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Discipline: LD/Endurance, CMO, Trail Rider, Cartoonist, Writer, Co-Director/ Green Bean Endurance

March 4, 2017

Marti & Dave held a really nice clinic!

My morning started late.  I'm up and about every morning by 5 AM , sometimes as early as 4 AM.  I chose this particular morning to sleep like the dead and require waking up at 7:00.   Not enough coffee, and very little time to throw my stuff together, hustle to the car and go.   It was darned cold, so I stopped and bought me a clearance hat, scarf, and gloves on the way up.  Things were going well running on time and I left Decatur County and entered Rush County and holy crap-Ola! SNOW, ICE, slipping and sliding.   Every mile the clock ticked on me, and then I got behind a crawling snow truck...and "our clinic" which was to start at 10:00 had me still behind the snow truck.  So I arrived about ten minutes late, and I'm never late to anything.  It seems the incoming crew had the same experience and they had beaten me there by just a few minutes which made me feel so much better.

The clinic was hosted by Dave and Marti.  They are the most experienced CMO riders I know, or probably anyone else in this part of the state knows.  They live in this great historic farm house on a huge acreage with a classified forest on site.  When I say huge, I'm not exaggerating.  I may be off a bit on this but my recall says around 500 acres?  It runs from one county road all the way to another.  It is a working farm with cattle, crops, maple syrup producing trees, horses, and a fine old dog named Tick.  Dave, Marti, Sara, and Larry are among my favorite people in this world.  They give so freely of their time and energy to promote this fun and not nearly well-enough known sport called CMO.  Welcoming and wonderful people.
Dave, Marti, and Tick photo credit: Lida Pinkham

So gather we did and we had a pretty good little group ready to find some plates (stations).  The warm up was at the house.  Dave gave a primer on the use of the compass, the map, the clues, to and from, and we all booted up, shoved on hats and gloves (that snow and ice thing) and headed outdoors.

 We going to woods? Are we? Are we?

The newbies all had their maps in hand, compass ready, and Tick, he was ready too.

Woops! No red in the shed....

Stations were set up around the yard to break folks in on the use of their compass and also to illustrate how ridiculously challenging it can be to find something that is staring right out at you.

Plate? What plate?  And yes that tree "is" that big.

Well look there, another one!  Easy  right?

Our ride awaits! Of which was pulled by the ranger and was a quite the fun adventure!

Dave did the driving, Marti rode shotgun, and the rest of us piled into the "chariot of fire".  Ever gone fast in a wagon in the snow? Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

So maps in hand (this looks like spaghetti to me) we went mud slinging and sliding through the snow to find some real life CMO stations in the woods.

Look there's one!!!
We found a couple stations out in the woods, and then we all warmed up by the wood stove, and filled up on bowls of chili, cornbread, slaw, cookies and other yummy things.  Once we determined we'd thawed to room temperature we did what any CMO'er worth his salt would do ---we suited up, and went back out to find some more ☺  A big thank you to Dave & Marti Caldwell for opening up their home and hearts to newbies in the sport ♥   It was a very fun day. 

Stay tuned for the upcoming Two Horse Tango and also a CMO upcoming at Midwest Trail rides here in southern / southeastern Indiana.  Come on out, and ride!

Sponsored by: Two Horse Tack


  1. So will you be forced to hang plates only on trail? I'm trying to imagine how you'd do that with 3 clues per plate. You'd have to use intersections for each one, right? If so, you could ride it so much faster, looking for intersections.

    Wow, the snow sure didn't help you find the plates!

    The concept of doing a practice CMO on foot is a trip, but then again, originally orienteering was a foot sport.

  2. Hi lytha! We'd love to show you all about this! We do stay on the trails, but our ride managers are very good at finding natural and manmade landmarks and clever places to put the plates.

  3. Most of the state parks here require that you stay "on trail" with the horses. To get a permit we have to comply and it does present a real challenge as far as placement. Marti is good at "finding places." Doing the clinic/demo on foot takes away the pressure of figuring things out and managing the horse at the same time, as well as makes it more likely your people will show up for the demo. Yesterday was a great example in that if it had been "with" horses, I'm betting all might have canceled because who wants to haul their horse on snow and ice? But to pile into a car still doable. I'm hoping I can have the ladies out to my place to do an on horseback mini-CMO when the weather is out of the snow threat.