Thursday, March 31, 2016

Jessica Axelsson Clinic

The Three Rivers Carriage Club is hosting a clinic with Jessica Axelsson on April 23rd.  Need more information?  Visit their site at
Jessica and her pony competing at Walnut Hill.

Friday, March 28, 2014

2014 Programs

Kathleen Haak, in conjunction with Tipperary Farm, will be hosting the following clinics this summer.  Private lessons are also available.

Carriage Driving Clinics
Learn the basics from a knowledgeable driver  -- from harnessing, hitching the horse and types of carriages to driving techniques. No experience necessary for Driving 101 and the Adult Driving Clinic.

Registration forms are available here.

May 17th - Driving 101
Carriage driving is an incredibly fun sport.  Whether your interest lies in pleasure driving or combined driving events it all starts with the basics - your harness and cart.  We will be looking at three different types of harness and carts and discussing what may work best for you and your horse.

June 21st - Reinsmanship
Time to drive!  Join us for a morning of long lining and driving.  Space is limited.  Driving horses provided.

July 19th - Cones and Marathon
One of the funnest things about driving is cones and marathon.  Learn how to make your own obstacles and drive them. Space is limited. Driving horses provided.

August 16th - Adult Driving Clinic
If driving a horse is on your bucket list this is the clinic for you! This class is specifically for adults 55+ who would like to experience driving but aren't necessarily looking to enter the show ring.   We'll cover the basics of harnessing and then get right to driving.  Driving horses provided.

September 20th - Driven Dressage Clinic
Learn the basics of driven dressage.  We'll walk the tests, explore the different gaits and go over attire. Horses will be provided, open to outside horses on a limited basis.

October 18th - Halloween Driving Clinic
Join us for a fun day of working on 'scary' objects for driving horses.  Open to outside horses, space is limited.

The Clinician

Kathleen Haak - Kathleen has driven singles, pairs, tandem and a four-in-hand.  She has achieved her Level 2 Proficiency certificate with the Carriage Assoc. of American.  Kathleen achieved a high level of success with Draken, her Standardbred, winning three National Championships.  Following the retirement of Draken, she started Against the Best in his pleasure-driving career.  'Best' was awarded his first national title in 2012.  Currently she is driving Aiken, a multi-talented Fjord.  You can learn more about Kathleen at

The Horses

K.O. Aiken - Aiken is a 10 year-old Fjord who rides and drives.  He has competed at a variety of shows including the Saratoga Driving Trial, the Finger Lakes Fjord Show, and Tri-Valley Horseman Assoc. shows.  Additionally he has participated in the Parade of Breeds at the KY Horse Park, Carriage Round-up and the National Drive. He's also been known to haul a light log or two out of the woods.  Aiken currently holds the title of 'cutest horse in the barn' at Caustelot Farms where he is boarding.

TAF Rowan (Romeo) - Romeo is a Kerry Bog Pony who has been driving for over a year.  Kerry Bogs are a rare breed that originated in Ireland.  Romeo loves the cones!

The Facility

Tipperary Farm is located on over 150 acres in North Fayette Township, western Allegheny County, in southwestern Pennsylvania. The farm is only 30 minutes (non-rush hour) from downtown Pittsburgh and a short drive from The Pointe, The Mall at Robinson, and the North Fayette Township Municipal Complex. The 28 stall equestrian facility with attached 80 ft. x 200 ft. indoor riding arena enjoys beautiful views of the surrounding countryside from its ridge top location. Tipperary Farm specializes in Kerry Bog Ponies and Irish Draughts.

For more information on Tipperary Farm visit

Many thanks to Tipperary Farm for allowing us to use their wonder facility for this event.

Tipperary Farm
1185 Stewart Road
McDonald, PA 15057

Monday, April 22, 2013

Pittsburgh Area Carriage Driving Club

Quick reminder that our first driving club meeting is this Wednesday nigh, April 24th, at 6:30. Caustelot Farms in Cecil have been nice enough to host the first meeting. Their address is Caustelot Farm, 39 Oblock Ln McDonald, PA 15057, it is right off 50 (or Millers Run Rd, whatever you want to call it). They share the driveway area with Venice Pres. Church. We'll do a long lining demo and then get the meeting underway. Looking forward to seeing everyone.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Article on the clinic plus a few pictures

The United States Trotting Assoc. mentioned the clinic in their article -

Mike Wilder speaking

Against the Best hooked to the pleasure driving cart

Aiken hooked to the marathon vehicle

Monday, February 11, 2013

Registration is complete!

Thank you for signing up for the 2013 Carriage Driving 101 Clinic.  We'll be starting promptly at 9am this coming Saturday, the 16th.  Emails have been sent to everyone that I have registered for the clinic.  If you have not received an email please check your spam box, if it is not in the spam box then please contact me so that we can confirm your registration.

Please bring your helmet with you when you come.


 Tipperary Farms, home of Kerry Bog Ponies and Irish Draught Horses, is hosting the event.  Their address is 1185 Stewart Road, McDonald, PA 15057.  There is a white sign with green lettering at the end of the driveway; the driveway is kind of long and goes uphill.  The farm is 3.5 miles from the ‘downtown’ McDonald, PA. 
If you are coming from Washington, PA then you can get directions here -
If you are coming from Pittsburgh, PA then you can get directions here -
 Schedule (always subject to change)
Coffee, hot chocolate and apple cider, along with breakfast pastries will be available upon your arrival.

9:00 am - - Introductions followed by harnessing demo, we will then break into smaller groups and each person will have the opportunity to harness a horse.  From there we’ll break into the four groups.  The clinicians will stay in their ‘classrooms’ and you will move to them as a group (just like school).
Noon – Lunch and Speaker
After Lunch - Kathleen will do a quick long-lining demo and explain the different ways to hold the lines.
The rest of the afternoon is driving time.  You are welcome to line drive Mike’s draft horse, try driving the mini pair, as well as experience the difference between a marathon vehicle and a pleasure cart.   While you can certainly wait your turn in the arena we will also have a variety of books and videos in the heated viewing area that you can peruse.
If you are interested in the horses that will be at the clinic a list is here -



Mike Wertz
Mike is the owner of Mike’s Carriage Service and together with his Percherons he has been doing parades, special events and downtown Pittsburgh tours for nearly 20 years.  Mike will be bringing a draft harness and one of his Percherons for you to experience.  One of the things that he will be spending quite a bit of the time speaking about is hauling carriages.  We’ll have three different trailer set-ups for you to see.  Show carriages are an investment, one you’ll want to protect when hauling.  Mike is also a good person to ask about ‘local’ driving resources.

Joyce Haak

Joyce is the primary driver of a mini pair named Trick and Treat.  The ‘boys’ do it all – pleasure shows, driving trials, and in-hand.  Joyce drove them to championships in 2012 at the Saratoga Driving Trial and the Susquehanna Valley Whips and Wheels Driving Trial.  They’ve also done parades in five different states.  Joyce will be introducing you to driving games – how to set up hazards and cones courses as well as how to drive them.  Bruce and Joyce are joining us from New York.

Bruce Haak

A farrier by trade, Bruce has driven a wide variety of horses.  While he is currently using Against the Best for the sleighing season his normal driving partner is Aiken, a Fjord.  Together they have competed at a variety of shows including the Saratoga Driving Trial, the Finger Lakes Fjord Show in addition to pleasure driving at the KY Horse Park and participating in Carriage Round-up and the National Drive.  Bruce will be demonstrating how to harness a horse and balance a carriage.

Kathleen Haak

Kathleen has driven singles, pairs, tandem and a four-in-hand.  She has achieved her Level 1 certificate with the Carriage Assoc. of American and is currently working on her Level 2.  Kathleen achieved a high level of success with Draken, her Standardbred, winning three National Championships.  Following the retirement of Draken, she started Against the Best in his pleasure-driving career.  Best and Kathleen currently up for national awards, they’ll find out the results on Sunday.  Kathleen will be bringing her hat and jacket collection to show you how to put together a show outfit.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Special guests - Mike Wilder and Mike Wertz

We've been lucky enough to have two special guests for the clinic, surprisingly both are named Mike!

Our first Mike, Mike Wilder will be our lunch time speaker and is brought to us by the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association. A native of Ohio, Mike developed an interest in horses through his stepfather who trained Standardbreds at the Shelby County Fairgrounds. He was well-know at Lebanon Raceway, where he won 13 driving titles, and he captured two driving championships at Scioto Downs before moving to The Meadows in 2001. Mike registered his 5,000th lifetime driving win in 2009. In 2012, he was one of nine drivers chosen to compete in The Battle of Pennsylvania Driving Challenge.  Mike will talk about what it takes to be a competitive race driver and how that differs from other types of driving.  He'll also be bringing along a race cart for you to examine.

Our second Mike is Mike Wertz, owner of Mike's Carriage Service. Mike and his Percherons have been doing parades, special events and downtown Pittsburgh tours for nearly 20 years.  At the height of the holiday season it is not unusual for them to appear at 4-5 different venues in one day.  That means organizing people, harness, carts, and horses for maximum efficiency.   Mike will be not only be bring draft harness with him, he'll also be bringing one of his trailers and a carriage.  He'll be showing you some of the easiest (and safest) ways to transport your carriage.  Show carriages are an investment that you'll want to protect.