(For the news page of 2009 click here)


…….Ooops! Things don’t always go to plan!

Oops! 1Oops! 2Oops! 3Oops! 4


     Oops! 5

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Does my bum look big … ?

(The editor had full permission to print this photo!)


We would like to ask members of the public to report
anything suspicious to our non-emergency number
0845 090 1234

so that an incident can be created and any
enquiries can be followed up, or
contact Melanie Campbell
on the number below:

PC 695 Melanie Campbell
Horsewatch Co-ordinator at Gloucestershire Constabulary
Gloucester South Police Station - (Quedgeley)

Phone: 0845 090 1234 ext 4182



17 November 2010
7.30 prompt

In The Gallery at Cricklands

5th Annual Club Dinner in Broomies Restaurant

Friday 21 January 2011
7.30pm for 8pm

3 courses at £22.50 per person

Please reserve your places by giving your names to Erica. Non-members most welcome.
This is a very enjoyable, fun evening, good food, presentations, speeches (not too long!) and
entertainment to brighten up a January evening. Members are very generous in giving super raffle prizes
and this year IN HARNESS magazine has donated six, year-long subscriptions as prizes. If you cannot
come to the dinner, but would like to donate a prize or purchase raffle tickets, please contact Erica.
Hope to see lots of you there!




This was a new venture for the club being invited to perform in the main arena at such a prestigious event show. James had been invited by the organisers to put on a "driving display" and came up with a novel 45 minute mini competition of driving trials.

Time would be tight, as within that 45 minutes a course had to be built, an explanation of the history of the sport given plus details of the competitors taking part, presentation to the winner and taking down and clearing the arena. James had designed a simple course of 7 sets of cones plus an obstacle with just 3 gates which had to be negotiated twice during the timed run. It was also quick to construct and easy to understand by the large audience seated around the large arena.

I was doing the commentary and gave the audience a brief history lesson on driving trials and an outline of what they were going to see whilst the course was built by a slick team of club stewards. Whilst this was happening the 7 turnouts due to do battle circled the outer limits of the arena, so there was plenty to take in James then joined me in the arena and he did a slick course walk with commentary that involved the spectators-and we were ready. Just 15 minutes into our 45 so far.

The 7 competitors were chosen so as to give as wide a range of abilities and classes. Sue Johnson and Jade Nightingale as Novice singles, Tony Clarke and Emily Ham as Open singles, Ainslie Turner and Janet MacDonald with pony pairs, and lastly Julie Wedgbury with her team of Shetland/spotted ponies. Each driver had 2 attempts at the course, with 5 seconds added for each knock-down. As each driver completed the
course the next was already in the arena ready to start so the event progressed seamlessly.

The audience became involved and cheered on all the drivers, I'm not sure if this helped or hindered as loads of noise from a few hundred spectators is not the norm. The horses seemed to thrive on it though. First up was Sue Johnson, acting as guinea pig and setting a benchmark of 96 seconds with no faults. Jade was next up and lowered the time by 19 seconds. Tony could not match the time and although Emily was 3 seconds quicker, a knock down dropped her to 2nd spot. Ainslie and Janet were both quick with their pairs but were just off the pace of the singles.

The surprise was Julie's little team that really had the crowd cheering and posted a clear round on 83 seconds to be in 3rd spot at the half way stage. Second time around all 7 improved their times, 5 with clear rounds. Sue knocked 6 seconds off her first round and can be really proud of the way she drove. Jade now went down to 74 seconds, which was going to be tough to better, but Tony, with an unbelievably tight line through the obstacle did an incredible time of 67 seconds BUT had a ball down on the last set of cones, leaving him on 72. Only Emily looked likely to get close and tore round the course just 3 seconds slower than Tony, but with a clear round won by 2 seconds. Ainslie improved to 82 seconds and was just pipped by Janet by 1 second. Julie's team were even quicker but one ball down gave them 4th overall.

We had now used up 40 of our 45 minutes and whilst the vehicles and arena party came in to clear the arena the 7 turnouts lined up for James to do an imaginary presentation of Rosettes (which were still back at base). A lap of honour to much applause and all out in --- 45 minutes

Most people, including some of the event organisers, thought it was the best arena event of the day and there were suggestions of an invite back in 2011.


to club members

Janet Macdonald and Jacqui Pillinger (Pony Pairs) and
Emily Ham and Chris Bambridge (Open Single Pony)

Who came 3rd and 6th respectively in their classes at the Finals at Keysoe
against some very tough competition

Sponsored Drive

I thought I would let you know of a fantastic drive we had recently. It was a sponsored drive in aid of driving for the disabled and organised by Wiltshire BDS. It took us across the Marlborough Downs with some spectacular scenery. As you can see from the picture, it was timed
perfectly so when we went through the bluebell woods we were almost drowned with the heady aroma of these beautiful flowers. It was definitely worth the travelling to get there as the ground was good (mostly grass tracks) and the roads we did need to go down were quiet
and populated with "chocolate box" thatched cottages.

There was a choice of a 7 mile route or a 13 mile route, (we took the long one) and although there were a few hills to go up, Toby enjoyed the chance for a good canter (and believe it or not he actually broke in to a gallop at one stage!) His ears were forward and he, like most of the horses there wanted to catch up with the horses in front...or was it just the fluorescent jackets they were following? Anyway they all soon realised there was no need to race as they saw more horses going in different directions as they took the different routes.

When we got back to the farm and the horses had been given water and hay it was time for us humans to have a picnic. Amazingly the sun came out for just long enough for us to enjoy this time and to make new friends. It really was a great day out for both horses and humans and very well run with maps and plenty of stewards on route.

It will run again next year so if you fancy a good drive out in the countryside, keep an eye on the Wiltshire BDS web site.


Sue and Toby

Look what you missed!!!

When it was mentioned at the AGM that a Club Camp was going to happen it took me back to Pony Club days, however this was going to be a Camp for all ages and am I glad I went. We arrived at John and Wendy Weaver's farm bright and early and settled Toby in his stable and put up our tent. Then it was time for coffee and cake and waiting for everyone else to arrive. Not many people had taken up John's offer of a FREE camp which was sad considering all the work that John and Wendy had put in to it but I am so glad we went as we had a fantastic weekend.

There was a cones course, two obstacles and a slalom which John challenged me to drive with one hand! I might have been rubbish at it but we had such a laugh trying. After lunch we had the most fantastic drive around the Badminton Park Estate. The flies were a bit evil in the wooded section but we had been warned about that so were well prepared with fly spray. I felt it was a real privilege to be able to drive Toby on such halloed turf. The route was marked very well and the stewards who were ensuring we crossed roads safely where brilliant. There was only one little confusion on the route but that was not down to our organisers...just a stupid member of the public who had parked their
car in front of one of the route markers so Emily missed the turning. I was a little confused when I saw her driving towards us and Toby thought this was great as he could have a game of chasing Jack but he soon settled down again when he started to get tired so we stopped for a photo with the Badminton Gatehouse in the background (Just to prove we had been there).

Anyway we all returned back to camp safely, having had a fantastic drive. After ensuring our equines were cooled off with a wash down, fed, watered and put to bed safely in their stables it was time for pre dinner drinks (just a few glasses of champagne) and a very pleasant walk around the wild flower meadow and a chance to admire John's garden. In the evening we had a barbeque. Simon was Chef and cooked up a great meal his youngest daughter was his assistant who was in charge of cooking the bananas that were stuffed with mars bars. Yummy!!! Good company, two bottles of champagne later and a few bottles of wine the evening drew to a close.

Not everyone camped over (just the tough nuts of Elizabeth and her hubby and Becca and myself) we all had a good night's sleep. It did rain in the night but that actually made it quite pleasant and it had stopped by dawn which meant we could have another day of fun. Cooked breakfast of scrambled egg, baked beans, sausages, bacon, black pudding, potato rosti and potato farls was prepared for the hardy campers (Cooked on three small camping stoves in billy cans. My army training had not gone to waste.)

John then extended the cones course to 20 cones to challenge us a bit more and it was definitely a challenge for my memory. We were able to go through the obstacles as many times as we liked and then we went for a fantastic drive around John's farm. If you have never been there you have missed the most amazing facility for driving safely for miles without having to cross roads. I had the honour of back stepping for John around the cones which was a good experience to remind myself what my back stepper is having to go through...something that I think all drivers should experience!

We had a shared lunch and at that moment my MS had caught up with me and I had met my Waterloo, so Wendy, ever the caring host, noted this and insisted I have a sleep in her reclining chair before driving home. We were lucky to be blessed with such glorious weather and such a fantastic venue. All I can say is I hope the low attendance hasn't put John off from doing it again next year, as I would love to do it again. It was BRILLIANT!!!

Just one note to myself...don't put the tent up next time near the pond as the flowing water did play havoc with my bladder during the night!!!

Sue Johnson

A May in the Life...

As a break from the usual Safety Corner, this month I thought that I would write a little bit about the fun that we had in May.

Some of you may know that we usually compete a Pony Pair in the Advanced classes at National events. We also usually enjoy the trip to Hopetoun in Scotland at the end of May. It's about an 8 hour drive, but the organisers work so hard to put on a good event that it's always worth the effort. This year, about 3 weeks before the event I discovered that I was the only person in the Advanced Pony Pairs class and made the decision to have a crack at driving tandem.

Now, those of you that have driven tandem (and hats off to you) will know that the most important thing that a tandem driver packs in their lorry is a sense of humour. It is so notoriously difficult that without a sense of humour, you are very likely to get a little depressed. So, although I was
prepared for this, I still didn't reckon on quite how humbling driving a tandem can be.

Before the trip to Scotland, I decided to have a practice at a club event. I chose Windsor Park because it was close and the date suited. So, off we set to Windsor with very little idea about what to expect. If I'm honest, I didn't even really know how to drive a tandem with one hand for the
movements in the dressage but I decided to figure that out during my warm up. Minta Winn (UKcc Level Two Coach and author of the "Learning to Drive" series of articles) is a close friend and arrived to help me (and probably have little laugh) for my dressage. As a very experienced tandem driver, she explained everything that could be explained in 20 minutes or so and before I knew it, I was trotting down the centre line towards my judge, HRH Prince Phillip.

My first challenge was the salute at X. Failing miserably to look calm and relaxed, I halted and attempted to put the reins into one hand but started to fumble. Swearing under my breath did little to help and within milliseconds I was looking down into a birds nest of reins in my hands. I knew that I had to sort the reins out before I saluted so I stared down the reins and sorted them until I at least knew which rein was which. As you can probably imagine, this was the longest halt in Windsor history and I was starting to panic. The annoying Voice in my head was screaming, "Broome, just do the damn salute and get on with it!" Usually, when drivers wear hard hats, Ladies and Gentlemen both do the same salute, lifting the whip above the head and nodding the head. However, when hard hats are not worn, Gentlemen are expected to put the reins and whip into the left hand and remove their hats. It's very simple, and probably the easiest part of driving a tandem. However, my brain was obviously having a little trouble with this, and so with a very fake smile on my face, beads of sweat rolling down my face and about 20 seconds into my dressage test, I gave Prince Phillip a ladies' salute. I actually realised what I was doing as I had my whip held proudly aloft and just had to proceed with my little nod.

Once we got going things did start to get better, and the ponies were going really well. They must have been enjoying the change of scenery. The one handed bits even passed without any significant disasters. In fact, I would say that I started to enjoy it all. "Not bad at all Broome, not
bad at all," went the voice in my head. Of course, this confidence was a house built on sandy ground. I came to the movement that involved a halt and then a 3 meter rein back. As I halted the thought crossed my mind that I should have perhaps had a practice at this before a public outing. After 1 metre in the general backwards direction, Barney who was in the lead, actually turned around to look at me. Think of a pair with one pony facing the wrong way! I looked at him with a slightly puzzled look on my face and then down at my bird's nest of reins wondering which one to pull to sort the problem out. He must picked up on something because as I looked back up, he was sidestepping his was back to his rightful position in front. Good Pony!

The rest of the event passed almost without hiccup. In fact, we did put up some half decent obstacle times. During the 3rd obstacle, the annoying voice in my head commented, "You're getting quite good at this". One turn later and I had dropped my left leader rein. Thanks Voice.

Barney was going somewhere that he was not meant to and I was once again trying to solve Rubiks Bird Nest, wondering which rein to pull. After about 30 seconds or so, we were back on track, and I decided that from that point on, especially when driving tandem, I would never listen
to that damn voice again!

The trip to Scotland, after the Windsor performance, went almost without hiccup. Well sort of. I tried to use two different ponies for the dressage and make the foolish assumption that the settings on the reins and traces should be about the same as they were the week before. It didn't
work because this time the wheeler was a lot more forward going than the leader. Imagine trying to play snooker with a rope instead of a snooker cue and you'll have an idea of what it's like to drive a tandem with a lazy leader and a keen wheeler. Basically, it's a nightmare. On the positive note, I think that the 3 judges and their writers, Alex on the backstep and the crowd of people watching from the marquee will never forget my test and I was acutely aware of the sniggering from every direction as my dressage test proceeded.

After a tip given to us by Boyd Exel (current World Cup Champion) an hour or so before we left for the marathon, our performance improved significantly. In fact, we were actually the fastest in our class in 2 or 3 of the obstacles. It would have been a prime time for The Voice to pop up, but I didn't hear it and so remained humbled and very focussed (which is essential). We ended up the best in the class in the cones, with just one down which was a lovely way to finish our double whammy of tandem competitions. It certainly wont be the last time I drive a
tandem, but I will certainly spend a little more time practicing before I do it again at an event!



Driving in the Forest

It goes without saying that our ponies need to be fit and driving in the forest is ideal. Many off the ponies are 'ride and drive' so they can be taken out for a ride on their own but it takes two people to take them out for a drive. This is in case of problems but also so that the other person can undo the forest barriers safely. Here are a couple of photographs of a recent trip out with Jack.

Jack being harnessed up

Jack in the forest




On the weekend of 12/13th of June we are holding a camp on John and Wendy Weaver’s farm. The address is Beech Lane Farm, Hawkesbury Upton, Badminton GL9 1AQ, which is on the A46, 6 miles north of J18 of the M4.

We hope that people will arrive early on Saturday morning so that they will have plenty of time to join in a variety of activities. You will be able to drive for miles around the farm on mown grass verges at your own pace, we will have obstacles and a cone course set up for you to practice if you wish, and Tony Clarke has agreed to give long reining and dressage help to anyone who wants it. We can also set up a slalom course for you to practice one handed driving as well as some pony club type games involving moving flags and buckets of water etc. On Sunday
morning we will have a drive around part of Badminton Park.

The idea of this weekend is to relax, have fun and socialise, so we do hope that as many of you as possible will be able to come, even if you don’t drive do come along and join in and if you have a helmet please bring it with you. Family members and friends are very welcome to come and join in particularly on Saturday evening. If you can’t come for the whole weekend do come for a day.

Please bring your own food and drink and hopefully one or two will bring a BBQ so that we can party well into the night! The camp and all the activities will take place in the field alongside the house so there will be easy access to toilets and water etc.

There are three stables and four other farm buildings that can be used as stables and also a well fenced paddock.

Please telephone John to let him know you are coming on 07976711289, and if you want a stable please ring ASAP because they will be
allocated on a first come first served basis.

There will be no charge for this weekend, but all drivers must be members of the Forest of Dean Driving Trials Group, so if you have friends who would like to come and drive, get them to contact Erica to become members.

The Three Counties Show

Sunday June 20th

The Three Counties Show is once more welcoming the Wolverley & District Driving Club’s innovative and entertaining demonstration of driving
trials in their main arena on Sunday June 20th. As last year, there is a large arena available all day for an ‘outdoor/indoor’ trial and there will be an expanded version of last year’s obstacle in the main arena to inform and entertain the general public in the middle of the afternoon.

This is a great opportunity to promote our sport - we do need entries of all shapes and sizes to demonstrate the range of drivers and equines involved. You are welcome to stay over on Saturday night, the entry fee is only £8 and there are CASH PRIZES. The closing date for entries is April 28th, so please put this in your diaries now.

For an entry form contact: Linda Sprosen by email: lindasprosen@hotmail.com, or telephone: 01562 824350 or visit the Three
Counties Show web site: www.threecounties.co.uk.

Once again, this is a joint enterprise between BHDTA, BDS, IHDT and Wolverley & District Driving Club (any anyone else who would like to offer help!) Let us build on the success of last year and hope to enthuse more people to enjoy carriage driving.

Saturday, 24th July 2010
6.30 P.M.

Rose Cottage, Nibley Hill, Blakeney, Gloucestershire,
GL15 4DB

On the A48 just down from The Cock Inn Pub
At the home of Sue & Chris Johnson

Bring your own meat for the BBQ and your own drink
Salad, bread rolls and desert will be supplied

There is some parking on the drive Late arrivals will have to find somewhere nearby to park

Please confirm attendance by ringing:
Sue on 01594 516747
or Email: sue.johnson2@sky.com

from the Chairman....

What a winter! I don’t know about you but for me this year’s cold season has dragged on and on, so it was especially nice to see so many well
known and new faces at the last ‘inside out’ of the season at Cricklands on Sunday 14th March.

I have been judging the precision aspect of dressage now for a couple of years and can safely say that the standard is definitely improving. That said for a lot of drivers the difference between a 6/7 and an 8/9 score is around 60 cm or 2 foot as I prefer. That is 60 cm closer to the perimeter of the arena, 60 cm closer to the centre line. There are a few other areas of improvement, but like the sore thumb, these are the immediately obvious.

We have tried training clinics in the past to help club drivers and to be honest take up has not been very high. So, in a change of direction we
will seek to develop a slightly different format to the teach-in sessions, to make them more accessible and hopefully increase attendance and hence quality of the dressage test. As my writer said to me on Sunday, ‘Daddy you never give a 10, why not?’…

My grandfather recently passed away after a lifetime of farming, starting out ploughing with a pair of shires before the arrival of tractors. He used to go to school with pony and cart, keeping them at the nearby field and then driving home again at the end of the day. All was well until the pony met a tractor for the first time ever (this being around 1932’ish), Poppa was ejected from the trap very soon afterwards, the pony made it back to the farm yard, but ‘the cart was never the same again…’

This got me thinking, as a club we must all have a collection of humorous and sobering stories to tell, either gained first hand or through family and friends. It would be a great shame if they were lost or forgotten about. So please, if you have something you would like to share then drop a line to Erica (ericarye@talktalk.net) and she will put it into the newsletter.

PS - did I ever tell you about the event that ‘got me into horses?’… perhaps another time!



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