The Annual CVDC Holiday Party will be SATURDAY, DECEMBER 3 at Town Tavern in East Haddam (near Shagbark) – 6:30 pm to whenever. PLEASE RSVP TO KATHIE RINDGE ASAP at (860) 228-3801 or email her at She will need to turn in a head count.

We will also be doing a grab bag gift exchange if you choose to participate bring a wrapped gift to go on the pile – please keep to a $10 limit.

Dinner is your choice, pay-as-you-go, ordering off the menu. Town Tavern is a homey, comfortable place with a standard dinner menu. See more here: (including directions).

Town Tavern
381 Town St
East Haddam, CT 06423


Just For Fun: Sleighing in New York City in 1892

“Welcome home! Just in time for the sleighing party! Mr. Pickering’s rented two sleighs!” … “Ready?” Felix yelled over his shoulder, and Jake exuberantly shouted back that he was. Their reins snapped simultaneously, both teams dug in, and the harness bells came to life. The runners sliding easily, the horses eased back; then at a second snap of the reins as we rounded the corner onto Twenty-first Street, they tossed their heads, snorting jets of warm breath, and began to trot, obviously enjoying themselves, and now the harness bells sang.

Currier and Ives Central Park in WinterAll I can really tell you about the rest of that day and the evening is that it was magical. A dream. The white streets of Manhattan were filled with sleighs; the air everywhere was alive with the music of their bells. … On the walks they were pulling kids on sleds, throwing snowballs, making snowmen; children, adults, old men and women, laughing, calling to each other. And in the streets we passed every kind of sleigh, and we called to them and they to us. We raced them sometimes; once, going up Fifth Avenue, we raced three teams abreast, drivers on their feet, whips cracking, girls shrieking, for nearly two blocks before – sleighs coming the other way – we had to fall into single file cheering and shouting. …

Jake turned impulsively into a cross street just as a sleigh coming south swung in, too. Bells jingling, we trotted along side by side, grinning at each other. It was a big, green-enameled swan’s-neck affair, a beautiful sleigh. They were five kids in their late teens and early twenties, and one of the girls began singing: Dashing through the snow! In a one-horse open sleigh! O’er the field we go! And then all ten of us… Laughing all the way! To the exact rhythm of our horses’ hoofs and the jounce of our bells, we lined it out: Bells on bobtail ring! Making spirits bright! What fun it is to ride and sing – and it was; oh, Lord, it was – a sleighing song tonight! Then we roared it: Jingle bells, jingle bells! Jingle all the way! Oh, what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh! For two blocks – people on the walks calling out to us, kids throwing snowballs at us – we sang. Beside me Julia’s voice was high, a soprano, very clear, very sweet and lovely. At the corner the kids swung south. Waving and yelling at each other, we headed north toward Central Park, both sleighs continuing to sing as long as each could hear the other.

sleighing-2We all flew along the curving roads with hundreds of other sleighs. Fast as we moved, sleighs raced past us, hoofs drumming, the runners on one side sometimes actually lifting from the snow on the curves. Some of the drivers carried brass horns they occasionally raised and blew into, producing a single mournful yet somehow exciting blast of brassy sound that hung in the air for a moment afterward.

On through the park then, and out, and far up past it out into actual open countryside – astoundingly, still on Manhattan Island – until finally we stopped at a big wooden inn brilliant with light, shining out on the snow in long quartered rectangles, and the place was filled; there were surely fifty sleighs in a great outside shed, the horses tethered and blanketed. Inside, every table was occupied, the place jammed, the roar of voices and laughter so loud it was almost impossible to talk. Felix had called to me, and I worked my way over to his group. We had sandwiches and hot wine, standing up – there wasn’t a table empty – talking a little over the roar, but mostly just grinning at each other out of sheer sparkling excitement and joy.

[TIME AND AGAIN, by Jack Finney © 1970 Scribner/Simon & Schuster]


Nov 20: Annual Nehantic Forest “Turkey Trot” Club Drive


194 Beaver Brook Rd, Lyme, CT 06371


Come along for a pre-Thanksgiving “Turkey Trot”!

Nehantic State Forest has miles of good dirt roads on rolling hills. We are planning a 5-6 mile drive. Whips can do anywhere from 2 miles to 10 if they choose, mile markers will be posted. The first (and last) mile are on a lightly traveled dead end road. Plenty of parking at Cynthia Bliven’s Woodland Farm, where we will also join for lunch (firepit and marshmallows if we feel ambitious!). Bring your lunch and a chair. For directions, click on the Nehantic Drive link in the right sidebar. For more information, please call this drive’s sponsor, Cynthia Bliven, at 860-434-3213.


Photos of Events

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Some great pictures were taken by Sandy of Baskwood Photos a few years ago, who happened to tag along to our first July Fun Day/Scurry with one of our members, and returned for that October’s club drive at Lord Creek.

Plus: take a peek at just some of the lovely photos taken by Lisa Cenis of Shoot That Horse during one of our annual Horse Driving Trials.

Have a look at how much fun we have, join us if you haven’t already, and please support our photographer friends by purchasing pictures to share.



On Saturday October 29, the CVDC has been invited to  view Mr. Robert Scarpa’s  wonderful collection of pony vehicles.  Bob lives at  896 Coleman Road, Cheshire, CT.  Plan to arrive at Bob’s around 1PM.

I (Randy) was able to see these carriages many years ago and was very impressed with their variety and quality. They were beautiful!! Bob told me that he acquired each carriage privately and I am sure that there are interesting stories attached to every one of them.  This should be a fun time not to be missed! If you think that you are coming, please let me know so I can tell Bob how many of us to expect.  (We may be  joined by members of the Litchfield Hills Driving Club.) If you would like to carpool also contact me,  Randy Sabatino – or 860-873-389.

Also, Dick and Nancy Mangino have invited any interested people on the tour to gather at their home afterward to socialize and enjoy some dessert. Their place is just three miles away @ 357 So. Brooksvale Rd., also in Cheshire. If you plan on going there after the tour, please be sure to contact Dick or Nancy at 203-272-5257 or



The CT Valley Driving Club will be holding a DRIVING DERBY on Saturday, October 15, 2016 at Mitchell Farm located at 300 East Haddam Road (Rte 82) in Salem, CT. The gate opens at 8am; Drivers meeting at 9am; Course walk at 10am; First Entrant at 11am. Our Judge and Advisor is Jeff Morse. We will be using ADS Rules as a guide for this first Derby. The Entry Fee is $50 with a portion going to Mitchell Farm as a donation.

Click here for entry form.

Some history: Since we decided to suspend the Horse Driving Trials that we had held in June for the last 10 years or so, we have been looking for other ways of engaging our members and other drivers in new and educational activities. One of the things that we did was to start holding a Scurry in the fall. This has been well attended. Recently several of our members took part in a Driving Derby. Like the Scurry, a Driving Derby is less formal than an HDT or CDE. Unlike the Scurry, there are two obstacles to negotiate as well as several cones. See the ADS rulebook for more information (click here, search for "derby").

What is a Driving Derby: Briefly a Derby is a timed competition through cones and obstacles. The course generally starts with a few cones to navigate; then an obstacle; a few more cones, another obstacle, and ending with several more cones. It can be done indoors or outdoors. One of our members described it as a Horse Driving Trial without the Dressage section. It is also different from an HDT in that there is not a marathon section. Also, as an educational piece, competitors can run the course more than once. This gives the competitor a chance to learn from the first run and apply this new knowledge to the second run.

We expect this to be a fun new event and look forward to seeing you there. Please contact Marguerite Hayber at with any questions and to enter.