Marged Harris sent this report from the recent invitational four-in-hand drive in Southern Pines:

Tired and happy, whips, guests, and grooms gathered on a rainy Sunday for a farewell brunch under the party tent at Claire Reid’s Big Sky Farm in Southern Pines, North Carolina. For the previous four days, four-in-hand enthusiasts had enjoyed good food and good driving through springtime gardens, thanks to the hospitality of Claire, Jim & Sharon Granito, and Linda McVicker.

The host and hostesses led the drives from farm to farm, along the dirt roads of this driving community, giving everyone a chance to see blooming azaleas, rhododendron, and laurel. Thoroughbred weanlings and sturdy donkeys kept pace behind wooden fences. One of the most beautiful drives went through Weymouth Woods, along a wide path cut and cleared by Jim Granito and Bill Long.

Whips in attendance included Jack Wetzel (South Carolina), Herb Kohler (Wisconsin), Wendy Ying (Florida), and Taren Lester, driving Katrina Becker’s team. Able assistants Vance Coulthard, Jamie O’Rourke, Kelly Valdez, Jacob Arnold, and Keady Cadwell ensured that the glittering carriages and shiny horses delighted the eye. Lady guests in garden-party hats and gentlemen in boaters and toppers included Gloria Austin & Dr. Gene Serra, Gail Gittleson, Mason Cadwell, Suzy Dixon, Mike Lyon, and Jennifer Matheson. Claire & Willard Rhodes and Gloria & Tom Burgess provided yet more Southern hospitality and good cheer.

The horses ranged in size from Claire’s Section A Welsh ponies to Jack’s imposing black Gelderlanders, who had competed in the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. Katrina’s team of imported and homebred German horses were picture-perfect, as were Linda’s trusty chestnut Welsh ponies, put to an Austrian Wagonette. Jim drove his team of Hackney / Clydesdale crossbreds, and Wendy drove a team of black Hackneys and “Sport Cobs.” Herb’s team of spotted warmbloods, imported from England, provided sizzle and dash.

To see Ann Pringle’s photos of the drive, click here.