In 1981 Mr. & Mrs. Ralph Jarvis of Fenton, Michigan founded a nonprofit organization for people who enjoyed driving horses. This was the beginning of the MICHIGAN HORSE DRAWN VEHICLE ASSOCIATION.
The by-laws for MHDVA states, in part, that it shall be the purpose of the association to aim for the preservation and maintenance of carriages; carriage literature and related items; the exchange of information regarding horse-drawn vehicles and the development of the driving horse; to serve as an accurate and technical source of information for the benefit of it’s members and the general public; to encourage the use of carriages and other animal-drawn vehicles for the promotion of public interest in their contributions to our cultural, social and economic history; and promote knowledge of, and safety in, horse related activities.
Today, MHDVA’s annual membership averages more than 60 families that live in all parts of Michigan, as well as other States and Canada! The club is open to all breeds of horses and ponies and welcomes any type of horse-drawn vehicle. Our member experiences range from novice to the very elite. For example we have members that don’t own a horse nor vehicle, but take advantage of the shared knowledge, while the professional members in our club include: national circuit trainers and show people, show judges, carriage restorers, harness makers, farrier’s, and veterinarians. Some even belong to more than just one driving organization.
No matter what your experiences, the club offers a lot for everyone. Club sponsored activities include: events, clinics, shows, fun drives, educational materials, and meeting…enjoy it all. Each year the club has a table at the Michigan Horse Council Stallion Expo to greet people who are interested in the sport of driving. All MHDVA are welcome to sign up and volunteer their time, to support the table. In addition to the table our club holds a driving show at least once a year. Members can participate as entries, or volunteer their help for the show if they wish. On the first morning of the show, we hold a driving clinic that is open to all for a fee. Aside from the show clinic, we also try to arrange beginner clinics during the summer months.
If you enjoy variety, MHDVA offers fun drives (for both carriages in summer and sleighs in winter) hosted by MHDVA members at their private residents. They are open to all interested members. We also look forward to drives arranged in other areas, such as one held inLake City. during the month of August. If you are interested in hosting a drive, please contact the board to do so.
With the variety of antique vehicles owned by MHDVA members, the club is frequently invited as an added attraction to town social events. Past events included the Mackinac Island Carriage Festival, Ovid Carriage Days, and Greenfield Village Gladwin Carriage Festival, to name a few. It is a chance to have fun visiting vintage towns and be the highlight of the event.
With your paid membership, you will receive a periodic newsletter that contains a listing of upcoming events, activities, articles, classified ads and updates on past events. We urge all members to feel free to send any interesting tidbits to the newsletter editor for publishing and sharing of your story! (Photo’s are always welcome).
Because the summer months are found to be especially busy for all of us, meetings take place only during the winter months. The first meeting is the “Annual Dinner Meeting”, always on the first Sunday in November, held at the various restaurants, throughout the state. The club then meets January through April for our informative “Ask the Experts” dinner or potluck meetings. Usually held on Saturday, they meet at different locations across the State. A business meeting to discuss upcoming events and a guest speaker presenting a topic chosen for that month follow each dinner. These meetings are very beneficial and informative for all.
To gain more knowledge about driving, the club has a variety of sources for your personal enjoyment. The Ways and Means Committee offers (to members only) a videotape library on the different aspects of driving. Tapes may be checked out at no charge by contacting the committee head. In addition to the tapes, the club offers various books on driving for sale along with other items that are driving related. You can purchase these items also through the committee head or at the “Ask the Experts” meetings. If you are seeking assistance with training a horse or want to learn about driving, don’t hesitate to talk to any member for references or assistance. There are a lot of talented people in our group that train as a business that can help. Welcome to the club.