Piedmont Driving Club President Anne Watkins left nothing to chance as she hosted the Club for this stellar event! At a balmy 80-plus degrees, it was the warmest day so far this year, with just the right touches of sunshine through billowy clouds and gentle breezes. The route from her farm to the Shenandoah was lovely, with plenty of daffodils along the way and a vivid profusion of blue bells all along the river banks. Fourteen turn-outs, including one pair under saddle, made the delightful 7 ½ mile journey to a waterfall and back. There was, of course, a rest stop in a meadow along the way. In keeping with the celebration, Champagne flowed along with plenty of good cheer on the part of Whips, grooms, guests and neighbors who gathered to view the carriages.
Turn-outs included: Carl and Caroline Cox driving their 4 in Hand with new PDC members Michael and Debbie Frost, plus grooms Molly and Alexis on board; Anne Watkins driving her “Windsor greys” with PDC member Kitty Newman and groom Alita; Mary Munster plus grooms driving her Friesian mares, Al and Vicki Baturay driving their Hafflinger pair, Caroline and Bertrand Collomb plus groom driving their Hafflinger pair, Debbie Bauserman and guest driving her Hafflinger, Marci and Keith Bade, driving their Hafflinger mare ……wait, do we see a trend here?….well, not everyone in the Club drives Haffies (at least not yet!). There was also Pat McCann and guest with her Saddlebred/cross, Wayne Porter and guest with his QH, Lisa and Albert Andersen with their Percheron crossbred (and did we see Albert take the lines for a while? Yes we did!), Sam Davis drove the venerable Torr (more on them later!); New PDC member Judy Hahn,a neighbor of Anne’s, drove a lovely dark bay to a natural wood four wheel vehicle and let’s not forget Alcinda and Tom Hatfield with their HALF Hafflinger! Rounding out the group, Leslie Yarbrough and friend rode her pair of TB/Connemara mares and she promises that soon she will bring them in harness.
On such a beautiful day with so many lovely turn-outs to view, there were plenty of appreciative guests. Anne’s neighbors are well aware of this annual event and rarely miss the opportunity to come out. They join us of course for the sumptuous luncheon she and the Club lay out beneath the eaves of Anne’s stable. To get the party started, Vicki Baturay greeted each person with a little cup of “blue bell cheer”. She’s been at it again: this time she suspended blue berries in “shots” of Jello that had been infused with vodka and BLUE curacao, creating a delightful-looking and tasty treat. This year Anne also invited members from her bridge club, a fun loving group for sure. It was a day of celebration as the Club met for its traditional “opening meet” at Kittery Point. Lunch was “over the top” with spring lamb, beef tenderloin, fried chicken, soup, about a dozen different salads, quiche(s), beans, beets, fresh asparagus, chips/dips, crackers/cheeses, wine and even more Champagne. It was also Carl Cox’s birthday so there was, of course, cake for all. The most honored guest, however, had four legs: Founding member Sam Davis brought “Torr” to the party. Perhaps one of the earliest equine members of the PDC, the Connemara came to celebrate his 30thbirthday with carrot cake and several swigs of Guinness straight from the bottle. And, yes, he took his beloved Sam for a cart trip, although not quite down to the river (Torr has seen it many, many times anyway!) Having Torr celebrate his longevity with us at the party presented an opportunity for each of us to reflect on our own horses/ponies and to appreciate that without their willingness to serve and their inherent patience and kindness, we could never know the joys of carriage driving.