Visit to Cricklands
2 June 2008

Calling All Competitors

We have just returned from a fabulous ODE event at Cricklands, Mount Ballan Manor, James Broome?s place in Wales and wondered where all our fellow competitors were.

The journey from Kent to Wales took just over 3 hours and was a very good run. James has also negotiated a special rate over the Severn Bridge to make it cheaper. Cricklands has first class facilities: the all weather dressage arena, purpose built obstacles, ample parking, showers, clubhouse and stabling for over 400 horses make it an ideal venue for an event. There is no need to worry about portable stabling as there are stables for your ponies and for the drivers electrical hook ups and showers- what a luxury!

We took our inexperienced pony team down for their first taste of outdoor competition and could not have found a better event for their debut outing. The all weather surface is amazing to drive upon and with flags, grandstands and music playing the dressage was actually a very useful experience for novice ponies.

The course builder had designed a marathon course of comparable standard to any other FEI event in the country. There was a more challenging course for those horses with more experience and stamina with an option of a shortened course for novices and smaller ponies. The purpose built hazards are solid and open and have enormous potential for National level. They were flagged with options for tight and flowing routes and each one presented a different terrain; bridges, slopes, banks and water. Presenting a few driver frighteners but driving very well.

The results and prize giving was very quick and efficient and the ground crew could not have been more helpful and friendly.

On the Friday evening James had organised a long reining demonstration with Jennie Loriston-Clarke. This was very informative for all drivers; teaching horses to go in the correct rhythm and outline and making them more supple and obedient. Afterwards it was drinks and food in the clubhouse.

The family have offered to organise either a 1 or 2 day event next year- whatever the competitors would like- and we need to support them or risk losing a fabulous venue.

The Bradbourne Drivers would like to say a big thank you to the Broome Family for making the weekend such a relaxed and friendly event and we hope to persuade more drivers down to Cricklands.

Sara Howe