CAA Conferences


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

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