BC Gateway at Hopetoun
by Patti Atkinson / BC
On Sunday 27th June, the second BC Gateway competition of 2021 was held, this time run in conjunction with the Hopetoun Horse Driving Trials at Hopetoun House, West Lothian.
Blessed by glorious weather the Compulsory Shapes commenced at 9am with Andrew Counsell presiding as the Judge at C.
The first competitor of the day in the Newcomers Pony Class was Ruth Cowell, followed into the arena by Dougie Robertson and these two were only a few penalties apart throughout the day.
The slightly better shapes mark by Dougie, who achieved the best Newcomers Compulsory Shapes mark of the day (a 24), was not changed in the cones as both drove lovely smooth clear rounds.
Class 2 was Gateway Newcomers Horse, with 3 competitors forward. First in to be judged in this class was Billy Robinson, who had driven nearly 6 hours from Lancashire to attend the event. His young horse was a little over enthusiastic and not keen to settle in the Shapes or Cones.
Bob Elliotís lovely grey cob found it all very exciting, being out in company, but Bob drove very sympathetically to achieve 30 penalties in the Shapes.
The third combination Lorraine McIndoe, who achieved the best shapes mark in this class with 25.5. All the horses had at least 1 ball down but maintained their placings of Lorraine first, Bob second and Billy third.
BC Gateway Allcomers, Class 3, had one entry, Stephie White driving Ruth Martinís pony, Brock. Stephie was also competing in the Open Single Pony class with another of Ruthís ponies. She achieved 18 in the Shapes and a clear round in the cones.
The obstacles we used were two of the huge National obstacles that had been driven by the National event the day before. Plans were nearly disrupted when a swarm of bees was discovered in one of the obstacles, but all was well and we didnít have to do a last minute change.
The first obstacle was wide and open and, judging by the huge grins on backsteppersí faces, must have been great fun to drive.
Billy was the fastest of all in this obstacle with his mare obviously loving this section of the competition.
All the drivers achieved an improvement in the time taken between their first run and their second, this being most noticeable with Ruth and Bob who were both over 10 seconds faster on their second.
Obstacle 2 was a more technical offering and the ponies made better times, with the more experienced Dougie being the quickest here.
Presentations of rosettes were made in the main arena with competitors on foot. We were kind and didnít make them run a lap of honour.
Although designed to take place in one day, five of the competitors decided to come and stay over at the event to join in the fun and savour more of the atmosphere of a big National event.
Sadly 3 of the original 9 entries had to withdraw, but the 6 who were able to come seemed to have had a ball.
Roll on the next Hopetoun in July.
Full results for Hopetoun Gateway can be found at Hopetoun Results