April 2001 Newsletter

By Fred Thompson

  Hello everyone.  Well April is finally here and with it comes the high expectations of spring like weather and the uncontrollable urge to start driving.  Time will tell better than any forecast, so be patient and we'll all find out sooner or later.

    If you haven't gotten your equine buddy out yet for some exercise, remember to take it easy.  Horses are similar to humans in that they easily can convert into a member of the potato family.  Where humans turn into couch potatoes horses could become stall potatoes and with too much exercise may become whipped.  Start them off easy, muscles are
muscle no matter whether they belong to horse or human.     

   Our March 11 meeting was held at the Trinity Lutheran Church in Findlay.   We had thirty-five members attending.  This will probably be our last meeting before the driving season starts.  President Joe Bell opened the meeting by going over the details of our clinic that will be held April 1.   It sounds like everyone that is putting on the demonstrations have things under control and I'm sure will do an excellent job. By the time you read this, the clinic probably will be over.  I hope everyone that attended it found it helpful and
informative.  I'll have more on it in the May issue.

   Mary Elliott wants to hold a drive at Malabar Farm on June 24 and asked if there was interest in the club to do so.  Mary has to let them know soon so that a tent can be reserved.  There was a good show of hand in favor of the drive.  Looks like we have another drive folks.

   Next was Roger Higgins turn.  He attended a meeting to gain information for us about the LaRue Sesquicentennial.  Unfortunately there were no refreshment but Roger did find out that the date set is August 11-12-13.The parade will be held on Saturday, August 11th.  The time will be announced.

   Sandy Young can still get BSDC nametags for $3.00.  Just let her know. 

   That pretty much took care of the meeting so Nathan Strasbaugh made the motion to adjourn but who ever second it was drowned out by the noise of people heading for the refreshment and food brought by all.

   New to our list of drives for this year is the drive at Renee and Randy Walker.  This drive will be held on April 22.  The potluck will be at 1:00 but Renee said feel free to come as early as 10:00.  Pop and coffee will be furnished and the Walkers are going to have a big pot of chicken noodle soup on cooking.   The directions to the Walkers are: Take I-75 to Rt. 6.  Turn left (west) on Rt. 6 and go12 miles to Wapakoneta Rd. Turn right (north) and go into Grand Rapids until road dead ends into Rt. 65.Turn right and go about 1\4 mile to Rt. 578 turn left and cross Maumee river. Turn left on Rt. 24 and go to County Rd 3. Turn right at County Rd 3 (a little green sign). Go up a little hill and go about 7 miles to their house.  It's a brown 1 1\2 story with red and white pole barns on left side of road.  They will have a sigh out by the
road.  Phone (419) 875 -6867

   On May 6 we will once again be trekking to Spencerville, Ind. for a drive hosted by the Fairchilds.   The directions are: Take State Route 18 to Hicksville.  Where 49 and 2 split pick up Spencerville St. Take it into Indiana, it will now be Rt. 64.  Once in Indiana go to the 2nd stop sign.  Turn left on St. Rt. 1 and go into Spencerville.  At the intersection of Rt. 1 and Rt. 68 turn right and you can see the Community building.   Dinner will be held at the community building at
1:00 Ohio time.  The drive will follow.

Safety Hint for the Month:
    As a driver, never allow anyone to sit in the carriage before you have taken your place and like wise do not leave the carriage before all passenger have gotten out.   In other words the driver is the first in
and the last out.

Think Safety and Enjoy the Drive

Who's Who in the BSDC: Renee and Randy Walker

Walkers for Corral.jpg (36581 bytes)

Hi folks,

We're the Walkers from Swanton, Ohio. I'm Renee and my husband is Randy. We have two kids, Kristi (5) and Randy (3). Randy Sr. is a carpenter and farms 500 acres, 225 that we own. He has cut some nice trails through the 20-acre woods so we can do a 40-minute drive around our farm without going on the roads. Also, we are only about a quarter of a mile from the State Forest and with special permission we can use the fire lanes. I work at Sun Oil Refinery as an operator (No, I'm not responsible for the high fuel prices!) and try to keep up with all the activities at home.
We joined the BSDC in 2000 but unfortunately didn't make it to any drives due to farming -we make about 50 acres of hay and last year was a tough year to get good hay in the barn. We also sell bagged pine shavings and Christmas trees and put out a little vegetable stand every year which we hope the kids can take over in a few years. WHEW! I think
we 're too busy! Now, for the important stuff. I was born in love with horses and have always had them. When I met Randy in 1976 he thought horses were totally worthless -if you couldn't eat it -don't feed it! Over the years I've worn him down and with the help of our good friends and neighbors Dennis and Jennifer Goldsmith, he enjoys driving now. The Goldsmiths hitch Percherons and although they are gorgeous; they are just too big for me to harness. We've been in numerous parades with the Goldsmiths. The coolest one is The Milwaukee Circus Parade in Wisconsin where Randy is a walker and gets to dress up in a dorky uniform and walks the parade route in case something spooks the horses. I think Randy wants to one day have our own hitch in the parade. We decided to get Haflingers for their strength and their temperament because of their size for the kids (and me). We purchased a bred mare and a young gelding two years ago and a nice stud colt was born in March 2000. We also own a 7 year old Quarter Horse mare and a 4 year old Quarter Horse gelding that we bred and raised. My favorite horse is my 21-year-old Appaloosa gelding that has been in the family for 19 of those 21 years. We try to teach everything to drive so we can work them earlier as we don't like to ride our horses before 3 years of age.

In the vehicle department we have a 1900 Bronson wagon that we hope to send to Alvin Raber to be refinished soon, a Meadowbrook cart for the Quarter horses, an old bobsled that Randy is fixing up, and an oak buckboard that Randy made from scratch. We're looking for a Meadowbrook cart for the Haflingers so we can go to a few shows this year. Last year Kristi drove in a youth team class for Ralph and Shirley Griffin where she placed second.  She was so thrilled with her ribbon that she wants to show again so we are in the market for a nice cart. We sure hope to make a few of the drives this year and look forward to meeting everyone and their horses. I guess we'll make one drive for sure -it's at our farm! ! See you all in April and have a safe winter!

Renee Walker


April 4    Katie Crossman
April 5    Walker, Randy
April 8    Robert Ratcliff
April 17  Ann Leightey
April 19  Cheryl Evans
April 19  Harvey Fairchild
April 24  Dennis Wixey
April 26  Loretta Gschwind
April 30  Kim Anderson
May 11  Carol Hildreth
May 12  Gary Gillfillan
May 16  John Tschantz
May 20  Robert Crossman
May 24  Homer Joseph
May 24  Joanne Shapler
May 29  Marla Newman

Upcoming Events:

April 5-8... Equine Affair at Columbus, Ohio
*April 22... Drive at Swanton hosted by the Walkers
*May 6.... Drive at Spencerville hosted by the Fairchilds
*May 20..... Drive at Van Buren State Park hosted by the Hohenbrinks
   June 1-3.... Kentucky Horse Park
   July 4..... Kenton 4th of July
*August 26.... Drive at Sandy Young
*September 9... Drive at Oak Opening hosted by the Shapler
*October 13-14 .. Cornhusker at Upper Sandusky hosted by the Hunters
* Denotes a BSDC sponsored event


Black Swamp Driving Club