24 April 2024

British Indoor Carriage Driving Championships 2024: A game-changer

This was a game-changing Championships for Indoor Carriage Driving UK with massive extra sponsorship and two more Championship classes for small ponies. The energetic presence of new chairman Hugh Scott-Barrett and vice-chairman/commentator Dick Lane supplemented the organisational expertise. Results across the board evidence exciting competition between experienced competitors and newcomers alike, 123 qualifiers in 15 classes from all over the UK.

After taking the Reserve Overall Supreme Champion title for the open classes in 2023, Ruby Gray, 14, won the Supreme and Open Pony titles with 167.31 penalties. Ruby is a key performer in the British Young Drivers squad. The Reserve Supreme Champion was the winner of the Veteran class – its youngest driver – Lynn Riley, 168.88.

Novice Pony Champion Hope Nebbeling scorched round the obstacles ahead of the 19-strong class, 160.61, Helen Buck barely four penalties behind. Another BYD member, Izzy Brunner, 15, topped the 14 Intermediate Pony drivers and drove three of the fastest obstacles, 177.99. Ten Novice Juniors were led by Rosie-Mai Parkin, 15, 191.2, Keira Chivers, 14, coming second with Henry Hyde-Chambers, 12 next week, third. All three achieved clear rounds in the cones, Henry hitting the optimum time to gain zero penalties – an accolade shared only with Harriet Bradford, third in open pony. Lacey Llewellyn, fourth, was the youngest competitor, 11.

Ruth Cowell took the Novice Horse Championship home to North Scotland. Rachel French seized the Intermediate Horse Championship, despite Wendy Wyatt and Neat Sharrock chasing her to the wire.  Leslee Wilkinson achieved her ambition of winning the Open Horse Championship, 183.74, with Elinor Bosanquet, another welcome visitor from Aberdeen, Reserve Champion, in a class of seven. Elinor also delighted the audience with her home-bred Shetland four-in-hand, 42”/106cms and under, up against Claire Bourne’s little spotteds and Angela Smith’s 12-hand greys. Julie Wedgbury’s ‘Flying Hamsters’ took the Pony Team Champion’s title for the 13th time.

The experienced hands of Laura Wray made doubly sure of winning the Small Pony Supreme Championship, leading both the Open Small Pony class and the Small Pairs. First-timer Charlie Parker-King also doubled up, winning the Pony Pair and Pony Tandem classes with his lively Welsh As.

Photo: ATGPhotography.net. Julie Wedgbury, Pony Team Champion for the 13th time

Newly introduced classes

Newly introduced classes for the increasing numbers of small pony drivers proved popular and the best of them, Anne Horobin with 34”/86cms Ragetti, not only won the novice class at her first attempt but her score – 182.28 – placed her ninth overall out of 123 starters, beating the intermediate and open small pony classes and the small pairs by 20 penalties.

The double-length outdoor cones course, 475m, driven to an optimum time of 130 seconds by all classes, demanded a sure and steady approach while the generously wide uncomplicated obstacles – driven twice by all classes – suited turnouts of all sizes, levels of experience and speeds. Already the most enthusiastic drivers are planning their 2024-25 indoor driving campaigns.

Click here for the results