May BSDC Newsletter 

By Fred Thompson

Hi everyone.  Yes, May is here and boy are things starting to get busy. I think there is something I want to do every weekend for the next two months. Mostly I want to just have some fun on the weekend.   Some of these fun filled weekends include some of our own club activities, so make sure you mark your calendar.  I would hate to have you miss any of the fun.

   Well I suppose we should back up a little and catch up on some old business.  Our last meeting was held March 17 at the Good Hope Lutheran Church in Arlington, Ohio.  President Roger Higgins opened the meeting and asked Sue Murray for the Treasurers report.  Sue also reported that we have 65 renewal at this time.  These members span out to include Ohio, Michigan and Indiana.

   The old business for the meeting once again was mostly going over the fine details for our safety-driving clinic.  Roger Murray pretty much had a handle on the order of thing, how much time to be spent with each section and who was doing what at the clinic.  There was a good round of discussing and everyone was in agreement.

   The new business was next on the agenda.  The biggie was that the club got out of some work at the Kentucky Horse Park this year.  It was decided by who ever decides these things for this drive that the supper Saturday night would be catered in.   It sounds like this event is getting large enough that this was a good decision. 

   The other thing that was brought up was that we should be thinking about where our Annual Banquet would be held.  I think that everyone wants to try to keep it centrally located around the Bowling Green area.  Try as we might, it doesn't always work that way.  It was suggested that we try the Ottawa area.  They have the Red Pig Inn and a Henry's Restaurant.  The Bells and the Gillfillans have offered to try out both of these eateries and check out the food (a tough job but someone has to do it) and the prices.  They will get back with us at a later date with what they find out. 

   It was also suggested that we donate $300 to the Kentucky Horse Park.  They do a wonderful job at promoting the art of horse driving.

   Before the close of the meeting President Roger Higgins thanked Ann Bell for getting the church for the meeting.  It was one of those last minute things that needed a quick response and Ann came through.  Thanks Ann.

   Our Safety Driving Clinic was held April 7th. It was our first event for the year.   It was a beautiful day and the turnout reflected it.  We had close to 60 people come out to help make this clinic a successful one.   We even had one couple come all the way from the Detroit area.

   President Roger Higgins welcomed the guest and members, invited all to help them selves to the refreshment and the free information packet that was made up by Roger and Sue Murray.

   The first part of the clinic found Mary Elliott surrounded by harness.  All kinds of harness.   Mary started with the bridle and worked her way back.  First she covered how to fit the blinker and adjust the bit.  She went over the different kinds of bit, what their purposes are and how to adjust them.  Mary also went over what to look for in a good headstall and had an example of a very poor one. She had various collars, how to fit them and how to adjust the hames to fit the collars.  Mary even made a tool to measure a horse for a collar.  Moving right along, Mary worked back to the breeching and crupper, explained what they were for and how to adjust them.   I want to thank Mary for a job well done.  A big thanks goes out to Joe Bell and Roger Murray for stepping up and helping Mary.  They saw right away that it is hard to hold a microphone and harness at the same time.  They also offer some helpful insight as things moved along.

   The next part of the clinic was on the maintenance of your vehicle.  Mark Neuman, Dave Khulman and John Hunter handled this part of the program.   They covered general information like proper care of the wheel, the packing and what that little groove in the spindle is for. How about the spindle nut?  Which way does it thread on?  How about the other side? These may be helpful to know if you just restored your first buggy and you happen to put the axles on backwards.  Boy, are you setting yourself up for a big let down. Thanks to John Hunter for bringing his nifty little cut down version of a fifth wheel and front axle.  It was easy to show the workings of the fifth wheel and why that little pins in the fifth wheel is SOOO important.  Want to by a used vehicle?  Our "experts" show everyone what to look for.  Especially the wheels and what to do if you happen to get one that needs work.   I know that I am not covering everything that was brought up. If I did, they would call this a book not a report.   I just want to say thanks to Mark, Dave and John for the wealth of information that they shared with everyone.

   For the next part of the clinic we brought in the big gun.  Ok, so it really was a big horse.  Tom, JoAnn and Valarie Shapler started the third part the clinic on hitching using a driving harness with a breastcollar.   The Shaplers brought in Zack, their big black Percheron also known as Baby Huey.  Valarie drove Zack into the arena hitched to their wagonette.  They unhitched him then one step at a time took each part of the harness and explaining how it should be put on and showed how it should fit. They hitched Zack back up and went on to explain how the shaft should be positioned on the horse.  What the proper way to wrap the holdback strap and why.   When they finished answering questions they turned the area over for the second part of hitching.
This part was handled by Joe Bell and Nathan Strasbaugh.  Nathan drove Joe's team of ponies harnessed in a team draft harness.   Joe went over the harness and how to fit it to the horse.  How to hook the lines up for a team.  I think the biggest issue was safety.  How to hitch the team to the vehicle.  Where and where not to stand when hooking the horse up.  Which trace to hook up first and why.  The questions were abundant and the answers flowed freely from Joe and other members willing to help answer questions.   I want to give a big thanks to the Shapler, Joe and Nathan for their part in the program.  It takes a lot of extra time and effort to load horses, harness and wagons up and truck them to the clinic.

   The last and final part of the clinic was left up to Roger Murray. Roger does an excellent job of explaining the do's and don'ts of hitching and driving.  Since this is a safety clinic, you cannot express safety enough.   Roger covered a lot of material in the short time he had to do it.  The one thing that was mention and I think a lot of people don't quite understand.  Not every horse was meant to drive. When you are choosing a driving horse, take your time and get a safe one.  When Roger finished his segment he thanked everyone for coming and opened up the floor for questions. A big thanks from President Roger Higgins: I want to thank everyone that participated and helped in anyway to make this another successful clinic.

A big "I'm sorry" from your Reporter: I was planning on having some pictures of the clinic this year, but as you can see I don't.  Sorry...

   Here is a last minute reminder.  Don't forget the May 5th drive at Spencerville, Ind.  This drive is hosted by the Fairchilds.  The details were in last month's report.

   Here is a little note on the Carriage Roundup drive at the Kentucky Horse Park.  If you are planning on going this year, you have to have your registration in by May 20th.  This does-not mean in the mail. Another must is your horses Coggins test.  You have to have it.  A Kentucky Health Inspector will be there and can ask you to leave.  Don't let this happen to you.


May 11      Carol Hildreth
May 11      Rachael Deck
May 12      Gary Gillfillan
May 16      John Tschantz
May 20      Robert Crossman
May 24      Homer Joseph
May 24      Joanne Shapler
May 29      Marla Newman
June 5       Roger Higgins Sr.
June 11     Nathan Strasbaugh
June 12     Sue Thompson
June 13     Pat Burghardt
June 18     Sean Crossman


*May 5    Drive hosted by the Fairchilds
*June 16   Drive hosted by the Hohenbrinks in conjunction with the
Henry County Draft Horse Club fun show
  June 21 Carriage Auction at Topeka, Ind.
*June ?     Drive hosted by Mary Elliott at Malabar Farms
*July 4     4th of July parade at Kenton with the Gillfillans
*July?     Summer Picnic hosted by the Bells
*Aug 25   Drive hosted by the Young's
*Sept ?         Drive hosted by the Murray's at Melmore
  Oct 4 Carriage Auction at Topeka, Ind.
*Oct 12 -13  Cornhuskers with the Hunters
*Oct 27        Drive hosted by the Newmans