Emily Ham’s driving blog: You’re never too old

  • With so much depressing rain as well as short days, indoor events are a Godsend! I have enjoyed indoor club events with the ponies and am really excited to have got my dad driving too (pictured top).

    My sporty Welsh section C, Mr J, is proving to be an excellent teaching pony even though he is a bit of a Ferrari! He has taken giving lessons in his stride and is now getting used to different drivers taking up the reins.

    I was amazed when my dad expressed an interest in having a go, given that he has been involved in helping since I was 10 but still does not consider himself at all “horsey”.

    One of his first driving events was the club Christmas fun day and dad’s smile stretched broader and broader across his face as he got more confident driving the cones courses and then the obstacle. Finally in the grand finale arena challenge he got a winning clear round.

    Dad enjoys his first arena challenge

    Dad enjoys his first arena challenge

    I can safely say he has become hooked on driving and has struck up a great rapport with fellow father Mr J (who has sired several stunning foals) as “team dad”! As dad has just celebrated his 60th birthday it proves you are never too old to start in this super sport.

    Years of driving a car and horsebox, then lorry and trailer seem to have given him especially good spatial awareness as he very rarely knocks a ball off in the cones and positions himself superbly for the tight turns in an obstacle. On 3 January I was unwell and the rain was unrelenting but we competed anyway as dad was so keen.

    Mr J looked after both of us, giving me best dressage, clear round cones and very fast obstacles to win the open pony section and dad the win in the newcomers class with a very good cones round.

    You can’t find better entertainment indoors than Olympia Horse Show in London.

    I was thrilled to be given a press pass to the event and the highlights had to be the extreme driving and the Horse Welfare celebrity scurry.

    Extreme driving is an absolute masterclass in speed, precision and horsemanship. Watching at close quarters as the drivers so skilfully manoeuvred teams of four horses in such confined space and such an atmosphere was so so exciting.

    Extreme driving at Olympia

    Extreme driving at Olympia

    The Horse Welfare display was very special too, as many watching will now realise what can be achieved with rescue ponies. They were brought back from the brink of death to put on a dazzling performance with speed and stamina and obviously loving their new careers in driving.

    Finally there was also indoor horse shopping heaven at Olympia. Although I didn’t dare spend as much in the equestrian shopping hall as on past visits (as I am meant to be a responsible spender now I am self-employed with my carriage driving) I still came home with excellent bargains for my driving ponies. Meanwhile, my friends were staggering, weighed down with bags of goodies. What a wonderful event Olympia is!


    You may like...