by Jessica Schroeder, USTA Outreach & Membership Enrichment Coordinator
McDonald. PA — The Haak Family — Kathleen, Bruce and Joyce — shared their knowledge of the pleasure driving world at Tipperary Farm in McDonald, Pa., on Saturday (Feb 16).
After having great success with Standardbred gelding Draken, a 1992 foal by Dragon’s Lair, when it was time for him to retire, Kathleen again turned to Standardbreds for her driving horse.
She now has Against The Best, an Albert Albert gelding who made more than $140,000 on the track with 47 wins to his credit. The 13-year-old was a patient lesson horse on Saturday, calmly standing while the intricacies of explaining all the parts of the harness were introduced to the driving clinic participants.
After lunch, Meadows driver Mike Wilder came to talk to the group about a different kind of driving — driving in races. He brought along a race bike to show the lightness and style differences between it and the pleasure driving vehicles. He also talked about how to rate a horse to go a certain speed and different driving styles.
He and his wife Heather, the Public Relations/Marketing Director for the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association, then invited the group out to the racetrack on a Saturday morning to walk the barns and drive a racehorse — of which nearly everyone in the group seemed eager to participate in.
The USTA and the American Driving Society have teamed up to present Standardbred breed awards for those involved in competitive driving. For more information, visit the ADS website at www.americandrivingsociety.org.
Since 1996, the Standardbred Equine Program has worked with off-the-track Standardbreds and their owners to educate the general public on the many disciplines at which Standardbreds excel once they are retired from racing. For more information about the SEP at the USTA, visit standardbreds.ustrotting.com, or send e-mail inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.