JACKSON — Kitty Corbett and her American Saddlebred were among the more than 35 drivers and carriages in the Aiken Driving Club's annual fall drive Sunday at the Silver Bluff Audubon Center and Sanctuary. The event serves as a fundraiser for the center and sanctuary.


“I was involved with the Aiken Driving Club before I had a horse,” said Corbett, who moved closer to Aiken so she would be able to participate in the club's various activities. “This was one of the first events I did last year, and I'm glad I had the opportunity to do it again. It's a nice country drive.”


The American Saddlebred's versatility makes the breed very appealing, said Corbett.


“They were supposed to plow, carry the master to hunt and pull the family carriage to church on Sunday,” said Corbett.


Sunday's drive featured a long and short route, with the long route being 3 miles longer. The 5-mile short route was for the contingent of miniature horses that participated in the event. The center and sanctuary's director Paul Koehler, rode with Ray and Diane Mansur, his first carriage ride around the 3,200-acre preserve.


“It's another experience to view the center from a carriage instead of putting out directional posts,” said Koehler. “The driving club members' contributions will help toward our operations, the education center and wildlife sanctuary.”


Sisters Audrey and Evelyn Willmon drove Silky, a 10-year-old chestnut pony. The multifarious pony has participated in a number of disciplines, including show jumping, dressage, trail riding and driving, said Audrey Willmon.


“We've had him since he was 5 years old,” said Audrey, who was visiting Aiken from Auburn, Ala. “He's always awesome. That's why he's my pony, and I love him.”