Events Reports

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Club Championship 2012

Points are awarded during the summer season for the events held at Cricklands

Points are awarded thus:

6 for the winner, 5 for 2nd
place, 4 for 3rd and so on to
6th place.

1st Ainsley Turner - (Multipes)
2nd Janet Macdonald - (Multiples)
3rd Ainsley Turner - (Single Pony)
4th Sue Johnson - (Single Horse)
5th Elizabeth Pilkington - (Single Horse)
6th John Weaver - (Single Horse)


3rd IHDT Event at Cricklands - 16 December 2012

Seventeen drivers arrived not long after dawn to compete at this the third competition in the winter series of events run at Cricklands as qualifying rounds for the Indoor Championships held at the end of the season at Keysoe. The weather was kind for the time of year, the rain holding off for most of the day.

Sue Johnson well deserved her win in the Novice Horse class, putting up a confident performance in all three phases, driving a notable cones round for only 2 time penalties. She also took home the newly introduced perpetual Challenge Trophy for the best fancy dress effort, Sue disguised as a Christmas pudding, her backstepper as a Christmas tree and Toby as Father Christmas complete with beard.

Unusually, the best overall score of the day and by a margin of 24 points, was achieved in the Multiples class. Joseph Adams finished on a score of 137.5 with his pony pair, having driven a good dressage test followed by a near perfect cones round and fast obstacle times. Second in this class were two snowmen driving a pair of Eriskay ponies. This driver turned out to be John Weaver, who not only drove a cones round for only two penalties, but gave Sue a close run for the fancy dress prize.

The Novice Pony class was the largest of the day with six entries. Twin sisters Isobel and Catherine Westbroom-Warr took first and second places respectively, on scores of 165.5 and 177.5 both driving very competently indeed. Catherine drove the only double clear cones round of the event. Not too far behind in third place was Katy Alvis with a score of 183.5.

Erica Rye, driving an ever improving Robbie won the Open Pony class which was a very popular result!

Karen Scott-Barrett, Ainslie Turner and Joseph Adams were each in a class of their own (Joseph driving his horse pair this time). Karen finished with apparent ease on an excellent score of 161.5. Ainslie driving a young little mare achieved a score of 187.5 and Joseph's horses completed on 191.



2nd IHDT Event at Cricklands - 19 November 2012

A record number of thirty turnouts competed at this event. This made for five hours of competition, and a long day for the stewards. However the weather was kind and feedback from drivers shows how much they enjoy the events at this venue.

Now that the going in the school previously used for the dressage has become too heavy and wet, the dressage arena for this event was set up at one end of the main arena adjacent to the cones course. The judges sat in a car up on the bank and this new arrangement seemed to work very well.

Eight drivers entered the Novice Pony class, which was comprehensively won by Katy Alvis, who established her lead initially, by adding only five cones penalties to her respectable dressage mark. She was then the fastest of the class in all four obstacles and she finished on a score of 187. In common with most of the other competitors, on this particular day, her fellow drivers in the class fell foul of the twisty cones course, notching up double figure penalties. Isobel Wesbroom-Warr was second and Andrea Potter third on 239 and 242 penalties respectively.

The Open Pony class was also contested by eight drivers. The best score of the entire day was earned by Jack Thorne who won this class on 167 penalties even with a mistake in Obstacle 2. Emily Ham produced a finely judged cones round but even so she could not match Jack's obstacle times and finished in second place with 191 penalties. Colin Cornwell was third.

Five pony pairs did battle for the winner's rosette in the Multiples class. Gary Fuzard produced a good dressage score to begin with and held on to the lead this gave him through the next two phases. John Weaver made great efforts in the obstacles to catch Gary but there was too much ground to be made up. Gary won with 229 penalties and John was second with 258. Hazel Fisher driving a young pony in her pair was third.

The Novice Horse class was well supported with 6 entries. Sue Johnson was a deserving winner. As in the previous classes, a good dressage score followed by a neat cones round stood her in good stead and her fellow competitors had too much to do to catch up with her in the obstacles. Debbie Lane had a good try however and finished second on 228 penalties, 13 adrift of Sue's final score. Janice Sidebottom who distinguished herself by being the only driver of the day to go too fast in the cones, was in third place.

In the Open Horse class, all three competitors were within a very few points of each other after dressage and cones. David Whitfield just managed to hold off Jack Thorne in the obstacles to win by the slender margin of 2 penalties. Their respective scores of 170 and 172 were only bettered by Jack himself in the Open Pony class.

First Qualifying IHDT Event at Cricklands - 14 October 2012

An initially foggy morning cleared to become a glorious October day for this first event of the winter season at Crick. Such a fine day is to be appreciated in the light of the dark freezing days which may well materialise later in the winter! There was an abundance of entries, including both familiar and new faces.

James Broome had designed flowing obstacles, which nevertheless provided drivers with plenty of choice of route to suit their horses and ponies.

The largest class was Novice Pony with eight entries. Young Catherine Westbroom-Warr produced an excellent dressage test here for a score of 20.5, easily the best of the class and indeed the day. The flowing and inviting cones course surprisingly caught a lot of drivers out in all classes, producing high penalty scores in this phase for many. Novice Pony Class was no exception, and several drivers added a generous number of penalties to their dressage score. However, Andrea Potter, Katie Alvis and Catherine each drove a competent cones round which stood them in good stead. These three consolidated their good scores with fast obstacle times to finish first, second and fourth respectively. Hugh Stables was a deserving third.

There was a first for Crick at this event as Clare Humphries brought her donkey Frostie, to compete in this class, finishing seventh, the soggy ground being particularly hard work for a smaller-sized animal.

This is a picture of the pony when he saw the donkey in the cones – his eyes were popping out of his head and if we could interpret his expression it would be “what the hell is that???”.  Fortunately the donkey didn’t bray, so he didn’t cause too many problems!


The Open Pony Class was well supported with six entries. As to be expected, in general dressage and cones scores were lower than for the Novice Ponies and after these two phases Tony Clarke led the class from Emily Ham by just half a point. Jack Thorne then stormed through, posting some of the fastest obstacle times of the day to win the class by a handsome margin. Emily was second driving her newly acquired Alfie and Colin Cornwell, always close behind the leaders, was third.

Four Pony Pairs came forward to contest the third class, which was won by Joseph Adams on a score of 142,the best overall score of this event. He incurred consistently low penalties throughout the three phases. John Weaver was second, driving two very keen ponies.

Ainslie Turner was in a class of her own driving Woody and Leo tandem completing with a score of 222.5.

Another lone competitor was Joseph and his Lippizaners in Horse Pairs. Lack of immediate competition did not seem to matter as he finished on a score of 173 the third best overall mark of the event.

The Novice Horse Class was deservedly won by Sue Johnson with Toby on a score of 219.5. She produced a steady sound performance throughout. Second was Elizabeth Pilkington on 228.5.

Only two competed for the Open Horse rosette. Here, Jack Thorne recorded his second win of the day. Peter Sidebottom was in touch after dressage and cones but could not match Jack's obstacle times.

One-Day Event at Beech Lane Farm - August 2012

This was the first time that a club competition has been held at John and Wendy Weaver's farm near Hawkesbury Upton. John had gained permission from the Badminton Estate to use fields adjacent to his land, providing a beautiful expanse of flat grassy pasture on which to drive. Unusually for this summer of 2012, it was a hot and humid day. Alan Hodges was the course builder and had set up a 20 gate cones course and 6 driving obstacles. This proved to be quite a test of competitors' powers of memory.

Four drivers contested the Novice class including two first timers, Maggie Martin and Cathy Stevens. The class was won comfortably by Andrea Potter from Somerset. Jane Hendy driving John Weaver's Katie was second followed by Maggie and Cathy third and fourth respectively. All these drivers were thrilled with their horses' performances and will surely be back for more!

The Open Class was convincingly won by Janet Macdonald with Amber. She posted the best dressage score and was the only one to drive a double clear in the cones. Janet's final tally made her the day's champion. John Weaver driving Kelpie achieved some fast obstacle times, but could not quite match Janet's final score. Erica Rye and her youngster Robbie enjoyed a fluent drive but with slower times to finish third.

The Multiples class consisted of John Weaver's pony pair and Ainslie Turner's pony tandem. John was a bit speedier in the obstacles to be the winner on this occasion although he did take a piece of obstacle 6 away with him!

The afternoon concluded with a lot of welcome cups of tea and large pieces of cake!

Fourth and Last Evening Event at Cricklands - 10 July 2012

Arriving for this competition, drivers could well have wondered if they had come on the right day as the massive lorry park field was chock full of lorries! Surely, the popularity of the sport of carriage driving could not have surged so hugely in a short time? However the carriage driving group was as usual parked down at the bottom of the field, well hidden at first glance. The answer was simply that a big show was taking place on the same day and it had slightly overrun its time.

In fact only seven drivers competed at this fourth and final event of the summer series, but the lack of numbers did nothing to reduce the enjoyment of the competition. The event was all run on grass, in spite of the damp ground conditions, the going being very good on the whole, with just one or two slippery spots in the obstacles.

Peter Sidebottom, in a class of his own, won the Novice Horse, with a double clear in the cones and very competitive times in the obstacles. He finished on a score of 206.

The Multiples Class was also an uncontested class but provided much cause for celebration, as Ainslie Turner drove double clear in the cones with Woody and Leo as a tandem. The ponies work very well together, Leo very much enjoying being out in the front. It was especially delightful to watch him skip backwards and sideways in one twisty obstacle, to avoid missing a gate. Ainslie finished on a score of 245.

Janet Macdonald won the Open Pony class, with a score of 202, the best of the night. Her dressage mark of 27 (also the best of the evening!), and a low score of 4 penalties in the cones stood her in good stead. Her pony Amber, tackled the obstacles in her usual business-like manner producing very fast times which gave Janet the win in spite of a small mistake in the second obstacle. James Broome was second driving a very handsome forward-going youngster showing a lot of promise. It was a surprise however to see James driving a bay! Erica Rye with Robbie in his second competition was third, enjoying a calmer time now that this young pony has his T-shirt from the first outing.

The Novice Pony class was won by Jane Hendy, who has obviously formed a partnership with John and Wendy Weaver's Eriskay pony Kate. With John as back-stepper she drove consistently in all phases of the event and finished on a score of 248. Andrea Potter and Dixie sadly were eliminated in the second obstacle.

Evening Event - 19th June 2012

At last, the weather was as it should be in summer and thirteen drivers enjoyed a superb evening of sport and sunshine. Back out on the grass, for this competition, the going was perfect and altogether very inviting! The water obstacle provided much fun and with one exception, the horses eventually seemed to be relishing the splash, even those who were hesitant to begin with.

James had set up a linear obstacle beside the hedge at the bottom of the water field which drove very well with almost as many different routes taken as there were drivers. Ainslie Turner driving Woody and Leo as a tandem found the water a little deep first time round. It was up to the ponies' bellies but at her second attempt she and the ponies were prepared and sped through it knocking 26 seconds off their first time. Ainslie also achieved good times in the linear obstacle which must have been especially challenging for a tandem.

James brought out two pairs and after driving an FEI dressage test in a full size arena was eliminated in the cones with the first pair and retired the second pair. The cones course was designed by Erica and Sue, and whilst it appeared straightforward caused many drivers to accumulate very big penalty scores. Janet Macdonald and Emily Ham however, achieved a penalty of one and a clear respectively proving that it was possible!

Sue Johnson chose to drive a BHDTA test also in a big arena and the bigger space obviously suited her and Toby as they went beautifully for a mark of 25. She performed consistently in the other phases to finish on a very respecta-ble score of 277. She had a particularly super drive through the water on her second time round.

The Open Pony class provided lots of interest. Janet and Emily were neck and neck after both receiving the best dressage mark of the night (24) and their near perfect cones rounds. On this occasion Janet's Amber was perhaps the more zestful of the two ponies, Emily's Jack looking rather laid back. Nevertheless, Janet was quicker in the first three obstacles only to be nearly caught by Emily in the fourth. Janet won by 4 penalties on a score of 196, the best of the evening.

Erica brought her new young pony Robbie for his first outing and did very well to settle him and complete his first competition. Robbie provided an excellent example of how beneficial these low key events are as he took 40 seconds off his own time, tackling the water so much more confidently second time round. Unfortunately, John Weaver had to retire Kelpie once he discovered that the brake on his carriage was jammed.

In Novice Pony, Andrea Potter and her pony Dixie performed very competently to win the class comfortably on a score of 282. She followed a dressage mark of 27 with a low scoring cones round and effective obstacle times. Jane Hendy, who has been working with John Weaver's younger Eriskay pony, Kate, was second at her and Kate's first competition. Linda King was third and Alison Dascombe fourth. All drivers in this class achieved vastly improved times in the water second time round.

Two drivers contested the Novice Horse class, Peter Sidebottom winning comfortably on a low score of 211 penalties, driving his ever improving coloured horse. Sheri Morgan was second, a heavy penalty score in the cones giving her a final tally of 435 in spite of competitive times in the obstacles.

Evening Event - 15th May 2012

Following days of torrential but much needed rain the grass driving areas at Cricklands were out of bounds for this event. Normally it would have been straightforward for James to set up the cones and obstacles in the main arena instead, as for a winter event but it was not so simple. At seven days notice Cricklands had been asked to stage an international standard Combined Training Event for all the top eventers deprived of Badminton and Chatsworth, both lost to the weather. Consequently, the driving dressage was done in the usual winter arena, followed by a cones course set up amongst, between and around a 3* show jumping course in the big arena. The two driving obstacles were sited in two of the collecting rings, which seemed to work well. However they offered several choices of route, proved quite tricky to navigate correctly, and caught a few drivers out. Eliminations and corrected errors of course were not unusual on the score sheets!

David Whitfield, driving a 6 year old trotter x hackney, James Broome driving a pony pair, and Ainslie Turner with her happy tandem were each in a class of their own. The Open Pony class was won convincingly by Ashley Jones with the best dressage mark of the event, a clear cones round and very fast obstacle times. Not surprisingly, her final score of 135 was by far and away the lowest of the night. Janet Macdonald, driving Amber as a single, matched Ashley in the dressage and cones but her obstacle times were overall rather slower, so she finished second on a score of 173, the second best of the evening. Tony Clarke brought a fine looking Red along, for his first outing after a prolonged lay-off, and was third. James with a young pony missed a gate in obstacle 1 and John Weaver retired.

Andrea Potter produced a sound performance with her black pony to win the Novice Pony class on a final score of 228. Linda King her only rival, was eliminated in the fourth obstacle.

The Novice Horse class was won by Peter Sidebottom on a score of 231. After a high scoring dressage test he quickly made up the ground with respectable obstacle times. Elizabeth Pilkington was second, after getting lost in a couple of the obstacles.

Evening Event - 11th April 2012

This event was the first of a series of four that will take place at roughly monthly intervals during the spring and summer. These low key competitions are run on grass but otherwise are similar to the "indoor" events of the winter.

On this occasion, participants were lucky to stay mainly dry, as April provided April weather in the shape of hailstorms, sunshine and rainbows. The conditions were probably ideal for photographers wishing to capture dramatic lighting effects.

There were six entrants in the Open Pony class. Four of these were back fresh from the Indoor Championships at Keysoe so timings and scores were very keen in this class with obstacle times being the deciding factor. Emily Ham with Jack, put up the fastest times of the class and indeed of the evening overall, in every obstacle. Adding this to a respectable dressage mark and a clear cones round, she came out the decisive winner on 124 penalties. Chasing her hard, were Ashley Jones from Wales, and Janet Macdonald driving her pairs pony Amber as a single. Both these were clear in the cones. Janet and Amber gave us the best dressage mark of the evening receiving only 16 penal-ties. At the end, Ashley took second place by just one mark from Janet. Tony Clarke with Fred was fourth, Janet with Sweet Pea the other half of her pair was fifth and John Weaver driving Kelpie was sixth.

Andrea Potter was in a class of her own in Novice Pony and despite the lack of competition, gave a very sound performance to complete on a score of 178.

Four drivers competed in the Novice Horse class. Peter Sidebottom was the winner here on a final score of 185. He drove a clear cones course, the only one in this class to do so. Elizabeth Pilkington having survived a case of "locking on" to the wrong pair of cones in her cones round, achieved improved obstacle times (at last!) and was second on 190. Sue Johnson was close behind in third place and Sheri Morgan was fourth.

Ainslie Turner and James Broome each brought out a tandem. Their final scores were very close, Ainslie was the winner on 224, with James not far away on 231. Ainslie was obviously delighted and is looking forward to the next competition!

Very many thanks to James for organising these events which are such fun.

IHDT- 4th March 2012

This was the last qualifying event for this venue before the Championships at Keysoe at the beginning of April. As the M48 Severn bridge was closed westbound, the first challenge of the day, for some competitors, was finding the way to Cricklands from the M4 bridge.

After an exceptionally cold and wet course walk, competition got underway with the Novice Pony class. Isobel Wesbroom-Warr produced a lovely dressage test for a score of 25.5 to go into an early lead. After the cones round, Angela Cherrington took the lead, having driven one of the best rounds of the day for only 2 time penalties. Alison Kesans was lying in fourth place at this stage.

Alison then drove the fastest obstacle times in the class, and although chased here by Isabel and Chris Mort, they were unable to match her, so Alison won this hard- fought class with a score of 201.5 penalties. Isabel was second with 221.5.and Andrea Potter, who put in a solid performance in all phases, finished third.

Emily Ham was in a class of her own in Open Pony, achieving the only double clear cones round of the competition and obstacle times which were amongst the quickest of the day.

The Pony Pairs class was contested by only three pairs but provided a very close result. Janet Macdonald drove the best dressage test of the day receiving a score of 17.5.A slightly expensive cones round narrowed her lead over Joseph Adams and Modris Kesans so speed was of the essence in the obstacles. These three experienced drivers put their ponies into another gear for this and their backsteppers finished looking as if they had been on a muddy marathon. Janet just held her lead finishing on 187.5,just 1.5 points ahead of Joseph, and Modris near in third place.

James Broome and Ainslie Turner each brought out a tandem, Ainslie's feisty little ponies maybe not enjoying the wet conditions. James won this class of two with a score of 232, producing a consistent, solid performance in all three phases of the competition.

Joseph Adams was the only competitor in Horse Pairs, driving his striking Lipizzaner pair. They looked settled together and in spite of fears about the bridge on the cones course, completed the competition without incident on a score of 241.5.

Five drivers entered the Novice Horse class, which was won convincingly by Jack Thorne, his score of 161 being the best overall score of the day. No one else in the class could match this! Michelle Reid was second and Peter Sidebottom third.

David Whitfield and his coloured horse won the Open Horse class. David was the only person to be too fast round the cones course. His obstacle times were also very quick indeed. Karen Scott-Barrett, driving her eye-catching stallion was second. Her obstacle times were not that much slower than David's, but her slow, albeit clear, cones round had given her too much to do.

After a short break, to set up the course, nine drivers enjoyed the more relaxed but no less competitive fun of arena challenge. The Kesans family were on form for this and Modris won on 188 points from Alison on 191.Emily Ham and John Weaver were equal third on 193 and Karen fifth on 196.A very tight finish.

It was good to drive home in the light although I have rarely been so cold!

Fourth IHDT Event at Cricklands - 8 January 2012

Judges and stewards were given plenty of work during a long morning of competition at this event. Twenty two turnouts came to show their paces in perfect conditions on a mild January day.

Alison Kesans won an eight-strong Novice Pony class, being given a good run for her money by John Weaver. Jenny Allen also put up a solid per-formance to be third. These three drivers were separated by comfortable but not enormous margins in their final scores. Obstacle times were generally the deciding factor in this class.

The Open Pony class was won by Tony Clarke, on this occasion driving James Broome's Fred. Tony achieved a dressage score of 23, the best of the day. This stood him in good stead as his cones round was a little expensive in penalties. Neat obstacle times then gave him the win, by 6 points from Ainslie Turner. James was third with his young pony.

We are often lucky to see two tandems being driven at Cricklands events. James Broome won the class on this occasion from Ainslie Turner. Neither can have found the cones course very easy!

Probably the most competitive class of the day was Pony Pairs. Joseph Adams and Janet Macdonald were separated by only one mark after dressage and cones. Joseph was the faster in the obstacles although a mistake in obstacle 4 reduced his safety margin. He won by 5

Jack Thorne won the Novice Horse class very comfortably, following up his low dressage and cones score with some of the quickest obstacle times of the day.

Open Horse winner David Whitfield was in every sense in a class of his own as his final score of 175.5 was easily the best of the day.

After a short break for course building and walking, eight drivers thoroughly enjoyed a fun Arena Challenge competition. James had designed a course with some short-cut possibilities (at the risk of knock-downs) and sufficient twists and turns to test accurate driving rather than just speed. Jack Thorne was a decisive winner on a total of 223 points. John Weaver was second with 245 points.


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