Indoor driving championships challenge

  • Katie’s ‘Trojan Horse’ reigns supreme at the Strongid-P finals at The College EC, Beds

    In two days of razor-edge competition at the 2000-2001 Strongid-P Indoor National Championships, rescheduled from the end of March because of FMD, one of the indoor circuit’s founding competitors – Katie Hughes – emerged as the supreme champion.

    “Winning the open pony championship at last is terrific,” said Katie, who has narrowly finished second the past two years. “It was a terrific surprise to find we had won the overall championship as well.”

    Katie was driving her veteran section C, Hartspur Trojan, who, at 18 years old and a regular contender since the indoor series began, knows the job inside out.

    The 1999-2000 supreme champion, Barbara Nadin, once again headed the open horse class, one of the few competitors to lead from start to finish. Hundredths of a second separated Dick Lane and Scottish-based Ian Bertram in second and third places.

    Fortunes changed all the way through in the pairs class, but the superior speed of Trevor Kimber’s ponies in the obastacles saw him reclaim the title he last won two years ago.

    “I said all along that the obstacles would be the real test,” said Trevor, who is so far unbeaten in the 2001-02 season. “One of the problems is that the ponies think quicker than I do these days!”

    Georgina Frith brought out two veteran ponies, 25-year-old Gallon and 23-year-old Lucetta, to reclaim her title in the tandem class, again leading through all three phases.

    Lesley Cox, with her enchanting tandem of Eriskay ponies, was hot on her heels throughout, however, and less than five points separated them at the finish.

    In her last year of juniors, Jo Fuller drove Dick Carey’s 21-year-old roan section B, Dominic, to top place for the third year in succession. She was chased by Derbyshire-based whip Claire Parker, who, driving David Nuttall’s Fell pony Tonka, also put up good obstacle times to move into second place.

    The 11-strong novice pony class produced the most surprised winner of the day – Ann Walter-Simmons – who, together with her delightful Dartmoor pony, has only done a total of four competitions, but nevertheless claimed last-minute victory from Jo Sore.

    The novice horse brought victory to Jackie Ellis and her grey cob, Badger – one of the sport’s undoubted characters. Joanne Sugden, driving her Hackney mare, Rea, at only their second indoor competition, drove a storming final obstacle to move up to second place in this class.

    Read full report in Horse & Hound (29 November 2001), or click here to subscribe.

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