Carriages drivers moving away from national competitions

  • The loss of Lowther (news, 26 November) could be the final straw that drives competitors away from national three-day horse driving trials| to regional events, say drivers and show organisers. But they don’t all think that’s such a bad thing.

    Lowther Driving Trials and Country Fair is the seventh British Horse Trials Driving Association (BHDTA) national event to end since 2006.

    Joanna Broadbent, a single horse driver from Devon, said: “Losing Lowther means drivers in the north have very few national events to choose from.

    “The sport is growing at club level but we don’t want to lose all our national events. People at the high end already go across the Channel to compete.”

    Next year there will be six national competitions, but then an eight-week hiatus to the championships in September.

    In 2011, there could be one less as Brighton Driving Trials finishes in 2010, although Farleigh and Normanhurst hope to return for 2011.

    But the BHDTA seems content that the trend is moving towards regional and indoor competitions.

    BHDTA vice-chairman Barry Hilditch said: “I don’t believe our sport is dying. It has problems, but what sport does not?”

    BHDTA secretary Mary Kusin agreed: “Losing events is a blow, but we introduced regional events to encourage more people to move into nationals.”

    She said three regionals would be held in the gap between Erddig and the national championships.

    Zoe Morgan, who runs Ashfields Driving Trials, said: “It is devastating. Lowther was the one show that had a country fair that brought in sponsors and spectators. If you don’t get them, you don’t get the back money to go into your event.”

    This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (3 December, ’09)

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