Dwight brings an envious cache of experience behind the wheels of both semi-trucks and horse-drawn rigs. A semi-retired transportation professional, Dwight’s career foundation comes with 40 plus years experience as well as 20 years dispatching with a major trucking company.
His incredible passion for horses and in particular, driving horses, attracted Dwight’s time and attention increasingly over the years. The pursuit of driving horses blossomed to an additional career spanning 30 years including 20 years of beginner horse driving clinics.
Dwight’s career as a teamster is diverse: four years successfully competed in pulling competitions with his mules and claiming the Canadian Champion Working Mule title three times with a home-raised and trained mule “Kentucky Breeze”. Three years spent competing in driving competitions included winning the Western Classic in Strathmore, AB in 2001 as well as the Bar U Ranch chore team in 2006, 2011, 2013 and 2014, each with a different team. He also won the Tees Long Ear Days in Champion, the Standard, AB Mule Team in 2003, and the Standard Chore Team Competition in 2016. He was Supervisor of Teams at Draft Horse Town at the Calgary Stampede in 2011. Altogether he has spent 15 years competing in driving competitions.
In turn, D & D Leatherworks got it’s kick-start about 30 years ago, born of the need to be able to build and repair his own harness, “We had harness and saddles at home and my Dad bought a used harness stitcher at an auction,” says Dwight of the catalyst of yet one more talent in his arsenal. “We taught ourselves to use it to repair our own harness.” Over the years, instruction from harness and saddle makers assisted Dwight in further developing his skills in harness making and leatherwork.
With his skill and expertise on the lines of the wagons, Dwight found himself working for a month on the Lonesome Dove TV series while on holidays from dispatching. It peaked his interest in the film business. Today, his 20+ year career boasts over 20 TV movies and over 10 feature films, including hitching two 6-ups of mules in the film Open Range starring Kevin Costner and Robert Duval. His involvement in TV mini series productions includes 6 years as team wrangler on a weekly TV episode Hell on Wheels (with no mishaps!!).
Many of his duties in working for the film industry includes overseeing the use of teams and wagons encompassing tacking, setting up multiple hitches for stagecoaches, safety management, proper authenticated care and setup and teaching actors to drive.
In the made for TV movie Broken Trail with Robert Duval and Thomas Haden Church Dwight taught Thomas Haden Church to drive a wagon with a mule team. “Sometimes you get an hour – sometimes an hour in two days.” Says Dwight; “You want to make it so the actors look comfortable, professional and knowledgeable.”
One of Dwight’s most memorable experiences was driving in a wagon trek in Virginia. Hauling the horses to Virginia for a client, the event was hosted through the American Carriage Society. It culminated with a lunch at the mansion from the film Gone with the Wind.
“They were all English road coaches. There were twenty-seven coaches with four-ups on the front lawn. It was gorgeous. Unbelievable.”
Taking it to the Next Level
Dwight’s latest ambition is to bring his passion for and expertise in driving to the individual looking to make a positive difference in their equine pursuits.
“Clinics with multiple people may not offer enough attention to individual needs.” sites Dwight. “By offering private lessons at your place with your horses and vehicles, I can answer and instruct all questions and show positive results.”
Correct instruction and correctly fitting harness is key to optimizing the potential of a driving horse or team, which in turn increases the enjoyment of driving.
Like the folks in the movies, Dwight strives to help drivers become more comfortable, professional and knowledgeable. Helping folks who, unlike the actors for the big screen, are familiar horsemen looking to engage their learning with a new level of expertise.
Offering his wealth of knowledge to those with a passion for driving horses in a private one on one setting, Dwight looks forward to assisting eager students in taking their team to the next level.
“Watching someone use a bomb proof team of horses – well, life isn’t like that sometimes.”
“Being one on one, we can see what you are doing with your horses, your problems. You get the full benefit of all the knowledge and the time with advice on your own equipment, with your own horses at your own place.”
Dwight can offer insightful, meaningful and relevant guidance pertaining to all aspects of driving from proper equipment, adjustment and fit of equipment and selection of appropriate animals for the task.
From single carriage driving to multiple hitches. Wagon driving to farm machinery. Dwight has the experience and the know-how to get you going… safely.
Dwight can also offer tune-ups for competitions to back country camping with your outfit.
Transportation of animals and vehicles in his truck or yours is also a service available.
Many horse-drawn drivers today do not have the benefit of coming from a horse or driving background as they had in generations past. For a horseman such as Dwight to be willing and able to share his knowledge, is truly an opportunity to take your horse driving to another level.
Dwight Beard is offering to share his cumulative wealth of experience with drivers interested in bringing out the best in their driving animals and their ability to navigate them for recreation, pleasure, sport and competition.