Teenager wins top title on her debut and meets The Queen

  • A teenager who took up driving “a couple of weeks ago” has met The Queen after a stunning championship debut.

    Chanie Matthews, 14, won the Thimbleby & Shorland Young Driver Championship on her first attempt at the British Driving Society’s (BDS) annual show on Sunday (24 June).

    The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, who is patron of the BDS, presented the five championship winners with rosettes and sashes at the event, held at Smiths Lawn in Windsor Great Park.

    Chanie, from Weymouth, had come to the show for the main purpose of taking part in the parade in front of the royal couple.

    “We came to parade in front of The Queen, I only decided to start driving a couple of weeks ago, so just decided to come here have a go and see how we got on,” said Chanie.

    She was driving her part-bred Dartmoor Lowermoor 606 (“Banjo”), who also enjoys showjumping, eventing and dressage, to an exercise vehicle.

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    The 12-year-old skewbald gelding was broken to harness two years ago and has taken to it with aplomb.

    Banjo is an all-round versatile horse, a perfect example of how any pony at home who has been outgrown by the children can be introduced to driving,” said Chanie’s mum Karen Matthews.

    “I can thoroughly recommend breaking them to harness and to have a go.”

    The young driver class is open to both traditional and day-to-day exercise vehicles and is judged on the capabilities of the driver, with particular attention to his or her dress, driving procedure and the combination’s turnout.

    For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.

    In this week’s Horse & Hound magazine, out on Thursday 21 June 2018, don’t miss our full report from Bolesworth International, including all the showjumping and dressage action plus more.

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