Competition News - 2003
This page contains brief accounts of our 2003 competitions
28 December 2003 Indoor Event at the Forest of Dean EQ in Yorkley
The last event of the year and the weather was great, a little windy and very cold but it was sunny and dry all day.  We drove down via Gloucester to save the Severn Bridge toll charge and did a nice P&P which scored 33.8, this was the best P&P of the competition.  In the cones we went clear on knock-downs but had ten time faults.  The obstacle phases were both driven cleanly, the first pair a little faster than the last two and we finished up with a score of 167 and an overall win.  The event was slickly organised by Mike Wall who still did the job even though he had broken bones after a driving (equine) accident.  Yorkley is a nice place to go and we greatly enjoyed our day.

23 November 2003 Indoor Event at The Hand EQ Clevedon Nr Bristol

What a contrast to last weeks event, the weather was wet, breezy and cold and the lorry park at The Hand was a sea of liquid mud, we got really filthy. It's just forty five minutes down the M5 for us so we managed a lie in and did not have to leave home until 0800.  We arrived in the dry but it soon started raining and stayed that way all day, the worst thing, however, was that the cafe did not open until after lunch but some competitors who were spectating on this occasion did a trip to Tesco's for buns and sandwiches during the morning. The P&P went quite well in spite of a very bumpy surface and we got a score of 27.2, we were well pleased with this as both judges were quite eminent and well respected. The cones were a bit of a disapointment as the course was laid out to be awkward to drive and featured too many 180 degree turns with the gates far too close to each other so the majority of it did not flow.  We went clear on driving faults and had five time faults for being too slow.  We don't know where we could have made this time up as our ponies were cantering for a lot of the course,  so we went into the obstacles with a score of 32.2.  When the obstacles were built we found out that there were only a few, (four we think), maps available so we all had to draw our own. The first obstacle was OK with the ponies a bit listless and was completed in 32 seconds, the second went well in 28, they had woken up a bit!  Score after the first two obstacles 92.2.  Into the last two and we had a good margin in our class so we were going for best overall. The third obstacle went fine but in the fourth we had chosen the wrong route and this became apparent halfway through with the ponies stalling out at a tight turn so that was the end of our challenge, when will we learn to take the longer flowing route and keep up momentum rather than plumping for the shortest? We finished the event with a score of 159.2 which easily won our class, and came second overall to Barbara Nadin who was in the open pony class, by 5.8 points.
PS. Since writing this piece we have found that our P&P score was worked out wrongly due to an error adding up the score sheets.
The P&P score should read 26.4,  this does not alter the results at all.

16 November 2003 Indoor Event at Adlington Near Macclesfield
This was our first visit to Adlington for a year and when the weekend started with gales and pouring rain and we were apprehensive about the long trip, on Sunday however, the weather could not have been better.  We set off at 0600 and went up via M5, Midland links and M6, Congleton and Macclesfield.  We got a bit of a move on and were at Adlington in two and a half hours.  We did a reasonable P&P and were third in the multiples class of five but it was all quite close.  The cones were clear of driving faults but we were seven seconds too slow so we ended up in the lead with 49.6 penalties.  We opened up our lead in the obstacles and finished the event in the lead with a score of 186.6.  Yet again we had a very nice time at Adlington and enjoyed it immensely. The organisation was, as usual, slick and relaxed although we were a little perplexed by the P&P scoring.  The cones course was not easy but it was a good test and the obstacles were really superb with lots of options and the choice of fast or slow,   just how they all should be!   Big thanks then to all the Broom family for this.  Linda Wiggin had the misfortune to have one of her ponies get a leg over the pole in the obstacles and felt it right to withdraw so we ended up with four in the class.  A nice feature of this event was that all the presentations were made at the end, it was great to share a chat and cuppa with everyone else, this format would be a really good option to use at other regions events.  We were all finished by about 17.20 and we came back a little slower because of the traffic in just under three hours.  Adlington is to be recomended as a venue because the surface is just right for driving, the whole place is clean and well surfaced, even the lorry park,  and there is a jolly good cafe,  add on an experienced and efficient organising team and you get all the right ingredients for a super event.   We like it here.

02 November 2003  Indoor event at The Hand Equestrian Centre
Our first visit to The Hand this season and the weather forcast promised gales and torrential rain, actually we only had a nasty shower first thing and then it dried up for the rest of the day.  We always enjoy our visits to this venue as the surface is ideal for driving, there is a good cafe and the viewing areas are nice,  all it needs is a decent lorry park and this would be the ideal place for indoor driving trials. We started with the P&P and had a battle with Tom, our offside pony, who had his silly head on so we had to change his bit for later phases and this made him perform much better. We got 35 in this part of the competition.  The cones went well and we drove clear and were two seconds over the optimum time so had 2 time penalties.  Then the obstacles, our favourite bit of the day and we drove them well scoring 36 in the first, 25 in number 2, 28 in number 3 and 32 in the last and we finished up with a days score of 158.  Unfortunately no other competitors turned up for the multiples class so we could'nt help but win,  but we were very pleased with our score and had a great time and a nice early finish.

05 October 2003  Indoor event at Forest of Dean EQ in Yorkley
This was the first Indoor event of the new season and was held at a new venue.  There is a very nice indoor school and a covered area to hide in if it rains.  There is a large,well drained and non muddy lorry park and an excellent cafe with a super view of the action  from high up in the roof.  We came here in the summer to a BHDC event but did'nt spend much time in the school then so we were not prepared for the heavy way that the sand and woodchip surface drove.  The numbers at this event were small because of holidays, a conflict of dates with another show and, we suppose, just because it was the first of the season, so there were only twelve competitors and lord knows what the surface would have been like after double that number.  Anyway we did a fair P&P with a score of 27.2, a good cones with no balls down and just three time penalties, so we had 30.2 going into the obstacles.  The first two were well driven, the second two less so, due mainly to the ponies finding the going difficult, and we finished the event with a score of 159.2. This was sufficient for us to win the multiples class and come a fairly close second overall.  We need the ponies to be a bit fitter, but it's early days and we don't want to over do things at this point. Some of our frinds also did well today with Janet McDonald winning the Open Pony and taking the overall honours, and Maggie Saunders winning the Novice Pony.

I0 August 2003  ODE at Yorkley in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire
This event was held under the auspices of the Bristol club and was a qualifier for the South West Area Championship.  It was a very different format to normal, had no dressage and paid quite substantial amounts of prize money.  The weather was hot and very stuffy, apparently the day was the warmest since records began, so we were pleasantly surprised by our ponies performance considering they had done very little and Tom was still wearing his plastic remedial front shoes.  We were close winners of the pairs class from Denise Browne and recieved 30.00 prize money.  We also had the fastest pairs cones and recieved 20.00 for this.  We very much enjoyed the different format and were jolly pleased to get some money as well.  We also entered a team under the TeamPink banner and achieved joint second place in the team competition.  The team comprised Linda Wiggins,  Maggie Saunders and Jacqui Pillinger. 

05/06 April 2003 National Indoor Finals at The College E C Keysoe in Bedfordshire
We drove up to Keysoe on Friday morning in company with another competitor from Gloucestershire, it was lovely weather and we had a good run up.  When we got there we parked up in a field and sorted out the stables for Boz and Tom.  After we had declared we had a few glasses of wine and had an early night.  On Saturday we were not due to do our Pand P until 3.55 in the afternoon so we had a relaxing morning spectating.  The P&P was held in the outdoor school and we found this a bit distracting but we were quite pleased to get a score of 35.6 which put us in third place in a class of eleven. The cones followed on quite soon and we were confronted with a VERY twisty course which was not particularly flowing and included a bridge.  We had one ball down on gate four and incurred 18 time faults for going too slowly although we don't know where we could have gone a great deal faster, this added up to 23 penalties.  When the P&P was added on we finished the day with 58.6 and shared fifth place with Trevor Kimber,  however this was OK as there were only a very few points separating the six best scorers.  In the evening we did some more spectating and watched the Juniors and the Novice Pony competitors do their first two obstacles, then we had steak and chips, some more wine and tried to play Mah Jong,  then to sleep.  Sunday dawned  grey and cold with a spit of rain in the air,  we fetched the ponies over from the stables to our lorry and got ready for our first two obstacles.  The first one went well and we had second fastest time with 26.07 seconds, then we went into the second really fast, cleared "A",  over the bridge and the ponies ducked out at "B" missing the gate but just getting a ball dislodged so we went back to "A",  over the bridge and they did it again!!! so we went back to"A",  over the bridge and they went straight through.   The crowd cheered and we went back over the bridge and then they ducked out at "C",  then in the heat of the moment to get back for another go at "C" we went through "D" gate out of order and incurred a 20 point penalty for a course error,  the rest of the obstacle went well and we corrected our course.  In the end we had 20 for a corrected error of course, 5 for a ball down and 69.26 on time - 94.26 for an obstacle we should have done in about 33 seconds.  We were utterly gutted, over 60 points just thrown away and our challenge finished, still it provided some excellent entertainment for the crowd.  The last two obstacles were both driven well,  but without any sparkle, as we were so far behind it was all but impossible to catch up and we did not want to push the ponies too hard.   So that was that,  a bit of a dead loss for us regarding the championships,  but we had a super weekend and really enjoyed ourselves.   We are already looking forward to redeeming Team Pink's reputation next season 2003/2004 and will do our best to realise our ponies true potential

30th March 2003  Indoor event at The Hand Equestrian Centre, Clevedon Nr Bristol.
Poor Tom was still suffering from a pulled muscle and so we decided to give him a day off and let Boz go it alone in the Open pony class although we took Tom along for a trip out.  The normal backstepper is a bit heavy with only one small pony so work colleague Heather was co-opted for this event and did an excellent job.  The Precision and Paces phase was where Boz missed his partner most and did not put in what we know he is capable of, however third place with a score of 37.2 kept us in contention and we were well pleased with that.  The cones competition was excellent with a double clear scored and zero penalties to be added, so going into the obstacles we had a score of 37.2 and were still in third place, however it was all very close with just 1.6 penalties covering the top three competitors.  The first two obstacles went OK for us and we had 110.2 on their completion.  At this point there was a frightening occurence when John Horne's pony bolted for no apparent reason part way through obstacle one and turned the carriage over at the other end of the arena,  John and his wife Angie were thrown at speed into the  wall and this necessitated a visit to hospital by ambulance for them,  the pony was fine physically and just suffered a grazed nose.  Because of the time this took to sort out, the organisers sensibly shortened the obstacle phase to just three, however the last was a long one and had an 'F' gate.  We decided at this point to settle for second place so took it easy on Boz and finished up with a score of 152.2.  We were very proud of Boz's performance,  he really tried hard and he enjoyed the one to one attention he got during the days competition. 

2nd March 2003  Indoor event at Hurstbourne Equestrian Centre,  Near Andover, Hants.
A difficult one this, in fact we waited a bit before writing a report to take a more reasoned view of the day.  If what follows sounds like a whinge so be it,  but it happened so we'll tell the story. 
We had a pleasant trip down to Hurstbourne and left plenty of time to find the venue as we had not been there before.  When we arrived we asked where to park and were directed by one of the organising team,  we also asked where our stable was to be found (you are not permitted to tie up your animals  here so we had 'phoned the week before to reserve a stable) and were directed to a block and told to help ourselves and pay at the bar later.  We did everything as we were told and then a man who apparently was one of the owners came out ranting about being
"p- - - - -d off with f- - - - -g carriage drivers" (not our words).  When we asked what was wrong and tried to explain that we had never been there before and did not know what was expected he took no notice, fortunately another competitor told us what to do so we moved the lorry a few feet and it seems that was OK.  Then we went to get our number and found that we were down to do P&P at 09.06 and not at 10.00 as we were told when we 'phoned the previous Friday night. We tackled the organiser and were told he had forgotten so we were pressured to do our P&P as soon as possible. We did our best and went in without any warm up or settling down period, remember the ponies had just travelled in the lorry for  two and a half hours.  We did a reasonable test given the circumstances and were in second place in our class,  the P&P then continued for other classes, taking up the entire remainder of the morning interspersed with long gaps of inactivity waiting for competitors to arrive.   When the P&P finally finished the cones course was set out, competitors were given fifteen minutes to walk it and we were told the competition was to continue immediately.  As the multiples were on first on that meant we had about five minutes to prepare the ponies and warm them up after the course walk, obviously we could not do this and so the ponies went into the arena half asleep and with cold muscles.  We got two balls down and seven time faults, our worst score this season.  Then the obstacles went up, again we were given the impossible task to walk and learn the obstacles, tack up the ponies and warm them up all within about twenty five minutes.  We tried to go along with this but going into the obstacles with the animals cold was asking too much and we demolished the second and gained a vast score.  Incredibly we were still in second place by some fifteen points.  When the same time frame was announced for the last two obstacles we complained to the organiser and said we could well be late.   We took just five minutes to warm up the ponies instead of our usual fifteen or twenty and we were still late!  We scored fastest times in the last two obstacles and pulled back some nine points  finishing in second place with 198.  We feel that our performance was ruined by not having the time to do proper warmups, our ponies are athletes and do not respond well to being treated like a machine being switched on or off at will.   Then just to cap the day, when we were in the line up for the rosettes the Indoor Carriage Driving Company representative who we assume was acting as event manager, commented on the lightweight short whip which we use in the obstacle phase and pronounced it was unsatisfactory and not a driving whip.  We were expected to be grateful that he was not going to exclude us this time but we had better watch out in the future.  When he was pressed on what rule was being broken he did'nt know, then he said it was a club rule and would "take it to Dick Carey".  We always use a long whip which complies with the BHDTA rules for dressage in both the P&P and the cones phase and as far as we are aware there are no specifications for a whip used in the marathon phase other than there being a requirement to carry one,  in any case even our short whip with its short thong can reach both our ponies as they are so small. 
What a day!  We were all glad it was over.  Before we left we were told by some other competitors that we had unwittingly become embroiled in an ongoing conflict between the organiser of the event and the owners of the venue,  still we shall not be going there again because apparently this was the last indoor carriage driving event to be held at Hurstbourne.  We were told that the latest owners are anti-carriage driving, which is a shame as the venue is a very nice one and the facilities are excellent with a super surface for indoor driving competition and a first rate cafe.

15th February 2003  Indoor event at The Hand Equestrian Centre, Clevedon Nr Bristol.
We don't do many competitions on a Saturday so we were looking forward to this one,  being able spend Sunday recovering before another week at work was a real bonus.  Because the Hand is close to us and only takes an hour to get to we had a bit of a lie in and decided  to leave at 07.15am.  The temperature was arctic and although the lorry started OK the back brakes were frozen on and we could not open the ramp as that was frozen shut.  We eventually got the ramp down and the ponies loaded and we hoped that the brakes would free off as they heated up, unfortunately they cooked themselves first and gave us trouble all day, so that's something else to attend to before the next outing.  We arrived at the Hand to find it quite clean as the sea of mud they call a lorry park was frozen solid and it stayed that way pretty well until we left.  At this event the multiples were in the middle and we started our P&P just before 10.00am.  Boz was very co-operative and Tom was less so, although we were pleased with a score of 28.8 and second place overall to Barbara Nadin by 0.6.  In the cones we went clear of driving penalties but got 3 time faults.  Then disaster, just before the obstacles we noticed that Tom's front right shoe was hanging off so we had to tape it up with tank tape in a fetching silver colour and keep our fingers crossed.   Our obstacle times were 37 seconds for 1,  38 seconds for 2,  36 seconds for 3, and 33 seconds for 4. At the end of the day our score was 175.8 and a clear win in our class.  Overall we were second by a few tenths of a second to Tricia Luxton who was the open pony winner.  A friend followed us back up the M5 in their horse box as a lifeline if our brakes got worse, but they got us home OK.  This was a much better day for us than the previous week,  we really enjoyed it all, but then we always do at the Hand.

09th February 2003  Indoor event at Warwickshire College,  Moreton Morrell, Warwick.
When we left home it was raining but this soon cleared up and the weather stayed nice all day.  Our class was on first so we were a bit rushed to get the ponies settled for the P&P.  This is where a bit of sillyness started when one of the competitors  announced they were going to groom in another class as well. This is contrary to the current Indoor and BHDTA rules so Dick Carey, the event manager, would have none of it.  As a result of Dick's decision the competitor opted to compete HC,  this reduced our class to four.  We had a reasonable P&P and were in second place going into the cones where we went clear of driving faults but threw our advantage away by going far too slowly and accrued some 15 unneccessary time faults.   At this point we were 1.4  behind the leader so it was quite close, then we came to the obstacles and did some really good times to take the lead by a substantial margin after the first two.   The last two gave us a choice, to go round at little more than a trot or to go at our normal speed,  there was nothing to loose so we chose the latter option and did fastest times in both.  Unfortunately taking some unnecessary risks meant we took out a ball in the last but it did not matter as we were so far in front.  We were very lucky that Toms shoe stayed put, we were quite worried at the start that we would have to withdraw during the competition,  but it held on a wing and a prayer and we made it through to the end.
(Rant of the day starts here)
We felt it was a shame that the issues from the start of the day continued for the whole competition with lots of whispering etc. going on,  it was just like being back at primary school again and not something that made for a fun day amongst grown-ups which is the only reason we compete with our ponies.  We find it is possible to enjoy ourselves within the rules and think it's a sad reflection on some others who consider themselves to be special cases who do not need to conform to the constraints placed upon them by the regulations, and then act like a victim when they are told to comply.  This sort of attitude spoilt the whole experience, it was not just us who felt this way, others were fed up with it too.  We don't want to be any part of  this sort of nonsense again so will probably take the easy option and avoid the possibility even if this means missing events to stay clear of the egocentric personalities involved.
(End of rant).

26th January 2003  Indoor event at The Hand  Equestrian Centre, Clevedon, Nr Bristol.
A close to home event this one,  it only took us about an hour to get there, and nearly all motorway too.  We managed to find a dry spot at the Hand lorry park which is no mean feat and went into the P&P phase at just gone 11.00 a.m.  We did a reasonable test and ended up in the lead of our class (of just two) but most importantly, second overall in the competition with a score of 29.  The cones were next and we had a round clear of driving faults and with only one time penalty for completing the course one second too fast.  At this point we had a score of 30 this put us in joint first place overall with Julie Cam, an Open Pony competitor.  The first two obstacles were well driven and we went into the overall lead by some 4.6 points from Barbera Nadin and her Open Horse.  In the last two obstacles we extended our lead by 3 seconds and finished up on 168, our seventh win in a row, and the best score overall in the event.  The ponies always enjoy going to the Hand and so do we,  perhaps the early finish is a help.  We were back and tidied up for 18.30,  this made a pleasant change from the normal late night.  

05 January 2003  Indoor event at Pencoed College, Bridgend, South Wales.
The first event of the year and it was incredibly cold first thing although it was beautiful when the sun came up and then stayed out all day.  When we reached the venue we were told that three seperate people had broken down on their journey to the event, unfortunately one of them was carrying two competitors so numbers were depleted right from the start, this resulted in there being just two classes, Novice and Open. The novice was OK because it was all novice ponies but the open class had a strange mix of horse, pony and a miniature pair (us).  The P&P went OK (ish), but with Boz hanging back and Tom trying to break pace we did not perform at our best, in the end we had a score of 28.4 and this put us in the lead of the open class.  In the cones we threw it all away and although the pace was judged well with just 2 time penalties, we had two balls down!!  This doubled our tally for the rest of the season and left us in second place to Ken Osbourne who went clear.  Gwyn Rees who was driving a horse in our class had a double clear in this phase, the first we have seen.  Our score at this point was 40.4.  On to the obstacles and all four were well driven with the fastest times in every one,  this enabled us to pull into the lead and we finished up on 169.4 and our sixth win in a row.  The venue had a good lorry park although it was frozen and this kept it nice and clean on a wet day it might not be quite so nice.  In the school which was quite big there was a dirt surface which was deep and bumpy, the lights were not working and there were no refreshments or heating so all was not wonderful but it could be fine with  some more attention to the details which make Indoor Driving so pleasant, we certainly would go back even with a toll fee of 13.50 to get the lorry over the Severn Bridge.