It’s the eve of my first driving trials competition at Ashfields Carriage Driving and Polo Centre, Essex, and I’m nervously excited.

I’ve spent the day cleaning harness, polishing boots, and going over my dressage test and cones driving techniques with my trainer, national advanced single pony champion Sue Denney. Her partner and backstepper Simon Willis has been making sure my show vehicle shines tomorrow.
I began learning to drive last year with Dave Titmus, but work commitments during the following summer and winter months meant any dreams of competing had to be put on the back burner.
Then, Isle of Man resident Sue, who bases herself at Ashfields during the summer season, offered me the chance to compete with her pony Rolls Silver Spirit’s half brother, Rohey Spectacular Premier, or Buddy.

I’m quite taken with the little fellow, a 13hh grey Welsh-Arab stallion, and it will be his first competitive outing, too.
Buddy and I have been working our way through our first everything together — our first dressage test, our first attempt at a water complex and our first time driving cones.
He’s been a superstar, I can’t fault him at all, and I’m hoping I produce a good result for him and Sue over the weekend.
So, with a smart dressage hat I’ve been loaned by pairs driver Jo Attenborough, and a pony and carriages I’ve confiscated from Sue, I’m about to head off into the unknown. Tomorrow is dressage and cones, so I’m off to learn my course. Wish me luck!