The Aiken Driving Club’s annual fall weekend invitational drive was held Saturday in the city’s horse district. The three-and-a-half mile drive included several stops in Winthrop Polo Field, a sojourn down the district’s clay roads that took the drivers, horses and their passengers past historic barns, Pockets’ Track Kitchen, Whitney Polo Field and the Aiken Training Track.
The casual drive afforded club members the opportunity to relax and enjoy the horse district, which is steeped in history. The Aiken Driving Club served as the host for last week’s Katydid Combined Driving Event, and this drive lets the club showcase its pleasure driving side.
“The Katydid CDE is a competition, and you have to have everything perfect,” said Diane Watson, Aiken Driving Club member and the organizer of Saturday’s drive. “You have to be a certain caliber of driver. It’s a three-day, very serious event; there’s a lot of preparation involved. It’s a nationally recognized event. This is the Aiken Driving Club’s other side, it’s fun side. It’s a chance to enjoy your horse, nature and the beautiful downtown historic district. How can you not have fun?”
Saturday’s drive was a first for Ingrid Jensen, who traveled from Auburn, Ala., to participate. Jensen is a member of the Aiken Driving Club and took the opportunity to get better acquainted with the town she visited in the spring.
“We decided that this would be a really fun weekend,” said Jensen. “It’s great when you get to drive through a town that has a rich equestrian history. I must be very nostalgic.”
Jensen made the transition to carriage driving from dressage but also has a show jumping background. Jensen’s daughter also made the trip with her and drove a 10-year-old chestnut pony named Silky.
The pleasure drive provided driving club member Jane Simmons an opportunity to drive her wheel pony that she usually has in tandem.
“Rigsy is a mini, and he’s 39 inches in height,” said Simmons. “He behaves very well. My other one is at home. I just enjoy my minis.”