Competition News - 2002
This page contains brief accounts of our 2002 competitions
23 December 2002 Indoor Event at Warwicshire College Moreton Morrell near Warwick
The last event of the year for us.  The weather forcast was not good but it stayed dry all day in the end.  We travelled up the Fosse way via Cirencester, Bourton-on-the-Water, Stow-on the-Wold and Moreton-in-Marsh, a really pretty trip. As part of the event there was a fancy dress competition and although we did not go the whole hog with this we did spray the ponies manes with some pink hair colour,  very fetching they looked too!
The P&P phase went OK and we ended up with a score of 28.8, this put us in the lead of the multiples class which comprised us, Linda Wiggins and Fiona Tedman, and also was the best score of all classes (just).  The cones was a bit of a disapointment as we got yet another ball down unneccessarily and we were six seconds too fast so we incurred 11 penalties but still retained our lead.  Straight after the proper cones there was a speed cones competition which was the proper cones course backwards.  We scurried this and went clear this time and were lucky enough to win.  Back to the serious stuff and we did a steady first two obstacles, at this point the score was 105.8.  The second pair of obstacles were driven at a more sensible than normal speed and what happens? - we get a ball down!!  We finished up first on 186.8 with Linda Wiggins second and Fiona Tedman third.  What a treat it was to park the lorry on a tarmac car park and have concrete roads leading to the warm-up covered school and the Indoor school,  NO MUD, not even a speck, and wash off facilities to remove the sand from the cart wheels.  What a civilised place to compete!

17 November 2002 Indoor event at Adlington near Macclesfield
An early start for us to get to Adlington in time to walk the P&P meant leaving at 5.45am, we had a good trip up the M5/M6 and had plenty of time in hand.   The P&P did not go wonderfully and it left us in third place of a class of four.  We had 36.4, Linda Wiggins had 30 and Lesley Cox with her tandem had 25.2.  The cones followed and Lesley got 14 penalties, Linda had 9 and we were fortunate to get no driving faults and just 2 time faults, this put us up into the lead by just 2.6 with 36.4.  In the first two obstacles we pulled out a bit of a lead which enabled us to take it easy with the last two which was just as well as we  and the ponies were getting a little tired, at the end we had 167.4 and a clear victory in the multiples.   We always enjoy going to Adlington and this is due in no small measure to the very slick organisation of the event by the Broom family along with their helpers, and, of course, the excellent warm cafe at the side of the arena, the experience is certainly worth the early start and 9.15pm finish.  This venue is also noteable because it is so clean, both the dry well drained lorry park and the rubber surface in the arena mean that there is very little cleaning required after an Adlington event.  We really like this aspect of a competition!

10 November 2002 Indoor event at The Hand EC, Clevedon Nr Bristol
We had a wet trip down the M5 to Clevedon with quite a wind, but when we arrived it got better and stayed dry from about mid morning on although the lorry park was still very muddy from the previous nights rain and the outdoor warm-up school was deep and quite heavy going.  We had a very good P&P test scoring only 18.2 penalties and this put us in the lead of the multiples, in fact no other competitor from any of the classes beat our score.  The cones started badly with Boz ducking out at the first gate and this brought one of the balls down, the first one of this season,  from then on everything went OK and we finished up with 4 time faults and the 5 driving faults for the ball.  At this point we were16.4 ahead of the second competitor and had 27.2 penalties.  The first two obstacles were very, very fast, a bit close to the edge at a couple of points, and we pulled out our lead to 48.2, at this stage we had 92.2 penalties.  This gave us quite a buffer so we slowed down a bit for the last two obstacles and concentrated on getting them clean and neat,  this ploy worked well and we finished up with 166.2 some 63.2 clear of the second place competitor.  This gave us our best score to date and we are well chuffed.

27 October 2002 Indoor event at Gracelands EC, Droitwich, Worcs
This was the day when storms lashed Britain with wind speeds of 97 mph and lots of damage was done to property,  we suffered with no electricity until the following Tuesday evening hence this report being a little late.  The trip up the M5 was no problem and when we got to Gracelands we set up camp in the lee of the big building and had no trouble all day.  The ponies were a little unsettled because the wind was causing a lot of noise in the school and this was partially responsible for a poor P&P score.  The cones went well with no balls down and just 4 time faults.  The first two obstacles were quite fast but we had 3 balls down (not as bad as it seems as we were just using this as schooling because there was no competition in our class so some risky manouvres were attempted).  The last two obstacles were well driven and we finished up with a score of 202.6 and first place in a class of one!  It is a shame that so few people turned up although it is understandable given the doom and gloom nature of the news reports,  we did not find it a problem however and had an enjoyable day.  We were back home at 3.30pm and had everything cleaned and put away before dark,  this was a real first!! 

13 October 2002 Indoor event at Solihull Riding Club
Our first event of the  2002/03 season and we both had stinking flu,  we were not alone, however, as half the indoor team were suffering too.  Anyway, we left fairly late as Solihull is quite close and arrived at 0830 to find everyone hanging about because the school and everything else was locked up, eventually we were let in and the event started just a little late.  The P&P went quite well for us and apart from a rotten circle (Toms) and a figity halt we were well satisfied with a score of 29.8.  This was worked out on the new 60/40 system which we cannot really understand, we will explain it when we have the full story.
The cones phase gave us a clear round even if a strange path was followed between gates 9 and 10, unfortunately this diversion from the correct route cost us in time penalties and we finished with 8 time faults. Our score at this point was 37.8 and this consolidated our lead.  On to the obstacles and all were well driven with one other minor error in No.3 which cost us a little time but nothing else.  After 1&2 our score was 96.8 and at the end after 3&4 we had 172.8.  This is a very nice venue with a good surface for driving and the benefit of two indoor schools so that one can be used for warmup, it deserves more support than the 15 turnouts who took part, still we had a great time and were pleased with the ponies performance so early in the season considering they had not competed as a  pair since the 3rd of February.

10 March 2002 Indoor event at The Hand Equestrian Centre, Clevedon, Avon
Because we considered Boz was feeling his back again we booked him in to see Richard Maxwell but he could not be attended to before15 March so we decided to give him a holiday  from competition until we were certain he was fully fit. This meant that we could put Tom in the Open Pony class on his own although we did take Boz along to act as a supporter.  The normal Groom/dogsbody was regarded as being too heavy for Tom by himself so was relegated to being transport manager for the day.  The P&P was not bad and we ended up in the lead with a score of 33.  The cones were going well until gates eight and nine, balls were displaced at both resulting in ten driving penalties however  the pace was well judged and only 1 time penalty was recorded, at this point we had lost most of our lead and were only half a point in front.  We did not expect to do brilliantly in the obstacles as Tom was missing his partner and was finding double the normal weight a bit of a pull,  however he was not disgraced in any way and did really well scoring 203 at the end of the competition which was 7.5 behind the leader.  We think this was excellent for a first solo effort indoors and could well be tempted to repeat the performance in the future,  but with a bit of practice beforehand next time!

03 February 2002 Indoor event at Rodbaston College Penkridge Nr Stafford 
After days of rain and gale force winds competition day dawned with more rain and the same gales.  The only good thing was that we got blown up the M5/M6 at a much better speed than normal.  When we got to Rodbaston the rain stopped but the wind stayed so the day started badly and it all went downhill from there.   The outdoor school was  waterlogged and much too heavy to drive so all warm up etc had to be done on the road along with tractors, muckspreaders, cars and the awful wind that Boz, in particular, hates.  We did a poor P&P and a poor cones with 2 balls down but loads of time faults as the ponies were fighting each other and us all the way.  After this we were last by a substantial margin in a class of three.  The first two obstacles were a little better and we made a bit of a comeback,  then a muckspreader drove along the lorry park while we were walking the second set of obstacles and scared Boz wittless so he ran away.  Luckily some good samaritans caught him and tied him back up but he did  not want to be there after that and although we did OK in the last two obstacles we were not at 100% effort.  We did pull up to second place but the day was not one of the best.  Then on the way back we could not find a decent cafe and when we got home the rain poured when we had to unload the lorry!

06 January 2002 Indoor event at Adlington Equestrian Centre near Macclesfield
An early start for this event saw us heading up the M5 in quite thick fog which stayed until we left the M6 at Sandbach,  then the mist cleared for the last fifteen or so miles to the days venue.  We had a decent P&P test with 25 penalties and were lying in second place by 2 points to Lesley Cox and her tandem. The cones were next and we hoped to do well at this phase but Boz got quite upset about something as we entered the indoor school and was very unhelpful all the way round,  for once Tom behaved properly so that helped a little.  The score was a disaster with 4 time penalties, which was OK, but we also had four(!) balls down at 5 points each which gave us a total of 24 penalties.   We were still second but Lesley had only 2 time penalties and we were now 24 points behind.  The obstacle phase gave a chance to go for a win, all were well driven and we did some really good times, after the first two we had caught up by 13 seconds so the difference was now 11 points.  In the last two obstacles we needed to make up another 12 to win but we only managed 10 so at the end we were second by just one second ie. 1 point. 
View from the backstep:   This is a lovely place to go with friendly competition and we all enjoyed the event very much.  It was a real pity about the cones score but having to fight back through  the obstacles was great fun.  I think we could have won it if we had not put in a very tight turn around a single pole in obstacle three.   Every time we see this option we seem to be drawn to it, even though we know that keeping the speed up with a flowing course is faster, anyway, maybe next time.