CAA Conferences


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CAA member Ted Swendson drove his Fjords, three abreast, to his antique sleigh at the 2011 CAA Winter Conference in Minnesota (photo by Else Bigton)

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… is included in our photo essay on the 2011 CAA Winter Conference, in the upcoming (March) issue of The Carriage Journal.

Unfortunately, we didn’t have room in the magazine to give too many details about this lovely old sleigh, so I thought we’d do so here.

Ted Swendson (of Calgary, Alberta, Canada) shared this information about his sleigh: It’s a Wagonette Bob-sleigh that was built around 1900. Ted described it as a “true” Bob-sleigh, meaning that the vehicle’s body was meant to be on wheels but was adapted with bobs for driving in the snow (although he believes that this particular vehicle has always had its bobs). Early in its life, this sleigh was used as a taxi in Ontario.

Ted bought this sleigh from the collection of Jack Pemberton of Ontario, and it was Jack who had it restored. The current colors are the same as they were originally, and the upholstery is all original.

Another interesting note: the Canadian government has declared this piece a “heritage” vehicle, which means that Ted is not allowed to sell it outside of Canada.

Yesterday (Saturday) at our Winter Conference featured talks on a variety of topics, a sleigh rally and, in the evening, an awards banquet.

“strawberry,” “raspberry,” and “acorn” are names of just three types of sleigh bells; there are more than 600 kinds … these bells were part of the Showcase (photo by Gloria Burgess)

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bells are strapped to all parts of the horse, carriage, and harness; these are rosette bells, and there are also bells for the shafts and the horse’s rump and neck (photo by Gloria Burgess)

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with the talks concluding in the morning, attendees bundled up and prepared for the sleigh rally (photo by Gloria Burgess)

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all dressed up and ready to go! (photo by Gloria Burgess)

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“the CAA’s president, Colonel Davis (on the right), and Dana Banfield were the Sleigh Rally judges; but if they were in a turnout class, I think the top hat and ear muff look is a winner!” (photo by Gloria Burgess)

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one of the turnouts in Saturday's sleigh rally (photo by Gloria Burgess)

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... and another (photo by Gloria Burgess)

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... and another (photo by Gloria Burgess)

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this pony was a hit with the spectators (photo by Gloria Burgess) ...

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... and this turnout was also a big crowd favorite (photo by Gloria Burgess)

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in the Carriage / Sleigh Showcase, the Davis Documentation Award (for the best-documented vehicle) and the Carl Casper Trophy (for the highest-scoring restored vehicle) went to Jim Leo’s Cutter; P.J. Crowley (center) accepted the awards from Jerry Trapani, on the left, and Tom Burgess, on the right (photo by Gloria Burgess)

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the Sidney Latham Memorial Trophy (for the highest-scoring vehicle in use in the Showcase) went to Scott Teigen’s 1895 Landaulet (photo by Gloria Burgess)

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the People's Choice Award went to Mary Block’s reindeer sleigh (photo by Gloria Burgess)

Friday’s events at the CAA’s Winter Conference included lectures, social gatherings, and Showcase commentary.

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hats, muffs, and sleigh bells on a badger lap robe ... (photo by Gloria Burgess)

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... and a close up of sleigh bells on the badger lap robe; all of these items were used to illustrate Vicki Nelson Bodoh’s talk on sleigh turnouts (photo by Gloria Burgess)

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flowers on a colorful lap robe (photo by Gloria Burgess)

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Dana Banfield, one of the Showcases judges, discusses the lap robe division (photo by Gloria Burgess)

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another of the Showcase judges, Randy Solle, gives the judges’ commentary on this well-restored sleigh; there were thirty entries in the Showcase (photo by Gloria Burgess)

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Ted Swendson (left, with his wife, Yvette, to his left) of Calgary, Canada, is the first recipient of the new James Laird Award. This award is to be presented by the CAA president (Colonel Davis, on the right) to a CAA member who is passionate about horses, carriages, and driving, and who serves as an example of the fun and friendship that carriage-driving experiences can provide. Ted has brought his Fjord horses MANY miles to participate in a variety of CAA events, from the grand opening of the CAA headquarters (in Lexington, Ky.) in 2006 to this year’s Winter Conference. Ted is driving three abreast on Saturday to his sleigh; he has driven in all types of weather at CAA events (including pouring rain), and always with a smile. He is a tremendous ambassador for the new James Laird Award (photo by Gloria Burgess)

On Friday morning, I had an email from Jill, who said that Thursday was “set up day, and we were all thrilled to see many wonderful sleighs and carriages arriving for the Carriage Showcase (more than thirty!), plus bells, and sleigh robes, and photos … arriving … and arriving … and arriving!”

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a whimsical "deer sleigh" in the Carriage / Sleigh Showcase (photo by Gloria Burgess)

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a Cutter in the Carriage / Sleigh Showcase (photo by Gloria Burgess)

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lap robes on display in this year's special Showcase categories for sleigh bells, lap robes, and photography (photo by Gloria Burgess)

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an unusual Cutter on display (but not entered in the Showcase) with an interesting ... and tiny ... groom's seat (photo by Gloria Burgess)

Today is the first official, full day of actitivties at our 2011 CAA Winter Conference in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Which means that yesterday was the day some folks took advantage of the “Early Bird Special”: a chance to meet up with fellow CAA members and enjoy lunch and an afternoon of touring around downtown St. Paul.

Gloria Burgess sent the following photos from the day:

"CAA members exit the Alexander Ramsey House at the end of the 'Early Bird Special' tour. The elegant Victorian home was built in 1872 by Mr. Ramsey, who served as mayor of St. Paul, governor, U.S. senator, and secretary of war under President Hayes. The Minn. Historical Society received the property from the family, complete with more than 14,000 original furnishings." (photo by Gloria Burgess)

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Alexander Ramsey's original carriage house (photo by Gloria Burgess)

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"Thursday (Jan. 27) was the first day of the 125th St. Paul Winter Carnival. The 300-pound ice blocks arrived in cardboard boxes. Each of 16 teams has 20 blocks to carve before the end of the next 48 hours (so: 9 a.m. Saturday). Let the chainsaw buzz begin! Judging is based on the complete use of all 20 blocks, creativity, and artistic presentation. The entire sculpture must be no higher than 12 feet or wider than 10 feet. The single-block contest (or as some muliple-block team members call it ... the "quick buzz" contest) occurs from start to finish during the morning hours on Saturday. The Winter Carnival lasts for 10 days." (photo by Gloria Burgess)

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... and the carving continued into the night (photo by Gloria Burgess)

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"CAA directors (left to right) Craig Paulsen, Jerry Trapani, and Tom Burgess await the opening of the ice bar. Where is everyone else??" (photo by Gloria Burgess)

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a carved-ice snowflake (photo by Gloria Burgess)

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celebrating 125 years of the St. Paul Winter Carnival ... in ice! (photo by Gloria Burgess)

Next year’s CAA Conference will not be held (as is traditional) in the summer; rather, we will have a CAA Winter Conference in Minnesota, January 27 to 30. This timing and location will give us a chance to celebrate all things sleighing. The entire event, in fact, is being held in conjunction with the 125th anniversary of the St. Paul (MN) Winter Carnival.

The local group helping us to organize this sure-to-be-fabulous event has already started sending out periodic newsletters. According to the inaugural issue: “Each year, a Sleigh and Cutter Festival is held in conjunction with the St. Paul Winter Carnival. In a Currier & Ives setting, the present becomes the past. Gracefully curved sleighs adorned with lacy ironwork glide over the snow behind fast trotting horses, the music of sleigh bells following them. Drivers from across the country, along with their horses, sleighs, and passengers, are invited to participate. Spectators, dressed in warm winter clothing, are invited to trek to city parks to watch this spectacular event. The Carriage Association of America invites you to witness this Winter Wonderland at the 2011 CAA Winter Conference. A full three-day conference is being planned, with knowledgeable and entertaining speakers, the Carriage Showcase, a nineteenth-century dance party, two sleighing events, a trade show, and good food.

To be added to the conference-newsletter mailing list, send a request to carriagenews@frontier.com.

the first page of last week's CAA Winter Conference newsletter, which focused on the Carriage Showcase

It’s probably a cliche — but true — that there’s nothing you can do about the weather. Everyone who attended this year’s CAA Conference seemed to have a good time — driving (or watching others drive), attending lectures, watching demos, and visiting with old and new friends — despite the miserable weather. We were in the beautiful countryside just outside of Leesburg, Virginia (not too far from Washington, DC), where we all endured chilly temperatures, then brutal heat and humidity, gusty winds that threatened to blow us (and things in the headquarters tent) all over the place, and torrential downpours. But we had a good time!

Here’s a look back at the weekend:

One of the four-in-hand drivers during the Thursday-evening twilight drive, John White, was also one of the winners in the Sporting Day of Traditional Driving on Saturday

one of the four-in-hand drivers during Thursday’s twilight drive, John White, was also one of the winners in the Sporting Day of Traditional Driving on Saturday

 

Tom Burgess, driving his pair of Friesians's on the twilight drive; his wife Gloria is the groom in the back, and Gloria's mother is sitting beside Tom (to see what they're looking at, see below)

Tom Burgess drove his pair of Friesians on the twilight drive; his wife Gloria is in the back, and Gloria’s mother is sitting beside Tom (What are they looking at? See below)

 

the mansion at Morven Park

the mansion at Morven Park

 

one of the single turnouts on the twilight drive: Roger and Sue Murray

one of the single turnouts on the twilight drive: Roger and Sue Murray

 

the CMA's Katharine Magruder gave a well-attended talk on choosing appropriate carriage colors; the lights in the room were turned off so the colors in her samples and slides would look more accurate

the CMA’s Katharine Magruder gave a well-attended talk on choosing appropriate carriage colors; the lights in the room were turned off so the colors in her samples and slides would look more accurate

 

Richard Nicoll presented a fascinating talk on making and repairing old bow-top whips

Richard Nicoll presented a fascinating talk on making and repairing bow-top whips

 

Colonel Davis, who organizes the annual Carriage Showcase, introduced the judges before they gave their commentary on the carriages (in the sunshine!)

Colonel Davis, who organizes the annual Showcase, introduced the judges before they gave their commentary on the carriages (in the sunshine!); the Rockaway in the center won the high-point award in the restored division (the Carl Casper Trophy)

 

the crowd pulled chairs out from under the tent and set them up in the shade to see the carriages in the showcase (which had been pulled out into the sun) and to hear the judges' commentary

the crowd pulled chairs out from under the tent and set them up in the shade to see the carriages in the showcase (which had been pulled out into the sun) and to hear the judges’ commentary

 

this recently restored Brewster coach won the award for having the most complete documentation

this recently restored Brewster coach won the award for having the most complete documentation

 

the newly built pony-sized Spider Phaeton owned by Harley Waller (shown here driving during Friday's Sporting Day of Traditional Driving) won the high-point award in the vehicles-in-use division (the Sidney Latham Trophy) and the Peoples Choice Award

the newly built pony-sized Spider Phaeton owned by Harley Waller (shown here driving his carriage to a pair of ponies during Friday’s Sporting Day of Traditional Driving) won the high-point award in the vehicles-in-use division (the Sidney Latham Trophy) and the Peoples Choice Award

 

Harley Waller's Spider Phaeton was built by Harley Chandler (Chandler Coach Shop in Kentucky); Harley was on hand and autographed a new DVD about his shop that happens to feature the new Spider Phaeton

Harley Waller’s Spider Phaeton was built by Harley Chandler (Chandler Coach Shop in Kentucky); Harley was at the conference and autographed several copies of a new DVD about his shop that happens to feature the new Spider Phaeton

 

Willi Green often brings unusual vehicles for the Showcase, and this year was no exception when he showed up with a 1902 fire-fighting ladder wagon

Willi Green often brings unusual vehicles for the Showcase, and this year was no exception when he showed up with a 1902 fire-fighting ladder wagon

 

Willi explained how the ladder wagon would've worked, while a couple of volunteers hand-cranked the main ladder to a portion of its 65-foot height

Willi explained how the ladder wagon would’ve worked, while a couple of volunteers hand-cranked the main ladder to a portion of its 65-foot height

 

Ayrshire Farm gave a demonstration of a beer dray, pulled by two huge Shire horses; after watching a few turns around the "green," everyone was invited to come take a close look at the wagon, the horses, and the harness

Ayrshire Farm gave a demonstration of a beer dray, pulled by two huge Shire horses; after watching a few turns around the “green,” everyone was invited to come take a close look at the wagon, the horses, and the harness

 

one of Ayrshire Farm's "smaller" Shires, being ridden in the demonstration

one of Ayrshire Farm’s “smaller” Shires, being ridden in the demonstration

 

several of the youth in attendance gathered for an exciting "equine quiz bowl" game on Friday

several of the youth in attendance gathered for an exciting “equine quiz bowl” game on Friday

 

on Saturday, the youth had fun with horn-blowing lessons from Rich O'Donnell

on Saturday, the youth had fun with horn-blowing lessons from Rich O’Donnell

 

the two girls not trying to play the horn are practising the "pused lips" technique they were learning for blowing a coach horn

the two girls not blowing an actual horn are practising the “pursed lips” technique they were learning for blowing a coach horn

 

Did we tell you that we had some rain?? Ted Swendson had brought his ponies and carriage all the way from Alberta, Canada, and he wasn't about to let a little rain stop him from the drive on Saturday morning

Did we tell you that we had some rain?? Ted Swendson brought his ponies and carriage all the way from Alberta, Canada, and wasn’t about to let a little rain stop him from driving on Saturday morning

 

later on Saturday, after the rain, everyone was treated to a visit from the huntsman, whippers-in, and hounds of the local hunt; here, the hounds have gathered in the shade and are watching all the people watching them

later on Saturday, after the rain, everyone was treated to a visit from the huntsman, whippers-in, and hounds of the local hunt; here, the hounds have gathered in the shade and are watching all the people watching them

 

then, everyone who wanted to was invited to visit with the hounds; these two have found a new friend

then, everyone who wanted to was invited to visit with the hounds; these two have found a new friend

 

here (and in the next photo) it's hard to say who's having more fun: the childred or the very friendly foxhounds

here (and in the next photo) it’s hard to say who’s having more fun: the children or the very friendly foxhounds

happy hounds and happy kids

happy hounds and happy kids