GSCA Members enjoy Apple Blossom outing, Touchstone Farm
The sun shone bright and a cool breeze kept all the bugs away at the rescheduled GSCA Ride and Drive...

hosted by Touchstone Farm in Temple, NH on Saturday May 21st.  This was a pleasant change from the rainy, windy and raw day that was the original date for the May 1st outing at Touchstone.

CarriageHorseCartDougAndreaDoug & Andrea Coursey enjoy the beautiful dirt roads of Temple NH at GSCA’s Apple Blossom outing HarnessHorseCartSCbobSonja & Bob Cahill, driving their Arabian mare, “Miss Breeze”  are ready to hit the roadsPairsCarriageHorseCartHostess Boo Martin drives her pair, with friends aboard, and Mary Caesar drives her Standardbred, at GSCA’s first of the season drive/ride event at Touchstone Farm, in Temple, NH
Trailers started arriving promptly at 9:30 AM. Parking was in a big field right below the barns at the farm with ample space to unload and turn around.  A good crowd assembled with 7 carriages and 3 riders in attendance.  Drive host Boo Martin gave a briefing about the routes available to the riders and drivers.  Distances varied from 4.1 and 5.7miles of nearly all dirt roads, to 8.8 miles which included a stop at a General Store and travel on Rt. 31.  The routes were marked and a color coded map was given to each team.  Everyone went out at a peaceful pace with each turnout picking their own speed.

The different routes went past a Town Pound, some lovely homes, streams with spring water run-off, and nice open fields. Azaleas and Lady Slippers were spotted, as were Apple Blossoms. Boo noted that her parents used to host this same drive over 30 years ago when the GSCA first began!GraniteStateCarriageClub

A refreshment stop was set up at the half way point for all riders and drivers. With a flower arrangement and lemonade for the taking, this provided a good breather for the horses after the long trip up a hill.  Only Eric and Linda Wilking braved Rt. 31 and took their horse Spinney on the long loop. The rest were more temperate and everyone ended back at the farm in good order. 

Participants gathered with their picnic lunches at the Homestead, the newly renovated historic home at the center of the farm.  This house was built in 1754 and has unique features such as Indian Shutters, a huge Open Hearth fireplace for cooking, bread ovens, wide pine board floors and hand-stenciled walls.  This building will soon be put to good use to expand the opportunities for riding and driving at Touchstone Farm.

GSCACarriageDriversGroupLunch and dessert in historic Homestead at Touchstone Farm.
L-R Earlene Vetere & husband, Hostess Boo Martin, Sonja & Bob Cahill, Linda Wilking, Betsy Vaughn, Mary Caesar, Eric Wilking, & Barbara Cochrane
Amid friendly conversation, cake and ice cream, and new friendships forged, the day ended well with everyone departing about 2:30PM.  We will look forward to many more drives throughout the summer and fall with GSCA.  Boo Martin extends warm thanks to all who came to the first drive of the GSCA season at Touchstone Farm. “May our paths cross soon and often!”

GMHA Spring Driving Event
Several GSCA members participated in the Spring Driving Event hosted by Green Mountain Horse Association in South Woodstock, VT on May 14th and 15th. Our own Susan Rogers and her pony out-shined the competition in the Training Pony Division in Saturday’s Driving Two-Phase, capturing first place in dressage, cones, and overall.  Congratulations Sue!  Linda Wilking placed fifth in the Intermediate Single Horse division with her Russian Warmblood mare, “Spinney”.  Doug Coursey and Barbara Chadwick place fifth and sixth respectively in the Preliminary Single Horse division. Wilkings-GMHA Spring ADT 2016Linda Wilking’s Russian Warmblood mare, “Spinney”, digs in for a tight turn around a marathon obstacle at the ADT hosted by Green Mountain Horse Association (photo by Nature of Light Photography)

GSCA member, Alice Bradeen and her Morgan, Fire Ridge Bearcat (“Bear“), dominated the Arena Driving Trial on Sunday, placing first overall with a first place score in dressage and cones and second place in Marathon Obstacles in the Preliminary Horse division. Linda Wilking placed fourth overall in the Intermediate Horse division with hubby Eric navigating, and Barbara Chadwick placed fifth in the Preliminary Horse division.  Sue Rogers finished fourth overall in the Training Pony division. Doug Coursey and Leslie Baxter also competed in the Preliminary Horse division.  Congratulations to all GSCA members who competed.  We look forward to seeing more from these GSCA competitors and others as the season progresses.

Upcoming Events
GSCA’s calendar hits full stride in June and July.  Our third annual camp-out at Myles Standish State Forest in Carver, MA takes place the weekend of June 17-19th.  This event gains participants every year because of the dedicated equine campground and miles and miles of sandy dirt roads and trails.  Also in June is our first of two meet-ups at Acadia National Park in Maine.  Acadia is a premier destination for carriage driving and riding, with over fifty miles of unique and pristine carriage roads highlighted by breathtaking vistas and scenery.  In July, we are looking forward to our first outing at 19th Century Willowbrook Village in Newfield, Maine.  We are honored and privileged to have been invited to host an event at this very interesting village.  Of course, July also brings our most popular outing at Mt. Chocurua, NH. Be sure to check our calendar—  —  for details about these upcoming events and more. Remember that riders are also welcomed at GSCA outings, and we offer an opportunity to enjoy venues not otherwise open for equine users.

NEW!  Consolidated Carriage Driving Events Calendar:
ANNOUNCING!  A NEW consolidated Carriage Driving Calendar for the Northeast online!

A new and long-needed Calendar for carriage driving events in the Northeast is now live online at . Most major driving events and activities in the Northeast region are on this Calendar for 2016. Clubs, clinics, and therapeutic barns are represented and in process. Granite State Carriage Association and Connie Moses have put this Calendar together as a service to the driving community.

GSCA Blog is up and running:
If you have not yet checked out GSCA’s NEW club blog, “Horse Smarts & Carts,” on the GSCA website, be sure to do so.  It features ongoing stories, training information, useful horse management tips, photos, and GSCA monthly “Recaps & Reminders.”

GSCA is dedicated to the promotion of safe, recreational, pleasure driving.  Single day and multi-day driving events are held all over New England. Riders are welcome at most events.  Dues are a bargain at only $25 a year (for $1 more, also become an affiliate member of Maine Driving Club!). Participation in most events is free, except for stabling or camping fees or catered meals if applicable.  Find out more about GSCA, and find a calendar of events at . Find us also on FaceBook – GSCA Granite State Carriage