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Third IHDT Event at Cricklands - 18 December 2011

There was a good attendance of fifteen turnouts at this event, many displaying Christmas decorations and tinsel in various styles. Sue Johnson dressed up strikingly as a very pink fairy but it seemed that her horse Toby was not too keen on his fairy wings. He may even have asked to have them removed please!

Ground conditions were challenging as it unexpectedly froze overnight and the sun was not warm enough to thaw the surface. The start was postponed by an hour to allow the ground to soften and the dressage arena to be moved on to the better surface of the Main Arena.

The Novice Pony Class was the first to go. Andrea Potter achieved a dressage score of 23.5,just better than Katy Alvis on 24. John Weaver lying in fourth place after dressage, drove one of the best cones rounds of the day, incurring only 8 penalties. Katy also did well and scored 7 in this phase. Katy and John were now lying first and second respectively. Andrea and Isobel Westbroom-Warr drove rather costly cones rounds both finishing with times much faster than the optimum time. John then drove consistently and smartly in the obstacles to finish on a winning score of 258.5. Sadly Andrea was eliminated after an uncorrected error in the first obstacle, alt-hough her times were otherwise very competitive. Isobel and Katy were second and third by a margin. John was especially pleased with his result as he has not driven for 18 months but clearly was refreshed by the break!

Ainslie Turner was in a class of her own in Open Pony, with a good dressage mark of 23, a high score in the cones of 25, again for being quicker than the optimum time, then good obstacle times giving her a finishing score of 191 penalties.

In the Novice Horse class, Sue Johnson drove a good dressage test for a mark of 26.5 putting her ahead of Jack Thorne by 3 marks. Jack drove a cones round clear on knockdowns but with 30 time penalties. Sue received only 9 time penalties but had 20 knockdown penalties so the two competitors were still close at this stage. Jack's cumulative obstacle score was then one of the fastest of the day so he won the class with a grand total of 203.5 penalties, Sue finishing on 298.5.

Two competitors contested the Open Horse class. David Whitfield posted the best dressage mark and the best overall obstacle score of the day, although like many others he had rather a heavy cones penalty score. However he deservedly won the class on 167 penalties, the best winning score of the competition, Karen Scott-Barrett with her beautiful young horse who must be one to be watched for the future, was second on 219 penalties.

Once again, there was an range of multiple turnouts to watch with interest. In Pony Pairs, Joseph Adams produced a lovely dressage test for a mark of 16,only one point less than David Whitfield's test. James Broome's pair received a test mark of 30.5.These two drivers' cones scores were similar. Unfortunately, James was eliminated for an uncorrected error in obstacle 3 so Joseph took the winner's rosette with a good final score of 189.

The next three Multiples drivers were each in a class of their own. Ainslie brought out her ponies as a tandem and Joseph drove a Horse Pair which finished on a mark only a little adrift from his Pony Pair score. Joanna Broadbent brought her young Pony Team back for a second time to build up some quiet experience.

Second IHDTA Event at Cricklands - 27 November 2011

19 equips ready to compete on a mainly sunny morning turning chilly as the wind picked up later. It's strange, but nice weather always has an effect on the general atmosphere and every competitor, horses included, felt good - that is how it appeared.

Erica and Tony both without horses to drive turned steward for the day and had a lovely time. Tony had the obstacles with Geoff Kay a very welcome addition to the team. Erica had the cones with Lucy, which left Simon to be the photographer. Over at the Dressage arena Vivien and Sandra, assisted by Elizabeth Stacey and Graham had everything well in hand. Marilyn, our scorer, has gone to New Zealand on her hols so Angela Cherringham bravely stepped in to score for this event, and also the one in December.

New faces and new horses made an appearance which was good to see, they all loved it and said they would be back. We received some lovely feedback in praise of all concerned.

As for the competition - Janet drove impeccably and won her class, Little Leo led a splendid tandem team and won his class, Ainsley wasn't bad either, David Whitfield and his coloured horse, took open horse, Robert Buck open pony, Jack Thorne won novice horse and Isobel Westbroom-Warr again drove beautifully to win novice pony, Joseph's grey pair were in a class of their own and Joanna Broadbent's team of youngsters enjoyed the outing, as did Joanna. Again - in a class of their own.

It is my belief that the day could be summed up as a jolly good time was had by all !!

First IHDTA Event at Cricklands - 30th October 2011

This event was the first qualifying round of the 2011-2012 Indoor Driving Season for the Wales and Gloucester area. Although the event is not run indoors, all phases are driven on all-weather surfaces and according to Indoor Horse Driving Trials UK rules. Those who hope to compete at the Championships in the Spring at Keysoe earn their "ticket" to go by gaining the most number of points in their class during the qualifiers.

It was good to see familiar faces again and also several new ones, on what turned out to be a pleasant mellow autumn day.

The Novice Horse class was the first to go with three entrants, Jack Thorne, Elizabeth Pilkington and Andrea Binns who is James' groom. After dressage and cones Jack and Elizabeth were separated by 7 points and Jack vastly extended his lead in the obstacles, simply leaving his fellow competitors standing! Jack won the class with a good score of 194 points, Elizabeth was second with 246 points and Andrea, now thoroughly initiated into the sport, was third on 302 points.

Five drivers contested the Novice Pony class. The youngest competitor of the day, Isobel Wesbroom- Warr produced the best dressage mark in this class and indeed, one of the best of the day, and after a neat cones round was leading the class. Jenny Allen however was chasing, the two drivers separated by 8.5 marks at this stage. Jenny's o bstacle times were the faster of the two in all 4 obstacles so she won the class convincingly with a score of 213 points. Isobel was a worthy second with 224.5 points. Third was Emily Buck with her smart coloured pony, whose obstacle times were very respectable but on this occasion she had too much ground to make up after her dressage score and expensive cones round. Angela Cherrington was close behind in fourth place and Lochlan King was fifth.

The Multiples class provided a treat for spectators as we had a pony team, a horse pair, two pony pairs and a pony tandem to watch. Joseph Adams and Janet Macdo nald with their pony pairs were the leading contenders for the win in this amalgamated class. Both scored a good low dressage mark, then Joseph drove the o nly double clear of the day in the cones. Their obstacle times were similar overall. Joseph won the class with a score of 171.5, Janet being second with 182.5.In this instance the co nes ro und was the decider! Joseph was also third in
this class with his Lipizzaner horse pair. Fo urth place went to Ainslie Turner driving her chestnut Shetlands tandem now, and having even more f un than ever. James was fifth with his team.

The Open Horse class was deservedly won by Erica Rye driving her palomino horse Ben. Her dressage mark of 26.5 was the best of the day and she followed this with a cones round which was clear with only 3 time penalties. Sound obstacle times consolidated her position and as well as winning she achieved her personal aim of completing a competition on a score below 200. Karen Scott-Barrett was second having been left with a bit too much ground to make up in the obstacles.

Robert Buck and Ainslie Turner drove a exciting finish in the Open Pony class, their scores being close in all three phases. Driving the diminutive but indefatigable Leo, Ainslie was the only driver of the day to be penalised for going too fast in the cones. She was in the lead by 7 points before the obstacle phase and although Robert was faster in o bstacles 3 and 4 she wo n the class by 3 points.

FODDTG Members at the Three Counties Show, Malvern, Worcs, 18th/19th June

The Three Counties Show was another success story for Emily Ham who won everything she entered with the amazing Mr Jack (Crossfield Jack won the Private Driving and the Concours d'Elegance and then took the Supreme Championship). Emily looked beautiful in her 'posh gear' and her wonderful phaeton show vehicle which, I believe, was having its first outing, and her father looked very smart in his bowler too.

Emily and Jack also obliged in demonstrating the dalmation working as a carriage dog. Lester Dagge's young dog performed really well in the arena and there was interesting commentary about the history and current day competitions.

Sue Johnson and Toby also did very well on the Saturday. In Sue's own words - "we did the Exercise Vehicle show class and came 4th which we were very pleased with. The judge said our turnout was great (polished carriage and tack, gleaming horse and very smart whip and groom). The only thing that let us down was Toby didn't cover the ground enough. I told her that is always a problem, but she should see him move the next day in the arena challenge!!! We do these events for fun and as long as we enjoy it that is all that matters. We were invited to do a show in the main arena after our class to show the different types of horses and carriages that can be used in this sport. I felt very proud showing my boy off. We had a great weekend camping even though the weather was against us, but we made friends and took shelter in Lester Dagge's caravan awning to have a bit of a party.

Next year perhaps more people from FODDTG should come along and we could have a mega party!!!" a definite maybe from me!

On the Sunday several club members enjoyed participating in the 'cone/obstacle' Arena Challenge organized by the Wolverley & District Driving Club. Stephen Pond, a member of Wolverley and FODDTG, was a patient time keeper in the arena all day while other club members enjoyed competing.

Under their rules I was Novice as was Sue Johnson. I took Coco and it was a first outing for my backstepper, Tessa Brooks. Sue had her daughter Becca back stepping as usual. The course was really well laid out and the cones were quite well spaced. It took me a little while to appreciate that they could be negotiated at speed and on an angle with out hitting them, but once I did we cantered most of the course. Coco is a tight turner but only has little legs and stride so we still weren't all that fast. Apart from going past a cone gate because the wind had blown the number around, we couldn't have done it any quicker.

Sue and Becca had good rounds too in this class of ponies and horses mixed. Coco finished 4th and Toby finished 7th (I think).

Jacqui Pillinger was really disappointed to be unable to drive her pair due to in jury of her pony Tom, when they had been training very well together, but all was not lost and she drove Ollie as a single in the open class, with Helen Broomhall as backstepper. Ollie whizzed around in their distinctive pinkwheeled carriage, kicking up his heels at times, to come a good 6th out of 13 but the class was dominated by Emily who again achieved first place with Janet Macdonald as a constantly smiling and able backstepper. They won with over 20 points in hand from second place.

There were only two competitors in the multiple class - Janet with Sweet Pea and Amber, with Jenny Allen backstepping; and Julie Wedgbury with her team of little Shetlands. The Shetland's little legs were fast and furious and those little ponies just oozed enjoyment with their manes and forelocks flying, but Julie made some errors and, although Janet managed to squish a cone in passing, Amber and Peasey could not be beaten and won the class.

Some of us were able to go off and explore some more of the show, including the horse boarding competition adjacent to our ring crazy stuff! The weather was kind to us and the competition ran really smoothly. There were lots of smiles and I'm sure everyone had an enjoyable day we certainly did.

Thank you very much to the Wolverley & District Driving Club.

Angela Cherrington

Photos: Ann Ham

Evening Driving Trials - 15th June 2011

This was a very enjoyable evening, mixed fortunes being leavened by the usual friendly and informal atmosphere of these events run by James Broome. Drivers from the eastern side of the River Severn arrived slightly late and hassled due to delays at the Bridges caused by all the extra traffic going to the "Take That" concert at the Millenium Stadium.

Further challenges were presented for some by obstacle 2 and 4 which was the water. This particular water turned out to be very wet and full of green weed. Those equines who were reluctant to enter the pond had a good point!

In the Multiples Class, Janet Macdonald produced the best dressage test of the evening earning only 21 penalties. Ainslie Turner was not too far behind with 30. Their cones scores only differed by 4 penalties, Janet maintaining her lead. Ainslie was chasing through all four obstacles, being quicker than Janet in obstacles 1 and 3, the permanent post and rails, but slower in the water. Janet won the class on 204 penalties, Ainslie finishing on 220.

Erica Rye, the only Open Horse competitor, had set the cones course which tested everyone. Judging by the scores, the bigger turnouts found it more difficult than the small ponies. Erica won her class on a completing score of 288 penalties. She is looking for someone to join her in Open Horse!

Sue Johnson and Elizabeth Pilkington, the current stalwarts of Novice Horse both enjoyed their drive and both were badly caught out by the cones course. On this occasion Elizabeth took the winner's rosette finishing on 247 penalties, Sue completing on 302. In Open Pony,

Emily Ham swept to victory, with a double clear in the cones....so it was possible...and very swift obstacle times, giving her the best final score of the evening of 150 penalties.

Angela Cherrington coming back to competition after a long break, had a hard time in the obstacles but was still smiling. Jenny Allen produced the second best cones round of the event, scoring only 6 penalties. Her times in obstacle 1 and 3 clocked up some penalties but the water was clearly no problem. So, she won Novice Pony on a score of 336. Miranda Saunders, carefully introducing her pony to water, was second on 441.


6 March 2011

This was the last qualifying event at Cricklands before the Indoor Driving Championships at Keysoe in April. In honour of the occasion the
bridge was in the cones course but caused very little, if any trouble.

Harry Bartlett won the Novice Pony class with a good consistent performance in all three phases finishing on a score of 213.5 penalties.
Alison Kesans was second. Alison came the nearest of the day to a double clear in the cones scoring only one time penalty. Georgia
Bartlett was third.

Ainslie Turner reigned supreme in a class of her own in Open Pony. Driving Leo, she built on her low scores in dressage and cones with
very speedy times in the obstacles. In fact, her times in obstacles 2 and 4 were the fastest of the day. Her final score was 191 penalties.

In the Pony Pairs class, Janet Macdonald's ponies working perfectly together produced the best dressage mark of the day of 12.5. A low cones score and then smart obstacle times earned her the win and the best overall score (186.5) of the competition. Ainslie with Woody joining Leo for this class was not far behind with a total score of 200.5. Modris Kesans was third with 213 penalties.

The Tandem class had two entries. James Broome won, with Fred and Alfie looking as if they are really getting the hang of this tandem driving. Their dressage score of 19.5 gave them a good lead to start with over Chrissie Legate-Baggs' enthusiastic grey ponies, also enjoying their introduction to tandem driving this season. Chrissie's cones score rather put her out of the running as her leader has not quite realised that the whole turnout must pass between each pair of cones. However the two drivers scored similar obstacle times. James won on 261.5
penalties and Chrissie was second on 305.

Not for the first time this season the Novice Horse class was the biggest of the day with five competitors. Jack Thorne with Jake drove a lovely test for 17.5 penalties. He followed this up with the fastest times of the class in three of the four obstacles for a decisive win on 194.5 penalties. Jade Nightingale was second with Ollie with a score of 212. Michelle Reid with her steadily improving Freisan was third.
Elizabeth Pilkington was fourth and Sue Johnson fifth on a "technicality".

In the Open Horse class David Whitfield had a good win on 187.5 penalties, the second best overall score of the day. Erica Rye was second and Liza Phillips third.

After a short break, seven members enjoyed the fun of Arena Challenge. The bridge was set up with cones along its length for this, immediately followed by a very short turn. This did cause some grief! The courses this season have demanded accuracy and nippiness
rather than flat out speed. The deserving winner of this event was Alison Kesans who thereby qualifies for the evening arena event at

6 February 2011

The wind subsided for a few hours for this event allowing competitors to enjoy a relatively calm morning. The previous day, the dressage arena boards had had to be held to the ground by the weight of large potted palms. Not a ball would have stayed on a cone in those conditions.

First class of the day was Novice Pony, won by Alison Kesans finishing on a good score of 200 penalties. Her cones round was one of only two in the day with penalties in single figures. Neat obstacle driving kept her in the lead. Harry Bartlett 's scores were close throughout the class but he did not quite close the gap and completed with a score of 214.5.

In the Open Pony class Ainslie Turner was truly in a class of her own. Driving just one of her chestnut Shetlands she performed well in dressage and achieved the best cones score of the day. She also recorded the quickest times of all in the four obstacles. Her final score of 168.5 was the best overall by a handsome margin.

James Broome and Chris Legate- Baggs each brought out a tandem, a formation which is always fascinating to watch. James held a commanding lead after dressage and cones and although Chris whittled away at this through the obstacles, James won this class with a score of 228.5 to Chris's 251.5

Two pairs of joyful Shetlands contested the Pony Pairs class, giving their all to their work. Modris's black pair were leading by 8 points after the first two phases and just kept the advantage in the obstacles to win the class by 10 points on a good score of 194.5.

The Novice Horse class was the biggest of the day fielding 4 runners. Jack Thorne produced the best dressage test of this event scoring 27.
He rather gambled with his lead in the cones phase but no-one else in the class could match his speedy obstacle times and he won
convincingly on 198 penalties. Elizabeth Pilkington was second with a score of 241 and Sue Johnson third with 279.5. Michelle Reid was in
contention for second place but an error in Obstacle 1 caused her elimination.

Erica Rye had a good win in Open Horse performing consistently throughout the phases of the competition and finishing on a score of
214. Modris Kesans scored 252 penalties but also made a mistake in the first obstacle which cost him dear.

Seven drivers joined the party for the fun of the Arena Challenge. Ainslie Turner driving her pair added to her already successful day
winning by 11 points. Alison Kesans was deservedly second followed by Sue Johnson in third place. Chris Legate-Baggs driving her greys as
a pair had an error of course which put her in fourth place. The other three drivers who shall be nameless, suffered a mental aberration at gate
7 causing them to miss the B gate and then to be lost. They all survived to finish but were awarded 100 penalty points each which put them out
of the running.

Forest of Dean meets South West

We have a number of Forest of Dean members who have competed in the South West this season.

Jacqui Pillinger drove her outstanding old pony Tom at the earlier events. It is hard for the small ponies to be competitive in the Open Pony class, but Tom displayed all of his old sparkle and thoroughly enjoyed himself achieving a very impressive 2nd at the event in November.

Other small ponies from the region also competed. Ainslie Turner brought her " babies" at the beginning of the season, but reverted back to her little shetties as the season progressed.

We have very competitive classes at Stretcholt, and the drivers competing at the finals came together in two classes at the last event on the 20th March. Ainslie who was entered in Open driver class brought LEO as a single. As you know, LEO is not the biggest pony in the world, but he is aptly named for Lionhearted he truly is! He valiantly galloped his way round the obstacles pulling both Ainslie and Sarah her groom, to be placed a magnificent 3rd in the class. If they pull out a performance like that at the finals, they should certainly be in the ribbons!

It was lovely to see Andy Pilkington driving again this season. He notched up wins in the Open Horse Class on the both occasions he drove. These wins were against good opposition which showed that the MacDuff team can never be underestimated, even though they are in retirement from top competition. Two wins from two outings is top competition in my book!

The star of the multiples this season has been Forest of Dean's very own Janet Macdonald. Janet, Amber, Sweat Pea with Jane on the backstep, are a formidable combination, having collected maximum points in the season. This unbeatable team became South West Multiples Champions yet again! All superlatives have already been said, and their form this season has been truly outstanding. We have very high hopes for them at the indoor Finals at Keysoe, and wish them, and all our finalists the very BEST OF LUCK.

Barbara Nadin
Organiser - Indoor Driving South West

9 January 2011

Sixteen drivers competed at this event, Jacqui Pillinger, Ainslie Turner and Joseph Adams each running two turnouts. Participants were rewarded with a dry bright day, albeit still chilly, for the loyal band of stewards, who cheerfully do a 3 hour stint with stop watches, measuring sticks and mental concentration.

A two strong Novice Pony class was first to go, Alison Keasans winning the red rosette on 179 penalties, under pressure all the way from Chris Mort who finished on a score of 190.

In Open Pony, Emily Ham was up against Jacqui Pillinger and Ainslie Turner and each of them twice! This class as a whole, posted low cones scores and fast obstacle times. Emily's score of 20.5 in the dressage and just 4 time penalties in the cones stood her in good stead and although Jacqui and Ainslie came near her in the obstacles she won the class on 142.5 penalties which was also the best overall score of the day.

Three pairs contested the Multiples class, Janet Macdonald with her ponies, and Joseph Adams with his grey ponies and his new pair of Lippizaners. Joseph's horse pair earned the best dressage mark in this class. Janet's ponies nipped round the obstacles building a decisive lead to win the class, Joseph being second with his ponies and third with his horses.

James Broome was in a class of his own driving two of his ponies as a tandem.

The Novice Horse class produced the best dressage mark of the day, Jack Thorne driving his new chestnut horse earning a impressive 17.5. The class was deservedly won by Jade Nightingale on 186.5 penalties. She put up a consistently strong performance in all three phases, although Jack was only 2 penalties behind her in 2nd place. Michelle Reid, Elizabeth Pilkington and Sue Johnson were 3rd, 4th and 5th respectively.

David Whitfield won a three strong Open Horse class on 208 penalties despite a costly score in the cones round. Lisa Phillips and Modris Kesans were second and third.

After a short break, four singles and one multiple enjoyed the Arena Challenge competition. No one went clear on knockdowns in the first round but Emily was the quickest, chased by Joseph with his pony pair. Joseph and Sue Johnson were both clear on knockdowns in the second run but Emily was again the fastest with only one ball down. She duly won, with Joseph second, followed by Ainslie, David and Sue.



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