Leia Gibson and Kody showcase dressage Dr. Pam Ripperda and Sunny cruise the cones


*Newly Updated 7/13/09!*


Over the last several years I have driven myself quite crazy tracking down every possible resource for the VSE driver and his or her horse. Below you will find the fruits of that labor, complete with descriptions of pertinent sale items and commentary if I have had personal dealings with the company. I will not list companies whose products or customer service I have had negative experiences with or have heard bad things about, so to some extent you may consider these links to be unofficial, unsolicited endorsement of the companies listed. This is my own personal list, not a Better Business Bureau, so I bear no responsibility for your own experiences with them! Be wise, know what you need, ask many questions and make sure you know what you are buying. I have repeated the listings under any additional categories they may fit to aid in ease of finding what you need and most of the links are in alphabetical order to simplify organization for me.


I have also included some links to breeder and competitor websites for your own enjoyment. While some of these people are friends of mine, others are complete strangers and I offer no endorsement of either their breeding, their horse handling, or their training ability because I have not met them. The links are simply included for your own viewing pleasure and you contact the owners at your own risk.


*The site that started it all:*


American Driving Society (ADS)

Carriage Association of America (CAA)

Evergreen Miniature Horse Club- many members compete in CDE's and they often post classified ads on this site

Happ’s Inc.

Lil’ Beginnings Miniature Horses International



One excellent source for both current and out of print books is Wild Horse Books and Art, Kayo Fraser- bookmaster Most of these books are available from Carriage Driving Essentials, Driving Essentials, or the ADS website as well.


"A Driving Horse Photo Album, 2004-2005," by Robert A. Mischka. This incredible book is full of photos of top-quality turnouts from the best events in the country including pleasure driving shows, dressage and marathon. Buy it both as eye candy and as a guide to how to dress.

"The ADS rulebook," available to members on the ADS website and an absolute must-have before you compete.

"The Art of Driving," by Max Pape. The classic handbook of driving from a student of Benno Von Achenbach. Singles through sixes, green to advanced, every step is covered with some wonderful illustrations. This book is out of print and currently very hard to find.

“Bending the Driving Horse,” by Muffy Seaton. A thin blue paperback book with adorable illustrations that explains Muffy's basic principles for bending the driving horse.

"Best of the Whip, Volumes I and II," by the ADS. Exactly what it sounds like, this is a low-dollar, high-value investment for your driving library. Volume I contains 236 pages of the best educational articles published in The Whip magazine from 1975-1992 and Volume II continues with another 188 pages from 1993-2002. These cover everything from event organization to harness fit to turnout to club doings and health and horse care. Amazing!

"Bits and Bearing-Reins - With Observations on Horses and Harness," by Edward Fordham Flower. Reprinted in 2007, this 80 page volume was originally published in 1885 in support of the abolition of "Gag bearing-reins, sharp Curbs, and atrocious Bits." The author was ahead of his time in recognizing that rather than piling new gadget atop new gadget to try and "restrain" the horse, the best response was to remove the source of his pain and let him carry himself in a comfortable manner so that he might soften and go safely. It's interesting reading with factual examples and illustrative engravings as well as passionate rhetoric, and is available from Frustratingly, my copy is missing pages 56-57.     

“Carriage Driving: A Logical Approach through Dressage Training,” by Heike Bean and Sarah Blanchard. Available on and absolutely the bible of carriage driving. Full of immediately applicable training guidance as well as theory, it covers everything from ground-driving the green horse to competing an advanced pair. This book is a must-have for any level of driver. You can now visit Heike's website at!

"Carriage Turnout and Appointments," by the Carriage Association of America. A guide to proper turnout for sporting carriages, park driving turnouts, road coaches, tandems, family carriages, and others. "Turnout" covers types of harness, livery, paint colors, pinstriping, trim styles and much more. If you plan to attend Pleasure Driving events this is the guide for you! All the nit-picky traditional stuff you ever wanted to know and lots of pretty illustrations. FWIW, most of this is far fancier than we will ever need to get with our minis.

"Competition Carriage Driving on a Shoestring," by Jinny Johnson. An older British guide to Horse Driving Trials, this is a friendly introductory text that - while out of date as far as rules - is an excellent look at what it's like to be a beginner in this sport.

"Conditioning Sport Horses," by Hilary M. Clayton. A very thorough but easy to understand book which covers everything from exercise physiology (cardiovascular and respiratory systems, energy production, the muscular system, thermoregulation, fluid and electrolyte balances) to practical aspects of conditioning and conditioning for specific sports including combined driving. And the CDE section is a good 12 pages of useful advice, not a little paragraph somewhere! I purchased this book from Carriage Driving Essentials but also found a copy in my local English tack store.

"Driven Dressage with a Single Horse," by Sandy Rabinowitz. An excellent overview of driven dressage principles with plenty of illustrations. It is particularly recommended for those just starting out in the sport or who do not have a trainer to explain concepts like "working trot" and "achieving a correct bend."

"Driving Horse-Drawn Carriages for Pleasure: The Classic Illustrated Guide to Coaching, Harnessing, Stabling, etc.," by Francis T. Underhill. A slightly altered republication of a book from 1897 and containing 124 illustrations, this is a fascinating look at the carriage horse during the era of horse-drawn transportation. There is also an interesting chapter on bearing reins or check reins discussing both pros and cons from a historical standpoint.

"Driving Towards Excellence: A Guide to the Fine Art of Reinsmanship, and to the Selection of Harness Horses and Carriages," by Franz Hannesschlager. Pretty much out of print, this spiral bound booklet is indeed an excellent guide to reinsmanship. It covers Achenbach, ground work on the longe and double longe, use of the whip, proper vehicle turnout, and tandems and four-in-hands among other subjects.

"Early Harness Systems: Experimental Studies. A Contribution to the History of the Horse," by J. Spruytte and translated by Mary Littauer. A slim volume first published in 1977 in French, the author recreated many kinds of ancient harness and two-wheeled vehicles and analyzed the efficiency and maneuverability of three kinds of traction--shoulder, breast, and frontal--at the walk, trot, and gallop, with single horses, pairs, and four abreast. The book includes many pictures and line illustrations and is a very interesting read. Out of print. 

"The Essential Guide to Carriage Driving," by Robyn Cuffey and Jaye Winkel. This book does indeed cover all the essentials of carriage driving from what to look for when purchasing a used harness to how to repack your wheel bearings. Different kinds of carts, competitions, breeds, and harness styles are discussed along with how to put-to and safe driving practices.

"Horse Driving Trials: The Sport of Competitive Coachmanship," by Tom Coombs. Published in 1985 and now out of print, this is a fascinating look at the beginning of the sport. The reader gets a better understanding of where some of the more obscure rules came from, a lot of historical pictures, and as a bonus some fun British driving cartoons and a set of excellent harness diagrams for a variety of turnouts.

"The Manual of Driven Dressage," available on the ADS website. A complete encyclopedia meant to educate new judges which covers every gait, every movement, and every level of driven dressage. This is a substantial and well illustrated work which no CDE library should be without!

"Sports Driving: A Complete Guide to Horse Driving Trials," by Amanda Saville. The rules and terms are a little different for British HDT's than for our American CDE's, but the proper method of training and driving are the same and Amanda covers these in awesome detail and with great sympathy for the horse. New drivers may find it hard to tell where things differ but if you buy this strictly for how to drive and train and get your rules from the American Driving Society, you should be fine! Highly recommend.

"Understanding Harness- Balanced Draft, Breast Collars, and Neck Collars," by Barb Lee. A hard-to-find book, it covers her theory of balanced draft, the mechanics of breast and neck collars, and a discussion of what type of collar is appropriate with which vehicle and why.



Caribbean Dream Miniature Horses, FL

Cedar Plains Miniatures, Manitoba

Cooke Livestock Miniature Donkeys (yes, they do CDE's!), Alberta

Fox Holler Farm, KY

Grass Mountain Farm, WA

Harlequin Farm, CT, email Rhonda Jaacks at Website coming soon!

Heartwood Farm, NY

Kateland Farms, NY

Maple Mountain Miniatures, Ontario

Raftered Hearts Miniature Horses, OR

Ruff N Tuff Miniature Horses, ID

Sonnybrier-Rivendell Farms, WA,

Son Spun Miniature Horses, IL

Sun Country Ranch, TX

Tanglewood Farms, CA

Vandy's Farm Miniature Horses, CA

Willow Crest Farm, TX


CDE competitors and Friends of the Sport

Breanna Sheahan of Bakersfield, CA-

Jaye Ventresca of Regency Performance Miniatures in Bucks Country, Pennsylvania

Wanda Lusk of Too Mini Ranch in Port Orchard, WA

Ted and Joy Jenney of Kateland Farms in Holley, NY

Earl Morris and Mary Winter of 3G Farms in Ames, Iowa

Teri Reinemer in Arlington, WA

Eileen and Allan Davis of Davis Ranch Combined Driving Center in Prescott, AZ

Lucy Kusluch & Jane Wagner of Field of Dreams Miniature Horses in Springtown, TX

Susan and Al Bulgawicz of Willow Crest Farm in Cypress, TX

Nikki, Greg, and Heather Faubus of Cuzawana Ranch in Pixley, CA Website currently unavailable

Judith Jay and Kim Porter of Fox Holler Farm in Georgetown, KY

Jessi Zamboni in AZ

Cindy, Walter, and Geneva Pond of Heartwood Farm in Geneseo, NY

Gallery of ponies Merlin and Coco, owned by Kelly S. and Aaron in Doylestown, PA

Robert and Linda Smith of L Bar R Miniature Horse Ranch in Prescott, AZ

The Smiths’ friend, Mary Jane- lots of pictures

Martha and son Jimmy Duchnowski of Silk Purse Farm in Nokesville, VA

Mickey Lofgren of Grass Mountain Farm in WA

Mark and Linda Kern of Caribbean Dreams Miniature Horses in Loxahatchee, FL

Eve Dexter of Old Bell Farm near Campbellville, Ontario, Canada

Mike, Lori, and Michaela Rafter and Dale Zimon of Maple Mountain Miniatures in York, Ontario, Canada

Jim and Dorothy Walter of Sunset Valley Ranch in Goldendale, WA

Megan Elisha Tong of Chanhassen Farm in Van Alstyne, TX

Jeanine Rachau of Blue Mountain Farm Norwegian Fjord Horses in La Grande, OR

Cindy Vollers of Charming Creek Farm, LLC in Robesonia, PA

Ron and Dorothy Whiteman of Sonnybrier farm and Greg and Tammy Osgood of Rivendell Farm in Elma, WA,


Active drivers with no website yet:


Beth Rieselman in PA, email at

Merridy Hance of Silverdale, WA, email at

Dr. Pam Ripperda, D.V.M. and daughter Patty of Stoney Ridge Ranch in Princeton, TX, email at

Helen Stroklund of Heart Prairie Miniatures in Onalaska, WA, email at

Ed and Donna Stormer, and their junior competitors Isaac, Bobby, Ben, Hannah, Simon, Sarah and Deborah Stormer of Seabeck, WA, email at The Stormers are no longer competing due to health issues but they continue to volunteer and provide expert navigators for the larger entries.

Margo in New Mexico

Whitney in Michigan


Driving Apparel

Most driving suppliers offer driving aprons and gloves as well as other appointments. Thrift shops are another excellent place to shop for hats, nice jackets, etc.


DD Rapps Distinctive Designs for Drivers

Elizabeth Cole Millinery and New Farm Carriage Supply

Hats Off Boutique

Karen's Karriage Kreations

LaRose Hats No longer available?

Tailor Tacks, Susan McLoudrey, email at


Driving Forums and Mailing Lists

ADS forum

Carriage Driving List (CD-L)

Chronicle of the Horse (COTH)

Driving Pairs

Lil’ Beginnings

MiniHorseDriving List on Yahoo!

Recreational Drivers List on Yahoo!


Driving Supplies

American Cart and Harness

Camptown Harness

Carriage Barn

Carriage Driving Essentials

Chimacum Tack

Country Carriage

Driving Essentials

Ear nets for minis, custom made by Cindy Vollers

Iowa Valley Carriage

Lignite- a great selection of custom sleigh bells


Ultralite Whips (They make great custom whips for the Hyperbike if you ask! I dubbed mine the "HyperLite Whip.")


ADS Events for Minis

The best place to find information for any of these events is on the ADS website at There you can search by name and find the date, location, and all other pertinent details like when entries open and close. The one thing the website does NOT do is tell you which events accept VSE's! That's what this list is for. Since I only live in one tiny corner of the country and relied on the internet to create this list, please email me with any additional events you're aware of so they can be added as well.


AZ events? Arizona CDE, Old Pueblo CDE, Grass Ridge CDE

Beavercreek CDE, OR

Black Prong events? Does anyone know for sure if VSE's are allowed in these?

Brandywine Carriage Driving Show, PA

Cedar Creek Carriage Driving Show, TX

Central Valley Harness Association

Chapter One ADT’s, NJ

Connecticut Valley Driving Trial, CT

Cowboy Country CDE, OK

Eden Hill Pleasure Driving Show

Elk Creek CDE

Gayla CDE, KY Update: VSE division cancelled for the foreseeable future

Gladstone CDE, NJ Prelim only, division will not be held unless six entries are guaranteed

Happ’s CDE,WA

Happ’s VSE DT-T!, unsanctioned, WA

Haven Hill HDT, TX

Henry Boyd CDE, CA

Inavale CDE, OR

Indiana CDE

Lincoln Creek, WA Cancelled as of 2008

Lord Stirling, NJ, email

Metamora Pleasure Driving Show, MI  If you live in the area, please support this new event. If enough VSE's attend, they may open the Metamora CDE to minis in the future. Information is available at Metamora.

Mighty Minis- sorta.

My Lady’s Manor Pleasure Driving Show, PA

Northern CA Driving Club events calendar- Don't miss the famous "squirrel and beet pulp" story at the bottom!

Old Dominion Open Carriage Show

Pioneer CDE, NE

Ram Tap CDE, CA

Saskatchewan Horse Driving Trials, Canada

Skunk River HDT, IA

Sunrise Ridge DT, TX

Tampa Trials ADT, FL

Teddy Bear Picnic, unsanctioned, PA

Texas Driving Clubs calendar

Treasure Coast CDE, FL

Walnut Hill Pleasure Driving Show, NY



Many of the vendors listed here sell proprietary harness styles that you can't buy anywhere else. Chimacum Tack and Camptown Harness use the same Amish harness maker so their harnesses are comparable, and Smucker's and Zilco harnesses can be purchased through just about any driving supplier you could name as well as from the manufacturer. Country Carriages USA and The Carriage House both sell harnesses by Yonie's Carriage Shop but in different styles and price ranges. Samuel Esh is an Amish gentleman that works with Jaye Ventresca and has developed several excellent pre-made harness styles for miniatures depending on your type of competition. Ask Celine at Carriage Driving Essentials if you want something in particular, she offers many different styles of miniature harness that aren't on the website.


Camptown Harness

Caribbean Dreams Miniature Horses

Carriage Driving Essentials

Carriage House

Center Square Harness Shop, Samuel Esh  (717) 656-3381

Chimacum Tack

Country Carriage USA

Driving Essentials


Kateland Farms

Mini Express

Ozark Mountain Mini Tack

Ron’s Harness- I have very limited feedback on this vendor but what I've heard is positive

Smucker’s Harness Shop

Silver Penny Farm (SPF)

Tanglewood Farms- makes great custom harness pads and harness pieces like the "Californian Soft Collar."


Zimmerman's Harness Shop, ( 717) 354-5667



AmeriCan Carriage Driver Publication has sadly been suspended but past issues are available on compact disc

Carriage Driving World Unreliably printed in recent years but excellent when it's available

Driving Digest

Miniature World Showcase

The Whip (included in ADS membership)


Mini Supplies (my personal favorites)

Chimacum Tack Shack

Estate Horse Supply

Mini Express

Ozark Mountain Mini Tack

Prime Design

Star Lake Tack



Alleluia Training Center in Salem, OR

The Buggy Lady in Lacrosse, WA

Davis Ranch Combined Driving Center in Prescott, AZ

Deb Harper, C.E.F. Driving Coach in Abbotsford, British Columbia, email at

Denise Hinder in Central Valley, CA, email at

The Driving Training Center in Snohomish, WA

Fraser School of Driving in Deer Lodge, Montana. Home of the Polar Boys!

Infinity Performance Horses (Megan Sibiga Keenon) in Lebanon, OR, email at CDEBEST

Kateland Farms in Holley, NY

MiLo Acres Training Center in York, Ontario, Canada

Rough Terrain Farm in Randolph Center, VT

Shadow Brook Farm in Middletown, NY, email at

Sonnybrier Farm (Dorothy Whiteman) in Elma, WA

Tanglewood Farms in Bakersfield, CA

Terri Jones in Washougal, WA, email at



For the sake of space I have listed only the manufacturer's website rather than each individual retailer who sells them. If you are interested in a particular brand of cart or harness it's a good idea to contact the manufacturer and ask if they have a dealer or distributor in your area. You might be surprised! Many of the carriages are actually made by the same people but marketed under different brands and by different companies. Carriage driving is a small world these days.



Bellcrown (see Driving Essentials in the East or Carriage Driving Essentials in the West, or call Stephen at Carriage Machine Works at 717-397-4079 or 877-966-4499 to discuss your needs. Don't forget to ask about the new Aerocrown! Tell him Leia sent you.)


Country Carriage

Eazy Ryder Appear to be no longer available

Edgeman- These carts are no longer available new and the website has been discontinued

Fiddler on the Hoof/R.C. Roadsters Appear to be no longer available


Graber, via Kateland Farms,

Graham Carriage Works- home of the Hyperbike!

Houghton- This company has recently closed and the website has apparently been discontinued

Ite Bte Buggys, Mike Groose Temporarily out of production due to medical issues on the part of the manufacturer


Justin Carriage Works

Lignite Out of production? Only remaining website for Lignite appears to be

Outram's Cutter MFG (miniature horse sleighs for driving your CDE horse in the winter!)

Pacific Carriage

Pequea Carriage and Harness, John Stoltzfus  ph: 717-768-7016

Silver Penny Farm (SPF)

Sugarloaf Mountain Sleighs

Summit View Carriage- Gorgeous wooden vehicles for big horses and sleighs for miniature horses


Pairs Vehicles

Carriage USA Pony Mix Shetty

Coyaltix MA 10 Miniature Marathon, sold by Carriage Driving Essentials

Cumbria Carriage Mini Marathon

The Eagle

Glinkowski Mini Mix

Ite Bte Buggy custom marathon vehicle

Kutzmann Carriages Website appears temporarily unavailable although vendor was active as of June 2009

Lessing, sold by Carriage Driving Essentials. Email

"Swoopy" mini marathon vehicle, currently one-of-a-kind owned by Bev White, sold by Carriage Driving Essentials. Email


Miscellaneous other sites of interest

"Bun Bag" driving diaper

Carriage Mart- a carriage sale board

Chariots of Fire- not a CDE thing but certainly daring driving!

Colonial Carriage Works

Equestrians' Institute in WA

Fjord Driven, a WONDERFUL page by NW pairs driver Jeanine Rachau on her Fjord pair and how and why she has harnessed them as she has. Lots of pretty pictures. Go to link, then click on "Driving."

How Much Do I Clip? A nice visual diagram to various trace clips.

"John Henry" the mule's website

Kathi Peters, an amazing equine artist who specializes in driving

Relhok Ponies, Hats, and Carriages

Satirical harness diagram


Sources for:

Steel Wheels


Wedge Seats

The Carriage Barn

Driving Essentials


Harness Pads

Lois Anderson of Tanglewood Farms crotchets custom harness pads that are great for CDE. You can contact her at

"Theraputic pads" by Mini Express- perhaps a little heavy until they break in, but perfectly sized and look great!

Kathleen Conklin will make custom Gator pads from your tracing in mini sizes

Camptown Harness has a wide selection of harness pads for minis, both Gator and "Pillow Pads," The new Pillow Pads are awesome! They are very low profile, pleasantly squishy, and come in great colors. They will make them in any size if you ask Marjean. These pads are featured on the front cover of The Whip magazine for December 2006.

Carriage Driving Essentials can make custom gator pads in any size, simply contact Celine at


Don't forget your ear nets! You can have them custom made by Cindy Vollers of Charming Creek Farm



Iowa Valley Carriage and Driving Essentials both carry nice mini French link butterfly bits and Sandee of IVC is working on a stainless steel half cheek French link to hopefully come out this spring. (*Update* This bit is available although the first batch sold out almost instantly.) Meanwhile, you can get a copper French link from Mini Express. Chimacum Tack has a nice selection of half cheek snaffles and mullen mouth bits in the $30 or less range and Carriage Driving Essentials can order custom bits in almost any configuration at reasonable prices.

Myler bits- The best out there for minis but expensive at $150 apiece from most retailers. The comfort snaffle and mullen mouth are the two most commonly used mouthpieces.

Half cheek double-jointed roller mouth snaffle- 3.5", stainless steel, $27.89. It looks like an inexpensive Myler knockoff but I've heard some good things about this particular bit. Apparently it's stamped "Coronet."

Another set of Myler knockoffs are made by Kelly Silver Star bits which I gather you can buy from Double Diamond Farm and Tack Supply. They aren't on the website yet but if you email Deanna she can tell you what they have. I haven't seen these bits in person but the pictures look good. Update: I have seen these bits in person now and would not recommend them compared to a Myler. The "Hinged Bristol Bit" might be okay.


This page last updated 07/13/09 at 12:20AM