Holker Hall horse driving trials will return to the national calendar this year to plug the hole left by the demise of Lowther Driving Trials and Country Fair.
The driving community reacted with concern when the news broke that Lowther, a real showcase of the sport, would be the seventh British Horse Driving Trials Association (BHDTA) event to fold in three years.
But due to frantic work by the BHDTA competitions committee, Holker returns to the fixtures list in August after a 13-year break and organisers hope to sign a three-year deal with the BHDTA.
BHDTA chairman Tony Bache said: “I am amazed we were able to find a replacement event for the north-west so quickly. We have received a great deal of support already.”
Sarah Ross of the Holker Estate said although they had agreed to run the event the organisers were not sure whether it would be open to the public this year.
“We have to come up with a way to keep the public safely away from the track — it may not be possible for this year. But we hope to do something more commercial in coming years.”
Devon carriage driver Joanna Broadbent said she would try to head north for the competition.
“This is fantastic news for the sport and although I was planning to cut back on my competing this year, I will try to support them,” she said.
Holker Hall will run on 6-8 August and all classes will be qualifiers for the national championships.
For more information, go to www.horsedrivingtrials.co.uk
This article was first published in Horse & Hound (21 January, ’10)