Looking for a driving clinic

I would like to find a driving clinic for three of us. Ladies of a certain age, would like to learn the ropes at a barn that has horses who know driving (i.e., we would not be bringing our own horses). Hopefully something we could arrange over a long weekend or a weeklong effort, so we’d do it as a lady equestrian get away. We are all experience horse people and two of us had driving ponies before, but that was just a casual thing. We’d like to learn the right stuff.

Since one is in Oregon, and one is in California and one is in Vermont, we’d all be needing to fly into a single location, therefore it doesn’t much matter where it is.

Any ideas I could chase down? Thanks in advance.

Try Suzy Stafford (Florida or New Jersey, depending on the time of year) or Sterling Graburn (Kentucky). Both are excellent. Paul Maye in Virginia is another great choice. Have fun!


You might check the ADS Omnibus schedule and Driving Digest’s calendar. There are clinics but many get filled fast, especially if you want to drive in them. Stacy Gere (sp?) in Ohio has a regular series of things going on all the time. People I know felt she is very helpful after attending her clinics or getting lessons with her.

At times there are lessons at a CDE or show after competitions are finished. The Driving Facebook groups may post about clinics they have scheduled. And with Covid, there may be restrictions concerning numbers about auditing lessons.

What about checking with Green Mountain Horse Association? Then the friend from Vermont, at least, wouldn’t have to travel far. The GMHA Wheelrunners clinic is a monthly clinic, but maybe could offer you contacts that could offer you a fun weekend clinic.

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Might not be the type of driving you want to do, but there are some hackney pony trainers that do driving clinics. Majestic Oaks Farms in KY has an excellent one but you have to get in quick. They have tons of super safe ponies to drive. Usually the association keeps a list on ongoing clinics.

Otherwise check down in Southern Pines, I know they have some weekend clinics down there.

Yeah, I spotted that. The Vermont friend is the one currently without a horse, so it might be really good to get her involved with them, and she has a big house so she could put us up.

But it’s the Oregon friend who has the iff-iest schedule (her husband is seriously ill), so there’s always the problem of late cancellation. The Oregon friend actually has one of her ponies broke to harness.

You can wait for winter (or go really soon) and do a weekend at Grand Oaks. There are tons of drivers down there for the winter, and I know they have done some limited lessons (like a pairs lesson or four in hand lesson) in the past. Elizabeth Keathley is there all winter (I think she goes back to TN in early May). You could reach out to her and see if this is something she is interested in doing. She’s a wonderful person and a really great driver, I always enjoy lessons with her! Grand Oaks is lovely and best of all, if you time it right, you can be down there of one of the Florida Tripe Crown CDEs!

Another option is also down in Florida. The Florida Whips hosts the Metta Baxter Driving Clinic" every year. It is designed to teach new/prospective drivers all about driving. It includes classroom work, rein board work, practice ground driving and driving with volunteer’s horses. We just finished it in Feb, but if you follow the Florida Whips Carriage Driving Club on facebook and/or the website, it will keep you up to date on when it is running next year (I think it is usually in the late fall, but this year was different, obvs). It does fill up really fast though, so if you are interested, don’t wait too long!