Team GBR Diary
World Pairs Championships

Kecskemet, Hungary
by Tracey Dawes


Saturday 22 August 2009

Wow, what a day! The atmosphere at the Obstacles was electric with thousands of spectators from all over the world. The heat was extremely intense but despite this the British Team pulled together and are now positioned overall in 10th place. Pride of place went to Barnaby Bowman who despite serious technical difficulties came in at a commendable 43rd place. David Matthews was the best placed Brit on the marathon coming in at 37th place. Jo Attenborough came 53rd in her 1st international competition and despite going out in the heat of the day John Pickford drove a very solid marathon, coming in 58th.


The team are looking forward to the Cones course tomorrow which is probably their strongest phase of the  competition.

Marathon photos:
Top: David Matthews, Centre: Barnaby Bowman, Above: John Pickford

Friday 21 August 2009
Dressage ? Bowman & Attenborough

Today is definitely the hottest day so far! The team have all been up early, walking the obstacles in preparation for tomorrow?s Marathon. The team will be competing at the following times:

Barnaby Bowman ? 9.40am, Jo Attenborough ? 10.30am, John Pickford - 11.50am & David Matthews ? 1.20pm.

This morning Barnaby Bowman did an excellent dressage test with a score of 49.66 and Jo Attenborough also did a great dressage test this afternoon with a score of 58.24. Both Jo and Barnaby were really pleased with their scores. This evening there will be a presentation ceremony for the dressage and we hope to have at least one of Team GBR attending as they call back the top 20.

Dressage photo: Jo Attenborough

Thursday 20 August 2009
Dressage ? Matthews & Pickford

The sun is out again, with no sign of cooling off. Luckily David Matthews did his dressage test this morning at 10.00am. He was 12th to go on and did a very good test with a score of 57.98.

John Pickford was next to go this afternoon at 2.25pm, his score was 75.14.

At the end of today's dressage test, David Matthews is in 16th place and John Pickford is in 26th place.

Tomorrow Barnaby Bowman and Jo Attenborough will do their dressage tests so let?s hope for more good results. The rest of the day has been spent in preparation for the obstacles; Saturday will be a very exciting day for all drivers, supporters and spectators !

Dressage photos: Top right - David Matthews, Above - Barnaby Bowman

Wednesday 19 August 2009
Trot Up, Presentation & Opening Ceremony

Today began with preparations for the Trot Up, the horses were beautifully turned out and so were the drivers and grooms in their official kit. The heat was unbearable again this morning and the horses were walked around in the holding area for at least an hour before the trot up ? not the best conditions for those with hangovers from the previous night!

The horses from all the nations were in the field and it was a spectacular sight to see such beautiful animals in such close proximity.

All horses passed the trot up which was a huge relief for the whole team as it is only now that they are truly competing after 2 years of hard work and preparation.

The rest of the morning was spent polishing harnesses and carriages as 'The Presentation' took place in the afternoon in the main stadium where 5 Judges inspected the carriages, drivers & grooms.

Our team were immaculately turned out and all the effort and elbow grease paid off as David Matthews came 3rd, Jo Attenborough was 5th, Barnaby Bowman was 6th and John Pickford was joint 18th.

In the evening was the opening ceremony, a lavish affair with traditional displays from the Hungarian Bugacia Cjikosok & many others.

The teams gathered patiently in the training arena behind the stadium, patiently waiting to be called in ? just as we were all about to go in the electric went off and the stadium and surrounding areas were thrown in darkness. This unsettled the horses as they had been driving around for a long time and one of David Matthews?s horses decided that he had had enough and tried to bolt for home! David made the right decision to take them back to the stables. When the electricity was finally re-connected and the ceremony proceeded, it was a great experience to enter into the stadium that was full of spectators and supporters. It was an honour to sit on the carriage as we circled the stadium to a mass applause. Needless to say the atmosphere was electric when the Hungarians entered the stadium, and with 3 world champions on their team you can understand why!

There was a presentation ceremony for ?The Presentation?, and the first 10 drivers stayed in the arena to collect prizes and rosettes. Chef d?Equipe, Derek Mayes collected David Matthews Award on his behalf.

Today was a very long but rewarding day for all!

Top right: Trotup - Jo Attenborough
Above: Trotup - David Matthews
Below left: Trotup - Brian Guy
Below right: Trotup - Adam
Tuesday 18 August 2009
Training & Nations Party

The temperatures are soaring today, reaching a high of 31? which is extreme for both horses and drivers. Despite the heat the team training began at 11.30am with George Bowman Snr, his expertise and guidance in the training ring was appreciated by all.

While training was taking place, the rest of the British camp readied itself for the ?Nations Party?. In true British Style, they produced copious amounts of Pimms accompanied by mini Roast Beef & Yorkshire Puddings, Cumberland Sausage, Mini Scones with Strawberry Jam & Cream, English Cheeses & Scottish Smoked Salmon.

The night was a huge success with all 23 countries competing putting a huge effort into the event and everyone had the opportunity to meet the other teams and start to feel the true spirit and atmosphere that a World championship brings. Although I am biased, I have to say the British table was the most popular and the Pimms probably responsible for the sore heads the following morning!

Above: John Pickford training
Right: Barnaby Bowman training
Below: David Matthews training





Monday 17 August 2009
Arrival at the Event

Team GBR arrived at the Showground in Kecskemet, Hungary. This city has hosted 4 out of the 6 world champions and is professional and welcoming to all competitors from across the world for the 2009 Pairs World Championships. The Team consists of Jo Attenborough, Barnaby Bowman, John Pickford & David Matthews. Team Coach is George Bowman Snr & Derek Mayes is Chef d?Equipe.

Team GBR at the World Pairs Championships - click the picture for a larger view.

The morning was spent unloading the horses into their stables and setting up camp, which is very patriotic with Union Jacks Galore!

In the afternoon the drivers exercised their horses at the stadium and in the surrounding park land.

Photo right: Team Coach George Bowman