Emily Ham’s driving blog: World Championship success

  • Apologies for the delay in an update from the World Championships for Scurry and Trials. It’s been all systems go.

    I have been so incredibly fortunate as Simon Willis has hand built me the carriage of a lifetime and it was finished in time for this exciting event. As befits a carriage with innovative design features and the highest specification, it is called the Revolution. Cleverly, mine is designed to fit both of my competition ponies so that I can take both to events and compete with a top of the range carriage.

    My new Revolution carriage is absolutely fantastic and I’m totally over the moon with it — we jumped straight in at the deep end and used it for the competition with Simon backstepping for me. It is amazing in the way it holds the ground with no snaking or lifting and has a design feature to minimise the resistance through the collar making it light and manoeuvrable behind the pony.

    Mr J was a star with no hesitation about cantering through the water tray or under the hoops, though he does duck his head as he imagines he is at least 16hh! The ringside distractions were ignored and he galloped the cones and powered round the obstacles as fast as he could although he found them quite tight. Mr J, at 13.2hh, was one of the tallest ponies competing even though the height limit is 14.2hh.

    Sue Denny

    Sue Denny wins gold

    We drove three very fast clear rounds and as a result we finished in fifth place in the single pony category and in sixth place overall from over 28 competitors consisting of singles and scurry pairs. Unfortunately only the top three went through to the main arena for the medal contest so we were unable to compete for the championship title. But Sue Denny absolutely flew and is a very deserved world champion!

    The Welsh team did themselves proud and finished in sixth place ahead of Ireland and Australia with a very respectable score, especially for such a young team. All the other team members are in their first season of speed driving and two were juniors.

    Emily Ham and Mr J

    Mr J and I in the parade

    The venue on the royal estate was world class and the driving started with a parade of nations with the drivers of each turnout carrying their country’s flag into the ring.

    The two competition rounds on Saturday were hotly contested and only seconds separated the top drivers, so the Sunday morning rounds were crucial. Nerves and the pressure of the event unsettled some drivers and more balls were knocked off in this round than any other. Each driver had a drop score and for many this was it, but Mr J did a cracking round and was incredibly responsive.

    He completed the last section, including the water obstacle with one rein snagged so he was relying on the other rein and my voice to complete the course. At the time I thought he had just become a bit headstrong, little did I realise he was actually being a super star!

    The whole competition was friendly and designed to encourage socialising with activities for everyone in the evenings. It was a lovely opportunity to mix with the other teams from Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Scotland, England Red and White and also Denmark.

    Henriette Bendorff

    Henriette Bendorff and Maxi

    New Zealanders borrowed British ponies and drove them very determinedly.

    Henriette Bendorff’s super small Maxi was the furthest travelled pony having made the long trip over from Denmark, but I think it’s safe to say they enjoyed their adventure

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