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World Championships come to Hopetoun
25 October 2003

The International Paralympic Equestrian Committee (IPEC) has awarded the 2004 World Championships for Drivers with Disabilities to the Scottish Carriage Driving Association. The highly regarded National Horse Driving Trials course at Hopetoun Estate will be the venue next year. The World Championships will run alongside the National event, from 27th-30th May 2004.

This prestigious International Event was last held in Germany in 2002 and it is an honour and a challenge for driving in Scotland to be the hosts in 2004. The Hopetoun Committee will need to draw on all available resources to put on the best possible event for our carriage driving friends old and new throughout the world and ensure we send them all home with a smile on their face.

Financially, there is a large sum that needs to be found and the organisers are looking for offers of support and sponsorship. Any suggestion will be much appreciated. For more information, please visit the Hopetoun driving website at www.hopetoundriving.co.uk. You can also contact members of the organising committee -  Anneke Wallace , George Jeffrey or Andrew Smith in person.

The last World Carriage Driving Championships for Disabled Drivers were held in Germany in 2001 and Britain won the Team Silver medal as well and an individual silver. Click here to go to our news story reporting on the event.

Most carriage drivers with disabilities have, for one reason or another, found that riding is not physically possible for them. Their love of horses and their determination to participate in equestrian sport has led them to explore new and equally demanding and exciting equestrian challenges.

Great attention is given to all aspects of safety for the horse and the driver. At all times the driver is accompanied by at least one competent able-bodied person. Traditional elegance is expected, horses, drivers, grooms and carriages are all immaculately turned out. There are purpose built carriages for wheel-chair users. These incorporate a ramp and a loading system to facilitate access.

Organisation for this sport is very labour intensive, requiring large numbers of volunteer Judges, Stewards, Time keepers, Scorers, Vets, Farriers and many others. However a carriage driving competition for disabled drivers can be integrated into a competition for able-bodied drivers.

The first three World Championships have been held in conjunction with National Championships for able-bodied drivers in Wolfsburg, Germany in 1998, followed by Stadl Paura, Austria in 2000 and  Greven, Germany in 2002.

There are currently 10-15 countries widely practising the sport. This number is not yet enough to apply for the discipline to be included as an Equestrian Paralympic Sport. With encouragement increasing from the FEI carriage driving organisation, it is hoped that it will not be long before many more countries are entering their disabled drivers in both national and international competitions.

The International Paralympic Equestrian Committee (IPEC) supports international equestrian sport for people with disabilities. IPEC produces rule books for Dressage and Driving as well as Dressage tests suitable for all Grades. The FEI and IPEC signed a cooperation agreement in 2001. To find out more about the International Paralympic Equestrian Committee, visit the IPEC

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