Extreme Carriage Driving comes to Olympia
28 July 2011
Visitors to Olympia, The London International Horse Show are in for an edge-of-the-seat experience this December when the Show hosts Extreme Driving for the first time.
Run as an FEI World Cup Trial, it will take the form of a competition over two performances and the world?s best four-in-hand drivers will take part.
Created in 2001 the FEI World Cup Driving Series features a competition through marathon-type obstacles and pairs of cones against the clock and runs at indoor events in Europe through the winter. Such is the necessary level of skill that only the top ten ranking drivers in the world qualify to take part, and we have three of them at Olympia; Boyd Exell, IJsbrand Chardon and Koos de Ronde. In addition, undoubtedly getting the support of the home crowd, GB?s Pippa Bassett will take part with her team of Lipizzaners.
Australian-born but living in England since 1993, Exell has been World Cup Champion for the last three years and is also the reigning outdoor World Four-In-Hand Champion, having taken the gold medal at the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Kentucky.
Chardon is the Netherlands? most successful driver, being 22 times Dutch National Champion, four times individual gold and five times team gold medallist; he got silver behind Exell?s gold in Kentucky, was second in the 09/10 World Cup Series and third in the 10/11.
His countryman Koos de Ronde, also a Dutch National Champion and twice a team gold medallist, has come in the top four in the rankings of the last four years of World Cup Driving.
Well able to hold her own and in her own words, ?ready to give it a go?, Pippa Bassett has demonstrated her skills at indoor competitions in this country, winning similar events at the South of England Carriage Fair and at Towerlands. ?Her horses have the right mentality and agility for indoors,? commented Exell. ?No way can we count her out.?
Holland?s Johann Jacobs, who designs the marathon obstacles for the International Driving Grand Prix at the Royal Windsor Horse Show as well as the World Cup Event at Mechelen in Belgium, will be the course designer here. ?I am very excited about the competition coming to Olympia,? he remarked. ?I am looking to design a course that allows the participants to drive fast but safely.?
?I think the crowd will love it,? said Exell. ?It is very exciting to watch; scurry driving, which is a fast competition with two small ponies, is always popular with spectators ? galloping with four horses in an indoor arena is truly something else.?
Extreme driving will take place on Thursday 15 December evening and Friday 16 December in the afternoon.
Tickets for Olympia, The London International Horse Show, are priced between ?18 and ?55 with various discounts available for groups, seniors and children.
Tickets include entrance to the Shopping Village but these can also be purchased separately without a show ticket for only ?10. For further information and the full programme of events (please note this is subject to change) please visit www.olympiahorseshow.com
For tickets, call the box office on 0871 230 5580.