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Events Reports

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14th NOVEMBER 2010

Fifteen turnouts gathered on a murky Sunday morning to enjoy this event. All five classes were contested in the usual atmosphere of friendly competitiveness on the part of the drivers and grooms.

Alison Kesans won the Novice Pony class in spite of lying third of three after dressage and cones Jenny Allen excelled with a score of 31 in the dressage and one of only three double clears overall in the cones but opted for some slightly longer routes in the obstacles meaning that Alison's fast times here gave her the win. Chris Mort was in close contention taking second place with Jenny coming third.

In the Multiples Class, Ainslie Turner driving Woody and Leo produced a double clear in the cones and Janet Macdonald the best dressage score of the day of 26. Fortunes varied in the obstacles with the other driver in this class, Modris Kesans, achieving some very competitive times. However Janet's dressage advantage stood her in good stead and her ponies' consistent performance throughout meant that she won the class on 193 penalties. Ainslie was second and Modris third.

In a class of her own was Chris Legate-Baggs, driving two of her grey ponies as a tandem. She was clearly thrilled with them as they completed their first competition in this new format.

Ainslie Turner brought out little "heart of a lion" Leo again to give Emily Ham a run for her money in the Open Pony class and clocked faster times in all of the obstacles but Emily's accomplished dressage score of 29 and a double clear in the cones gave her the win by 9 points.

There were four drivers in the Novice Horse class and junior Jack Thorne was comfortably in the lead after dressage and cones. A mishap in the last obstacle meant that he was eliminated giving Elizabeth Pilkington the win on 291 penalties with Michelle Reid second on 298 and Sue Jones third.

Erica Rye and Modris Kesans contested the Open Horse class. They were separated by only 2 points after dressage and cones but Modris's faster obstacle times gave him a convincing win on 212 penalties.

Only four drivers stayed to drive in the Arena Challenge which was won by Alison Kesans with Modris Kesans only 4 points behind in second place. Erica Rye and Sue Johnson were third and fourth respectively.


24th OCTOBER 2010

A good turnout of entries made the most of the beautiful October sunshine at the event at Crick. Drivers included new participant, Neil Edwards, taking a day off from his busy dairy farm and Jack Thorne making the four hour journey from his home in Devon.

Alison Kesans came away the winner of the Novice pony class, catching up a 14 point deficit after the P&P phase. A good cones round and four very impressive obstacles gave Alison the win over Jo Cunningham, performing well with one of Chrissy Legate-Baggs ponies.

The Open Pony class was topped by Emily Ham, returning to the driving scene after a six week break after having her appendix out. Ainslie Turner, driving one half of her lovely small pony pair, was over the moon to beat Emily in the P&P phase (albeit by 0.5 of a point). In time honoured tradition, Tony Clarke was best dressage of the day with just 13.5.

In the Novice Horse class Paul Smith reined supreme. Picking up the only double clear of the day in the cones phase, Paul also clocked some very fast times in the obstacles. Young driver Jack Thorne was the fastest of the class through the obstacles driving his new horse, Tango (more used to being in the lead in Mark Broadbent's coaching team) exceptionally smoothly and efficiently. Sue Johnson, driving Toby, was pleased with her result in the P&P, collecting the best score of her class in that phase.

Open Horse was a head-to-head between David Whitfield and Erica Rye. Although it was very close between the two turnouts in the P&P, David pulled away in the cones and obstacles phases. In fact, his times in the obstacles were the fastest of the day in all classes.

The Multiples class saw no surprises with Janet MacDonald taking the red rosette. Scoring a fantastic 15.5 in the P&P and just 1 penalty point in the cones gave Janet a comfortable lead going into the obstacles. However, in obstacle 1, an error of course gave Janet 20 penalty points to deal with, which made her victory in the class all the more impressive. Fastest of the multiples through the obstacles was Modris Kesans driving Wendy Morris's pair of Shetlands.

The afternoon's Arena Challenge, in which all proceeds go directly to the FoDDTG, saw six singles and one multiple coming forward. The
course was created with more emphasis on precision driving which lead to some very tight scores at the top of the table. Only 3 drivers
drove clear on both rounds, Sue Johnson, Wendy Morris and Tony Clarke. The fastest driver was David Whitfield, but at the cost of 3
cones down which cost him the win. Jack Thorne and Paul Smith also showed the potential to win this event by driving fast rounds, but each one had one cone down. This left Tony Clarke at the top of the table, with two very smoothly driven rounds without touching a cone.


Keysoe Finals - Sunday 6th March 2010

I wasn't sure if I would make it to the IHDT finals at Keysoe as I had an important diary appointment for the Friday evening and we were waiting on the arrival of a foal. As it happened, the foal arrived on the Thursday and, as my husband, Keith, was around to look after everything, I was able to leave the ponies in his care and escape to watch some of the finals.

I left early on Saturday morning and planned to camp. The weather forecast on the radio said that wet weather would be following me from the west so I thought I should pitch my tent as soon as I arrived in case it was wet later. Conditions were quite windy and I was grateful for the help of 2 kind people on the field who held on tightly and prevented my sailing away with a tent 'umbrella' over the hedge tops. The rain never did come and the wind dropped later on so it would have been better to have waited and pitch camp later – but hindsight is a wonderful thing!

I made myself a comfy billet then went off to watch the obstacle driving. It was good to see some of the faces I remember competing against before my horrible cancer episode, although no one remembers me now. Maybe they will when I come back out with a pony.

With obstacles 3 and 4 left to complete, competitors ran in reverse order of their current positions and the large digital clock was clearly visible which made things exciting to watch. There was a good running commentary which added to the atmosphere and provided interesting information but the loud music playing at the same time made it difficult to hear at times – something that, personally, I found quite annoying

Competitors did not have their clubs announced or detailed in the results tables, and I was unable to find this information on the internet so there may have been FODDTG members competing that I was unaware of so I apologize to anyone I don't mention. I wasn't always aware of which area was being represented even, and couldn't find that anywhere either.

Proceedings were very efficiently managed with very little wasted time and the classes flowed on one after the other with a couple of necessary recesses for course walking. The first class I watched was the Small Pony Single class. This was not in the schedule the last time I went to the finals. It was great to see the little ones, with big hearts, flashing round the arena on their little legs. Hazel Fisher (SW) is someone I remember of old and it was good to see her have the fastest times in obstacles 3 and 4, moving her from her current second placing to win the class.

Ainslie Turner had a great drive with Leo and maintained her overnight position of 6th. Whether winning or losing Ainslie is always smiling and enjoying herself which is wonderful to see and Leo also seems to have a smile!

The Small Pony Pairs class was next. I don't think there was anyone from our region in this class. Sally Kerr was unfortunate in getting caught up in an obstacle and had the groom down twice. Other competitors had good rounds and Janet Sycamore's pair of dinky Shetlands, Sooty and Sweep, looked fast with their little white socks flashing, and achieved 6th place. The class was won by fast and furious junior Michael Hodgson, who had the fastest time in each of the 4 obstacles.

In the Intermediate horse class David Whitfield's speed merchant, Sunny, banged his leg on one of the obstacles and dislodged a ball but, even without this, and despite having the fastest time in obstacle 1 he wouldn't have been quite quick enough to overtake the winner, Ellen Littlechild. I didn't recognize anyone from our region in the intermediate pony class. This was won by Charlotte Snow.

Next up was the Teams Class, won by Julie Wedgbury. I really enjoyed this. There's nothing quite like 4 little Shetlands pulling their hardest with little legs flashing and thick manes flowing – brilliant!

This was followed by the Tandem class. I am always impressed with the skill necessary to drive a tandem in this way and it was a joy to watch competitors negotiating the obstacles. I was hugely impressed with Christine Legate-Baggs who, although not the fastest, drove a beautifully controlled and flowing round with her ponies. The class was won by Michael Hodgson. Winning this and the Small Pony Pairs is some achievement for a junior. The youngsters are certainly fearless speed merchants, but coupling this with the skill of tandem driving is something else.

TJanet Macdonaldhe Pony Pairs class was the one I really had an interest in as friends Janet Macdonald and Jacqui Pillinger were competing. Jacqui, standing in for Jane Perkins, who is Janet's usual groom. They were lying in first position at this stage, having had best dressage of the class with 22 points, and being the only ones to not have a ball down in the cones with just 5 time faults. Other competitors were faster in the obstacles but Janet's skill in the dressage and cones left Joseph Adams lying in second place 17.53 points behind – quite a few points to make up but anything can happen and when I saw the speed that Joseph drove into the arena it seemed he might do it. With surface flying I have no idea how his groom held on!

They had the fastest time of the class in the two obstacles, which surprised no one, leaving Janet needing less than 91.84 for the final two obstacles. This was a pressure but five of the other seven competitors had achieved this so it was obviously doable. Janet resisted the temptation to drive faster than was wise and came into the last obstacle needing to keep below 51.5. All the other competitors had bettered this time so it was looking good for Janet but things can go wrong.

Fortunately nothing did go wrong and Janet completed the final obstacle in 46.71 making her a well-deserved Champion.

The final two classes I watched were the Open Horse and Open Pony, won by Matt Were and Nicola Blandin respectively. The open ponies are certainly the speedy ones and Nicola Blandin was Supreme Champion with Dawn Tebbitt Reserve.

In the evening it was great fun to watch the Regional Challenge although the speed of some of the turnouts was quite scary. The course of cones and obstacles combined was quite tricky in places especially driving round an obstacle and then a tight turn to return over the bridge. There was a lot of whooping and cheering during this event and also more (extremely loud) music. I think there were a lot of sore throats by the end of the evening! The crowd were also organized into performing a Mexican wave or two!

On the Sunday morning I decided to set off for home so didn't watch the classes that day but I had seen a lot of exciting driving, some lovely ponies and horses and some very happy people enjoying their hobby. I was struck by how much the standard has risen in the years that I have been out of circulation. I last went to the finals in 2006 and it is a much bigger event now! Congratulations to everyone who took part and to those who worked so hard in organizing and running the event. I hope to do a bit of IHDT next season but will not be qualifying for the finals! I may go to spectate again though and I encourage others to do so as it is a really nice, friendly weekend and facilities are good – including food. Special congratulations to Janet and Jacqui – well done!

Angela Cherrington


13th July 2010

The fourth and final event of the summer evening driving trials series took place at the David Broome Event Centre on 13th July 2010. A "full house" of 14 drivers enjoyed this competition.

To the disappointment of some who had arrived prepared for a possible soaking after being surprised by the water obstacle last time there was no water on this occasion....because there was no water!

At this event in particular, there was a complete mixture of driver/equine profiles.....experienced drivers with new horses or ponies, first time and inexperienced drivers with "done it all before" horses and ponies and then some of our Club's most experienced combinations. This demonstrates so clearly how very valuable these small, friendly, well-run events are.

Three pairs were forward and this class was won by Peter Edwards, a double clear in the cones and nippy obstacle times giving him a decisive win from Rowena Moyse in second.Ainslie Turner driving her new pony pair of sisters was third. Jenny Allen with her daughter Charlie ably backstepping won the Novice Pony class driving Lucky, her neat obstacle times compensating for a high cones score.Jo Cunningham driving on her first outing here was second with one of Chris Legate-Baggs' grey ponies in the shafts and Chris on the back.

Three contested the Novice Horse class, Jade Nightingale clinching her third win of the series. Sue Johnson was second and Elizabeth Pilkington third.

The Open Pony class was hotly contested, producing the two best overall scores of the evening and only one penalty separating winner and second place. Janet Macdonald driving half of her usual pair (Amber) as a single, won with a good dressage score and a double clear in the cones. Although three of Ashleigh Jones' obstacle times were very slightly quicker than Janet's she did not quite catch her. Tony Clarke was third although as usual he did the best dressage of the event. Rowena Moyse and Chris Legate-Baggs were fourth and fifth respectively

Evening Event at Cricklands - 16 June 2010

There was a full complement of entries for this third evening event of the summer series, drivers enjoying yet another fine evening at
the David Broome Event Centre near Chepstow.

The most influential feature of this particular competition was the 20 gate cones course, driven first in one direction, gates 1-10 then
immediately in reverse, gates 11-20. This challenge led to double figure penalties for most. However Emily Ham and Jade Nightingale
proved that a good round was achievable, scoring only 3 penalties each. Peter Edwards and his pony pair was the next best with 10
penalties. The water was obstacle 1 and 3 but in spite of this being its first appearance this season caused little trouble apart from
getting the back steppers rather wet!

Matthew Broome won the Novice Pony class convincingly on 220.9 penalties, from Angharad Morris on 239.4 and Jennie Allen close
behind on 241. Elizabeth Pilkington was 4th but she produced the best dressage test of this competition with a mark of 23 penalties.

In Open Pony, Emily Ham, driving with her usual flair took the winner's rosette and achieved the best overall score of the evening
finishing with 172.3 penalties. Rowena Moyse was second.

Jade Nightingale, in the Novice Horse class, earned the second best overall score of 175.9 not too far behind Emily. She built upon the
advantage gained by her excellent cones round with consistently smart obstacle times. Sue Johnson was second.

The Multiples class produced the third best overall score of the evening, Peter Edwards completing on 195.8. Like Jade and Emily his
relatively low cones score stood him in good stead. Janet Macdonald and Ainslie Turner were second and third respectively with their
pony pairs.

First Evening Event at Cricklands - 13 April 2010

What a treat it was to drive on grass after the long winter! This event was the first of the series of evening events being organised by James Broome at Crick this summer, culminating in Club Championships at Tanhouse Farm ,Berkeley in August. The format is very similar to that of the winter competitions except that it is driven in the fields of the Event Centre and uses the permanent obstacles.

Tony Clarke was the overall winner at this event, taking the Open class with a score of 152. Emily Ham was very, very close in second with 155. Both these skilled drivers drove clear in cones and scored the same total of points in the obstacles so it was Tony's dressage mark of 18 against Emily's of 21 which could be said to be the deciding factor. Erica Rye was unfortunately eliminated for a blip in the cones! She was not alone as James Broome then omitted to drive the slalom in the cones so was eliminated too, leaving Ainslie Turner a clear run to win the multiples class with a score of 219.

The three Novice drivers all managed to drive correct courses. Alison Kesans was by far the fastest in the obstacles, which coupled with a clear cones round put her decisively in first place on 191. Sue Johnson was second on 261 and Elizabeth Pilkington 3rd on 297.

Wales & Gloucester Indoor Driving Qualifying Event at the
David Broome Event Centre - 14 March 2010

Drivers competing at the David Broome Centre on Sunday 14th March were treated to a dry and warmish day in compensation for the arduous conditions endured over this winter. Being the last qualifying round of this 2009-10 season, there was plenty of hard fought competition, drivers honing their skills and horses looking exceptionally well, sensing spring in the air at last.

Jack Thorne and Fleur Snow battled neck and neck through the three phases of the Novice Pony class, starting with dressage scores of 27 and 28.5 respectively. With nothing much to choose between their scores through the cones and obstacles Jack held on to that crucial 1.5 lead to take the class with 161 penalties to Fleur's score of 162.5.

Six drivers entered the Open Pony class, Tony Clarke, as so often, producing the best dressage score of the day....only 17 penalties, even though he says that dressage is Fred's least favourite phase. However Emily Ham with her Jack, were unbeatable in the obstacles and she came through to take the class on 152 penalties, the best overall score of the day. Colin Cornwell quietly moved up the rankings to be second, Tony finishing in third.

The Multiples class now enjoys a consistently good number of entries. On this occasion four pairs and a team were in action. Dressage scores in this class were particularly impressive, Janet Macdonald's mark of 19 being the second best of the day. James Broome's team looked more relaxed than on their last outing here and were rewarded with 21.5 penalties. Colin Cornwell was just behind on 22 then Ainslie Turner and Chris Legate-Baggs on 23.5 and 27.5 respectively. The cones course opened up the field considerably, so with a cones penalty score of only 3 and good obstacle times Janet won this class by 9.5 penalties from Chris in second.

The Novice Horse class was won by Liza Phillips. All four drivers produced respectable dressage scores and once again the cones course opened up the field decisively. Liza incurred only 2 time penalties here which put her comfortably into the lead. She consolidated this with steady driving through the obstacles and won the class on a score of 191.5. Although both Jade Nightingale and David Whitfield chased, there was too great a gap to close so they were 2nd and third respectively. Sue Johnson and Toby, at last back after a long lay-off ,took the day quietly.

Kate Fincham-Powell, in a class of her own, took the winner's rosette in the Open Horse class. As was to be expected, the seven drivers who stayed on to compete in the "international" style event set the arena alight as they drove this test of speed and skill. Fleur Snow was a deserving winner on this occasion. She was the fastest driver on time, who also drove clear. Jack Thorne's times were the quickest of the class but at the expense of incurring knockdowns, so he had to settle for second place by 5 points. David Whitfield finished in third place only 3 penalties behind Jack, with Emily Ham taking fourth. Jade and Erica, trying this for the first time, both drove steady accurate rounds. Ainslie Turner with cheerful Woody and Leo enjoyed her own special multiples class here taking the red rosette.


IHDT Qualifying round David Broome Centre 7th February 2010

Twenty two drivers came to the David Broome Centre on 7th February 2010, full of earnest intent after losing the December and January events to freezing weather. While some had managed to enjoy an outing or two elsewhere, none seemed short of skill and enthusiasm after the enforced break...and it didn't rain!!

The Novice pony class was seven strong, four of which were juniors. Jack Thorne won this class convincingly on 170 penalties, having led through all the phases. John Weaver upheld the honour of the "seniors" coming a respectable second, partly due to producing the best cones round in this group. Alison Kesans was just 1.5 penalties behind in third place.

The Open Pony class saw a very close finish, Emily Ham and Tony Clarke vying for the lead throughout. In the end Emily won by 2.5 penalties, her total of 165 being the best overall score of the day

Janet Macdonald with her "mountain and moor" mares (a grey Welsh and a Shetland x Dartmoor respectively) took the Multiples class with a comfortable margin of 15 penalties. Everyone in this class of five achieved good dressage marks, so penalties gained in the cones and obstacles were critical. Colin Cornwell was second having led after the dressage. Ainslie Turner whose chestnut Shetlands so clearly love their job was third and Modris Kesans with his willing Shetlands fourth. James Broome brought out his team of Welsh cobs which was a treat for spectators. They were a bit above themselves in the obstacles, after performing a lovely dressage test, so ended up with slow times. But
watch this space!

Four drivers contested Novice Horse. Liza Phillips produced the best dressage test here, followed by an exemplary cones round, clear but for one time penalty and the best of the day. However David Whitfield with his coloured horse was much the fastest of the class in the obstacles, so won this class with the second best overall score of the day.

There were only two competitors in the Open Horse class which Jonathan Rees won from Modris Kesans. The two drivers were separated by only 4.5 penalties after dressage and cones, then Jonathan produced some of the best times of the day in obstacles 1 and 2 to take the winner's rosette by 10.5 penalties.

After resetting the course and a break, the much postponed "special" event to decide our area's representative for the "Keysoe Challenge" took place. Ten drivers entered for this timed test. They had to drive a combined cones and obstacles course against the clock. There were two rounds and the times and any knockdown penalties were added together to give a driver's final score. The actual course causing few knockdowns, speed and fast, smooth economical turns were needed to achieve a competitive time. After the first round, Jack Thorne and Emily Ham each held the fastest time of 57 seconds, David Whitfield close behind on 59, and Jonathan Rees on 61. Every driver improved their times in Round 2 but none more so than Jack Thorne who confidently took 8 seconds off his already fast time. He duly won this class with a score of 106, from David Whitfield on 111 and Emily on 112.


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