Tara Wilkinson posts Best Dressage of the Day, while Keith Henderson and Stephen Williams fight it out at Onley1 August 2021
by Wendy Nix
Sixty-seven drivers competed across 18 Regional and Club classes at Midlands Carriagedriving’s (MC) event held at Onley Grounds, Warwickshire, on 31 July and 1 August.
In the Club Horse Open, Tara Wilkinson posted an impressive 34.08 to take Best Dressage of the Day. This, and an equally impressive cones score, put her out of reach of Paul Hart in second place.
Closest finish of the weekend went to Keith Henderson and Stephen Williams in the Regional Horse Pairs. Stephen led after dressage with 60.35 to Keith’s 61.45 but fell behind after the cones. However, that didn’t stop Stephen piling on the pressure in the obstacles, winning that phase but it was not enough to prevent Keith from taking the spoils with just 2.37 penalties in hand.
The cones course proved tricky and nobody managed a double clear so it was hats off to Lyn Chorlton (Club Pony Novice) and Ann Connelly (Regional Horse Novice) who both added just one penalty to their scores and subsequently won their respective classes.
Phillipa Scott led the Regional Pony Novice class throughout despite being chased hard by Jane Hendy in the marathon phase, finishing 6.42 penalties ahead. Amy Last was the sole contender in the Regional Pony Intermediate but she would probably have won anyway following scores of 45.57 in dressage, 10.50 in cones and very swift 80.79 in the marathon.
The Regional Pony Open was won by Sue Mart with Sue Corlett in second. Sadly, both Stephen Trebble and Clive Jones were eliminated for uncorrected errors of course.
Jo Rennison achieved a better cones score than Hilary (Hillie) Withenshaw in the Regional Pony Pair, however Hillie led both dressage and marathon phases to take the class.
Another close finish came in the Regional Tandem Pony where Liz Harcombe and her World Horse Welfare rescue ponies managed to keep their noses in front of David Taylor while Jeff Ormerod suffered a senior moment when not correcting an error of course for elimination.
It was Chris Smith all the way in the Regional Advanced Horse Pair ahead of Fred Pendlebury who had to contend with a rather feisty young horse who wasn’t too sure he wanted to get his feet wet at Obstacle 6.
For once, Angela Smith did not have to do battle with Emma Young in the Regional Pony Team, Emma opting to drive two separate pairs HC, so she had the class to herself.
Last but not least in the Regional classes was the Horse Teams, won comfortably by Karen Bassett. Karen gave a Master Class drive round the mind-boggling cones course for just one down and time penalties, although she admitted it was ‘hard work’. Mark Carruthers was marginally faster than Karen in the obstacles, finishing second overall ahead of Robert Bowman in third.
In the remaining Club classes, Mary Fuller won in Horse Novice with her part-Percheron ahead of Jon White with Richard Butt, in his first outdoor event, in third.
The Pony Intermediate class saw Nicola Blandin post 39.73 in dressage to go into the lead and stay there after a scorching marathon round with Fiona Powell, driving a borrowed pony, in second. Cath Brockie retired at the final obstacle (6) after her pony flatly refused to get his feet wet twice in one day.
Jack Brooks had two separate entries in the Horse Intermediate, winning with one and retiring the other after Obstacle 5.
Glenys Ellis was well in the lead in the Pony Open before falling foul of a compulsory flag. Her elimination allowed Elisabeth Greensmith to complete on her own and take the class.
In Pony Pairs Joseph Adams led after dressage and overnight and, despite a bit of a discussion with his ponies over the water at Obstacle 6, he kept ahead to win with Dave Wheeldon second and Wendy Wadsworth third.
At the end of 2020, Midlands Carriagedriving faced a major upheaval following the loss of its chairman, Dave West, and subsequently the secretarial services of Dave’s widow Lesley as she bravely starts a new life in Scotland. But, as they say, the show must go on, and thanks to an enormous effort by committee members, event organisers and all volunteers, the MC show will go on.
A huge thank you to everyone who contributed at Onley Grounds.
For more information on MC including how to join the club and enter competitions please visit: www.midlandscarriagedriving.co.uk