Craghoppers National Championships
10th - 12th September 2004

It is going to be a busy weekend at this year’s Craghoppers National Championships. For the first time for some years all ten classes will be contesting their Championships at Windsor - last year a clash of dates with the World Championships meant that the Horse Pairs had their Championship two weeks earlier at Catton, whilst in 2002 it was the Horse Teams whose Championship was at Lowther. The Single Horses will be competing for the Dodson & Horrell Championship, while all the other classes will again benefit from the generous support of Craghoppers. A total entry of about 120 competitors is expected. President of the Jury will be Diana Brownlie, and the other judges include International Judge Pierre de Chezelles from France.

While Championship competitors are out on the marathon on Saturday, the arenas will be fully utilised with Private Driving classes in Arena 1 and a Classic Car Show in Arena 2 with an Auto Jumble area in Arena 3. The Private Driving classes will include the Voice Products Novice Horse/Pony Championship with a generous prize of £200 to the winner, and the climax of these classes will be the Voice Products “Meet of Champions” to which the champions from all the major shows in the country have been invited. For the first time a Light Trade Turnout class is being held in conjunction with these show classes, and this is generously sponsored by Carriage Driving Magazine.

The final Cones phase will again be run in two arenas, and during the lunch-break there will be a “coaching demonstration with a difference” organised by Mark Broadbent of Fenix Carriages.

Coaching Demonstration with a Difference at Windsor

An exciting innovation is to be run at this year’s Craghoppers National Driving Championships in conjunction with Mark Broadbent’s popular Coaching demonstration. A “Quick Change” demonstration, promoted by Fenix Carriages, will give spectators an insight into the efficiency of the coaching era when the speed of changing a team of horses contributed to the overall speed and time schedule of the coach.

The coach will carry a minimum of four passengers who will assist with the change which will take place in a designated area. After unhitching (in the correct recognised sequence) all four horses will be led around a cone approximately 20 yards from the box, and will then be re-hitched. Then the coach will be driven through the finish markers at the box exit where the elapsed time will be recorded, and if deemed appropriate, penalties added by the judges for any errors. The whole procedure will be closely monitored, and if the judges notice any part of the harness not correctly secured, they may intervene to prevent the turnout from moving off until the fault has been rectified.

Four drivers and their teams have been invited to participate and Mark Broadbent will be providing a running commentary including interesting historical details.

It will be a fascinating spectacle not to be missed, and will take place during the lunch break in the National Championships Cones Phase on Sunday 12th September.

Following their arena performance, the coaches will be able to go for a short drive around Windsor Great Park. A sponsor is being sought to cover the cost of getting these spectacular turnouts to Windsor, and will have the opportunity to ride on one of the coaches for the drive. For more details contact Mark Broadbent Tel. 01363 866532.

Admission to the Championships is free to BHDTA members on production of a membership card, but if you wish to bring a caravan (which is also free of charge) PLEASE REMEMBER TO APPLY IN ADVANCE TO THE OFFICE FOR A PASS.