohio. If there is no snow on the 5th we will drive on the 12th. More details in December.

A drive at Sauder’s Museum is scheduled for Saturday, July 22. Put it on your calendar. These are just two events. Come to the meeting with ideas for more.

After the business meeting, Henry zumFelde will give a slide program of his "Coaching in Bavaria" experience. Hopefully there will be members present who can report on the Martin’s and Topeka Auctions. Tapes of our September Clinic will be available for viewing and purchase and an added attraction will be a bulletin board where members may post information and pictures of horses, equipment or vehicles that they would like to buy or sell. If this bulletin board idea is a success we will take it to all our get togethers.

Let’s have a good turnout at the annual meeting. See you there!!!


December 1988 BSDC Newsletter


Officially, the first year of the Black Swamp Driving Club has come to a close. Our annual meeting on Sunday, November 13 was well attended and plans for the next year are underway. The club re-elected Joe Bell, Bob Buchop and Gary Gillfillan as directors, Since BSDC only got started in May they haven’t put in a full year as directors. Nobody gets off the hook that easily. The seven member board of directors has also decided to keep the same officers for another year.

At this writing the schedule for the next year includes the following:

February 5: (No Snow Date , February 12th). A Sleigh Rally at Gary and Connie Gillfillan’s farm in Kenton, Ohio. Full details in the January Corral.

March 12 Dr. Gary Cotton DVM will speak on all aspects of equine care. The meeting will be in Findlay. Details in the February Corral.

July 22: Carriage Day at Sauder’s Museum in Archbold, Ohio. We will have a parade around the museum and then a 14 ½ mile drive. (A shorter drive will be available for those who prefer it.) and a potluck afterwards. This promises to be a very special event so put it on your calendar. Full details will come early in the year.

November 11: Next year’s annual meeting will be a dinner meeting on a Saturday evening in Findlay at the Rocking U Restaurant.

We have several other events in the planning stages and will announce details as they become available.

Membership has grown wonderfully over the year with 31 memberships on the roster as of the annual meeting. Membership fees for the 1989 are due in January and current members will have until March 1 to renew before being dropped form the roster. Please use the membership form published in the Corral for your renewal. All members as of March 1, 1989, will receive a membership booklet that includes member’s names, addresses, phone numbers and information on their horses and vehicles. A copy of the newly adopted bylaws and a booklet on safe driving will also be included.

Any members with suggestions for future events or programs, please contact a board member.

The holidays are upon us. Let’s hope we all have a White, Wonderful, Merry Christmas and a Happy, Peaceful New Year with lots of snow around February 5 for the BSDC Sleigh Rally.