Loss of Lowther show hits driving community

  • Lowther Horse Driving Trials and Country Fair has folded, and follows the Royal Lancashire and West Midlands shows.

    The news that a third regional show is to be wound up in as many weeks has sent shockwaves through the equestrian community.

    Show director Robert Benson said: “Increasing costs and decreasing income, combined with changing weather patterns, mean it is no longer viable.”

    The loss of Lowther leaves a massive hole in the British Horse Driving Trials Association’s (BHDTA) calendar for 2010.

    There will be eight weeks without a national competition from Errdig (23-25 July) to the National Carriage Driving Championships at Windsor (10-12 September).

    BHDTA secretary Mary Kusin said: “We thought Lowther was going ahead and it is too late to replace it.”

    The show’s tough Cumbrian terrain divided drivers’ opinion.

    Four-in-hand driver Dick Lane said it was a fantastic event and that he was grateful for the support the show had given driving, but said the marathon section was “too tough”.

    But single horse driver Joanna Broadbent said she annually made the journey from Devon because “it was the best event around”.

    Lowther Horse Driving Trials has donated more than £250,000 to driving and charities in its 36-year history, helping fund foreign competition by the British driving team.

    It was also host to a hound show, showcasing packs in the north-west.

    Alastair Jackson of the Masters of Foxhounds Association said: “Although Lowther wasn’t one of the five official hound shows, it was great fun for the packs in the north of England and was a very good showcase for hunting. It will be missed.”

    David Taylor, chief executive of the Lowther Estate, said he hoped to bring the 2010 World Sheepdog Trials to the venue.

    This article was first published in Horse & Hound (26 November, ’09)

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