An eventing lorry park is rarely seen without a plethora of canine companions but last month South Oxfordshire Riding Club gave pooches a chance to take centre stage — hosting its inaugural dog one-day event.
Each canine and owner combination had to take on a “doggage” test, a round of showjumping and a 16-fence cross-country course — complete with ditches, banks and a water complex.
Seventy-six combinations started on the day, with “riders” aged from eight to 70 competing. Their charges were no less diverse, ranging from a miniature dachshund to a Doberman.
“We wanted it to be fun, but as professional as we could make it,” said organiser Susie Pilbeam.
“Doggage arenas were bedecked with flowers, the showjumps bright and the cross-country had commentary to fill us in on dog history, foibles and form.”
The event raised more than £500 for the Thames Valley & Chiltern Air ambulance and organisers are hoping for a four-star status soon.
This news story was first published in Horse & Hound magazine (12 September 2013).