Why I Drive: from Annie Childress

Every HorseDriver has a story. We all come from different backgrounds, different lifestyles, and many different equine experiences! That is what makes the driving world so wonderful and diverse. In telling those stories, we hope to encourage others to grab a hold of the lines, and drive right into our world!

This story comes from Annie Childress from Rainbow Meadow Farm in Rochester, Washington. Annie shares with us her how and why she drives.

In 2015, I learned to drive on a big pair of Belgian mules a few months after having brain surgery. A family friend was having his hip replaced and needed help getting the mules legged up for an upcoming wagon train. I thought it was quite fun but still preferred riding, which I have done my whole life.

Photo by Haley Spears at Hoof Beats Photography.

As my body and health continued to deteriorate, riding became increasingly painful. Fast forward to the spring of 2022, when, sadly, I had to admit to myself that I could no longer ride. It was devasting. Horses are in my blood and are who I am.

I do my best to be positive and infectiously optimistic. I refused to give up, so I began looking for alternatives. I had two very mis-matched Welsh ponies in my field, so why not put them together? They’re ‘little’ and weren’t nearly as scary with any of their wild antics as the big OTTB’s that I used to ride, so chalk it up to an adventure and let’s go! I began trail driving with sights on the John Wayne Wagon Train.

Annie and navigator Amber Murchison trotting by at the Equestrian Institute CDE in August 2022.

After completing a planned section of the Wagon Train, I began looking for the next adventure/goal. A friend suggested CDE’s. I decided to bite the bullet and enter my pair because, why not?!? O.M.G! Completing the marathon was the closest feeling to galloping on cross-country that I had felt in a very long time. I felt ALIVE and was hooked!!!

I have met some of the most passionate and encouraging individuals in this sport. Life is an adventure! Though my health is a daily struggle, I believe I have finally found my tribe!!

– Annie Childress

If you’d like to share your driving story, please send an email to kirsty@chimacumtack.com

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