Excitement is mounting as the World Scurry and Trials Championship (12 to 14 September) draws closer. Both my ponies are in training and Mr J is working up his fitness as he will be my pony for the Welsh team. He has proven form in this type of event having consistently won numerous Arena Challenge and World Cup style courses including those at the Three Counties Show. He was also overall champion at the Scurry and Trials held at LLanfair Cerinion in 2012.
Our Welsh team is an inspiration to grassroots drivers everywhere so I would like to introduce them to you through my blog. We very much reflect the ethos of the Scurry and Trials organisers, that it is a competition open to all ages, types and sizes of pony, driver and backstepper!
The organisers are very keen to promote Scurry and Trials for all drivers to take part in at the show competitions through the year. They have made it an ideal sport for small ponies to enjoy with separate classes for them and a requirement that there is a small pony representative on every team at the World Championships. This can be a single or a pair but must be under 11hh.
For Wales we have a wonderful combination. Jo Jo is a small powerhouse driven by Melita Powell aged just 13 with her mum Clare as the backstepper. Melita has only been driving for a year but has formed a great partnership over the six months she has had Jo Jo. This fit little pony drives the Welsh hills daily and competes with her at indoor and outdoor driving trials, even tackling full two-day events with the rigorous marathon through the forestry. Together they qualified for the Trec Championships on their first try, making easy work of the eight-mile timed road drive. The crowd loved them!
Our designated junior on the team Emily Curnock is 14 and again relatively new to driving. Emily became interested in driving two years ago when I did a talk at her Pony Club. The family broke their much loved outgrown Section B Pony Club pony to drive over the spring of last year and they have gone from strength to strength with great success at showing, cones driving and more recently indoor and outdoor one-day events. Her dad is her backstepper.Pairs driver Jane Logan is our “proper scurry driver” with a scurry vehicle and speedy Welsh ponies Tri and Star. Jane competes regularly and enjoys great success including being Reserve Champion at Bridgend. She drives for Tristar, a Welsh business that builds horse lorries, and arrives in the most enormous and splendid lorry on the circuit. She is a real force to be reckoned with!
Accompanying us as individuals are Alison Dascombe and Ray Hopkins driving single ponies – though to us they are still part of the Welsh team!
As so often is the case, driving is sport for all the family to enjoy with children and parents, children and grandparents and husband and wife partnerships.Through Scurry and Trials, Alison, driving for Wales, has certainly got husband Tony hooked on the sport. Their first event in April was Fonmon Castle with four-year-old Rockwood Dream Catcher…the verdict: muddy, fast and fun! But the selection event at Bridgend blew Tony away with the sensation of speed behind their fast mare Rockwood Lady as well as competing with the four-year-old. At one point he was literally hanging on for dear life – pure adrenalin rush coupled with a handsome trophy for being winning backstepper and now Tony can’t get enough of the sport.
Through Alison’s Facebook page we have all been able to see how the new water obstacle looks and drives. This might well feature at the Worlds and as Alison found out its one thing to get your pony through in practice but catches them by surprise out on the course! Something to bear in mind in our training programme.Ray Hopkins is our other Welsh single driver and proof that driving and even speed driving is an inclusive sport for all ages. Ray is a “veteran” – ie over 65- and so is his pony Flint who at 25-years-old is probably the most senior pony on the circuit. They both love it!
The whole team is very grateful to Tristar for sponsoring smart team tops and to Swansea based club and national open horse driver Jonathan Rees of JM Rees Metals for sponsoring team caps for the big occasion in September. I also am extremely fortunate to have the support of Equilibrium Products who are generously providing me with top specification competition boots for the event.